Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Learn English/ About the use of tenses

As I mentioned in my articles about the tenses in the English language, Romanian students make mistakes when they use the tenses in English. Why? Because they try to apply the patterns of our language in English or they try to understand a sentence word for word.

One of the most common mistakes is made when using the past tense simple. Due to the fact that in Romanian we usually use “perfect compus” as a past form, students tend to associate the Romanian tense with the English one. Let us have the verb “to finish” in Romanian in the perfect compus tense:
Eu am terminat/ tu ai terminat/ el, ea a terminat/ noi am terminat/ voi ati terminat/ ei au terminat/.

As you can obviously see, in Romanian this is a compound tense and because the tense has two particles (technically speaking the auxiliary verb “a avea” and the past participle of the verb). That is why students sometimes wrongly use two words in the past tense simple.

So do not say: ” I was finished  but “I finished”.
I have to admit that I frequently hear this mistake. Moreover, now and then  even advanced students make it due to the unhappy association with our language.
As a conclusion, when you have to express an action that happened in the past, apply the rule for the past tense in English and your sentence will be correct. 

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1 comment:

  1. Check the verb “finir” in the “Passe Compose”:
    J ’ai fini/ Tu as fini/ Il (elle) a fini/Nous avons fini/ Vous avez fini/ Ils (elles) ont fini/. The same as the tense in Romanian it is a compound tense which consists of the auxiliary “avoir” and the past participle of the verb. Unlike French, in Romanian the first particle merely resembles the auxiliary verb “a avea”.