What are stylistic devices? Essay
In literature and writing, a figure of speech (also called stylistic device or rhetorical device) is the use of any of a variety of techniques to give an auxiliary meaning, idea, or feeling. Sometimes a word diverges from its normal meaning, or a phrase has a specialized meaning not based on the literal meaning of the words in it. Examples are metaphor, simile, or personification. Stylistic devices often provide emphasis, freshness of expression, or clarity. Alliteration What is an alliteration? Alliteration is the repetition of initial sounds in neighboring words.
Alliteration draws attention to the phrase and is often used for emphasis. The initial consonant sound is usually repeated in two neighboring words although sometimes the repetition occurs also in words that are not neighbors. Examples: * sweet smell of success, * a dime a dozen, * bigger and better, * jump for joy * share a continent but not a country Here is an example of alliteration in a poem by Wordsworth: And sings a solitary song That whistles in the wind. Remember 1. Only the repetition of the same sound is valid in an alliteration not the consonants themselves.
Examples: * keen camarad. * philosophy fan. * A neat knot need not be re-knotted. Although they start with different consonants, they constitute perfect instances of alliteration; 2. By contrast, if neighboring words start with the same consonant but have a different initial sound, the words are not alliterated. Examples: * a cute child * highly honored (pay attention to the ‘h’ in honored; it is silent) Although they start with the same consonants, they are not instances of alliteration since the sounds differ. What is an allusion? Allusion
The act of alluding is to make indirect reference. It is a literary device, a figure of speech that quickly stimulates different ideas and associations using only a couple of words. ELEMENTS OF FICTION EFINITION OF PLOT Plot refers to the series of events that give a story its meaning and effect. In most stories, these events arise out of conflict experienced by the main character. The conflict may come from something external, like a dragon or an overbearing mother, or it may stem from an internal issue, such as jealousy, loss of identity, or overconfidence.
As the character makes choices and tries to resolve the problem, the story’s action is shaped and plot is generated. In some stories, the author structures the entire plot chronologically, with the first event followed by the second, third, and so on, like beads on a string. However, many other stories are told with flashback techniques in which plot events from earlier times interrupt the story’s “current” events. All stories are unique, and in one sense there are as many plots as there are stories.
In one general view of plot, however—and one that describes many works of fiction—the story begins with rising action as the character experiences conflict through a series of plot complications that entangle him or her more deeply in the problem. This conflict reaches a climax, after which the conflict is resolved, and the falling action leads quickly to the story’s end. Things have generally changed at the end of a story, either in the character or the situation; drama subsides, and a new status quo is achieved.
It is often instructive to apply this three-part structure even to stories that don’t seem to fit the pattern neatly. conflict: The basic tension, predicament, or challenge that propels a story’s plot complications: Plot events that plunge the protagonist further into conflict rising action: The part of a plot in which the drama intensifies, rising toward the climax climax: The plot’s most dramatic and revealing moment, usually the turning point of the story falling action: The part of the plot after the climax, when the drama subsides and the conflict is resolved CHARACTER rotagonist: A story’s main character (see also antagonist) antagonist: The character or force in conflict with the protagonist round character: A complex, fully developed character, often prone to change flat character: A one-dimensional character, typically not central to the story characterization: The process by which an author presents and develops a fictional character A. Plot Definition of Plot: Events that form a significant pattern of action with a beginning, a middle and an end. They move from one place or event to another in order to form a pattern, usually with the purpose of overcoming a conflict.
The plot is more formally called a narrative. Elements of Plot: Beginning 1. Plot Line: a graph plotting the ups and downs of the central character’s fortunes. A very conventional plot might look like the one above. 2. Initial Situation i. Characters: Who are the central characters? What do they aspire to? ii. Setting: Where/when do the characters live? Does the setting contribute to the narrative? iii. Conflicts: What are the challenges facing the protagonist(s)? What are the conflict(s) that he or she (or they) will have to overcome? The beginning is often called the introduction or exposition.
By establishing the characters, setting and initial conflicts, the beginning “sets the scene” for the rest of the narrative. Dickens’ famous opening line in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” is a classic piece of exposition that helps establish the social and political background of the novel. Rising Action 3. Incentive Moment: i. Which event thrusts itself into the tension of the characters’ situation and triggers the action of the story? A new event frequently jostles the smoothness of things and changes the course of action. 4.
Episodes: After the introduction, a story usually presents a series of separate events in the plot, building from one situation to the next. A new episode (or scene) begins when the place and time change, or when something really important interrupts what has been happening. With each successive episode, the conflict becomes more and more intense, demanding some sort of resolution. The Climax 5. Climax: the critical point at which the central character is about to win or lose all. When the probable outcome of the main conflict is finally revealed (i. e. the turning point), the story has reached its climax.
In a Shakespearian tragedy, the climax occurs when the main character’s “momentum” switches from success to failure. Beyond that point, the ending is inevitable. However, the climax does not mark the end of conflict; it only determines how the conflict will be decided. The climax usually occurs anywhere from 50% to 90% of the completed story. Falling Action 6. Falling Action (or Resolution or Denouement): the events that occur after the climax that tie up “loose ends”; they perform the necessary plot actions to fulfill the protagonist’s fortunes that are now clear after the climax.
It is a tricky part of a narrative to write as the author has to decide which parts of the plot to tie up and which to leave as questions for the reader to think about (or leave for a future story). Part of the decision regarding what to tie up and what to leave open often depends on the extent to which the author wants to satisfy the reader’s need for a sense of justice or closure. 7. Epilogue: the part that tells the reader what happens to the characters well after the story is finished. It’s seen in longer narratives (like novels and movies) rather than short fiction, but even then it is only used occasionally.
B. Author’s Role in Plot 1. Plot grows out of the characters. 2. The author is always in control of what happens; fiction manipulates events; it is created. 3. Central focus of the story has to be intriguing, and the author has to arrange events in such a way as to: i. Eliminate all events that are not significant. ii. Make each succeeding event more and more intriguing until he reaches the climax. The purpose of fiction is to entertain; how well are you entertained? C. Plot Techniques 1. Suspense: Frequently involves dilemma. e. g.
Caught in a bad situation with a choice in a boating accident, you can save either your mother or your husband from drowning. 2. Flashback: The author waits until the story is moving and then flashes back to reveal biographical data or deep psychological reasons why a character acts as s/he does. It focuses more on why things happen, rather than on what happens. 3. Telescoping: It’s a matter of economy. The author can’t describe every motion of the character or event during the time the story covers. S/he has to choose the significant and merely suggest the others by saying they happened, without much description.
Art attempts verisimilitude, not “reality. ” 4. Foreshadowing: The outcome of a conflict is often hinted at or “foreshadowed” before the climax and resolution. These clues are usually very subtle; you don’t realize they are foreshadowing clues until you’ve finished the story. Early on in the novel Lord of the Flies, the boys roll a rock down from the light of the hill into the murky jungle below. The destruction of the foliage is a symbolic hint at what’s to come:the boys’ descent into savagery and destruction. Open School describes foreshadowing as “a technique that writers use to make the events in their stories ore believable. In foreshadowing, the reader is given little hints about an important future event. Something like providing clues in a mystery novel, foreshadowing ensures that when an important event occurs, the reader thinks: “Oh, I should have seen that coming” rather than, “This doesn’t fit anywhere in this piece! ” Foreshadowing can be a small series of events leading up to a big event, or an event that is similar in a thematic way to something that happens later. ” Another example of foreshadowing in Lord of the Flies occurs just after the plane crash.
The author, William Golding, describes the band of choirboys as dressed all in black and moving as if one creature. The black creature is led by Jack, which is a foreshadowing of the evil that will soon overtake him and his followers. D. Conflict in Plot Plot usually involves one or more conflicts, which are problems that need to be solved. The “movement” towards a solution is what drives the narrative forward, and is what occupies most of the protagonist’s time. The more rewarding plots are often built around mental, emotional and moral conflicts.
Plots involving physical conflict, war, exploration, escapes often contain the most excitement and suspense. Here are the major types of conflict: 1. Man’s struggle against nature 2. Man against man 3. Man against society 4. Man against himself (i. e. a portrayal of an inner struggle) The first three types are said to be “external conflicts”, while the last is “internal conflict”. Identifying Conflict: * Who or what is the protagonist? * Who or what is the antagonist? * Why is this person or thing the antagonist? * Why are the antagonist and the protagonist in conflict? * Which events contribute to the developing conflict? Which event or episode is the climax? * What does the outcome of the conflict reveal to you about the protagonist? * Did you feel sympathetic toward the protagonist or the antagonist? Explain why. For more information, check out the Open School’s discussion of conflict. I also recommend Susan Vaughan’s article on conflict. It discusses the importance of conflict in narrative fiction, and offers a good distinction between internal and external conflict. E. Setting: Aspects of Setting Setting is defined as the physical location and the time of a story. In short stories, one or both of these elements are often not defined. a.
Physical World in which Characters Live 1. Geographical location, topography, scenery, even the arrangement of objects in a room can carry special significance. Note detail. 2. Spot words that ask you to hear, see and feel elements that make up and strengthen awareness of physical setting. b. Characters Revealed by Setting. 1. Physical objects surround characters in different ways and these differences reveal traits and changes in characters. a. Psychologically, spiritually, economically and physically. b. Observe feelings and actions of characters with respect to their surroundings; as setting changes, often so does character. c.
Listen for any remarks characters make about their setting. d. Look for clues to characters in objects they have placed in their physical world. c. Setting Revealed by Characters 1. Characters contribute clues about setting. 2. When time isn’t made obvious, the reader can often make inferences from objects a character has placed in the setting 3. Dress and dialect contain clues as to historical period in which events take place, as well as to regional setting and social levels within a region. d. Plot Assisted by Setting 1. Some stories or plots can take place only in certain settings. Actions governed by particular customs and mores. . Traditions established over many generations exert great influence on what characters do. 3. Physical nature also creates conditions that affect plot: setting can confine action as, for example, on the sea, or on a mountaintop. e. Atmospheric Setting 1. The mood is reliant on the words and tone of description; a jingle can be light, full of life, and exciting, or, dark, foreboding, and full of evil. 2. The setting of a Victorian drawing room elicits an atmosphere of restraint and decorum. 3. Atmosphere can be overdrawn (as in many Harlequin romances) and become gooey with manufactured emotion. . Theme Revealed by Setting 1. Some authors skillfully use atmosphere to introduce and reinforce the theme of the novel; what happens in setting (flood) happens to characters (changed course of action). 2. Setting may reveal how man sees nature, they may show hate, agony, courage, etc. or men’s struggle for insignificant things. For more information, check out the Open School’s discussion of setting. F. Mood or Atmosphere: The mood is the feeling the reader gets while reading the story. The author helps to create the mood by using carefully chosen descriptive or evocative words.
It can be compared to the use of music in films. Examples of mood are: hostile, optimistic, threatening, ominous, bitter, defiant, etc.. For more information, check out the Open School’s discussion of mood. G. Theme: The theme is a recurring social or psychological issue, like aging, violence, alienation or maturity. The author or poet weaves the theme into the plot, which is used as a vehicle to convey it. The title of the story or poem is often of significance in recognizing the theme. What is theme? * It’s the unifying or central concept of a story. It’s a theory of life which acts as the unifying force in a story, or the universal truth which the story illustrates. * The simplest way of defining theme is this: it is the description of the basic challenges of mankind (e. g. “the human condition”). * In most stories it’s not just a simple moral, which is usually what an author thinks about the theme. Identifying a story’s theme: * Start with a clear idea of the character’s situation and the plot. Why did the characters act as they did? * Examine closely the central conflict. Overcoming a conflict is often the basis of the recurrent human challenge in the theme. Look closely at the events and/or characters that seem relevant to the main line of action. Why are they included? * Does the author offer an explicit view point about the theme, or does s/he merely describe the many points of view? * Look for literary devices such as symbolism or irony. They often reveal key elements of the theme. For more information, check out the Open School’s discussion of theme. H. Symbolism: In literature, a symbol is an object, event or a character that’s used to represent an abstract idea; it is something which stands for something else.
Symbols are clues to what’s going on in the story and often stand for key parts of the theme. A symbol is related to metaphor and simile insofar as it’s a type of figurative (indirect/dual) language. The key thing to remember is that readers aren’t told that something is a symbol, unlike a metaphor (the flower ofmy love) or a simile (my love is like a flower). A symbol just sits there inside the story… readers are simply expected to understand its symbolic existence. * White Dove – Peace * Santa/Mistletoe – Christmas * Red Roses – Love * Wedding Ring – Marriage/Eternal Love The mockingbird in To Kill A Mockingbird – a symbol of innocent people being unjustly persecuted * Napoleon in Animal Farm – Joseph Stalin, dictator of the USSR Allusion relies on the reader being able to understand the allusion and being familiar with the meaning hidden behind the words. Example: Describing someone as a “Romeo” makes an allusion to the famous young lover in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare In an allusion the reference may be to a place, event, literary work, myth, or work of art, either directly or by implication. Examples of allusion: 1. David was being such a scrooge!. Scrooge” is the allusion, and it refers to Charles Dicken’s novel, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge was very greedy and unkind, which David was being compared to. ) 2. The software included a Trojan Horse. (allusion on the Trojan horse from Greek mythology) 3. to wash one’s hands of it. (allusion on Pontius Pilatus, who sentenced Jesus to death, but washed his hands afterwards to demonstrate that he was not to blame for it. ) 4. to be as old as Methusalem (allusion on Joseph’s grandfather, who was 969 years old according to the Old Testament) There are many advantages when you use an allusion: 1.
You don’t need to explain or clarify a problem in a lengthy way. 2. You make the reader become active by reflecting on the analogy. 3. You make your message memorable. What is anaphora? Anaphora is a stylistic device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses to give them emphasis. This rhetorical device is contrasted with epiphora, also called epistrophe, which consists of repeating words at the end of clauses. Examples of anaphora Some examples of the literary works that use anaphora are listed below: In time the savage bull sustains the yoke, In time all haggard hawks will stoop to lure,
In time small wedges cleave the hardest oak, In time the flint is pierced with softest shower. Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy, I, vi. 3 Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition! William Shakespeare, King John, II, Anticlimax (figure of speech) Anticlimax refers to a figure of speech in which statements gradually descend in order of importance. Unlike climax, anticlimax is the arrangement of a series of words, phrases, or clauses in order of decreasing importance. Examples of anticlimax These are some examples of anticlimax: 1. She is a great writer, a mother and a good humorist. 2. He lost his family, his car and his cell phone.
What is antithesis? Antithesis is a figure of speech which refers to the juxtaposition of opposing or contrasting ideas. It involves the bringing out of a contrast in the ideas by an obvious contrast in the words, clauses, or sentences, within a parallel grammatical structure. Examples: These are examples of antithesis: * Man proposes, God disposes. * “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing. ” Goethe * “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. ” Martin Luther King, Jr. * Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice * Many are called, but few are chosen. What is apostrophe?
Apostrophe is an exclamatory rhetorical figure of speech, when a speaker or writer breaks off and directs speech to an imaginary person or abstract quality or idea. Examples Some examples of apostrophe are listed below: 1. “O, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth, That I am meek and gentle with these butchers! Thou art the ruins of the noblest man That ever lived in the tide of times. ” Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1 Assonance Assonance is a figure of speech that is found more often in verse than in prose. It refers to the repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences. Examples of Assonance
These are some examples: * “the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain” – The Raven By Edgar Allan Poe * “The crumbling thunder of seas” – Robert Louis Stevenson Cataphora Cataphora refers to a figure of speech where an earlier expression refers to or describes a forward expression. Cataphora is the opposite ofanaphora, a reference forward as opposed to backward in the discourse. Examples of cataphora These are some examples: * If you want them, there are cookies in the kitchen. (them is an instance of cataphora because it refers to cookies which hasn’t been mentioned in the discourse prior to that point. * After he had received his orders, the soldier left the barracks. (he is also a cataphoric reference to the soldier which is mentioned later in the discourse) More figures of speech Climax (figure of speech) Climax refers to a figure of speech in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. Examples of climax “There are three things that will endure: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. ” 1 Corinthians 13:13 3. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Martin Luther King, I Have a Dream What is Dysphemism? Dysphemism is the use of a harsh, more offensive word instead of one considered less harsh. Dysphemism is often contrasted with euphemism. Dysphemisms are generally used to shock or offend. Examples: These are examples of dysphemism: * Snail mail for postal mail, * Cancer stick in reference to a cigarette. * Egghead for genius. * Worm food for dead. * Pig for policeman. * Bullshit for lies. * Dead tree edition for the paper version of a publication that can be found online * Fag for homosexual man. What is ellipsis?
Ellipsis (or elliptical construction ) is the omission of a word or words. It refers to constructions in which words are left out of a sentence but the sentence can still be understood. Ellipsis helps us avoid a lot of redundancy. In fact there is a lot of redundancy in language and it can be surprising how much can be left out without losing much meaning, particularly when there are contextual clues as to the real meaning. Examples Some examples of ellipsis are listed below: * Lacy can do something about the problem, but I don’t know what (she can do. ) * She can help with the housework; Nancy can (help with the housework), too. John can speak seven languages, but Ron can speak only two (languages. ) The words between parentheses can be omitted and the sentences can still be meaningful. What is euphemism? Euphemism is used to express a mild, indirect, or vague term to substitute for a harsh, blunt, or offensive term. Euphemism is often contrasted with dysphemism. Some euphemisms intend to amuse, while others intend to give positive appearances to negative events or even mislead entirely. Examples: These are examples of euphemism: * Going to the other side for death, * Do it or come together in reference to a sexual act. * Passed away for die. On the streets for homeless. * Adult entertainment for pornography. * Comfort woman for prostitute * Between jobs for unemployed. Hyperbole What is hyperbole? Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, but is not meant to be taken literally. Hyperboles are exaggerations to create emphasis or effect. Examples Examples of hyperbole include: * The bag weighed a ton. * I was so hungry; I could eat a horse! * She’s older than the hills. * I could sleep for a year; I was so tired. * He’s filthy rich. He’s got tons of money. I’ve told you a million times to help with the housework. What is irony? Irony is a figure of speech in which there is a contradiction of expectation between what is said what is really meant. It is characterized by an incongruity, a contrast, between reality and appearance. There are three types of irony: verbal, dramatic and situational. Types of irony 1. Verbal irony: It is a contrast between what is said and what is meant 2. Dramatic irony: It occurs when the audience or the reader knows more than the character about events. In other words, what the character thinks is true is incongruous with what the audience knows. . Situational irony: This refers to the contrast between the actual result of a situation and what was intended or expected to happen. Examples of irony * His argument was as clear as mud. * The two identical twins were arguing. One of them told the other: “You’re ugly” * The thieves robbed the police station. What is lilotes? Lilotes is a figure of speech consisting of an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by negating its opposite. For example, instead of saying that someone is mean, you can say he is not very generous. Examples of lilotes He’s not a very generous man.
She is not very beautiful. He is not the friendliest person I ‘ve met. What is oxymoron? An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines incongruous or contradictory terms. The plural is oxymorons or oxymora. Examples: An oximoron can be made of an adjective and a noun: * Dark light * Deafening silence * Living dead * Open secret * Virtual reality Oximorons can also be a combination of a noun and a verb. * The silence whistles Personification What is Personification? Personification is a figure of speech in which human characteristics are attributed to an abstract quality, animal, or inanimate object. Examples
Notice the use of personification in William Blake’s poem below: Two Sunflowers Move in the Yellow Room. “Ah, William, we’re weary of weather,” said the sunflowers, shining with dew. “Our traveling habits have tired us. Can you give us a room with a view? ” What are puns? A pun, also called paronomasia, involves a word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. Puns are constructions used in jokes and idioms whose usage and meaning are entirely local to a particular language and its culture.
To be understood, puns require a large vocabulary. Examples: These are examples of puns: * “Atheism is a non-prophet institution” The word “prophet” is put in place of its homophone “profit”, altering the common phrase “non-profit institution”. * “Question: Why do we still have troops in Germany? Answer: To keep the Russians in Czech” – Joke. This joke relies on the aural ambiguity of the homophones “check” and “Czech” What is metalepsis? Metalepsis is a figure of speech in which reference is made to something by means of another thing that is remotely related to it, either through a causal relationship, or through another figure of speech.
Examples of metalepsis 1. Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium? – Chistopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus A reference to the mythological figure Helen of Troy (or some would say, to Aphrodite). Her abduction by Paris was said to be the reason for a fleet of a thousand ships to be launched into battle, initiating the Trojan Wars. 2. I’ve got to catch the worm tomorrow. “The early bird catches the worm” is a common maxim, advocating getting an early start on the day to achieve success.
The subject, by referring to this maxim, is compared to the bird; tomorrow, the speaker will awaken early in order to achieve success. 3. A lead foot is driving behind me. This refers to someone who drives fast. This metalepsis is achieved only through a cause and effect relationship. Lead is heavy and a heavy foot would press the accelerator, and this would cause the car to speed. 4. He experienced a pallid death. While death has the effect of making the body look pale, describing death itself with the adjective pallid created a metaleptic expression. What is a metaphor?
Unlike simile, metaphor (from the Greek language: meaning “transfer”) is language that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects. It is a figure of speech that compares two or more things not using like or as. In the simplest case, this takes the form: X – is – Y Examples of metaphor: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; (William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7) What is metonymy? Metonymy is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept.
Examples: Here are some examples of metonymy: * Crown. (For the power of a king. ) * The White House. (Referring to the American administration. ) * Dish. (To refer an entire plate of food. ) * The Pentagon. (For the Department of Defense and the offices of the U. S. Armed Forces. ) * Pen. (For the written word. ) * Sword – (For military force. ) * Hollywood. (For US Cinema. ) * Hand. (For help. ) Consider this quote which is a metonymic adage coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy: “The pen is mightier than the sword. ” What is a simile?
A simile is a figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced with the word “like” or “as”. It takes the form of: * X is (not) like Y * X is (not) as Y * X is (not) similar to Y Examples of simile: * He fights like a lion. * He swims as fast as a fish. * He slithers like a snake. * “My dad was a mechanic by trade when he was in the Army, When he got the tools out, he was like a surgeon. ” What is a synecdoche? Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of something is used to represent the whole or the whole of something is used to represent part of it. It is considered to be a special kind of metonymy.
Types and examples of synecdoche * Part of something is used to refer to the whole thing – A hundred head of cattle (using the part head to refer to the whole animal) * The whole of a thing is used to represent part of it – The world treated him badly (using the world to refer to part of the world) * A specific class of thing is used to refer to a larger, more general class – A bug (used to refer to any kind of insect or arachnid, even if it is not a true bug) * A general class of thing is used to refer to a smaller, more specific class – The good book (referring to the Bible or the Qur’an) A material is used to refer to an object composed of that material – Glasses or steel ( referring to spectacles or sword) * A container is used to refer to its contents – A barrel (referring to a barrel of oil) Present tenses he Present Perfect The Formation of the Present Perfect auxiliary verb to have (have/has) + Participle II (the present tense of the verb to have + the past participle of the main verb. ) The Past Perfect The Formation of the Past Perfect auxiliary verb had + Participle II (the past tense of the verb to have + the past participle of the main verb. The Future Perfect The Formation of the Future Perfect auxiliary verb shall/will have + Participle II (the future tense of the verb to have + the past participle of the main verb. ) Present Perfect FORM [has/have + past participle] Examples: * You have seen that movie many times. * Have you seen that movie many times? * You have not seen that movie many times. Complete List of Present Perfect Forms USE 1 Unspecified Time Before Now We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important.
You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child, when I lived in Japan, at that moment, that day, one day, etc. We CAN use the Present Perfect with unspecific expressions such as: ever, never, once, many times, several times, before, so far, already, yet, etc. Examples: * I have seen that movie twenty times. * I think I have met him once before. * There have been many earthquakes in California. * People have traveled to the Moon. * People have not traveled to Mars. * Have you read the book yet? * Nobody has ever climbed that mountain. A: Has there ever been a war in the United States? B: Yes, there has been a war in the United States. How Do You Actually Use the Present Perfect? The concept of “unspecified time” can be very confusing to English learners. It is best to associate Present Perfect with the following topics: TOPIC 1 Experience You can use