VERB TENSES<br />Verb tenses result from time concepts used in a culture. Tenses in another language are difficult to acquire because time is a cultural concept. Following are common interpretations for verb tenses in English. There are MANY exceptions, but you can deal with exceptions after you know the basic rules of usage. Don't confuse the issue early for students. Let them learn the common interpretation and, later, deal with more subtle verb tense applications.<br />There are three basic classifications of tenses in English: Simple, Continuous, and Perfect. Each of these has a present, a past and a future. And that's just the beginning!<br />Simple Tenses<br />Imagine that the horizontal line below represents time. The vertical line represents the present moment (now). To the right of that vertical line, you have the future, to the left, the past.<br />Simple Present<br />The simple present is formed by using the BASE form of the verb, adding an "
to the 3rd person singular expression (I work, but he/she/it workS.) The final "
in English words is pronounced as /z/ if the sound preceding it is voiced, and /s/ if the sound preceding it is unvoiced. Compare the final sounds in "
<br />The simple present is not an event in progress at the time the person is speaking, as most people immediately respond. Rather, it typically refers to something (1) that happens habitually or (2) that is always true. (Sometimes, the present form is even used to express the future, but we won't go there right now. It messes up the graphic.)<br />Habitual eventWe usually get up early. Donna never eats sugar. An event that is always trueThe sun rises in the East.The earth nurtures our needs.Frequency adverbs are common with the simple present: usually, never, often, always. <br />The Simple Past<br />The regular Simple Past is formed by adding "
to the base form of the verb. (Base: walk + ED = walked)The irregular Simple Past is left up to the irregular verb to decide. Irregular verbs must be memorized and used until they are learned. There are many lists of irregular verbs in English. Students can learn a few every week until they know the most common. Irregular verbs also have irregular past participles, discussed later. Paired work can be a lot of fun as students learn the past a past participles of irregular verbs. One student give the base, the other responds with the past, and the first provides the past participle, the other makes a sentence with the past participle, the first ends with a sentence in the past. Five to ten minutes a day reinforces these forms.<br />Example:<br />go -- went<br />speak -- spoke <br />give -- gave <br />Many people have great difficulty pronouncing the /ed/ at the end of regular verbs in the past.<br />Pronouncing "
EndingsThere are three pronunciations for the regular past tense ending "
/t/ (unvoiced) - if the base form ends in an unvoiced sound. Example: "
(/k/ is unvoiced) becomes "
/d/ (voiced) - if the base form ends in a voiced sound. Example: "
(/m/ is a voiced sound) becomes "
/id/ (syllable) - if the base from ends in /t/ or /d/. Example: "
(/t/) becomes "
(/d/) becomes "
<br /> <br /> <br />The simple past tense refers to something that took place at a specific time in the past.<br />An event that occurs at a specific time in the past. The time is either understood or specifically mentioned in the sentence.Sara went to the movies last night.I came to Cortez two years ago.We walked around the park and fed the ducks.I got the right answer, but I didn't show the process.Common time expressions with Simple past: ago, last ... <br />Simple Future Tense<br />The simple future tense is formed by preceding the BASE form with the modal auxiliary "
The auxiliary is often contracted in informal conversation.<br />They will call before coming. (They'll) <br />I will never accept defeat! (I'll)<br />The simple future tense is used to express something that is expected to take place in the future.<br /> An event that is expected to occur in the future.We will always visit you at Christmas.I will never stop loving chocolate!Fabio will be there!<br />NOTE: We also use other tenses to express future expectation. For example, we say, "
Dora is going to pass her GED in June."
In other words, we use "
as a substitute for "
in certain circumstances. However, "
is an expression used for the future; it is not recognized as the future tense structure.<br />If you want more information about the future tense and how it is used in English, go to http://www.u-aizu.ac.jp/~tripp/fut.html<br />Question and Negative Forms of Simple Tenses<br />A note "
right off the bat:"
The verb TO BE is an exception to everything! We'll talk about this overused verb later.<br />Sentences in English use three aspects of verbs: the affirmative, the negative and the interrogative. We have discussed the affirmative forms above. <br />Negative Sentences<br />Simple Present: Use the SUBJECT + DO/DOES + NOT + BASE<br />Simple Past: Use the SUBJECT + DID + NOT + BASE<br />Simple Future: Use SUBJECT + WILL + NOT + BASE<br />SUBJECTAUXILIARYNOT BASEOTHERTrucksdonotstopfor little cars.Frozen breaddoesnotrise. Educationdidnothelpher marriage.Credit cardswillnotsolveyour problems.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />Interrogative Sentences <br />Simple Present: Use QUESTION WORD (optional for info questions)+ DO/DOES (NOT) + SUBJECT + BASE<br />Simple Past: Use QUESTION WORD (optional for info questions)+ DID (NOT) + SUBJECT + BASE<br />Simple Future: Use QUESTION WORD (optional for info questions)+ WILL (NOT) + SUBJECT + BASE<br />Note: If the question is about the subject: WHO/WHAT + VERB IN PRESENT TENSE (Who makes the decisions? What smells like perfume?)<br />QUESTION WORD AUXILIARYSUBJECTBASEOTHERWhydobirdssing?Don'tforestsbalancethe environment?Whendidthe Ice Ageend?Didn't Lincolneliminateslavery?Won'twe(ever) learn?Wherewillthe spaceshipland?<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />To Be<br />The verb "
breaks all of the rules. <br />Affirmative<br />The present tense of "
: am, are,isThe past tense of "
: was, wereThe future tense of "
follow the rule: will be<br />Negative<br />Present: SUBJECT + AM/ARE/IS + NOT (Whales are not fish.)Past: SUBJECT + WAS/WERE + NOT (Dinosaurs were not mammals.)Future: SUBJECT + WILL + NOT + BE (This winter will not be very wet.)<br />The verb "
is also used as an auxiliary verb in continuous tenses and in the passive voice.<br />http://www.swadulted.com/workshops/eslcourse/verbsimple.html<br />