Blog 018. (English version)
How are you getting on with “talking-to-yourself” practice?
In the last article (Eigo-jiru 009), I mentioned that these forms
are mainly used for broadcasting your action/thought in real life.
We have already done the “Future tense”, so we’ll work on the rest that is… “Present continuous” and “Present perfect” this time.
Let’s check them out.
The “Present tense” is a primary verb tense, therefore obviously we learn it before learning the “Present continuous”.
However, the “Present tense” is only used to describe your “current activity”(ex. “I wake up at 6pm everyday”) or “state of being” (ex. “I’m hungry” or “I feel sick”) or when you explain things.
When it comes to the “Present tense” in Japanese, it will be expressed with the form of…
“~suru” (=do in English)
“ Japanes verb form finishing with the letter “u” like…
and so on.
however, the form of this “suru” or “~ru” doesn’t really change when it comes to expressing the future event in Japanese, while in English, “will” and “going to” are added.
(So, in Japanese, the verb form with “present tense” and “future tense” are hard to distinguish without knowing the context.)
For instance, when you mention about “eating an apple”, it is often described with “Future event” like…
“I’ll eat an apple”,
“I’m going to eat an apple”,
on the other hand, you don’t really use the “present tense” like…
“I eat apples”
in your daily life,
unless somebody asks you “Do you eat apples?”.
Anyway, let’s keep going with the subject of “eating an apple”.
When we take some actions, I believe we basically go through the following phases…
① Thinking about doing something.
② You are actually doing it.
③ You have finished doing it.
And apply this for the action of “eating an apple”, it will be…
① “I’ll eat an apple.” or “I’ll have an apple.”
② “I’m eating an apple.” or “I’m having an apple.”
③ “I’ve eaten an apple.” or “I’ve had an apple.” or “I’ve finished eating an apple.”
Therefore, it naturally proceeds like…
① “Future tense” ➡︎ ② “Present continuous” ➡︎ ③ “Present perfect”
Well, the topic has gone off the track slightly, but I just wanted to explain for the people who was wondering why the “present tense” has not been selected in the three tenses which are often used for broadcasting your action/thought in real life…
Well anyway, we are going through “Present continuous”, and I believe it will be the most “straightforward” one among the three.
All you need for expressing your ongoing action is to create a form of
(be verb + Present participle ＜verb + ing＞), really…
“I’m brushing my teeth.”
“I’m preparing for my dinner.”
“I’m trying to learn to play the guitar.”
“I’m trying to lose my weight.”
“I’m giving up!”
Or if the sentence starts with the subject which is other than yourself…
“The water is boiling.” or “It’s boiling.”
“It’s leaking from the ceiling.”
“My head (shoulder, stomach) is aching.”
“The typhoon is approaching.”
“The colour is turning to red.”
So, let’s try to speak out (not speaking in your mind) whatever you are doing, or whatever is happening round you right now.
And finally, if you could use the “Present continuous” along with what is explained in the last article “Eigo-jiru 009” (describing the “future event” which was decided before the moment of speaking <especially when you talk about your “plans” or “schedules”> with “Present continuous”), it will be perfect for now!
About the “Present perfect”
We are going to work on the phase ③, the “Present perfect” which I had mentioned earlier.
We all learnt about this at some point of our compulsory education period, however, I guess some of you might not remember how it works, so, let’s take this opportunity to revise.
Back in the school, we must have learnt four types of “Present perfect” which are to describe…
①“Recently completed actions”,
③ “Unfinished actions” (duration from past until present),
④ “Finished actions” (present result caused by the past event),
however, we are going to focus on only ① “Recently completed actions” (the ones that began at some point in the past and has just finished recently) here,
therefore, please forget about ②, ③, and ④ for the time being. (I will explain them with some other opportunities.)
If you are slightly confused about when to use the “Present perfect”, I think it makes easier for you to understand if you take the “past” and the “present” as “dot” or “point” in the flow of the time.
The “Presentperfect” is…
to describe the action that began at some point in the past and has just finished at the present point,
and it has got the structure of…
“have (has) + past participle”.
(Perhaps this is not the best example, but easy to understand… so…)
The granddad who was born at some point in the past has just died in front of his son like… “M… my son…, I’ll…I’ll leave the things… to ..you… ” (with the noise of flopping down.)
Then, the son could say…
“He has just deceased.”
(“deceased” = formal or clinical version of saying “died”)
with the form of “Present perfect”
(By the way, the adverb “just”or “already” are often used together in the present perfect sentence.)
On the other hand, the “Past perfect” is…
(I’m not going into its details here, but I thought it would be a good reference to pick up in order to comprehend the “Present perfect”.)
to describe the action that began at some point in the past and had finished later at some point of the past,
and it is expressed with the structure of…
“had + past participle”.
(I’m sorry but I am featuring “granddad” here once again for the sake of simpler comprehension…)
Despite the fact that the son kept calling his granddad, there was no sign of him picking up his phone, therefore, the son decided to visit him directly.
When he got there, his granddad was already dead.
Now, if you look at the grandad’s death from the point of his son’s arrival, whether it happened ten hours ago or just three minutes ago does not really matter. It happened at some point in the past.
So, the son could say…
“When I visited his (grandad’s) house, he had already deceased.”
Anyway, I repeat once again that the “Present perfect” is…
to describe the action that began at some point in the past and has just finished at the present point.
“The Present perfect / examples”
While you are carrying out your soliloquy, I presume you will eventually come to the point where if you should use “Present perfect” or simply using “Past tense”.
The point for choosing the present perfect form is always…
“You have been doing the activity which you started at some point in the past until now”
For example, you have been writing an email for somebody, and you have just finished and pressed the “send” button.
You could say…
“Phew. I’ve just sent an email!”
or if you are using the passive form, it will be…
“The email has just been sent!”
“Just” is used very often with the present perfect form, therefore creating a habit of putting “just” after “have (has)” whenever you feel the vibe of it, could be a nice move…
The parcel is meant to be arriving in your address this morning, and you have been waiting for it for some time… and then you hear the doorbell ringing and see the delivery guy walking in…
Here, you can say…
“The delivery has just arrived.”
Or if you want to emphasise the time you have been waiting, you could say it by adding the word “finally”, like…
“The delivery has finally arrived.”
You hear the beeping sound that tells you the end of the program from the washing machine, here you can say…
“The washing has just been done!”
You have been charging your mobile phone and see the digits turning to “100”% on its screen. You could say…
“My mobile phone has been fully charged.”
You are checking your driver’s license card and it is telling you that it was valid until… oh, no… yesterday!!!
“My driver’s license has just expired!”
Let’s try some with negative version, too!
You are checking the chicken in the pan and have found that its meat is still a bit reddish.
You can say…
“The chicken has not been cooked, yet.”
You are about to go to bed and just realised that you had forgotten to do your homework.
“Oops! I haven’t finished my homework, yet!”
Like “just” and “already” are used in the affirmative sentence of the present perfect form, “yet” is often used in the negative sentence of the same form.
I’ll leave one more example here just in case…
“I haven’t taken a shower, yet.”
And the other thing is that…
as it was included in the sentence of the “homework” earlier, the verbs such as “finish” and “complete” are often used in the sentence of present perfect from.
“I have finished my lunch.”
“I have just completed this book.”
If you would like to tell what kind of action has finished or completed,
you can turn the verb into the present participle form,
and then add it to have + past participle form of “finish” or “complete”.
have + finished or completed + present participle of the verb
So, if we use the examples above, they will be…
“I have finished eating my lunch.”
“I have completed reading this book.”
So, this is it.
Let’s apply last article’s “Future tense”, and this time’s “Present continuous” and “Present perfect” to our daily soliloquy activity for more variety!
Let’s keep it up for our future glory!!!