Saturday, December 31, 2016

Grammer-, How to use tenses

This is the schedule of a foreign ambassador who is arriving tomorrow -

Reaches Anna International Airport, Chennai at 9.00 a.m - Visits the Governor at Raj Bhavan at 10.00 a.m - Dines at the embassy - inaugurates book-fair at 2.00 p.m - holds talks with industrialists at 4.00 p.m - hosts tea at the embassy - meets the press at 6.00 p.m - leaves for Airport at 8.00 p.m.

Look at the words in underlines  - reaches, visits, dines, inaugurates, holds talks, hosts, meets, leaves.

This is the schedule for tomorrow, but the tense used is Present. Why is that?

Tense and Time are different concepts. Tense is language specific (that is, it differs from one  language to another). while time is universal. English has only two tense systems, namely, Present and Past. There is no Future Tense or Future Tense markers as you have in Present and Past.

.e.g  He walks - ‘s’ is the present tense marker
He walked - ‘ed’ is the past tense marker
In ‘He will walk’ - ‘will’ is an auxiliary and is not an inflexion of the base verb, as in the case of present and past tense.

                Finite Verb                                             Non-finite Verb

       Present              Past                                ‘-ing’          Infinitive             ‘-en’
(Write, writes)       (wrote)                           participle       (to + go,           participle
                                                                                            to + write)

A finite verb is one to which a tense is attached and a Non-finite verb cannot indicate tense. Killing, taken, to see, are verbs which cannot indicate tense.
There is no one-to-one relation between time and tense.The examples in the following table.

Example                                           Tense                                               Time
                                                           Tense                                                meaning

I wanted to speak to you.               Past Tense                                        Present Time

A flower girl enters.                        Present                                              Present

Higgins, Pickering and Eliza          Tense                                                  Time
They enter the reception hall.

Her classes begin at half  past                 Present                                    Future Time
four this afternoon.                                   Tense

I’m launching her at the embassy            Present                                        Future Time
after two months.                                  Continuous

She usually receives visitors                   Present                                        All time
once a week.                                                                                   Tense (habitual actions)

Practice makes Perfect.                                                              (universal truths & Proverbs)

It’s time I left.                                           Past Tense                            Present Time

Would you mind telling me ....                  Past Tense                           Present  Time

I met you yesterday.                                   Past Tense                                Past Time
My aunt died of it. The bet was won.

There is yet another pattern -                   Present                                          Past Time
Here comes Caesar!                                   Tense                                           (narratives)

Task 1.

Use the Present Continuous Tense to denote Future Time and complete the following dialogue -

A. telephone conversation between a patient and a doctor -

Patient : Good evening, Doctor! I would like to see you tomorrow. Can I have an appointment at                       6.00 p.m please?

Doctor : Sorry, I am leaving (leave) for Bangalore tomorrow afternoon.

Patient : What about Wednesday, then? Same time.

Doctor : Let me check. I .................... (attend) a conference that evening.

Patient : And Friday evening?

Doctor : I ............................... (not go) to the clinic on Friday.

Patient : Well, Saturday evening?

Doctor : I ............................ (operate) on a patient that evening.

Patient : How about Sunday?

Doctor : I ............................. (visit) a patient at home on Sunday evening.

Patient : At least next Monday?

Doctor : Yes, Monday evening is O.K. So, I ...................... (see) you on Monday at 6.00 p.m. Right?

Patient : Yes, doctor. Thank you.

Task 2:

Find out the correct tense and time used in the following sentences. The first one has been done for you.
1. Latin and Sanskrit are classical languages. (Present  Tense, All Time)

2. Ranjith reads his English course book.

3. I wanted to tell you about the rules of English grammar.

4. I’m teaching you English poetry tomorrow.

5. (As the curtain goes up and the play begins, the narrator says) “Here comes King Lear!”

6. It’s time you went for your French class

7. We usually have our English class in the first period.

8. Would you mind helping me with this grammar?

9. Selvi met Swarna at the German embassy.

10. Silence is the most eloquent language.

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