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Verb Tenses and Verb-Tense Sequencing Intensive Course in Research Writing Texas A&M UniversityJuly 11-15, 2011 Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS

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Presentation on theme: "Verb Tenses and Verb-Tense Sequencing Intensive Course in Research Writing Texas A&M UniversityJuly 11-15, 2011 Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS"— Presentation transcript:

1 Verb Tenses and Verb-Tense Sequencing Intensive Course in Research Writing Texas A&M UniversityJuly 11-15, 2011 Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS WordsWorld Consultingwww.words-world.netwww.words-world.net ESL Short Subject

2 Verb Tense Refers to the time that a verb expresses Also relates to aspect, which refers to some characteristic of an event or action beyond its time (eg, habitual vs temporary action, past action that occurred some time ago vs past action that occurred close to the present time)

3 English Verb Tenses PresentPastFuture Four tenses in each category (for a total of 12).

4 Present Tense Simple presentbase form of verb Present progressiveam/is/are + present participle Present perfecthas/have + past participle Present perfect progressivehas/have + been + present participle

5 Past Tense Simple pastbase form + -ed Past progressivewas/were + present participle Past perfecthad + past participle Past perfect progressivehad + been + present participle

6 Future Tense Futurewill + base form Future progressivewill + be + present participle Future perfectwill + have + past participle Future perfect progressivewill + have + been + present participle

7 Present Tense Simple present (base form of verb) UsesExamples To express a habitual or repeated action in the present or to express a condition that is true at any time Most cats groom themselves every day. To express general truths that are timeless (well-known laws or principles) Water boils at 100°C. To report what appears in print (common in academic writing when referring to texts or quotations) In his article, Dr. Wilson asserts that creatinine clearance is the best method to use for adjusting drug dosages. To describe past events as if they were happening now (called the historical present) My husband and I arrive on PEI on May 15. We drive inland to Charlottetown. The amount of snow still on the ground is a shock.

8 Present Tense Present progressive (am/is/are + present participle) UsesExamples To express an action or activity that is happening right now (at this moment, today, this year); the action has begun and is still happening Karen is working on the first draft of her research paper. John is majoring in oceanography. To express that an action or activity is happening at the present time and is temporary Jim is working for Professor Adams. (he may not work for him permanently) To express an action that is already in progress at a specified point of time in the present When I get home after work, my husband is usually exercising. At 7:00 am, I am usually walking the dogs.

9 Present Tense Present perfect (has/have + past participle) UsesExamples To express an action or state that began in the past and continues in the present Linda has lived in Norway for 2 years. I have known Mary since 1988, when we met at a writers’ conference. To indicate that an action or event occurred some time in the past, although the exact time is not specified or important Elizabeth has moved back to Spain. I have already filed my income taxes. To indicate that an action or event has occurred more than one in the past (specific times are not given or important) Alfy has seen the vet several times for atopy. Note: Many past participle forms are irregular (eg, known, written, met).

10 Present Tense Present perfect (has/have + past participle) UseExample This tense can also indicate that an event has very recently happened. The adverb just is often used in this case. I have just completed the slides for my presentation.

11 Present Tense Present perfect progressive (has/have + been + present participle) UsesExamples To emphasize the duration of an activity that started in the past and has continued in the present I have been waiting for you for an hour. Bill has been living in Texas for 3 years. To indicate that an activity has been in progress recently (the activity started in the past and is still going on) Julie has been reading the book The Origin of the Species. I have been thinking about finishing up my masters degree.

12 Past Tense Simple past (base form + -ed) UsesExamples To indicate that an action or event took place at a specific time in the past I visited Japan in 1995 for the World Veterinary Congress. Last night, we saw a movie about airline disasters. To indicate that an action or event occurred over a period of time in the past with the implication that it is no longer true in the present I lived in New Jersey for 16 years. Bob was on the rowing crew in college. Note: Many English verbs have irregular past-tense forms. Common irregular past tense-forms include took, ate, and came.

13 Past Tense Past progressive (was/were + present participle) UsesExamples To express that an activity was in progress at a specific point of time in the past At 8:00 pm last night, I was packing to come to Texas. I was working when the phone rang. To show that an activity lasted for a period of time in the past (emphasis on the duration) I was working when the phone rang. I was reading while you were sleeping.

14 Past Tense Past perfect (had + past participle) UsesExamples To indicate an action that was completed by a definite time or before another action was completed in the past In the lecture, I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to bring my notes. I had never read anything by Dennis Lehane until last year. Note: If the word before or after is in the sentence, the simple past may be used instead of the past perfect. After all the attendees left (or had left), Louise straightened up the meeting room. Note: Many past participle forms are irregular (eg, known, written, met).

15 Past Tense Past perfect progressive (had + been + present participle) UseExample To emphasize the duration of an activity that was completed before another action or time in the past I had been waiting for him for an hour when he finally arrived.

16 Future Tense Future (will + base form) UseExamples To express an action, event, or state that will occur in the future I will drive you to the airport tomorrow. Ravi will graduate next June. Future time can also be expressed in the following ways: FormationExamples am/is/are going to + base formWe are going to take the final exam at the end of the week. The city is going to have a parade on Founders’ Day. simple present or present progressive (especially with verbs of arriving or departing) My plane leaves at 8:00 pm tonight. My plane is leaving at 8:00 pm tonight.

17 Future Tense When the future is expressed in a sentence that is in past time, will becomes would. Examples Present/future timeThe instructor says that the exam will cover the first five chapters of the textbook. Past timeThe instructor said that the exam would cover the first five chapters of the textbook. Present/future timeEven though Kevin plans to go to college next year, he does not know how demanding college classes will be. Past timeWhen Andrea was in high school, she did not know how demanding college classes would be.

18 Future Tense Future progressive (will + be + present participle) UsesExamples To express an action that will be happening over a period of time at some specific point in the future. Even though I will be working when you call, I don’t mind being interrupted. To emphasize the duration of an action in the future. Roberto will be working on his paper for the next week.

19 Future Tense Future perfect (will + have + past participle) UseExamples To indicate that an activity will be completed before another event or time in the future Helen will have finished her PhD by the time she leaves for her internship. The students will have gone by the time the evaluation process is over.

20 Future Tense Future perfect progressive (will + have + been + present participle) UseExamples To indicate that an action has been in progress for a period of time before another event or time in the future Luiz will have been working on his dissertation for 3 years before he will get receive his PhD degree. By this time next year, I will have been living in Ohio for 7 years.

21 Verb-Tense Sequencing Refers to the way a writer can move from one verb tense to another Key to using verb tenses correctly

22 Verb-Tense Sequencing General statements that are true in the present require the simple present tense. Writers often have a choice of verb tenses that are similar but not exactly the same in meaning. Note differences in time reference! Verb-tense shift is often signaled by a time-reference word or phrase (eg, yesterday, tomorrow, etc)

23 Verb-Tense Sequencing We decided to go to the movies. (simple past) We have decided to go to the movies. (present perfect) It rained yesterday. (simple past) It was raining yesterday. (past progressive)

24 Verb-Tense Sequencing We had eaten when you came over to visit. (past perfect) We ate when you came over to visit. (past) We had eaten before you came over to visit. (past perfect) We ate before you came over to visit. (past)

25 Verb-Tense Sequencing I am studying in the library. (present progressive) I study in the library. (simple present)


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