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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #105899: Use of tenses : The worst enemy ? The best friend ? 2/2
Use of tenses : The worst enemy ? The best friend ? 2/2
When we left Joanna et Sue, Joanna's health was extremely bad and she had persuaded herself that she would die when the last leaf fell ...
For long minutes, she had been staring at this last leaf, which was still holding on, and it had given her the energy and courage to fight for her life ...
Remember, the tense used for narration is the simple past .(To revise the way to build it, please, go to the first part of this story ;  )
ex : Sue stayed for days at Joanna's bedside. She worried a lot about her friend's health
* As usual, if two simultaneous past actions happened at the same time, then :
the long (and important one) is in the -ing preterite and the short action interrupting it , is in the simple past.
ex: While she was staring at the leaf through the window, Joanna found the strength to fight for her life ...
* If a past action happened before an action in the simple past, it must be in the past perfect simple (or in the past perfect in -ing if we want to insist on the duration of the action ) :
had + verb in the past participe or had + been + verb + ing
ex: When she had told the old model about Joanna's remark, he had found it stupid !
* If you have to use the simple future, remember that it doesn't get on well with the past ... If you do need a simple future , (or a conditional ...),
BEWARE ! after a temporal conjunction introduced by (after, before, when, while, once, as long as, as soon as, the simple future is impossible : it must be replaced by the present (and the conditional by the preterite).
ex : As soon as Joanna was cured, the two friends would go and paint the Bay of Naples.
You'll have to use the 'conditional' : would + verb
ex : Joanna wouldn't like her friend to be worried about her health !
* You will need modal auxiliaries : can => could indicate a physical or intellectual capacity, and a permission (in informal language).
may=> might express permission or an eventuality.
must => have to indicate either obligation, duty, or an almost-certainty.
should expresses advice or 'what would be good ...'
ex: The doctor explained that Joanna could survive if she decided to ! She should wish to live !
* Two constructions will have to be used :
- to let somebody do something => Sue didn't want to let her friend die.
Remember that : to let is followed by the verb (without to).
- Less frequent, another expression may puzzle you : Try to remember it ...
ex : There's no reason why Joanna should die, she's so young, strong and willing !
ex : There's no reason why anyone should go out in such terrible weather !
BEWARE of the sequence of tenses and the changes you'll have to make !
You should be ready for the end of this beautiful story ... Give it the tenses it deserves ! Good luck !
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