When making up a sentence in Chinese we all can make many types of mistakes. But I'm interested in one particular mistake, namely "a mistake that makes native Chinese speakers to wonder about the "tense" of the situation described by the sentence."
Yes, I know there is no tense in Chinese, only aspect. But still . . . One local agreed with me that a sentence like this:
sounded "tensless" i.e. he couldn't figure out where to put it (in time) in the future, past, present . . .
This is logical because 吃 is a verb without any implicit bound (you can just keep eating forever). So the sentence:
experesses a boundless acivity of eating. So I figure out it is 100% not in the past, and 99% not in the future, so only present left. But as soon as 完 added to 吃:
Everything becomes a little bit strange. 完 adds a bound on the main verb, namely,
吃 = eat, but 吃完 = eat-up.
So activity is bounded and cannot be attributed to present tense but it can not be attributed to other tenses since no other indication of time is given. (There is no 昨天, 明天, etc.) And there is more to it: no indication of 'existency/actuality' of the situation (adding 了) is given.
So the reader puzzled: "Eating process completed but when?" or "Has this situation taken place at all?"
Please, natives, provide us with more examples of simple (small) sentences which make you wonder about the tense of the event.