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The use of tenses: a strange request...(1)
1) EXPRESSING THE PAST:
a) You're asking for one ... 'Please, another story' ! Here's one ...
Remember, the tense of narration is the simple past.
ex : After hesitating a little, he entered the old pharmacy ...
b) When two past actions took place simultaneously, the long and (important) action is in the preterite in -ing and the short action which interrupts the long one, is in the simple past.
ex : When the man entered, the pharmacist was preparing a lotion.
c) IMPORTANT! If an action took place before a past action (narrated in the simple past), it must be in the past perfect simple (or in – ing if you want to insist on the duration of the action ) :
had + verb in the past participle or had + been + verb + ing
ex : Before entering, the man had hesitated a little.
ex : Before entering, the man had been hesitating for a few minutes.
2) THE PASSIVE FORM: In order to make sure you progressed in the use of the passive, I went on using a great number of actions endured by different subjects :
these actions are in the passive form!
ex : In the old pharmacy, vials and bottles were classified on shelves which had been filled with all sorts of old remedies.
In these sentences, 'vials and bottles were classified ' and 'the shelves had been filled', we can notice, in English like in French, that the auxiliary which is used, that of the passive form, is the auxiliary: to be. It can be conjugated in all the different tenses.
ex: The pharmacist will be asked a very strange question...
ex: The client had been given this adress by a friend of his.
Let's not forget that the complement introduced by 'by', and which represents the subject of the verb, is the agent. (here, 'a friend of his' is the agent)
3) AS IF / LIKE:
Here are the rules: LIKE + noun and AS + proposition ( = clause = subject + verb) . AS IF/ AS THOUGH + proposition (= clause= subject + Verb in the modal past = what is unreal , doesn't exist.)
ex : The little pharmacy looked like a very old laboratory.
ex : It looks as if the client wanted to kill somebody...
4) I WISH: may express a wish (referring to the present or the future) or a regret (referring to the past). ('I wish' can be replaced by 'IF ONLY')
- a wish, a desire: I WISH + modal past expresses a wish which can still be realized => what is unreal in the present (but may be real in the future).
ex : I wish I had an undetectable poison...
ex : I wish I were a pharmacist myself... (the modal past of 'to be' is 'were', including in the 3rd person singular.)
I WISH + .... WOULD => may express either irritation, annoyance, discontentment, or on the contrary a polite request.
ex: I wish you wouldn't ask so many questions... (annoyance!)
- a regret : I WISH + past perfect => expresses the regret that a wish or an action hasn't been realized (depicts an unreal action in the past).
ex : I wish I had suspected what was going to happen... (BEWARE! There MUST be a negative form in French. In order to be able to build 'regrets' more easily, think of 'If only' ! )
I hope you'll remember this lesson for the test! Good luck!
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