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English

Tenses

Tense is a function of the verb and if primarily relates the action to time. This is indicated when there is a change in the form of the verb and it should be noted, that tense does not exactly mean time. From the stand point of the utterance, tense is either present, or oast.

THE PRESENT TENSE

The present tense is used in reference to time now or the immediate.

The present tense is used in reference to time now or the immediate.

USES OF SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE

  1. To express a habitual action. E.g. (i) Bukola gets up early in the morning (ii) Lanre returs from college at six (iii) My father loves taking tea every morning.
  2. To express general truths e.g. (i) the earth moves round the sun (ii) Honesty is the best policy (iii) the sun rises in the east.
  3. In exclamatory sentences beginning with here and there e.g. (i) Here comes Amaka! (ii) There the bus stops! (iii) Look! How Bayo sings!
  4. To express planned activities e.g (i) The president visit America next Sunday. (ii) My uncles arrives tomorrow.
  5. To introduces quotations. E.g. (i) Shakespeare says “ lone is not a time’s fool” (ii) Keat says” A thing of beauty is a joy forver”

THE PAST TENSE

The simple past refers to one verb element that relates time to action. The uses are as follows:

  1. To express events that took place before the time of speaking. E.g. (i) I went home early yesterday. (ii) She slapped him at the party (iii0 Wale ate a bowl of beans.
  2. To express hypothetical meanings e.g. 9i) I would go, if I were you. (ii0 In the same circumstance, she would do it.
  3. Polite requests and conversations. (i) Should I wait for you? (ii) Did you ask for the key? (iii) could you lend me your pen?

THE PRESENT CONTINOUS TENSE

This is used with the present tense and the past tense to express progression in the action or event.

PRESENT TENSE                                                         PAST TENSE

Bukola is cooking now                                            Bukola was cooking yesterday

We are sitting in the garden                We are sitting in the garden last night.

THE USE OF PRESENT CONTINOUS TENSE

  1. For an action going on at the time of speaking e.g (i) Okoli is writing a letter at present. (ii) we are sitting in the garden.
  2. For a temporary action. e.g (i) I am reading Ben Nwaka’s “ the Guide” (ii) bukola is learning highlife dance.
  3. For a future planned action. E.g (i) We are visiting Jos this weak. (ii) Uche is getting married this April. (iii) Chidi is singing at the concert this Sunday.

THE FUTURE TENSE

The future tense is based on present circumstances and plans for the projected events

WAYS TO EXPRESS THE FUTURE TENSE

  1. The simple present. E.g (i) The plane departs at 8pm tonight. (ii) The new Rector resumes tomorrow.
  2. The present progressive aspect(ing) e.g. (i) She is coming back fortnight. (ii) we are looking forward to your visit.
  3. The modal auxiliary verbs will/shall. E.g. (i) We shall leave Nigeria next month. (ii) You will feel better, if you take this drug.
  4. “Will” and “Shall” with the present progressive aspect-ing. e.g. (i) I will be going home soon (ii) We shall be relocating to know next year.
  5. By using “going” and the “to be” infinitive. E.g. (i) we are going to be late for the service. (ii) It is going to be windy tomorrow.

THE PERFECTIVE TENSE

The perfective aspect is both present and past. The present perfect expresses an event in the past with a present relevance. This is achieved by combining the auxiliary “have” with the participle of the verb.

USES OF PRESENT PERFECT TENSE 

  1. For just completed actions. e.g. (i) My brother has just gone out. (ii) Chika has recently been married.
  2. To express past actions whose time is not specific. E.g. (i) Have you been photographed? (ii) I have never seen her before.

THE USE OF PAST PERFECT

  1. To express one of the two past actions which had been completed earlier.. e.g. (i) When we reached the theatre, the looking counter had been closed. (II) When I went to the airport, the plane had taken off. (iii) When they entered the classroom, the lecturer had started the lesson.

EAVLUATION: Explain the present, past and perfect tense with two examples each.

SPEECH WORK: THE RISING TONE

The rising tone is used in polar questions. (questions which demand ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers) lising, and polite requests and for incomplete statements. It is also used to express doubt or interest.

YES/NO QUESTIONS

Is this your book?

Did you see them?

LISTING

EVERY STUDENT is to BRING a BUCKET, a HOE, a CUTLASS, a BROOM and a BRUSH (with every item, the rising intonation is used except on the last item where it falls).

INCOMPLETE STATEMENT

If I were you

Just as the BUS arrived

TO EXPRESS DOUUBT

If you WANT to

I THINK that’s RIGHT

LET me CLOSE the DOOR

COMBINATION OF TONES

The two patterns (tones) may be combined in longer sentences. Examples

While the GIRLS were WORKING.    The BOYS were PLAYING FOOTBALL.

If you WORK HARD and PASS your examination      you will be AWARDED a scholarship

By the time he came AROUND    I had gone to bed

TAGS

In tag questions the statement part is said on a falling tone while the question part is said on a rising tone

We can do it,    CANT WE?

We HAVE ENOUGH money    HAVEN’T we?

Did you HEAR the BELL?     She asked

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