The Uses of Tenses
|Teacher||Let's study something new today.|
|Teacher||The sun rose in the East, Joice which is the verb in this sentence?|
|Teacher||you are correct. Laura, tell me the tense of the verb.|
|Teacher||Is it correct to use past tense in this sentence?|
|Navin||yeh! you intelligent fool! It is wrong (the class laughs)|
|Teacher||Don't laugh. Navin, of course he is wrong But you shouldn't comment like this . say sorry to him.|
|Emilia||What tense must be used, mam ?|
|Teacher||you should use simple present tense.|
|Joice||Why , mam?|
|Teacher||Because , it is a universal truth - that is it happens always in the same way. The sun always rises in the east. Now, tell me some sentences like this.|
|Joice||The earth goes round the sun.|
|Donald||Milk is white.|
|Peter||The moon shines during night.|
|Teacher||Correct. Now we shall see the uses of different tenses.|
I. Simple present tense
It is used :
a) For habitual actions:
- I go to church every Sunday.
- He reads newspaper every morning.
b) For general truths :
- The sun rises in the East.
- Truth ever triumphs.
c) In some exclamatory sentences which start with ‘here' and ‘ There'
- Here comes the hero!
- There it moves
d) In vivid narrative - instead of simple past :
- Alexander the great stops his horse, gets, off and rushes forward. He draws his sword and stabs his enemy's head.
e) For some planned action / official program or time table - instead of future tense:
- The university exam commences next week.
The minister arrives at 10.0' clock.
f) To introduce quotations :
- The speaker says " Education is the Key to success".
- Shakespeare says , " The Valiant never tastes death but once'.
g) Instead of simple future tense in clauses of time and condition:
- We shall wait till she comes. (time)
- If she proves her talent we shall offer her the job. (condition)
h) In running commentaries on sports - instead of present continuous tense :
- She runs fast and fast to win.
- He follows the track carefully.
i) For the following verbs - instead of continuous tense
(I) verbs of perception : see, hear, smell, notice, recognize.
- I hear a loud noise - not ‘am hearing'.
- we see a beautiful picture - not, ‘are seeing.
(II) Verbs of appearing : appear, look, seem.
- You seem very tired. - not ‘ are seeming'
- The moon appears slowly - not, is appearing'
(III) Verbs of emotion : want, wish, desire, feel, like, love, hate, hope, refuse, prefer.
- He desires to buy a car - not, is desiring'
- we feel proud of you. - not ‘ are feeling'
(IV) Verbs of thinking : think, suppose, believe, agree, consider, trust, remember, forget, know, understand, imagine, mean, mind.
- I understand your problem - not ‘ am understanding'
- They trust me and my family - not ‘ are trusting'
- We imagine the outcome of it. - not ‘ are imagining'
(V) have (Possess) : own, possess, belong , contain consist of.
- He owns a big house - not ‘ is owning'
- This bag belongs to me - not ‘ is belonging'
j) For future time with if, unless, when, while, as, before, after, until, by the time, as soon as.
- Please keep indoors if it rains.
- The students get up as soon as the teacher enters the class.
- We can read the newspaper until she comes.
II. Present continuous tense
It is used:
a) for an action going on at the time of speaking
- Cadi is preparing for the exam.
- They are playing cricket now.
b) for an action in the near future (Planned action)
- I am leaving for Ooty tomorrow.
- We are going for a picnic next week.
III. Present perfect tense
It is used :
a) for the completed actions with ‘just'
- we have just finished the work.
- she has just completed her course.
b) for the past action without time. (not definite)
- I have visited the Taj Mahal.
- He has excused her.
c) for the actions began in the past and continues to the present. (with for ………. Since)
- She has worked here for 5 years.
- They have waited here since morning.
Present perfect tense is never used with the adverb of time.
- I have bought this car yesterday - wrong. I bought this car yesterday - correct.
- We have written a test last hour - wrong. We wrote a test last hour. - Correct.
- She has received the parcel last Sunday - wrong. She received the parcel last Sunday. - correct.
IV. Present perfect continuous tense
It is used :
a) for an action began in the past and still continuing
- she has been studying for the past three hours.
- We have been cleaning our street for the past one week.