martes, 11 de noviembre de 2014

THE PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS & THE NARRATIVE TENSES.





NARRATIVE TENSES 
Copyright EOI de Mieres, Asturias

 
1. The Past Simple
The Past Simple is used to narrate past events in chronological order:

Alice left her family home in the morning and moved to the big city. What a busy day it was! She sat and looked at the cosy living room around her. At last the house was hers. She gazed out at the London skyline with awe.
 

2. The Past Perfect
The Past Perfect is used to express an action that happened before a definite time in the past.
A writer can use it to re-order the events of a narrative for dramatic effect:

Alice sat and looked at the cosy living room around her. At last the house was hers. What a
busy day it had been! She had left her family home in the morning and had moved to the big
city. She gazed at the London skyline with awe.
 
Notice that had need not be repeated if the subject of both verbs is the same:

She had said goodbye to her mother and (had) caught the train to London.
 
It is not always essential to use the Past Perfect. If it is clear that the events described in the time clause took place before the one in the main clause, the Past Simple can be used.
 
After she said goodbye to her mother, she caught the train to London.
 
If it is important to show that the first action was completed before the second one began, the Past Perfect must be used.

When she had raised sufficient capital, she put in an offer on the house.
 
For reasons of style, it is unwise (and unnecessary) to have to many verbs in the Past Perfect one after another. Once the time aspect of 'past in the past' has been established, the Past Simple can be used as long as there is no ambiguity.

The furniture suited the room perfectly. She had been to auction rooms looking for just the right period pieces, and had found some excellent examples of Regency workmanship. She bought them at good prices, and didn't pay more than five hundred pounds for anything.
 
 
3. The Past Continuous and the Past Perfect Continuous.
The Past Continuous and the Past Perfect Continuous (as with all continuous tenses) express
ideas of activity in progress or repeated activity.
 
She was wearing a green velvet dress.
She was hoping the phone would ring.
She had been arranging and rearranging the rooms for weeks.
 
4. Past Simple, used to, and would for past habits
 
Used to can be used to express past habits and states:
We used to go out a lot. (habit)
He used to be very short tempered. (state)

Would can express typical behaviour. Whereas used to is quite factual, would looks at past
habits rather nostalgically.
We had some lovely holidays by the sea when I was young. We'd spend the day collecting seashells, or we'd go for long walks on the cliffs.
Would can not be used to express past states.(We cannot say *He'd live in a lovely cottage .)
If the past action happened only once (and is therefore not a habit), the Simple Past must be used.

5. 'At the beginning', 'In the end' etc.
 
The words and expressions that tell us when something happens in a story are not all used in quite the same way.
At the beginning (of the story) tells us the chronological point.
In the beginning and at first suggest a contrast later. We expect to hear but later the
circumstances changed.
At the end of (the story) tells us the chronological point.
In the end suggests a contrast earlier. Before, there were problems and uncertainty.
Finally and eventually suggest a long wait. (Finally usually comes before the verb.) The
outcome may be positive or negative.
At last suggests a very long wait. The outcome is positive.

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