Article published in:Robert Lowth (1710-1787): The making of his grammar and its influence
Guest-edited by Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade
[Historiographia Linguistica 39:1] 2012
► pp. 77–92
Lowth and ‘Perfect Time’
The periphrastic have-perfect in 18th-century English grammars
This article examines the influence that Robert Lowth (1710–1787) had both on the terminology and the analysis of the English verb form now generally referred to as the present perfect. It demonstrates that while Lowth did not coin the term, he was largely responsible for its popularization, and for establishing a pattern of analysis that has lasted over the years. The article also examines how the normative tradition established in the 18th century may have been a factor in hiding the evidence of diachronic change in the use of the present perfect.
Published online: 22 March 2012
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