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View Full Version : Verb tenses, etc.



DamaNegra
09-12-2006, 11:33 PM
Is it really important to know what the verb tenses and stuff are? I mean, I use them without any trouble, but it's been two times already people haves asked me for, say, present perfect or something, and I just don't know what they're talking about until they tell me. I've found that I'm in the same situation with Spanish.

It seems to me that one only needs to learn the tenses when they're beginning to learn a language, but once you become fluent in said language, you don't need them anymore.

Your thoughts?

newmod
09-12-2006, 11:56 PM
Hi DamaNegra, I teach English as a foreign language and until I started doing it I had no idea what the verb tenses were called! I knew how to use them but didnīt know the labels for them. In Britain thatīs very common for my generation, we werenīt taught much grammar at all (Iīm 30 BTW and went to a state school).

Itīs the same for me with Spanish, I know some of the tense names but others no. I think thatīs what youīre talking about, knowing the labels. If you know how to use them fine. Although it can be helpful to know what they are called and exactly why we choose one instead of the other.

I find that I am more confident and more informed about what I use and why due to the teaching and also learning Spanish.

So there you have my thoughts, for what they are worth :)

KatRiley
09-13-2006, 12:24 AM
I learned more about verb tenses when I took high school French than I had in any English class. Every time the teacher started talking about verb tenses, we had to stop her and ask for the English examples!

I think most people have an ear for the correct verb tense. Knowing the actual name isn't that important.

Puma
09-13-2006, 01:51 AM
Hi Dama, I'm an oldster. When I went to school we learned the proper verb tenses in English and even had to diagram sentences (lots of fun). But I learned the most about verb tenses from studying first Latin and then other languages.

I find it's sometimes helpful to know and be able to explain verb tenses and conditions (like subjunctive) in critiquing. It can be easier to explain why something would be better written a different way. I'm not sure whether this helps you on your question at all, so for what it's worth. Puma

Jamesaritchie
09-13-2006, 09:23 PM
As long as you use all the tenses properly, you don't have to know what they're called. But I've found most who don't know what they're called often make mistakes.

But why not just learn them? It's not rocket science, and as a writer it can and does come in very handy. Grab a book, sit down, and start learning. It may not be absolutely required, but as a writer, it should be absolutely desired.

Medievalist
09-13-2006, 09:43 PM
There are only two tenses in English. Present tense and past.

Everything else is a mood. The easiest way to learn them is to learn them in terms of function and form; get a high school grammar book or an ESL grammar text, and learn them if you want.

It's more important to know when to use them and what they denote regarding time and sequence than it is to name them. English grammar terminology is so hopeless screwed up that there are currently at least three viable naming systems, all of which are used in 4-12 and higher education instruction.

Jamesaritchie
09-13-2006, 11:32 PM
There are only two tenses in English. Present tense and past.

Everything else is a mood. The easiest way to learn them is to learn them in terms of function and form; get a high school grammar book or an ESL grammar text, and learn them if you want.

It's more important to know when to use them and what they denote regarding time and sequence than it is to name them. English grammar terminology is so hopeless screwed up that there are currently at least three viable naming systems, all of which are used in 4-12 and higher education instruction.

I don't think English grammar terminology is really all that messed up. It's still pretty basic. There's only one naming system used in teh schools where I live, and it's the same one that's been around for ages.

But I agree. Get a high school, or even better, a junior high school grammar book. It's all in there, and can be learned in a few hours.