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Tenses… Introduction

We talk about actions in our conversations. The time of the action, in other words, when the action takes place/ took place/ will take place is conveyed by using different forms of verbs. The second language learners usually use the same form of the verb in their conversations unconsciously but the intended meaning would be different. They are very clear about time and action in the mind but the use of verb form goes wrong. This is due to the influence of mother tongue. We observe this tendency even among children when they start using sentences in their speech in their mother tongue. Since elders knew the context they understand the time sense though there is a wrong usage of the verb form.

It is observed similarly in the use of English by Indian speakers.
For example
  • “I’m studying Class X”/ I have studied class X are used to convey a past action “I studied class X”.
  • To say “My mother cooked food.” they say “My mother was cooked food.”
This problem arises due to the influence of mother tongue. The structure/ pattern of a sentence in English is different from that of Telugu. They try to literally translate the idea from Telugu to English.

For example
  • Rama killed Ravana. Subject+ verb+ object …… English
  • Ramudu Ravanuni Champenu Subject + object + verb …… Telugu
Rama Ravana killed.
Hence it is important to learn the use of right form of verb to convey time sense accurately.
Before going into the details of the tenses, certain basic concepts are important to understand.
Tense tells about time. Observe time scale

We use different forms of verb for different tenses
I eat. (What I do regularly)
I’ m eating. (What I am doing present)
I ate. (What I did)
I have eaten. (What I completed a few minutes back)
I will eat. (What I’m going to do)

We study verbs in different forms such as eat, eating, ate, have eaten, will eat and so on. They are usually called as V1, V2 and V3. Since tenses are usually taught in the sequence of present, past and future, the learners get confused with V1, V2 and V3. They take it for granted that V3 is used for future tense.
V1                            V2                                 V3
Present                      past past                  participle
Eat                             ate                               eaten

There is no special form of verb for future tense but the verbs ‘will’ and ‘shall’ denote future sense.

Another point to be conscious is about personal pronouns.


Observe the use of verb
  • He goes to morning walk
  • She goes to morning walk
  • It shines bright
  • I go / we go/ you go/they go
  • He has / she has/ it has…
  • I have/ we have/you have/ they have….
In present tense the singular verb takes ‘s’ after it.
  • My brother loves birds.
  • We love animals.
‘go’ and ‘do’ take ‘es’
  • He goes to park.
  • Anil does the work perfectly.
In questions…
  • Do you go to temple?
    Yes, I do./ No, I don’t
  • Does he work hard? (right)
    Yes, he does/ no he does not.
  • Does he works hard? (wrong)
    He does work hard (right)
  • He does works hard / he does not works hard (wrong) …‘s’ is already used with ‘does’.
  • What does he say?
    He says……
  • When do the courses begin?
    The course begins in the month of June.
Published date : 11 Dec 2010 04:48PM

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