98. When the predicate is not attended by an adjunct or clause answering the question when?, there may yet be in the speaker's mind a more or less distinct thought of a point of time in the past with which the action or state described is associated. Thus when we say He lived here for some time, we have in our minds some such adjunct or clause as in his lifetime, some time ago, or before 'he settled at Paris, etc. If in the above sentence the perfect is substituted for the preterite, the implication is He lives here still.
Some adjunct denoting a point of time in the past is associated with the preterites used in:
i. "I have been very ill." — "I thought you looked pale." Onions, Adv. Eng. Synt., § 127. (i. e. Even before the moment you told me, 1 thought to myself that you looked pale.)
"I have got a head-ache" — "I thought you were not looking well." Sweet, N. E. O r., § 2234.
"I hardly ever see him now." — "I thought he was an intimate friend of yours." ib. (i. e. Until you set me right (told me my mistake), I thought that he was an intimate friend of yours.)
I thought you liked nothing that came to you without a bargain. O. Eliot, Rom, I, Ch. I, 10.
We said that the history of England is the history of progress. Mac, Hist. of the Rev., (323Ö). (i. e. when we were on the subject.) "Well, what do you think of Cousin Philip?' Mrs. Priend roused herself. 'Tve only seen him for half an hour. But he was very kind". Mrs. Ward, Cousin Philip, Ch. II, 20. (i. e. at (or during) the time when I saw him.)
ii. "I am afraid we have kept you waiting." — "Oh no, not at all: we were looking at these photographs". Sweet, N. E. Or., § 2238. (The preterite in we were looking "refers to an implied while we were waiting for you".) I am not frightened ... only I was thinking how terrible is war! Buchanan, T h a t W i n t e r N i g h t, Ch. I, 4.
UI. And these three days — 1 saw you were changed — but I said [etc.]. Sutro, The Choice, II, (61). (i. e. whenever I looked in your face in the course of the last three days.)
I was jealous when you brought in Ann Knapp — yes, I was jealous! I was vexed with you, these three days, because you were so — distant — and showed no sign. ib, IV, (99). (i. e. whenever I met you.)
99. When the action referred to falls within a certain undefined space of time past not distinctly thought of as severed from the moment of speaking, the perfect appears to be the normal tense.
I have been infinitely more affected in many English cathedrals when the organ has been playing, and in many English country churches when the congregation have been singing. Dick, Piet. from Italy, Rome'),
Caro, commenting on this sentence, observes that Dickens would have used the preterite in the two last predicates if, at the time of
!) MStzn, Eng. Q rara?, II, 77.