Verb Tense and Consistency Yet another reason our English is a difficult language to learn.
Consistent verb tense • One BIG problem that many writers have is confusing verb tense for no reason. § Marty Mc. Fly went back to the future and will get the girl in the end.
Verb tense tells your reader the time you are writing about. § Past: You are covering an event for a newspaper, or writing a reflective personal narrative. § Present: Your story is taking place as we speak. § Future: You are writing an essay about a plan to accept corporate sponsors at your school. You are writing in future tense because the actions have not happened yet.
Irregular verbs • Irregular verbs play a huge role in messing up the English language! • Irregular verbs “morph” in strange ways. • Here’s how they work:
• First, you have to understand a regular verb… § A regular verb forms its past tense by adding ed or d to the present form. • EX: work = worked • EX: breathe = breathed • Irregular Verbs form their past tense in other ways, including: § § vowel changes (begin, began) consonant changes (make, made) vowel and consonant changes (see, saw) no changes (burst, burst).
The inconvenient truth: • The best way to improve your understanding of verb tense is to READ! § If you get used to seeing verbs used correctly, you’re more likely to use them correctly yourself.
Subject/Verb agreement Read this sentence to yourself. Which verb works with the subject? “Each of the woman’s 99 cats, from Jerry and Kramer down to the kittens, Bart and Lisa, (was-or were? ) named after a character in a television show. ”
Subject/Verb agreement Read this sentence to yourself. Which verb works with the subject? • “Each of the woman’s 99 cats, from Jerry and Kramer down to the kittens, Bart and Lisa, was named after a character in a television show. ” Did you guess right? If not, here’s why…
Continuing on… • A singular subject needs a singular verb; a plural subject needs a plural verb. § Since “Each” is singular, then the verb “was” must also be singular • Its really easy if you can first ID the simple subject (a noun that needs to agree with the verb).
• Write down the simple subject from the following sentence: § A bag of blue-corn tortilla chips usually costs about two dollars. • An easy way to find the simple subject is to split the complete subject into parts. § A bag usually costs about two dollars. § Of blue-corn tortilla chips usually costs about two dollars.
If you understand this:
Verb Tense Pt. II Perfect Tense and Irregular Verbs
Present Perfect Tense Verbs • Express action that began in the past, but continues in the present (or is completed in the present). • EX: Our boat has weathered worse storms than this one. • EX: We did our bell work at the beginning of class, and now we are taking notes.
Past Perfect Tense Verbs • Express an action in the past that occurred before another past action. • EX: They reported, wrongly, that the hurricane had • missed the island. EX: I had never seen a storm as vicious as that one.
Future Perfect Tense Verbs • Express action that will begin in the future and be completed by a specific time in the future. • EX: By this time tomorrow, the hurricane will have smashed into the coast.