MAKING SENSE OF ENGLISH
TENSES
Do they make sense at all?
Simona Petrescu Oct 2013 sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
FIRST THINGS FIRST
 Anchors:
 Event:
 Activity:
An important moment we
are looking at
Something happening at
a point in...
AND A TIME LINE…
SimonaPetrescu
sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
SO THERE ARE SIMPLE TENSES, FIRST:
I usually follow the news on the internet, but sometimes I
watch it on TV.
When I got h...
AND SOME CONTINUOUS TENSES:
Economy is growing slowly.
When I turned on the TV, they were reporting on the US
crisis.
In t...
BUT THE TRICKIEST OF ALL ARE THE
PERFECT ONES:
We‘ve started a new course.
The US have shut down the state services sector...
AND AS IF THAT WASN‘T ENOUGH:
PERFECT AND CONTINUOUS
I‘ve been waiting here for two hours.
It‘s been raining heavily, so d...
BEFORE WE GO DEEPER, LET‘S LOOK AT
THE FORMS:
Examples So the rule is…
Simple follow, watch
got, started,
will talk
Contin...
NOW LET‘S GO DEEPER…
What do the simple tenses do?
They match one event to one anchor (one-to-one). The event is
like a cl...
SO FOR INSTANCE…
 I always have black coffee in the morning, but
when I go out with friends I often take a
cappuccino.
 ...
IN CONTRAST…
The continuous tenses zoom in on a PARTICULAR
time anchor: When you zoom in,
you actually open
the book and l...
SO COMPARE:
 I always have black coffee in the morning, but
when I go out with friends I often take a
cappuccino.
 We se...
THERE ARE SOME PHILOSOPHICAL
PROBLEMS HERE
 What is general, what is particular?
Whenever it‘s raining, I prefer to take ...
AND IN CONTRAST TO THE SIMPLE AND TO
THE CONTINUOUS…
 The perfect tenses look back over the shoulder
and say that at the ...
COMPARE:
 I tried that trick long ago and it didn‘t work.
 You‘re simply telling a story.
 I‘ve tried this trick and it...
AND SOME MORE LOOKING BACK:
 Looking back from a present anchor:
I‘ve passed the exam. Eric has got married.
Autumn has s...
AND SOME PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS
HERE TOO:
What is SIMPLY at an anchor before another
anchor (a simple tense), and what is ...
WELL, THAT‘S UP TO YOU REALLY…
 Simple tenses are objective ways of placing
events in time (past, present, or future).
 ...
SO USE SUCH TIME WORDS…
 With simple forms: usually, always, every…; last
night, yesterday, …ago, in 1989; in 2050, next
...
MOST OF ALL, TENSES MAKE SENSE FOR
THE GOAL YOU HAVE WHEN SPEAKING…
 Simple present: talk about routines, job
description...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

Making sense of English tenses

578 views

Published on

A short presentation of the tense system in English by using three concepts: anchor, event, and activity. The tenses will be regarded across the range, split into three categories: simple, continuous and perfect. For each category there is a form, a conceptual meaning and, briefly outlined at the end of the presentation, a pragmatic use.

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
578
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
27
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Making sense of English tenses

  1. 1. MAKING SENSE OF ENGLISH TENSES Do they make sense at all? Simona Petrescu Oct 2013 sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  2. 2. FIRST THINGS FIRST  Anchors:  Event:  Activity: An important moment we are looking at Something happening at a point in time Something happening and taking time SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  3. 3. AND A TIME LINE… SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  4. 4. SO THERE ARE SIMPLE TENSES, FIRST: I usually follow the news on the internet, but sometimes I watch it on TV. When I got home I started the TV and the news came in about the crash. In this presentation I will first talk about basic meanings of tenses, then I will give you some examples and in the end we will have some practice. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  5. 5. AND SOME CONTINUOUS TENSES: Economy is growing slowly. When I turned on the TV, they were reporting on the US crisis. In ten years‘ time everybody will be driving an e-car. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  6. 6. BUT THE TRICKIEST OF ALL ARE THE PERFECT ONES: We‘ve started a new course. The US have shut down the state services sector. When I got home last night the movie had already started. By 2040 the world population will have reached about 9 billion. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  7. 7. AND AS IF THAT WASN‘T ENOUGH: PERFECT AND CONTINUOUS I‘ve been waiting here for two hours. It‘s been raining heavily, so drive carefully! SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  8. 8. BEFORE WE GO DEEPER, LET‘S LOOK AT THE FORMS: Examples So the rule is… Simple follow, watch got, started, will talk Continuous is growing, were reporting will be driving Perfect have started, have shut had started will have reached Perfect + continuous has been raining, have been waiting V1 V2 Will V1 BE + Ving HAVE + V3 HAVE + BEEN + Ving SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  9. 9. NOW LET‘S GO DEEPER… What do the simple tenses do? They match one event to one anchor (one-to-one). The event is like a closed book. You see the cover, the title, but you‘re not interested to look inside. You just have one book after another and another and another. You collect books – and events. The simple tenses SIMPLY tell a story. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  10. 10. SO FOR INSTANCE…  I always have black coffee in the morning, but when I go out with friends I often take a cappuccino.  Inflation rises every time the government prints more money than there are goods on the markets.  He heard the bell but he didn‘t move. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  11. 11. IN CONTRAST… The continuous tenses zoom in on a PARTICULAR time anchor: When you zoom in, you actually open the book and look inside Your events now take time, they have a beginning and an ending, and you are looking at them while they are running. They are no longer events, they become activities. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  12. 12. SO COMPARE:  I always have black coffee in the morning, but when I go out with friends I often take a cappuccino.  We see these events from outside, like points in time (anchors)  Hi, I‘m just having a cappuccino with Carla so I‘ll be a bit late, OK?  We see the cappuccino event as taking longer, we are just in the middle of it. The cappuccino event has a beginning and a finish, and we are zooming in on a PARTICULAR cappucino-drinking event. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  13. 13. THERE ARE SOME PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS HERE  What is general, what is particular? Whenever it‘s raining, I prefer to take the train. In this picture, the woman is reading a book.  What can take time at all? I‘m not understanding this. He thinks English is difficult. He‘s thinking of taking private lessons. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  14. 14. AND IN CONTRAST TO THE SIMPLE AND TO THE CONTINUOUS…  The perfect tenses look back over the shoulder and say that at the anchor point we‘re interested in, a specific event is already completed. When you look back over your shoulder, you are looking at the book behind you. It‘s closed, and you are finished with it. You could be happy, disappointed etc. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  15. 15. COMPARE:  I tried that trick long ago and it didn‘t work.  You‘re simply telling a story.  I‘ve tried this trick and it‘s worked! Hurrah!  At the anchor point „present“ you‘re happy about something completed. So you‘re looking back from NOW to something that is finished and that makes you happy. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  16. 16. AND SOME MORE LOOKING BACK:  Looking back from a present anchor: I‘ve passed the exam. Eric has got married. Autumn has set in.  Looking back from a past anchor: When I told him the truth, he answered that he‘d heard that before. At 3 a.m. they‘d finally finished their party and gone to bed. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  17. 17. AND SOME PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEMS HERE TOO: What is SIMPLY at an anchor before another anchor (a simple tense), and what is before a particular anchor (perfect tense)? I‘ve finished the book. (anchor NOW) I finished the book last week and I took it back to the library. (two past anchors) SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  18. 18. WELL, THAT‘S UP TO YOU REALLY…  Simple tenses are objective ways of placing events in time (past, present, or future).  Continuous and perfect tenses are subjective ways of looking at the events.  You use a continuous when you are zooming in (that‘s YOUR view of the event).  You use a perfect when you are looking back from an anchor point (that‘s YOUR view of the event). Whichever decision you make, the time words you use will have to match your vision. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  19. 19. SO USE SUCH TIME WORDS…  With simple forms: usually, always, every…; last night, yesterday, …ago, in 1989; in 2050, next week etc.  With continuous forms: right now, today, this week, this year, currently, at the moment etc.  With perfect forms: since, in the last…, recently, already, yet, so far, until now / then, before (in my life), ever, never, by that time; this week, this morning etc. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com
  20. 20. MOST OF ALL, TENSES MAKE SENSE FOR THE GOAL YOU HAVE WHEN SPEAKING…  Simple present: talk about routines, job descriptions, company activities (in general), describe permanent facts, situations  Simple past: tell stories as a chain of events  Present perfect: give news, point out achievements, talk about life experience etc  Present continuous: talk about a current project, a temporary evolution in the economy, a specific activity for today etc. SimonaPetrescu sim.petrescu@googlemail.com

×