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Understanding English Tenses - The Toolbox Apporach - FULL

How good is your English grammar? Would you like a little help with your tenses? Check out my cool PREZI on Understanding English Tenses. I am trying to offer a new, fresh and innovative way of looking at English tenses. You're welcome to have a go!
by

Mariusz Mirecki

on 14 December 2014

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Transcript of Understanding English Tenses - The Toolbox Apporach - FULL

Why are there
two
words in the names of tenses?
PRESENT SIMPLE
TENSES

are like
TOOLS

Each tense has a
set of functions
it can perform.

Grasp this concept and you will be one step closer to mastering English tenses.
Understanding English Tenses
Have you ever ...
... wondered why there are
so many tenses
in English?

... wondered why there are usually
two words in the names
of tenses?

... wondered if there is any
shortcut to making "tenses" decisions
when we speak?

So, what are the functions of ...
SIMPLE

THE TOOLBOX APPROACH
What can these tools do?
It is easy to think of
many things
you could do with each of these tools.

For example you can:
drive a nail into a plank;
break the glass in the window.
hit your finger if you are not careful :-)
BUT ...
Before we move on ...
We need to answer
one
important
question.
PAST CONTINUOUS
PAST PERFECT
PRESENT PERFECT
PRESENT CONTINUOUS
PAST SIMPLE
One word always
talks about
the
TIME REFERENCE
.
PAST
time reference

PRESENT
time reference


What about the
FUTURE
?
Very good question...
There are no FUTURE tenses because in English grammar all FUTURE FORMS are
borrowed from other structures
.

For example:
When we talk about future
personal arrangements
...
we use
PRESENT CONTINUOUS
When we talk about fixed arrangements,
timetables
or schedules ...
We use
PRESENT SIMPLE
So, the first word in the name of tenses is about
TIME REFERENCE
THE
PAST

&
THE
PRESENT
That's not much to remember, right?

So, once we got that covered let's talk about the
second word
in the names of tenses.
The second word in the names of tenses ...
simple
continuous
perfect ...
These words carry
information about

the

FUNCTIONS


of the tenses.
THE ANSWERS ARE CLOSE
THINK OF TENSES
AS
TOOLS
tenses
to describe
habits

and
routines
Very useful for talking about
frequency
...
when it is important to focus on
WHEN

something happened
focus on
WHEN

Use this:
to tell
stories
or
jokes,

talk about past
facts
,
plots
in a book or film.
to describe an
unfinished

action or state
UNFINISHED PRESENT
Sometimes it's called the
PRESENT PERIOD.

It's about actions or states that are true for the present
but
DO NOT
necessarily happen at the moment of speaking.

examples:

I work as a teacher.
She wears glasses.
This is beautiful.
to talk about
things which are
ALWAYS TRUE
EXAMPLES:
Summer follows spring.
Weekend begins on Friday.
Water boils at 100C.
to refer to
FUTURE
actions
which are part of
a
TIMETABLE
or a schedule
TIMETABLES
My plain leaves at 7:20 tomorrow morning.

The concert begins at 8.00 p.m on Friday.

The Board meeting starts in fifteen minutes.
to comment on
SPORT
events
Messi
centres
from the left and Neymar
powers
home a brilliant header.

Ronaldo
tackles
Rooney and
moves
on the goal.

Casillas
deflects
in the last moment and
saves
the game.
SPORT
COMMENTARIES
Yes, I have!
The Toolbox Approach
to talk about
OPINIONS
,
IDEAS
,
LIKES
and
PREFERENCES
FOR EXAMPLE:
I
think
New York is the best city to live in.

I
don't understand
what E=MC2 really mean.

I
like
learning new things.

I
prefer
the sea to the mountains.
So, what are the functions of ...
CONTINUOUS

tenses
to talk about actions which take place
NOW, AT THE MOMENT
EXAMPLES:
You are learning English tenses at the moment :-)

Look! The bus is coming. Hurry up!

What are the kids doing? It's too quiet.
to refer to actions
in the
FUTURE

which are
personal
arrangements
EXAMPLES:
I'm seeing my friends at five pm today.

We're having a party on Saturday night?

What are you doing on Friday evening?
to talk about actions and events we consider
TEMPORARY
EXAMPLES:
My daughter is studying in London.

I am going to work by bus because my car is being serviced.

We are redecorating the living-room.
You decide if you think something is
temporary
or
permanent
.
when we want to stress the
DURATION

of an action
or event
CONSIDER THIS CRIME STORY
The night was dark and gloomy. The wind
was blowing
all night. Rob
was driving
slowly towards the house with his lights off. He parked his car in front of the house and
was walking
softly not to make any sounds. The door was unlocked. He
was opening
it slowly drawing his knife from his pocket ...
All the
RED
verbs are in the
continuous

tense
to build the atmosphere by stressing that they
lasted longer than usual
.

You decide
if you want to treat an action as
long
or
short
!
to show
that you are
ANNOYED
about a repeated action
THIS WORKS BEST WITH
ALWAYS
&
NEVER
Why are you always coming late to our meetings?

She is never looking me in the eyes when we speak.

He is always bringing the discussion off topic.
to make
POLITE
requests
Using
CONTINUOUS
tenses, especially the
PAST
, makes your requests
polite
and
diplomatic
.
I was wondering if you could help me with this report.

I was hoping we could discuss my payrise.

Were you looking for anything in particular?

So, to sum up,
SIMPLE
can be used to:
talk about
habits
and
routines
tell
jokes
and
stories
talk about the
present period
talk about things which are
always true
express
future
in the context of
timetables
comment on
sport
events
talk about
ideas
,
opinions
and
preferences
Let's revise the
CONTINUOUS
functions
events happening
at the moment
of speaking
events we consider
temporary
future
events which are our
personal arrangements

to highlight the
duration
of an event
to show
annoyance
at something that happens
repeatedly
to express a degree of
politeness
in requests, offers and inquires.
And finally, what does ...
perfect
if there is
NO
definite information about
WHEN
something happened
Some examples to illustrate this:
A:Dave has bought a new car!
B: Really? What make is it?

A: Have you passed your driving test?
B: No, not yet, unfortunately.
focus on the present
RESULT
of a past action
Like in these sentences:
Sorry, I'm afraid I have lost that file.

My computer has crashed.

He told me his name, but I have forgotten it.

Is Anna here? ~ No, she's gone out.
to talk about our general life
experience
Usually with
EVER
or
NEVER
I have never been in Rome.

Sue has never taken a day off.

Have you ever spoken in front of a big audience?
to talk about
periods
which are
not finished
yet
Here the time period
includes
the
present
. Use this with:
this morning
today
so far
up to now
recently
over the last few years
to talk about actions that started in the past and
continue up to the present
This works best with
FOR
and
SINCE
I have lived in Warsaw since 2001.

Mark has worked for IBM for almost twenty years.
FOR
describes the
length
of the time period.


SINCE
describes when the time period
started
.
do?
Full transcript