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Past Tensed

The rule regarding conversion of verbs to their past tense forms is straightforward; add -ed. Answer becomes answered. Question becomes questioned. Of course, there are irregular verbs such as: go that becomes went, come that becomes came. Some of these irregular verbs are pretty common so it just takes frequent usage to get used to them.

Regardless how straightforward the rule is, we still seem to struggle with past tenses. We sometimes fail to convert them to past tense when they should be, and sometimes we use the past tense version even if we shouldn’t.

Let’s take a look at the sentence:

As a 16 year old virgin, I am afraid of being sacrificed to volcano gods.

Now, this sentence would only make sense if the speaker is young enough to know the names of all Jonas brothers, is chaste, and lives pretty close to active volcanoes. But if the speaker is old enough to have been part of the Death March, or knows the terms disco, betamax, or Karma Chameleon, then most likely this sentence should be in past tense.

In that case, it should be stated as:

As a 16 year old virgin, I was afraid of being sacrificed to volcano gods.

Try these sentences out by converting the verbs in parentheses to their past tense:

Last week, we (run) _____________ out of bell peppers.
Yesterday, I (go) _____________ to the market.
I made sure I (bargain) _____________ with the vegetable seller.
I was so glad he (give) _____________ me a 20% discount.

That wasn’t so hard, was it? I suspect that many of us know the rule, but we make mistakes when we are not being careful. Just remember, if it happened in the past, convert the verb into its past tense form.

Oh, just to make sure it’s clear. The title of this post is incorrect. In this case, tense is a noun, and nouns cannot be converted to past tense.

More on the past tense in the next posts.

3 Comments:

  1. Every Photo Tells A Story said...
    Very funny, Gege :) I'll be back because, and don't tell anyone, I get senior moments now and then!
    American Institute for English Proficiency (AIEP), Philippines said...
    Very simple explanations. That's great.

    Most of us know the simple past tense rule, but because of the lack of practice, we tend to make silly mistakes.

    More power to you!
    Gino Roy said...
    The possible details would allow students regarding different areas of interest which are indeed considered to be important and by the time these would even proved to be much better. best proofreading software

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