1. I come to apologize.
2. What wind blows you here?
3. Bill says he is a good doctor.
4. He is long dead.
5. The story is set in the spring of 1934.
6. In that later she tells why she was up there.

I think they are all "present simple" sentences that express "simple past".
But I have recently met such a question:
--- Good morning, I ____ to see Miss Mary.
--- Oh, Good morning, I'm sorry, but she is not in.
A) came
B) come
C) had come
D) have come
The answer is D) <and A works too>; B) is not right.

I don't see what's the difference between
"I come to apologize." and "I come <wrong choice B> to see Miss Mary"

Could you please help me out?

Many thanks in advance.
Original Post
> 1. I come to apologize.

First of all, mark the frequency in published books:

600 on "I've come to apologize"
http://books.google.com/books?...22&btnG=Search+Books

69 on "I come to apologize"
http://books.google.com/books?...22&btnG=Search+Books

which shows that the more logical (IMO) present perfect is the more appreciated.

Now to the original:

> 1. I come to apologize.

I think it really has two readings:

I've come to apologize.
I'm coming [here] to apologize. [showing the immediate precedence of the "coming."

-----

A: correct, but introduces more time remoteness than D.

B: incorrect, as it shows habitual occurrence, which can't be inferred in this context. More appropriate in:

I come here every day to pick up my mail.
I, too, see no difference in the two sentences with 'I come.' They are both correct, although a bit old-fashioned.

The present perfect -- 'I've come' -- is correct. Remember that a use of the present perfect is to express an action in the present which also has some past action in the verb. This is true with 'I've come': I'm here at the moment, and my decision to come here and my journey to come here happened in the recent past.

You could also say, "I'm coming to apologize.'
_______

What do you mean, Mengxin, by the present referring to the past? All these sentences have reference to present time.
quote:
What do you mean, Mengxin, by the present referring to the past? All these sentences have reference to present time.


Good question, Rachel. I wondered about it too:-)

quote:
I, too, see no difference in the two sentences with 'I come.' They are both correct, although a bit old-fashioned.


Interesting, Rachel. To me, they indicate a person trying to simplify his/her speech for one reason or another (to make it speedier or more direct, perhaps). A bit casual, less formal than either of the:

I've come to apologize.
I'm coming to apologize.
My two cents:

I think Mengxin is thinking of the simple present used in the narrative style to represent the simple past. I see that especially obvious if put in the right context in Mengxin's sentences 3, 5 and 6:

3. Bill says he is a good doctor.
5. The story is set in the spring of 1934.
6. In the letter, she tells why she was up there.


The other sentences do sound old fashioned, as Rachel mentioned. Here's how you'll hear them said in modern language:

1. I come to apologize. --> I've come to apologize.
4. He is long dead. --> He's been dead (for) a long time.

As for no. 2, that's a different story. This is a kind of pat question. It's used when a speaker wants to know why somebody has arrived or come in. It actually is a direct translation from French, which has had a great influence on the development of the English language (Quel vent vous amène?)
In

I come to apologize.

"come" seems to reflect these days a much more instantaneous "coming" than in:

I've come to apologize.

which is more natural in present speech, as the "coming", esp one described by a present perfect, naturally takes some time.

In that respect, of representing a very short action, I read:

I come to apologize.
as really equivalent to:
I am here to apologize.

How about it, Rachel and Richard?
Thank you all.

These sentences come from a grammar book.

I know “simple present” is used for habitual events, thus “I come here to do something” actually means “I often / usually come here to do something” and it is the basis on which I think choice B in the topic question is wrong. (Just as Jerry says above). The context in the question is a specific time.

I thought that “I come to apologize” was always wrong because I couldn’t find a right context to make it work. “I come to apologize” gives me an expression that it is a specific time < Another similar example is “The house next door catches fire” >. For a present specific event, people should usually use “present perfect or present progressive.

“I come to apologize/ The house next door catches fire” can only be used in Historical Present, am I right?
I think "historical present" is another way of saying the narrative form, Mengxin. Yes, in context, if a person is relating a story, it's not unusual for the narrator to use this form. It brings the listener closer to the events being talked about:

"So I come to apologize, and she just tells me to leave. That was so ungracious of her!"

"When the house next door catches fire, I run for the phone and dial 911 to get help. Then I go to see if my neighbors have gotten out of the house okay."
quote:

I think "historical present" is another way of saying the narrative form, Mengxin.


Indeed, Richard:

---
In linguistics and rhetoric, the historical present (sometimes dramatic present) refers to the employment of the present tense when narrating past events. Besides its use in writing about history, especially in historical chronicles (listing a series of events), it is used in fiction, for 'hot news' (as in headlines), and in everyday conversation (Huddleston & Pullum 2002: 129-131). In conversation, it is particularly common with 'verbs of communication' such as tell, write, and say (and in colloquial uses, go) (Leech 2002: 7).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrative_present
----

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