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    • Join Date: Jun 2006
    • Posts: 3

    Explanation of tenses

    Hi all,

    grateful for a pointer (especially if there are any quick references or explanations online) on how best to explain the difference between present forms ('I get ouit of bed' and 'I am getting out of bed')and past perfect and past continuous.

    Many thanks


  1. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
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      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    Re: Explanation of tenses

    I am getting out of bed = now- so I might say this when my partner calls me and tells me I am late for work.
    I get out of bed- habit- I'd use this to describe my routine
    Past perfect- action before another past action, when the sequence is important- By the time I arrived, everything had been taken. (The taking was before the arrival)

  2. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,552

    Re: Explanation of tenses

    One of my favourite methods is to draw timelines. I find making them as witty as possible helps, although that might depend on your artistic talent.

    A timeline looks like this:


    Then you label the respective parts "past", "present" (or "now", if you prefer) and "future". You can then draw little pictures at the appropriate places.

    For example, to illustrate the present perfect, I take a sentence like "I have made a cake". Somewhere on the "past" side of the timeline I draw a little stick figure with a mixing-bowl and wearing a ludicrous chef's hat. In the middle -- "present" -- I draw a recently-baked cake, perhaps with candles (works especially well if it happens to be somebody's birthday), and an arrow connecting the two. I use this to explain that the present perfect connects the past with the present.

    Obviously you can't rely on that method alone, but I find that many people need something to look at. If you make it amusing, people might remember it better.

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