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Forget About the Passed

In the last post, we talked about the past tense. Here are some sentences that I spotted in email exchanges among business colleagues.

A few years ago, I am responsible for our corporate responsibility projects.
I was task by my boss to coordinate all the activities.
We meet in a conference a few years ago.

These sentences are better written as:

A few years ago, I was responsible for our corporate responsibility projects.
I was tasked by my boss to coordinate all the activities.
We met in a conference a few years ago.

What is worse, however, is when words are converted to past tense when they should not be as in:

Your support will helped me realized my dream.
Let me asked the store manager a couple of questions.
I usually gave generous tips to waiters who served me well.

The first sentence refers to a future event. The clue is the word “will.” This should then be written as: Your support will help me realize my dream.

The second sentence is asking permission to ask questions. Thus, this is also considered a future event. It would be better to say: “Let me ask you a couple of questions.”

The third sentence describes a habitual action, and should then be expressed in the present tense: “I usually give generous tips to waiters who serve me well.

Here are more common mistakes:

I did not recalled anything about the last Christmas party.
Did Mr. Roxas cancelled his order?
Yes, he did cancelled it at the last minute.

Can you tell what’s wrong with these sentences?

Whenever you use the auxiliary verb do or did, the following main verb should be in neutral form. In all these sentences, the word did carry the tense so the past tense has shifted from the verbs recall and cancel. Thus, these sentences should read:

I did not recall anything about the last Christmas party.
Did Mr. Roxas cancel his order?
Yes, he did cancel it at the last minute.

There you have it. It is important to use the past tense when talking about events in the past. Normally, you add an –ed to the verb. But there are irregular verbs to consider as well. It is also important when to leave the –ed home.

Sources:
Understanding English Grammar by Martha Kolln
English for Business by Charles Chandler Parkhurst

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