Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No Progressive Tense? (Part 7 of 9)

Some verbs don't have a progressive form. Verbs that show action, process, or events can usually be used in a progressive –ing form. She is writing a new book. We call them dynamic verbs.

However, verbs that refer to attitudes, conditions, or relationships can't be used in a progressive –ing form. We call them stative verbs.

Correct: Seth believes your story.

Incorrect: Seth is believing your story. (I've seen this in print, but that still doesn't make it right.)

Here's a list of common stative verbs.


Examples of the wrong use of stative verbs:

* I'm admiring the fall colors. (I admire.)

* I will be wanting more money. (I will want.)

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit www.writertowriter.com.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Future Progressive Tense (Part 6 of 9)

The future progressive tense describes something definite happening in the future—often dependent on another action or condition. It uses the linking verb will plus be and a present participle (a verb ending in –ing.) This form doesn't change whether we refer to I, we, he, she, or they.

* Stan will be running in next year's Boston Marathon.

* Will Brett be coming next week? (A question, but the rule doesn't change.)

* If Twila sells her book, she will be starting on the sequel.

Will I use the future progressive tense correctly?
Yes, if I insert will be with the main verb.

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit www.writertowriter.com.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Past Progressive Tense (Part 5 of 9)

The past progressive is also called the imperfect. Past progressive refers to a past activity that goes on when another action occurs. Or it can describe an event that doesn't have a specified conclusion.

* At noon, I was eating lunch and the phone rang.

* She was planning next month's blog entries when she started to look for a new job.

* Before his father's illness, Sarah was anticipating the holidays. 

I remind myself that
the past progressive tense is imperfect—
it's not completed or is interrupted.

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit www.writertowriter.com.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Progressive Tense (Part 4 of 9)

I'm tired of seeing the progressive tense misused. The progressive tense indicates continuing (therefore progressive) action. It is going on now. To make the progressive form of the present tense, use a form of be and add -ing to the verb.

My rule is that if you can substitute in the process of and have the same meaning, you're probably correct.

* Diana is expecting to see him today.

* Ian is buying his Christmas gifts this week.

* Twila is walking three miles every day, while Shawn is running five miles a day.

* Nelda is getting married in three months. Wrong: There is no continuing action and she's not in the process of getting married. Correct: Nelda will marry (or get married) in three months.

When I use the progressive tense,
I refer to ongoing action.

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit www.writertowriter.com.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Three Perfect Tenses (Part 3 of 9)

The perfect tenses all take a form of have (has, had) and a past participle. They indicate action that was or will be completed by a specific time or by the time of another action.

Present perfect:

* Henry has already written next month's blogs. 

* Ellie has searched for the Word document every day this week. 

Past perfect:

* By the time of Henry's vacation, he will already have written four blogs. 

* Ellie had searched for the Word document several times before she found it.

Future perfect:

* By the end of July, Henry will have planned December's blogs. 

* After Ellie checks the computer room, she will have searched everywhere.

I'll remember that perfect means completed.

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit www.writertowriter.com.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Past Perfect Tense (Part 2 of 9)

Most writers have little trouble with the present, future, or simple past tense. However, the past perfect seems to bewilder many.

1. The past perfect tense refers to action done in the past.

* They had cashed their checks before they bought groceries. (Cashing checks was completed before they spent the money.)

* After we had mixed the formula, we waited for it to cool.

2. The past perfect tense can refer to action completed but it also relates to the present.

* I had been preparing for my speech when Jason knocked.

* By the time Eldon resigned, he had already prepared the next marketing strategy.

Another way to say it is that past perfect describes an action that was completed before another past action took place. We always indicate past perfect with a helping verb, has or had.

When I refer to a completed action of the past, 
I remember to use has or had.

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit www.writertowriter.com.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Using Tenses Correctly (Part 1 of 9)

In English, we have three simple tenses that place action in the present, past, or future.

Present: Melvin seems happy today.

Past: Melvin looked depressed yesterday.

Future: Melvin will look different after his surgery. (Note that the future tense has a helping verb/modal auxiliary, usually will.)

The simple present and past tenses don't use a helping verb. The simple present tense means actions occurring now or habitually. The simple past means actions completed at a specific time in the past.

To write well, I need to understand tenses.

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Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer Conference will be held January 16-18, 2015, at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA, prior to the Munce Group Christian Product Expo (CPE). Faculty includes Cec, Jerry Jenkins, and Shawn and Suzanne Kuhn (SuzyQ). For more information, visit www.writertowriter.com.