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Postby The Alternative Story » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:06 pm

pixiedust wrote:
TAS,
I am confused about past tense vs present perfect.
Both are for completed actions so when to use past tense and when to use present perfect ?
Eg. (a) Anne ate her breakfast (b) Anne has eaten her breakfast.


Hi pixiedust and tianzhu,

I think I will try to address your confusion about the past perfect
and past tense here.

Both actions happened in the past. BUT
- Past tense focuses on actions that have happened in the past in a
specific time frame.


Eg: I drove to the airport last week.

- Past perfect tense focuses on
a) actions that happened in the past
BUT CONTINUED until another action terminated it

OR

b) actions that happened in the past BUT CONTINUED until a certain time in the past.

Eg for a): After I had eaten my breakfast, I went to school.

(You ate your breakfast and it happened in the past and
your eating continued until you went to school,
your going to school terminated your act of
your eating breakfast)

Eg. for b) I had driven my father's car
for the last ten years until last week.


(You drove your father's car until a certain time in the past- last week-
when you stopped).

So in short, an easier way to remember is to think of the
past tense as an action that happened at a specific time in the past
and the past perfect tense is one that was on-going until
another action cut it short or until a certain time in the past.

This is why the past perfect tense is usually used when
there are 2 actions (in the past) in the sentence and
one action was completed before the other action took place.


However for sentences that have result-reason/cause and effect relationships, this is not the case.

Eg: I nearly drowned because I swam too far out to sea.

You do not need to put a past perfect tense for 'swam'.
The cause and effect relationship is one where the cause is
obviously the action that happened first.
And the emphasis is on the cause and effect and
not on the fact that one action had to be completed before another one started.


If you do use the past perfect tense for such a situation,
you are not grammatically wrong. But it is just a little awkward
as there is not need to.

Similarly for relative clauses, they often implicitly display
cause and effect relationships:


Eg: The boy who triggered the fire alarm was scolded (an earlier example tianzhu gave)

The cause of his scolding is him triggering the fire alarm
so it is a cause and effect relationship. Hence there is
no need to use the past perfect tense.

TAS
Last edited by The Alternative Story on Wed Jun 09, 2010 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

The Alternative Story
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Postby The Alternative Story » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:10 pm

tree nymph wrote:Hi TAS,

Any recommendation for a good grammar guide book?


Hi treenymph,

Good grammar books are hard to come by, sometimes the ones
that explain fully are rather hard to understand. So far,
we have not found any. The grammar rules we have is
put together by TAS and we use them to understand how
grammar works so that we can explain it to the children.

TAS stands for The Alternative Story. It is not one person answering
the questions but a group of teachers from TAS. We are an
education centre that does English, Maths and Science.

Maybe you could go to our website to take a look. We will also pm you
our contact details.

TAS

(thealternativestory.blogspot.com)

:D

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Postby The Alternative Story » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:18 pm

tianzhu wrote:Hi TAS

Which sentence is correct?

1)The students were punished because they had triggered the fire alarm.
2)The students were punished because they triggered the fire alarm.
3)The students were punished because they had been triggering the fire alarm.
4)The students were punished because the fire alarm had been triggered by them.

Best wishes


Hi tianzhu,

All these sentences and result-reason/cause and effect situations so there is no need for the past perfect tense. Hence answer 2 is the best.

For qn 4, it is the passive form, for the passive form that is in the past tense, it should be:

- The students were punished because the fire alarm was triggered by them.

TAS

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Postby The Alternative Story » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:23 pm

pixiedust wrote:Understand the verb vs noun but the challenge is how to help the kids remember hence contributed to the confusing pair list.
Hope to have some good mnemonic like princiPAL vs pinciple to help kids remember.



Hi pixiedust,

- BelieVe- verb. The V stands for Verb

- Belief- it is different from belieVe so it is a noun not a verb.

Similar pairs:

- Advice/Advise
- Practice/Practise

How to remember?

- AdvICE/PratICE - Ice is an object. So advice/practice is a noun.

- AdviSe/PractiSe- S can represent 'stand' and 'stand' is a verb
so advise/practise is a verb.

:D

TAS

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Postby Mommilicious » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:28 pm

Hi TAS,

I have sent you a PM.
Thanks. :D

Mommilicious
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Postby tree nymph » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:31 pm

Hi TAS,

I've gone on your blog... but the blog is not updated.

I want to find out if there are any holiday program... will email you.

tree nymph
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Postby The Alternative Story » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:53 pm

Mommilicious wrote:Hi TAS,

I have sent you a PM.
Thanks. :D


Hi mommilicious,

I have replied you :D

TAS

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Postby The Alternative Story » Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:59 pm

tree nymph wrote:Hi TAS,

I've gone on your blog... but the blog is not updated.

I want to find out if there are any holiday program... will email you.


Hi tree nymph,

Sorry about the blog not being updated. We are in the midst redoing our facebook account and blog. They are now under 'renovation'.

For holiday programs, we have a thread under happenings- 'PSLE intensive exam readiness program' that covers the details. However, as of now, the Primary 3-6 English classes are full. Perhaps you could try the on-going classes for June?

TAS :D

(thealternativestory.blogspot.com)

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Postby pixiedust » Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:37 pm

TAS

I think with updated blog/corporate website/facebook, you can cut down precious time taken by answering emails about your school/books/programmes :D

With the repeated explanations and examples, PAST perfect tense is clearer to me now. Thanks very much!
I would appreciate any need help with PRESENT perfect tense vs past tense :

Jack has pinned a notice on the board. Let's go and read it. (present perfect)
Jack pinned a notice on the board but the teacher took it down. (simple past)

Q1: Does it mean it is grammatically WRONG to say/write -> Jack pinned a notice on the board. Let's go and read it.

Honestly, it sounds alright to me!

Q2: Similarly, when to use the respective tense for these :
Anne has eaten her breakfast. (present perfect)
Anne ate her breakfast (simple past)

pixiedust
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Postby The Alternative Story » Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:24 am

pixiedust wrote:TAS

I think with updated blog/corporate website/facebook, you can cut down precious time taken by answering emails about your school/books/programmes :D

With the repeated explanations and examples, PAST perfect tense is clearer to me now. Thanks very much!
I would appreciate any need help with PRESENT perfect tense vs past tense :

Jack has pinned a notice on the board. Let's go and read it. (present perfect)
Jack pinned a notice on the board but the teacher took it down. (simple past)

Q1: Does it mean it is grammatically WRONG to say/write -> Jack pinned a notice on the board. Let's go and read it.

Honestly, it sounds alright to me!

Q2: Similarly, when to use the respective tense for these :
Anne has eaten her breakfast. (present perfect)
Anne ate her breakfast (simple past)


Hi pixiedust,

The past tense is an action that has been completed at a specific time in the past.

The present perfect tense refers to an action that
has started in the past and CONTINUED until a time
in the present.
It is an action that has been completed
only recently.

Qn 1: Jack has pinned a notice on the board.
Let's go and read it!


In this question, the present perfect tense is
a better answer (has pinned) as compared to
the past tense (pinned) because it is an
action that has been completed in the past and it
seems to have just been recently completed and that is
why you are only now going to read it.

For the second example: Jack pinned a notice on
the board but the teacher took it down.


The answer should be 'had pinned' as in this question,
there is a sequence of 2 events, 1) 'Jack pinning the notice'
followed by 2) 'the teacher taking it down' so when there are
2 events in the past, the earlier event that takes place is in the past perfect tense.

For question 2, both answers are acceptable as it is not clear
from the question whether you are talking about a specific time
in the past or if the event has just recently been completed.
There are not enough clues from the sentence to tell which is
the correct answer.

TAS

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