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Business English Grammar 1

The Tenses of the INDICATIVE MOOD

ASPECT  “the measured or measurable period during which an action.”  “A set of inflected verb forms that indicate the nature of the action of a verb as to its beginning.”  “A distinction of form in a verb to express distinctions of time. perfect) (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) .TIME vs. duration. completion. a non-spatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future.” (simple. or repetition and without reference to its position in time. TENSE. or condition exists or continues. continuous/progressive. process.

AUXILIARY VERBS USED IN THE INDICATIVE MOOD  DO (for the Simple Aspect) – for the negative and interrogative forms  BE (for the Continuous/Progressive Aspect)  HAVE (for the Perfect Aspect) .

SS (to cross)  .O (to do. to swim (She is swimming)  To ski (He will be skiing well next year) . we double the final consonant before adding –ING:  To travel (I am travelling).  SPELLING OF THE PRESENT PARTICIPLE (the –ING form)  When the short infinitive form ends in a short vowel and consonant.X (to tax)  .Y turns into I) (to try)  The auxiliary verb (DO) indicates the present tense in the negative and interrogative sentences:  He doesn’t like Statistics.PROBLEMATIC AREAS  FORMS OF THE PRESENT SIMPLE:  Affirmative: 3rd person singular – short infinitive + -s/-es  –ES is required when the infinitive form ends in:  .consonant + Y (before adding –ES. to go)  .(T)CH: (to watch)  . to refer (He is referring to our department).

 If you see your head of department tomorrow.g.  He is not getting promoted until next year. For habits. I am calling to let you know I am coming to the meeting.  I promise to be more careful. he will present it to his colleagues.THE USES OF THE PRESENT TENSE SIMPLE   CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE     For PERMANENT situations and things that are generally true:  Venus and Mercury are closer to the Sun than the Earth. regret)  I accept their decisions.  She owns her house. things that happen regularly. deny. the employees. admit. bet. .  PC is used to refer to a planned future event:  She is seeing the selection board tomorrow.  It says here that the strike is over. with verbs that describe current states and in informal reports or instructions:  We do not go to work before 8 o’clock in the morning. (informal English)  You go to the end of the street and turn left. tell him that the meeting will be rescheduled. PS is used when we perform an action by speaking (e.  I am studying Economics at FEBA. promise. but it is raining and thee traffic is moving slowly. A future timetabled arrangement:  She leaves tomorrow. (+ ALWAYS and other adverbs of frequency) for communicating the speaker’s irritation because of a repeated action or situation:  He is always preparing for an interview but he never gets to one. apologise. insist.  Does she work in the R&D department?  The employers do not believe in us.  The conference starts next Thursday. In subordinate clauses of time/condition :  After he finishes the project.   For describing gradual change:  He’s becoming more and more like his boss.  For describing current situations as temporary:  I’m answering the phone while the secretary is away for lunch. For actions in progress or when we talk about being in the middle of an activity:  Hello.

 Temporary state in the past  A long-term event from the past that is now completed 30 years.  He was leaving when I came in. SIMPLE  A definite.  I was hoping you might have a spare moment.  Professor Peter Drucker taught at Yale for  + WONDER/THINK/HOPE – expression of polite indirect requests  I was wondering if you could help me. repeated action in the  Past action simultaneous with some past other event (expressed by Past Simple)  While he was travelling for business he met  I wrote letters of application almost every day last month.  A present hypothetical condition in a subordinate clause (after IF.  I graduated FEBA in 2008. an old friend.  He was attending a business presentation at  A habitual.  They lived in Baltimore all their lives. UNLESS. SUPPOSE) made us a consistent discount.30 Friday morning. week.  We would order a larger quantity IF you . completed past PAST TENSE event/action  CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE  Action in progress at a specific point in  I attended a meeting of the committee last the past (an incomplete action) 8.  They were living in Baltimore in the 1990s.

Focus on the DURATION of the action  She has been writing e-mails all morning. An action that started in the past and will continue in the future  I have been teaching for 25 years.  The value of Apple shares has doubled in the last five years.  Action that occurred over a period of time and is completed at the moment of speaking  People have worked better over the hast decade. An evaluative comment on a past event with present evidence  You have been driving without a break again! You’re exhausted! . (I can’t imagine doing anything else) Incomplete accomplishment  This country has been accepting qualified workers from Eastern Europe for many years. Focus on the REPETITION and the RESULT of  the action  She has written four letters of recommendation this month. possibly still ongoing activity  I have been going to job interviews all these months. Temporary action  People have been working better recently due to a contest among employees. (now it’s time to think about doing something else) Completed accomplishment   This country has accepted qualified workers from Eastern European countries in the last few years.PRESENT PERFECT  SIMPLE ( achievement/result)  CONTINUOUS/PROGRESSIVE ( activity/duration)        Specific prior event  I have gone to job interviews lately. An action that started in the past and its  continuation is only a possibility  I have taught for 25 years. A very recently completed action (+  JUST/RECENTLY)  I have just learnt how to design a professional resume.

 Definite time  I went to the USA on business in 1999 and  To correct an untrue belief or expectation  This job is far more difficult than I expected. (It’s still morning. PAST SIMPLE  (is related to the past and is used with specific past time adverbials showing remoteness – YESTERDAY. (he  Complete period of time  My father worked here all his life.PRESENT PERFECT OR PAST SIMPLE PRESENT PERFECT  (Is more related to the present perspective of the event and is used with more general temporal adverbials ALREADY.)  Unfinished state/action  He has been the President of this company Finished state of action  He was the President of this company since 1985.  Indefinite time  I have been to the USA on business twice. LAST…. IN…)   Smith joined the club last year.  Incomplete period of time  My father has worked here all his life.)  longer works there)  I wrote five e-mails this morning. between 1999 and 2007. (It’s afternoon now. (he no still works there)  I have written five e-mails this morning. .YET. EVER)   Smith has joined the club. SINCE. 2007.

 When we arrived the secretary went to lunch.  When we arrived the secretary had already gone to lunch.PAST PERFECT  SIMPLE  An action completed in the  CONTINUOUS / PROGRESSIVE  An action/habit taking place over a past. so her I could offer him a promotion. but we changed our minds after your phone call. A past action in progress interrupted by a more recent past action  We had been planning to go on holiday in Spain. doctor told her to take a leave.  VS. . prior to some other past event or time  He had already resigned before period of time in the past. prior to some other past event  Carol had been working hard.

I’m sure they’ll all be proficient in a couple of months. I’ve tried / I’ve been trying to decide where to put the new workstation. he’s worked / he’s been working in 16 different companies. but I can’t make up my mind.PRACTICE  The Board has just decided / has just been deciding – they’re transferring the         head office to New York. I’ve phoned / I’ve been phoning your office about 20 times this week. It’s very encouraging how staff have got / have been getting to grips with the new system. but you’re never in. Since he graduated. . he’s made / he’s been making a million dollars and he’s only 25! Have you always occupied / have you always been occupying this office? You haven’t sent / haven’t been sending me that report. He’s our most successful candidate. What have you done / have you been doing all this time? I’ve worked / I’ve been working from home while the offices are being redecorated.