Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Present tense form and the three times

The Present tense form helps talk about
actions and states in the
i. present time 
ii. future time 
iii. three times (inclusive)  
iv. past times.

i. present time
1. explains a process:
         First I boil fresh water.
          Second I rinse the teapot with boiling water.
          Next I put four teaspoonfuls of tea into the pot.
          Then I pour rapidly boiling water into the teapot.
          Last I let it brew for five minutes before serving it.

2. describes on-going activities in running commentaries:
         The President arrives. The Prime Minister welcomes her. He leads the President on to the
         Dais …  

         Raju passes the ball to Cheenu, Cheenu slips past the defence and shoots!     

        Here comes Zaheer, he bowls, Ponting misses the line of the ball completely and is bowled,
         and the whole crowd erupts

3. describes feelings (exclamations):
         Here comes the bride!   There goes the bell!   There comes the bus!  
     There she goes, goes right out of the park! (she=cricket ball) 

4. expresses activities related to verbs of ‘speaking’:
     I advise you to withdraw from the contest.
            We have an announcement to make.
            I apologize.
            We thank you for the hospitality.
            I reject your offer.    

5. describes ‘states’:      
          He’s rich.
          She has a headache.
          The boy is unhappy.
          He’s upset.
          They are worried.
    I see what you mean. 
    Everyone likes the new Principal.
          I believe in hard work.
          We live near Chennai.
          Sumathi is tall.
          My God! You weigh 90 kilos!
          This soup tastes delicious.  

6. expresses experience through ‘senses’:
         I don’t see anyone there.
           Do you hear that noise?
           I smell something burning.
           I feel a sharp pain in my chest.
           This fruit tastes sour.

7. expresses different ‘states’:     
           (i) mental states and processes     
                 (dis)agree, (dis)believe, differ, doubt, feel, find, foresee, forget,
                   imagine, know, mean, notice, recall, recognize, recollect,
                   remember, suppose, think(=opinion), (dis)trust, understand

          (ii) states of emotion or attitude                
                 desire, detest, feel, forgive, hate, hope, intend, (dis)like,
                   love, mind(=object to), (dis)please, prefer, want, wish 

          (iii) miscellaneous
                   appear(=seem), belong to, consist of, contain, depend, deserve,
                   equal, find, hold, matter, possess, resemble, result, seem,
                   suffice, have(=possess or obligation)

Note: These verbs are not used in present progressive tense forms.
             Some of these verbs can occur in the progressive tense to mean ‘temporariness’
             or ‘tentativeness’ (implying politeness):

                      What were you wanting?   I was hoping you’d give me some advice.
                       I’m hoping to borrow some money. I was wondering if you could help me.

8. talks about your knowledge of recent events:    
          I hear you’re getting married. Congrats!
           I gather there’s trouble in the hills again.
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ii. future time 
9. expresses pre-determined schedules and timetables:
           The train leaves in another half an hour.
             The ship arrives in Beirut tomorrow afternoon.
             My train reaches Delhi tomorrow evening.
             Even Semester Exams begin in April. 

10. refers to pre-determined activities of individuals (including itinerary):
           I leave for Singapore tonight.
             We meet again the same day next quarter.
             We leave Chennai at six tomorrow morning, arrive at Salem at 2 p.m.,
                Stay overnight and then leave for Kerala.

11. describes actions planned now to occur in future time:
          The Centenary Celebrations begin next week.

12. expresses ‘condition’:
          If you agree we shall proceed further.
            He’ll do it if you pay him.
            If I take the four o’clock flight, I can be in Chennai in time for the wedding.  

13. expresses future actions in ‘time’ clauses:
            Please inform him as soon as he arrives.
            You’ll have to wait until she phones.
            I’ll ask him to give you a ring after he returns from the tour.
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iii. three times   
14. expresses timeless actions and states or so-called eternal truths:
        Honesty is the best policy.
        Birds fly.
        Water consists of hydrogen and oxygen.
        Two and two makes four.
        The earth moves round the sun.
        Oil floats on water.
        The Nile is the longest river in Africa.
        India shares a border with Bangladesh.     

15. expresses events that happen regularly (habits, customs, routines):
        We go to Ooty every summer.
        Deva drinks heavily.
        The newspaper arrives at seven o’clock.
        People buy new dresses for Deepavali.
        Sri Krishna’s birth is celebrated all over India.
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iv. past time
16. describes past events to provide ‘drama’:    
         I couldn’t believe it! Just as we arrived, up comes Srinath,
           slaps me on the back as if we were life-long friends, ‘Come on,
           old pal,’ he says, ‘let me buy you a drink !’ I tell you, I nearly
           fainted on the spot.

           Last night, at about nine o’clock, this chap next door
           staggers into my room and falls dead on the floor.

Note: The use of present tense form helps the hearer feel the impact of surprise/shock.
         Replace the present tense forms of the verbs in bold with past tense and read it,
         it’ll be just a narration minus the emotion. 

17. expresses actions in the past time said by verbs of ‘communication’:
           The breakfast news says there’s going to be a storm around noon.
             The Book of Genesis speaks of the terrible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.
             Macbeth, a great Shakespeare play, narrates the tragic consequences of ‘ambition’.
             The Bhagavd Gita warns us against temptation through the senses.
             I hear/I’m told you’re getting married.
             You’re looking for a house, I gather.
           You’re leaving the country, I understand.
Note:  The last three sentences are indirect (polite) ways of enquiry about information received by the
            speakers. If the speakers were informal, they’d be saying:
                You’re getting married?      You’re looking for a house?   You’re leaving the country?  
18. expresses the thoughts of leaders in literature, religion etc.:
            Jesus says, ‘ Treat thy neighbour as thyself!’
              In his Solitary Reaper, Wordsworth brings to life the tragic mood of the reaper.
              There is a flaw in all Shakespeare’s tragic heroes.

19. expresses past time events in movies/dramas:
            The hero enters the hall. Everything is quiet. Only the wall clock is ticking.
               He looks around. ‘Raise your hands!’ orders a voice from behind. He raises
                  his hands and turns around slowly………

20. expresses quotations without change:
             Speaking of life, Shakespeare says, ‘Life is a tale told by an idiot……’
               My Sales Manager tells me the sales will improve this year.  

21. describes past events to provide ‘drama’:    
         I couldn’t believe it ! Just as we arrived, up comes Srinath,
           slaps me on the back as if we were life-long friends, ‘Come on,
           old pal,’ he says, ‘let me buy you a drink !’ I tell you, I nearly
           fainted on the spot.

           Last night, at about nine o’clock, this chap next door
           staggers into my room and falls dead on the floor.

Note: The use of present tense form helps the hearer feel the impact of surprise/shock.
         Replace the present tense forms of the verbs in bold and read it, it’ll be just a
         narration minus the emotion. 

22. expresses actions in the past time said by verbs of ‘communication’:
           The breakfast news says there’s going to be a storm around noon.
             The Book of Genesis speaks of the terrible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.
             Macbeth, a great Shakespeare play, narrates the tragic consequences of ‘ambition’.
             The Bhagavd Gita warns us against temptation through the senses.
             I hear/I’m told you’re getting married.
             You’re looking for a house, I gather.
           You’re leaving the country, I understand.
Note:  The last three sentences are indirect (polite) ways of enquiry about information received by the
            speakers. If the speakers were informal, they’d be saying:
                You’re getting married?      You’re looking for a house?   You’re leaving the country?  
23. expresses the thoughts of leaders in literature, religion etc.:
            Jesus says, ‘ Treat thy neighbour as thyself!’
              In his Solitary Reaper, Wordsworth brings to life the tragic mood of the reaper.
              There is a flaw in all Shakespeare’s tragic heroes.
24. expresses past time events in movies/dramas:
            The hero enters the hall. Everything is quiet. Only the wall clock is ticking.
               He looks around. ‘Raise your hands!’ orders a voice from behind. He raises
                  his hands and turns around slowly………
25. express quotations without change:
             Speaking of life, Shakespeare says, ‘ Life is a tale told by an idiot……’
               My Sales Manager tells me the sales will improve this year.  

In summary, the present tense form helps us to express action (activity and state) in
      (i) present time only (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
     (ii) future time only   (9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
    (iii) all the three times (14, 15)
     (iv) past time only      (16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25)         

Note: you can clear all your doubts about how to form affirmative, negative statements and
          questions using regular and irregular verbs from Tables 4.57—4.80 in the post: Verb  

          Tenses—present posted on 21/9/2014.
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