*english help* when to use past tenses?

vbimport

#1

i’m writing a book report and i’m havong trouble deciding when to use past tences, as i’m describing something that has already happened, yet at the same time it’s also occurring as i’m describing it, EVEN THOUGH it has already happened… T_T

so i’m really confused as to when i should use past tenses.

here’s an example:

tommy did not go to school when he notices his sister was sick. He looks after her and helps her get the medicine.

-or-

tommy did not went to school when he noticed his sister was sick. He looked after her and helped her get the medicine.

here’s another one:

…and so superman followed him and down the well he fell.

-or-
…and so superman follows him and down the well he falls.

also:

john was looking at me, and then he said that he…

john looks at me, and then he says that he…

i don’t when to use past tenses anymore, please help me i’m going to cry soon…T_T

and thank you very much for the help!


#2

On the first example, I would write this: Tommy did not go to school, and he noticed his sister was sick. He looked after her and helped her get the medicine.
Leave out the “when”. And “tommy did not went” is always, always incorrect.

Either of the second group of examples is acceptable, though not very clear. Who exactly is “he”, the one falling down the well? Is it Superman or the man being followed?
If I had to choose one, I’d go with “…and so superman followed him and down the well he fell.”

Are you writing a narrative? If so, then the second example is ok.

The same question applies to the last two examples. If you, the author, are speaking as the narrator and this narrator is involved in the story, then you can say "John looks at me, and then he says he…"
Otherwise, I’d stick to "John was looking at me, and then he said that he…"
Splitting hairs here though aren’t we? The first one just doesn’t seem to fit too well, but that may be my own bias rather than any rules of writing.


#3

The second principle part of the verb ( The past tense ) is used to express past time. ( No auxiliary verb is used with this form.)

(Common auxiliary verbs - is,are,was,were,can,could,do,did,has,had,have,may,might,must,shall,should,will,would)

[B]We filled the order yesterday.[/B]

[B]She did what was expected of her.[/B]

[U]Do not use a past participle form to express the past tense.[/U]

He drank his coffee. ( [B]Not[/B]: He drunk his coffee.)

I saw it. ( [B]Not:[/B] I seen it. )

They began it together. ( [B]Not:[/B] They begun it together.)

He was the one who did it. ( [B]Not:[/B] He was the one who done it.)

To form the past perfect tense. This tense indicates action that was completed before another past action. It consists of the verb has plus the past participle.

[B]We had filled the orders before we saw your letter.
[/B]
[B]She had done the job before we arrived.[/B]

If you find yourself in need of reference, check out a library and use a book called The Gregg Reference Manual.

:cool::cool:


#4

[QUOTE=ilovecookies;2171623]i’m writing a book report and i’m havong trouble deciding when to use past tences, as i’m describing something that has already happened, yet at the same time it’s also occurring as i’m describing it, EVEN THOUGH it has already happened… T_T

so i’m really confused as to when i should use past tenses.

here’s an example:

[B]tommy did not go to school when he notices his sister was sick. He looks after her and helps her get the medicine.
one fix could be :
Tommy does not go to school when he notices his sister is sick. He looks after her and helps her get the medicine

-or-

tommy did not went to school when he noticed his sister was sick. He looked after her and helped her get the medicine. OK DID NOT WENT is wrong
it would be Tommy did not go to school when he noticed his sister was sick. He looked after her and helped her get the medicine
[/B]

here’s another one:
(i deleted what you had said…so here is how i would fix the super man problem )

[B]and so superman followed him and down the well THEY fell.

[/B]

also:

[B]john was looking at me, and then he said that he…

john looks at me, and then he says that he…

could be fixed with
John looked at me and said…
[/B]

i don’t when to use past tenses anymore, please help me i’m going to cry soon…T_T

and thank you very much for the help![/QUOTE]
See what i have used bold in .and changed…


#5

What nationality are you, and what is your language background?

I specialize in teaching non-native speakers and I do not recognize the language pattern you are using?


#6

I am not sure, I have been hearing this a lot lately. He sounds like he might be American, or from New Jersey, which is actually part of America too.


#7

lol @ Zathros… i was thinking it might have been some 5th grader doing his homework…


#8

no help from me I have hard enough time spelling englisssh.


#9

Methinks Asian, and female…however the question was phrased with atypically good grammar, so I´m wondering why the heck this person needed to ask at all. :doh:

Apart from spelling, this is perfect, and for many, complex grammar:

i’m writing a book report and i’m havong trouble deciding when to use past tences, as i’m describing something that has already happened, yet at the same time it’s also occurring as i’m describing it, EVEN THOUGH it has already happened…


#10
      Yes New Jersey is the better part of America. ;):bigsmile::bigsmile::bigsmile:

#11

NEw Jersey is part of America I thought it was up by Alaska and you could see Russia from there.


#12

nope samlar…thats New Joisey, lol


#13

I have excellent memories of the Jersey shore, Ocean City, Ship Bottom, Cape May. New Jersey is a beautiful state. The Pine Barrens are awesome and Batsto New Jersey has rivers that run red with tannic acid and the water tastes like tea. Sailors used to covet the water because it did not go rancid. So, I retract my Jersey insult.


#14

coolaid has come to mind ever since this thread was started…


#15

[QUOTE=Bob;2176503]coolaid has come to mind ever since this thread was started…[/QUOTE]

really? how come?

was he really tasty before?


#16

If you´re trying to make a sentence with both taste and coolaid in it, you may be unwittingly creating an oxymoron.

BTW, his thread was over quite a while ago.


#17

sorry i just wanted to practice my english…

and it’s “i [B]wanted[/B] to” right?

not

“sorry i just [B]want[/B] to practic…etc” right?


#18

want is present…
wanted is past :slight_smile:


#19

[QUOTE=ilovecookies;2213092]sorry i just wanted to practice my english…

and it’s “i [B]wanted[/B] to” right?

not

“sorry i just [B]want[/B] to practic…etc” right?[/QUOTE]

I [B]woke[/B] up my neighbors because I [B]wanted[/B] to practice my tuba at 1AM. (past tense)

I’m probably [B]going[/B] to [B]wake[/B] my neighbors because I [B]want[/B] to practice my tuba and it is 1AM. (present tense)


#20

[QUOTE=deanimator;2213091]If you´re trying to make a sentence with both taste and coolaid in it, you may be unwittingly creating an oxymoron.

BTW, his thread was over quite a while ago.[/QUOTE]

I can create a sentance containing both without it being an oxymoron:

Example: “The taste of Kool-Aid reminds me of mixture
of windshield washer fluid and urine”

Not that I’ve pointed the poper construction I’m sure others can create them too. :slight_smile:

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