Student or Learner
My name is Marcel and I am a 17 year old pupil from Germany.
I have been learning English for six years now. At first I didn not like English very much but after reading some books I was fascinated by this language and began to love it.
I have some targets for the future like improving my style and avoiding common mistakes. That is why I read a lot of English books like (A Song of Ice and Fire, Terry Pratchett etc.).
But I have got a small problem. For some time now I always think about the tenses and why they are used when reading a book. I do not know if it is my brain which wants to play a trick on me or if got crazy during the last months but I know that it is bothersome while reading a book. The worst thing that can happen is when I know which tense has to be used but do not know why I have to use it. This happens mostly when the "Present Perfect" is used.
I have learned that I have to use the present perfect when an action which happened in the past has an effect in the present or when I want to pronounce that something happened and not that an action happened for example two months ago. The PP is also used when an action just has happened.
Do you have any clues why I always think about tenses? Are there any hints you could give me to decide whether using the "Present Perfect" or the "Simple Past"?
With friendly regards
Ps: If you should have too much time could you correct this text?
PPs: The next days I will add some examples for my "little" problem.
The Simple Past is used to indicate that something happened before now and is finished
- Perfect Aspect
- Form = have + past participle.
- The perfect aspect generally indicates that one thing happens before another thing.
- Note that a past participle with no auxiliary verb is normally used as an adjective Ė it is not being used as a verb!
- The Present Perfect
- The present perfect is often used, and it relates a event or a condition in the past to now, the present. Therefore, when the present perfect is used, we are talking about the present, not the past. To realize this, the sentence may have to be considered in the context of a conversation.
- Hi Randy. Iím on my way to have breakfast; have breakfast with me. Thanks for the invitation, but I have had breakfast.
- This indicates that Randy had breakfast at an earlier time, and that the time he had breakfast is not important.
- Generally, in conversation, have would be contracted Ė Thanks for the invitation, but Iíve had breakfast.
- There are three different ways to use the present perfect:
- The event occurred in the past, but the time of occurrence is not important.
- I have had breakfast.
- The event occurred more than once in the past and can reoccur in the given time frame
- Wow, I have received twelve phone calls this morning.
- This indicates that the action, receiving phone calls, has been repeated twelve times before now, and that it might occur again in the time frame (this morning).
- The form would be contracted in speech: Wow, Iíve received twelve phone calls this morning.
- If the action cannot or will not be repeated again in the time frame, the simple past tense is used.
- Wow, I received twelve phone calls this morning.
- The event started in the past and continues to the present.
- When a starting time is given, use the word since.
- Renita has lived in Houston since 1988.
- This indicates that the action , living in Houston, started before now , in 1988, and that it continues.
- When time duration (length) is given, use the word for.
- Renita has lived in Houston for twelve years
- This indicates that the action , living in Houston, started before now, twelve years ago and that it continues.