Sunday, September 18, 2011


English has two main ways of showing when something happened:
Verb Tense
So, for example, they will arrive refers to the future, while they arrived refers to the past.
Adverbials and adverbial clauses of time
For example:
in two weeks' time
last year
when they arrive
Often these two work together:
We started the contract
in April of last year.

past tense
Sometimes, however, tense and time adverbials seem to work against each other. The present continuous tense can be combined with adverbials of time to refer to the future as well as the present:
The firm is working on that standard now.
Later on in the year she is travelling to South Africa to visit her daughter Michelle.
The simple present tense can be used for an even wider range of times:
I place a teabag and some powdered milk into the enamel cup and then pour on the water and stir with a twig. (present)
Tomorrow night we travel to Potosi. (future)
‘I want to talk to him,’ he says to the guard at the door. (past)
My mum and dad go there every year. (past, present, and future)
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