Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. #1
    EnglishRyan's Avatar
    EnglishRyan is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    74
    Post Thanks / Like

    The first thing I did...

    Hey guys,

    I have a student asking why in the following sentence 'work' is used instead of 'worked'. I have tried a few different approaches in explaining it, but I am also unsure of the rule. Can anyone help? Thanks!

    The first thing I did was work for a computer company for three years.



    EnglishRyan - free audio and video ESL lessons and IELTS prep

  2. #2
    Soup's Avatar
    Soup is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    5,892
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The first thing I did...

    Hi Ryan
    Ex: The first thing I did was work for a computer company for three years.
    In English, as is the case with most human languages, only one verb per simple sentence is allowed to carry tense. In our example sentence, there are two simplex sentences. The verb 'did' carries tense in the first sentence and the verb 'was' carries tense in the second sentence, which means the verb 'work' can't.

    Here's how the syntax works:

    Sentence 1: I did the first thing.
    Cleft: The first thing (that) I did...

    Sentence 2: I worked for a computer company.

    Combined: The first thing that I did / was work for an computer compant.

    Note that, this is a cleft structure, so a form of BE (i.e., was) is inserted between the sentences.



    P.S. I adore your site. (I also teach in Shanghai).
    Last edited by Soup; 01-May-2008 at 08:31.

  3. #3
    EnglishRyan's Avatar
    EnglishRyan is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • China
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    74
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: The first thing I did...

    Thanks (for both the reply and comment :D ) Hope you're enjoying the holiday...

Similar Threads

  1. bad thing
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 09-May-2009, 13:39
  2. If you could change one thing...
    By vvaann in forum Editing & Writing Topics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 18-Jul-2005, 10:48
  3. Man's love is of man's life a thing apart
    By NewHope in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-Oct-2004, 19:04
  4. the thing it was advisable
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-Mar-2003, 18:48

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •