By David Rose
Do you ever have any doubts about the correct tense to use when speaking or writing in English? Do the same doubts sometimes make it hard for you to properly catch what you’re reading or listening to?
I’d ask you to consider these two quotes:
(i) Writer Bill Bryson on how English grammar is ‘different’ to other languages:
“Making English grammar conform to Latin rules is like asking people to play baseball using the rules of football”
(ii) The American poet and journalist Walt Whitman on how English has evolved as a language
“Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all”
So, as I’m sure you’ve already realised to some extent, English grammar is different to Latin grammar and the Language itself is a complex mix of inputs from many languages.
Hardly surprising you have some doubts then, is it…!
So, without any further preamble, I’m now going to outline a practical usage map of the most frequently ‘problematic’ tenses and forms to hopefully take away your doubts: Continue reading