Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Verbs: Episode 3: The Perfect

Okay.  This post is tremendously late.  My apologies.

Perfect verbs.  Yeah, let's go there.

The trickiest thing about perfect tense: participles are not past tense.  Most native speakers hear this when they combine have with a second verb, but this is tricky if you haven't talked about the perfect tense as a separate form.  Yes, perfect is a separate tense (I may go into the separate tenses another time).

Another thing about perfect tense is its meaning.  Perfect tense refers to an event that started and may or not have stopped at the present, for present perfect, or in a point in the past, for past perfect, or in a point in the future, for future.

Couple of quick examples.

When this blog began four years ago, Randy, Keith, Mike, and I had been friends for about five years ["had been" is the perfect past].

Now, despite our differences, we love each other dearly, and we have been friends for nearly ten years ["have been" is the present perfect].

If we are still friends when I turn 30, we will have been friends for nearly 20 years [please forgive the math, I'm going to be young forever; anyway, "will have been" is the future perfect].

This is a dense lesson in grammar and the longevity of friendship.  The perfect tense has some amazing applications for writing prose.  More on this next time....

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