By Goke Ilesanmi
Last week, we said Present Perfect Tense is formed through the combination of the singular primary auxiliary verb “has” or the plural form “have” and the past participle form of any verb involved, e.g. “I have written the note”.
As regards Past Perfect Tense, we said this is the past form of the Present Perfect Tense, and it is formed through the combination of the past primary auxiliary verb “had” and the past participle form of the verb involved.
We said Simple Future Tense is used to express simple futurity. We explained that here, the first person singular personal pronoun “I” and the plural “We” make use of the modal auxiliary verb “Shall” to express simple futurity, e.g. “I/We shall go today.” We stressed that however, second-person singular and plural personal pronoun “You”; third person singular pronouns “He”, “She” and “It” and third person plural pronoun “They” use “Will” to express their simple futurity, e.g. “He/She/It/You/They will go today.”
We said in spoken English, it is “Will” that is more commonly used for all persons and the implication of this indiscriminate use of “Will” is that a listener may not know whether a speaker is expressing simple futurity or expressing a promise, especially when Will is used with “I” and We.
Future Perfect Tense
This tense is formed through the combination of simple future tense and present perfect tense. It tells us about an action that will be completed by a particular future date. Here, the assignment of “Shall” and “Will” is just as applicable in simple future tense. A lot of people wrongly use “Would have” for all persons while using this tense, even in the present-tense case, probably because the phrase is phonetically pleasant. The standard way of using this tense is: “By next month, I/we shall have worked here for five years”; “By next month, they will have worked here for five years”, etc.
A lot of people wrongly use “Would have” for all persons while using this tense, even in the present-tense case, probably because the phrase is phonetically pleasant. The standard way of using this tense is: “By next month, I/we shall have worked here for five years”; “By next month, they will have worked here for five years”, etc.
Note: You can confirm this usage from any standard dictionary, especially Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English 2000 edition (page 1310) or just check “Future Perfect Tense” in any edition of any standard dictionary.
Future Perfect Continuous
This is formed through the combination of simple future tense, present perfect tense and present continuous tense. It tells us about an action that will have been completed for a duration of time at some future time and then still continue, e.g. “By next month, I shall have been working here for five years.”
The difference between future perfect tense and future perfect continuous is that here, it is additionally expressed in the Future Perfect Continuous Tense that working here will continue even after this period, a notion that is embedded in the present participle “Working”.
Future Continuous Tense
This is made up of simple future tense and present continuous tense. It is used for an action that is progressing at some future time, e.g. “We shall be discussing tomorrow.”
Present Perfect Continuous Tense
This tense reflects the integration of present perfect tense and present continuous tense. It is more commonly used with verbs that have long duration, e.g. “Wait”, “Walk”, “Work”, “Sit”, “Stand”, etc. This tense is used to express an action that started at some time in the past and is still in progress now, e.g. “I have been writing since morning.”
Some grammarians say this tense can also be used when an action is not actually in progress. But I think this flexibility or deliberate infringement is better restricted to spoken English alone, because, strictly considered, as soon as an action that started in the past and is progressing to the present time ends, it is better expressed in past perfect continuous tense.
Past Perfect Continuous Tense
This is formed through the combination of past perfect tense and the continuous tense. It is the past form of the present perfect continuous tense. This tense is used to express an action that is no longer taking place, but continuing in the past, e.g. “I had been writing since yesterday, but stopped an hour ago.”
Finally, when we talk about any form of verbal communication, the issue of tenses is very important because tense is any of the verb forms relating time to action. This time is basically divided into past, present and future. There is actually a problem when we cannot accurately relate time to action and use the appropriate tenses in a given business situation.
For any speaker of English aspiring to attain a respectable level of proficiency in the deployment of the language, mastery of tenses is not only a matter of necessity but also that of compulsion. Therefore, endeavour to achieve respectable proficiency in your (business) communication today through commendable mastery of proper application of various types of tenses.
PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425