1. Jack
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    Jack Contributing Member

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    Verb Tenses (Basics)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Jack, Jan 13, 2009.

    I am having some troubles differentiating between tenses.
    Is there a simple guidlines or rules to follow or perhaps any general rules? If you know of any please reply...
    because lately I've been using the wrong verb tenses.
    All help is required.


    I will list some verbs and categorize them into "hopefully" the proper places. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Have = Present
    Has = Past (or future)
    Had = Past

    Were = Future or present
    Was = Past
    Will = Future
     
  2. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Were is past tense. I believe 'are' would be appropriate in this case.

    Or 'is' depending on whether the word it represents is plural. And which person it is being written in.

    'I am'

    'They are'

    'He is"
     
  3. Jack
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    Jack Contributing Member

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  4. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have more problems with the verb form of 'ing' words. Take the word 'talking' for instance.

    It can be the verb form. ~They're not talking right now.

    Or noun. ~"Stop the malicious talking."

    Adjective. ~Be wary of the talking bear.

    To be honest, I'm not even sure I have those right!
     
  5. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    "has/had/and have" are markers of the perfect tenses.

    "was/were" are the singular and plural simple past tense respectively

    "will" is an auxillary verb denoting future tense.
     
  6. Jack
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    Jack Contributing Member

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    Occasionally, it is difficult to chose the correct verb tenses sometimes.

    'Talking' could belong to the future or present tenses. It really relies on the type of situation.

    "I am talking to Rob right now"
    "Why won't you talk to you sister?"
    "Will I be talking to Bill soon?"

    Either stick with the past or future tenses for your stories because I tend to mix up tenses and therefore confuse the people who are reviewing my work...
    However, I am improving. :D
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Were would not really be used in the future or present tense. It does get used outside of the past tense in the conditional which has the appearance of the future and sometimes the present tense, but is something rather different.

    Example:

    If you were to write a book, would you then be famous?

    There is a sense that something would have to occur in the future to make the question valid, but this is really referred to as the conditional. Most IE languages make a distinction in verb form whenever the idea of what if comes into play.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You may need more context in some cases. The verbs you chose are also modifiers in compound verbs, so you cannot simply look at them in isolation.

    I run - simple present tense
    I am running - present progressive (ongoing present action)
    I have run - present perfect
    I have been running - present perfect progressive
    I ran - simple past tense
    I was running - past progressive
    I had run - past perfect
    I will run - simple future tense
    I will have run - future perfect

    This is just the active tenses, there are also a set of passive tenses.

    It's a lot to keeo track of. I keep a referense sheet around from http://owl.english.perdue.edu/handouts/esl/esltensverb.html

    Edit: the link seems to be no longer valid, but hopefully the page is still around somewhere on the Perdue site.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Something I do a lot is if I am writing in the past tense, and something happened before the story event, I forget to use had. I usually catch it when proof reading, but sometimes I don't.

    She walked to the store because her car broke down. << example of my mistake.

    She walked to the store because her car had broken down. (It is broken in this case right?)

    But if I write in the present tense that is never a problem.

    She walks to the store because her car broke down.

    I don't know why my brain automatically writes in the present tense correctly, but often I have to consciously make an effort when writing in the past tense. And I never write stories in the present tense.
     

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