Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#1
Hello there, this may sound a little stupid but I can't really tell the difference between past and present tense that well when I'm describing actions. This makes my writing a little funky. It's been a struggle I've had for years and most places I read give example and the definition but it's meaningless to me as it doesn't help me tell the difference if I don't search up the word. To give you an example, I've been saying "yeah, I hanged out with [blank]" instead of "yeah, I hung out with [blank]" Because it sounds the same to me. I was wondering if someone could give me pointers or ways to make sure I'm not using the wrong tense when I write as some of them can sneak through grammar checkers.

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#3
Unfortunately there's no easy trick to getting the past tense of a verb. For most verbs you just add an "ed" to it. Wait waited, hand handed for example. However, there are many verbs where this isn't the case; sit sat, hang hung, run run and so on. It just takes experience to know which words have different past tense forms. You could try using a grammar checker software to find obvious issues, and hopefully over time you'll pick up the words for which the past tense doesn't follow the normal rules. Good luck.

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#10
FantasyBliss30 Wrote: Wait till you find 'must'. And lie vs lay vs lay vs laid vs lied. What Funnnn!!

Hey! You forgot LAIN!
https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2Foriginals%2F58%2F8b%2Ffa%2F...4578c0.jpg

Like HUNG and HANGED which are both words that describe HANGING, I often get hung up on PAST and PASSED for PASSING.

And how about GONE and WENT for GOING? That one is probably the weirdest. But what drives me the nuttiest is that people will say stuff like I GO EAT AT A RESTAURANT, or I GO BUY FOOD AT THE STORE which is incorrect English. You need to add something like a TO or an AND between the two verbs in those sentences because GO is not a helping verb and you cannot make a compound verb out of two verbs.

I HAVE GONE TO BUY FOOD AT THE STORE.
I WENT TO BUY FOOD AT THE STORE.
I AM GOING TO BUY FOOD AT THE STORE.
I GO TO BUY FOOD AT THE STORE.

Like that. ❤🦆😸🐰❤

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#11

ArDeeBurger Wrote:
FantasyBliss30 Wrote: Wait till you find 'must'. And lie vs lay vs lay vs laid vs lied. What Funnnn!!

Hey! You forgot LAIN!
https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2Foriginals%2F58%2F8b%2Ffa%2F...4578c0.jpg

Like HUNG and HANGED which are both words that describe HANGING, I often get hung up on PAST and PASSED for PASSING.

And how about GONE and WENT for GOING? That one is probably the weirdest. But what drives me the nuttiest is that people will say stuff like I GO EAT AT A RESTAURANT, or I GO BUY FOOD AT THE STORE which is incorrect English. You need to add something like a TO or an AND between the two verbs in those sentences because GO is not a helping verb and you cannot make a compound verb out of two verbs.

Some of that is old English and has fallen out of use, Lay has been replaced with Lied, kind of like how whom has become old unused English.

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#12

Nautilus Wrote: Some of that is old English and has fallen out of use, Lay has been replaced with Lied, kind of like how whom has become old unused English.

Hmm. This is incorrect. Although people do spell the word as LIED when referring to the Past Tense or Past Participle of LIE -- instead of using LAY or LAIN, as they ought -- the word is still pronounced as LAID, with the long A sound. The only time LIED is used and pronounced in its correct form is as the Past Tense of having told a fib, where the long I sound is then used. 


And the word WHOM has not fallen out of favor. It is still the correct choice for most instances as a pronoun in the Object of a sentence. Not all instances, but most.

What has fallen out of favor is constructing sentences where the word WHOM must be used. These days, people typically don't say things like TO WHOM DID YOU GIVE THE BOOK? They say WHO DID YOU GIVE THE BOOK TO? And even though it is not good grammar, people these days will say things like HE IS THE MAN WHO I GAVE THE BOOK TO when the more proper way of saying that is HE IS THE MAN TO WHOM I GAVE THE BOOK.

And even better, just leave out WHO and WHOM altogther, as it's not necessary to define the clause. 

HE IS THE MAN I GAVE THE BOOK TO. ❤🦆😸🐰❤

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#13

ArDeeBurger Wrote:
Nautilus Wrote: Some of that is old English and has fallen out of use, Lay has been replaced with Lied, kind of like how whom has become old unused English.

Hmm. This is incorrect. Although people do spell the word as LIED when referring to the Past Tense or Past Participle of LIE -- instead of using LAY or LAIN, as they ought -- the word is still pronounced as LAID, with the long A sound. The only time LIED is used and pronounced in its correct form is as the Past Tense of having told a fib, where the long I sound is then used. 


And the word WHOM has not fallen out of favor. It is still the correct choice for most instances as a pronoun in the Object of a sentence. Not all instances, but most.

What has fallen out of favor is constructing sentences where the word WHOM must be used. These days, people typically don't say things like TO WHOM DID YOU GIVE THE BOOK? They say WHO DID YOU GIVE THE BOOK TO? And even though it is not good grammar, people these days will say things like HE IS THE MAN WHO I GAVE THE BOOK TO when the more proper way of saying that is HE IS THE MAN TO WHOM I GAVE THE BOOK.

And even better, just leave out WHO and WHOM altogther, as it's not necessary to define the clause. 

HE IS THE MAN I GAVE THE BOOK TO. ❤🦆😸🐰❤

where are you pronouncing "Lied" as "Laid"? "Lay" is no longer the word people use to say that a lie was told in the past, it has fallen out of use in favor of "lied".



Quote:What has fallen out of favor is constructing sentences where the word WHOM must be used.

Like I said, "whom" is now old English, it is not used by anyone who is not a literary buff who is stuck trying to revive decade old English. Just like "Doth" has fallen out of use. obviously words don't just disappear, grammar changes to a different structure which has a lot of effects, one of which is that words fall out of use.


There is nothing wrong with the words, but if you try to say I should use "whom" in my sentences, I am going to call you old. And no, foregoing the use of "whom" in a sentence is not bad grammar, it is new grammar.

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#14
Kiebahow Wrote: Hello there, this may sound a little stupid but I can't really tell the difference between past and present tense that well when I'm describing actions. This makes my writing a little funky. It's been a struggle I've had for years and most places I read give example and the definition but it's meaningless to me as it doesn't help me tell the difference if I don't search up the word. To give you an example, I've been saying "yeah, I hanged out with [blank]" instead of "yeah, I hung out with [blank]" Because it sounds the same to me. I was wondering if someone could give me pointers or ways to make sure I'm not using the wrong tense when I write as some of them can sneak through grammar checkers.


Please also note that the usage of tenses in the English language is quite complicated. There are many of them and they can express quite complicated details. Not only temporal, but also other meanings. If you are used to other languages it might be easier to consider tenses as only slightly related to time. (They have some relation to it, but the logic often only makes sense if English is your primary language).

In your example you used simple past, which can be used in

simple past can be used:
1) for actions completed in the past at a definite time. So if your sentence is e.g. some answer about what you did on a specific day, then simple past it is. (Unless it was not deliberate, then see point 8 of past progressive)
2) an action whose time is not given but which occupied a period of time now terminated or occurred at a moment of time now terminated. So you can use simple past if you want to e.g. emphasis that this ended at a specific time or it was within a specific period (like when attending college).
3) for past habits. So simple past is the tense to go if you did that all the time in past. (Can be combined with 'always' but compare past continous)
4) In conditional sentences to express unreality. If we met, this would not have happened.

past continuous 
1) past actions which continued for some time whose exact limits are not knows or not important. "You were hanging out with [blank]." If you talk about something that happened multiple times and do not use this then you imply it is one of the other cases.
2) gradual development in the past (not much gradual with that verb possible, though)
3) an action that at a specific given time started before that point it time and might have continued later. ("When you sent that text, I was hanging out with him.".
4) used in descriptions surrounding actions in the past. (the difference to 3 make more sense with less active verbs,)
5) indirect speech of present continuous
6) define future arrangement in the past. (I had to finish this early enough. I was hanging out with XYZ later)
7) with 'always' to emphasis it is either annoying/seems unreasonable to the speaker ("He us always hanging out with her, he really should spend some time on his studies, too") or which appear continuous ("They were always hanging out together, they did not separate a single day").
8) for casual, less deliberate (or routine) actions. "Everyone else were absent for some reason or another, so we were hanging out together yesterday". (If not casual, the specific time would make that simple past). Also note that this cannot be used if the action was interrupted by something else.

present perfect
1) recently completed action with 'just'. Does not make much sense with this verb.
2) recent actions when the time is not mentioned. "We both were busy, we have not hung out together recently".
3) recent actions that have results in the present. Trying to construct a sentence in that meaning everything I get sounds strange, though.
4) something that occurred in the past (with which specific time being unimportant, that has an strong connection to the present (implying it could happen again)
5) within incomplete periods, i.e. speaking about a period that is still open. "We don't meet often, but we have hung out together this month already." (has some overlap with 2). Also usable "with ever, occousiously or since)
6) for incomplete periods (a bit like 5, but the whole interval. Via negations 5 and 6 are quite related).
7) For actions that end now. (that usage shows the best how present perfect is a mix of past and present and why it has present in the name).
8) answers to questions about such incomplete periods above.

present perfect continuous
1) for actions which began in the past and are still continuing or has just finished. (As hanging out is my definition continuous in some way, this is the way to go if it has not finished in the past.
2) can also be used to express repetition. "We have been hanging out at least once a week".

past perfect
1) time shifted present perfect (i.e. all of the present perfect when the point looking from is not the present but the a point in the past)
2) time shifted simple past (i.e. to describe actions before some other actions in the past)
3) but in when-clauses the perfect tenses imply an end (and not possible continuation like in the present perfect)
3) indirect speech

past perfect progressive

1) time shifted present perfect progressive: "When Peter arrived to drive me home, I had been hanging out with Paul".
2) repeated actions "I had been hanging out with him very few days".
...) quite some more cases, but I'm exhausted and rather stopping here. I suggest looking in some grammar book for more details.

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#16
As far as I can tell the most important thing is not the conscious choice of language, but how you imagine the scene as you write. Are you describing an event as it happened in the past? (past tense) Or are you describing events as they are occurring in real-time? (present tense)

Try to focus on keeping a consistent perspective of time when imagining the scenes, and the language should flow much easier. After all, what we are doing as writers is communicating what is in our heads. If what is in our heads isn't clearly sorted out, then the language used to describe our thoughts will by necessity become more muddled than need be.

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#17
I've seen people try to sound smart by use whom and get it wrong.

Eg.
My friend whom likes to read...
People whom like pineapple on pizza are...

I pray this kind of bad grammar doesn't become new grammar. When in doubt, just use who.

P.S.  "I lie down" (present) and "I lay down" (past) are not old English. No one will look at you funny if you use the word correctly. However, when you use "I lay down" for present tense, you risk sounding uneducated.

Maybe in 20 years this will change (I have seen an uptrend in people using the word incorrectly).

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#18

midnightrainbow Wrote: P.S.  "I lie down" (present) and "I lay down" (past) are not old English. No one will look at you funny if you use the word correctly. However, when you use "I lay down" for present tense, you risk sounding uneducated.

I was referencing that "lay" when used to refer to "lies" in the past, is old English. I thought that was obvious, but here is the clarification.
midnightrainbow Wrote: I pray this kind of bad grammar doesn't become new grammar. When in doubt, just use who.


I swear you read my post, and took the exact opposite meaning away from it.

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#19
midnightrainbow Wrote: I've seen people try to sound smart by use whom and get it wrong.

Eg.
My friend whom likes to read...
People whom like pineapple on pizza are...

I pray this kind of bad grammar doesn't become new grammar. When in doubt, just use who.


Luckily "whom" sounds quite outdated, so while this might have a chance to be seen as 'correct' there is at least no real danger for it becoming the common new grammar form.

There is a similar case I'm not so optimistic about though: There is a trend to use "and I" where "and me" is the (currently) only correct form. It's quite the vexing trend (Using "and me" incorrectly where "and I" was correct (i.e. the mistake in the other direction) at least has a centuries old tradition of informal language so I'm used a bit to it. But using "and I" instead of "and me" is something interrupting my reading every time someone does that mistake.)

Re: I am having a hard time tell the difference between past and present tenses.

#20

whoever Wrote:
midnightrainbow Wrote: I've seen people try to sound smart by use whom and get it wrong.

Eg.
My friend whom likes to read...
People whom like pineapple on pizza are...

I pray this kind of bad grammar doesn't become new grammar. When in doubt, just use who.


Luckily "whom" sounds quite outdated, so while this might have a chance to be seen as 'correct' there is at least no real danger for it becoming the common new grammar form.

There is a similar case I'm not so optimistic about though: There is a trend to use "and I" where "and me" is the (currently) only correct form. It's quite the vexing trend (Using "and me" incorrectly where "and I" was correct (i.e. the mistake in the other direction) at least has a centuries old tradition of informal language so I'm used a bit to it. But using "and I" instead of "and me" is something interrupting my reading every time someone does that mistake.)



Yeah, that mistake is very common. It's another instance of people wanting to sound correct because they're told it should be "...and I".

I hear things like: "He gave John and I a present." "This is a picture of Mary and I."