Jun 26, 2011

I Love the "Past Perfect Tense"

When I write in English, I feel as if I'm solving a jigsaw puzzle.

At first I think of what I want to express -in other words, the picture of the jigsaw puzzle, which I want to solve- and then I look for the right pieces. I try to put some pieces into the empty spaces between the parts I have already assembled, and I find they don't fit the space. Then, I look in the dictionary and thesaurus to find the right piece. Each time I find the right piece I fit it in where it belongs. I'm really satisfied with it.

Tense is one aspect of a jigsaw pieces. To express what I mean precisely, it's necessary to find the right piece with the right tense. There are more varieties of tense in English than in Japanese, for example: was, have been, had been, will be, would be, will have been, would have been, is ~ing, was ~ing, have been ~ing, had been ~ing, will be ~ing, would be ~ing, will have been ~ing, would have been ~ing. So sometimes it's difficult for me to choose the right tense. But when I can express precisely what I mean precisely by using the right tense, I feel the same kind of satisfaction that comes from solving a jigsaw puzzle.

When I caught a cold, I tweeted as follows.

I had felt much better, so I stopped taking medicine. Since then, my temperature has been getting higher. I'm really getting tired of having a fever and a cold, now.

I used four different forms of tenses in these four sentences. It's fun for me to use different tenses. (I guess that English native speakers would be able to understand this feeling.)

I'll translate it into Japanese.


In Japanese we don't have the past perfect tense, we can't express which is earlier "feel much better" and "stop taking medicine" by using the past perfect tense and we use the past tense for both of the sentences. But of course we understand the causal relationship of "feel much better" and "stop taking medicine" from the context.

No comments:

Post a Comment