Today’s Feature Post is by CANE regular Ruth Breindel, who shares a PowerPoint that she uses to help students understand tense.
I have found that some students don’t understand time – how the various tenses interact with each other. Here is one way I show them, using a PowerPoint of a Christmas tree – see tree tenses here!
How to use this:
- After you have explained and explained and explained how the tenses relate, and they still don’t get it, show them the slides.
- They are arranged so that the time sequence is: Pluperfect, Perfect, Imperfect, Present, Future and Future Perfect. Note too that the tenses are not put in a straight line, but in a “swoop” down and up. For some unknown reason, this does help some students to understand the relationship better.
- With the first presentation of each tense, there is a time assigned to it, so students get the idea of the passage of time.
- The future perfect, being an “unreal” tense, is shown last, as an amalgam of the future and the perfect. Personally, I tell my students that they may never use the future perfect in a sentence, because I’ve found that they will translate the perfect (amaverunt – they loved) as the future perfect (they will have loved) just because they are so enamoured of the future perfect! I think this is because the “erunt” ending on the perfect looks just too much like the future. I’d rather have them wrong 1% of the time by using the perfect for the future perfect, than wrong 99% of the time by using the future perfect for the perfect!
- I tried to inject some humor into this, too:
- the imperfect has a broken ornament, making it “imperfect”
- the present tense is a present under the tree
Feel free to modify this – add color, or Latin, or whatever!