Wednesday, March 14

What's the Most Difficult Tense in English?

image courtesy of stock.xchng

The Present Perfect Tense (Have PP) is the most difficult tense for most non-native speakers.

Actually, it’s easy enough to make a sentence in Have PP, but the problem is the situations in which we use it.  It’s usually difficult for a non-native speaker to imagine these situations.

Also, there are so many situations in which we use the Have PP, so it gets really confusing.

Having said that, let’s try and discuss it...

Have PP

1st Situation:

The action is finished/ past but the effect is now (Take a look at the illustration)

From this, you can feel that the Have PP is actually similar to the Past Simple, but it’s a little strange because its meaning isn't Past. 

In short, 

And like these:

1.       I’ve eaten = Means: Now I’m full

2.       I’ve lost my wallet = Means: Now I still don’t have it

3.       I’ve lost my key = Means: Now I can’t enter my room, I can't        
                                            drive my car etc. 

Note: In the audio file, I explained the same sentences inside a dialogue. The examples are oversimplified to emphasize the usage of the Have PP.

Let’s continue…

Have PP

2nd Situation

      When you want to use any of these words: Just, Already and Yet.

                Ex. I’ve just finished my homework.

                      I’ve already spoken to Mr. Burke about it.

                      I haven’t seen her yet.

Note: You should know the difference between American and British English on this topic. It’s discussed in the audio file.

3rd Situation

             When you want to talk about experience (e.g. Ever, Never)


                Q: Have you ever been to Vietnam?

                A: Yes, I’ve been to Vietnam.

-- or --

                A: No, I have never been to Vietnam.


Lastly, I have added this useful table that can guide you in making sentences. It’s doesn't work 100% but it’s practical.  

* means special case only 

I hope you learned something. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them. 

Also, you can get the audio file by going to Itunes > podcasts > Cool Elf.

Or, if you don't have iTunes, you can get the file here right now. Just... 

Thanks for reading!  

Keep on learning !

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