Monday, 14 November 2011

About the tenses (1)

Many of my students complain (usually during the first classes or modules) about the difficulty of tenses in the English language. Being most of them native Romanians, they do not know  what they are talking about. What I am trying to say is that Romanian language has such difficult tenses and English such easy ones. In order to demonstrate this I ask my Romanian students to use the verb "a muri"(to die) in the present in Romanian with all the subject pronouns, and to do the same with the verb ''to die" in English:
Eu mor / tu mori/ el,ea moare/ noi murim/ voi muriti/ei mor
I die/ you die/ he, she dies/ we die/you die/they die.
The only difference you see in English is the suffix s in the third person singular. What about the Romanian verb? Not even the base form of the verb remains the same and the suffixes are irregular.
It is just an example. But that is why Romanians at first have difficulties in understanding the tenses in English. The tense patterns in the two languages are different (we can associate Romanian tenses with French ones but not with the English).
When you use the tenses in English, stick to the rules that apply to each tense and use them in context and not because having a tense in Romanian, you have to use the same tense in English. This is one of the most frequent mistakes that students make when using tenses, mistakes soon to be discussed in future articles.

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1 comment:

  1. Pay attention to the same verb "mourir" in the French language: je meurs/ tu meurs/ il meurt/ nous mourons/ vous mourez/ ils meurent/. Even if the base form of the verb also changes, the suffixes are regular: s/s/t/ons/ez/ent.