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Questions, Questions, and Questions

 
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young6ee



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 5
Location: United States

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 7:06 pm    Post subject: Questions, Questions, and Questions Reply with quote

Hello,
My name is Young, and I came to America little less than 4 years ago.
Fortunately, I met great friends and teachers in high school, and was able to learn a lot of English language.
Although people say my English got way better than the time when I came to America, which I agree, I am still not satisfied with my English.

It feels like there's some kind of a barrier between my English and native speaker's English. And I understand that I might not be able to break that barrier in my lifetime, but I want to do everything that I can to come closer.

Oops, I guess I talked too much about myself!!

Anyway, I want to be better in English language before I go to college in September, and that's why I thought of this place. (I had read an article about this cafe on school ESL board when I was in high school)

Lately, I got SOOO irritated with "have, had, have been, and had been".

Can somebody please teach me when to use those?
I'm not asking for basic use, like "I have three cats" or "I had three cats, but they all ran away".

Like, "The train had started", "The train has started", or just "The train started".
And also like, "I had never seen it before", "I have never seen it before", or "I never saw it before".


I asked my friends, but they were like, "Young, we grew up in English. It's so hard to explain."

Another question, In "I'd like to ~" does "I'd" stand for I would?
Do "I'd"s always stand for I would?
I'm asking because it seemed to me that "I'd" was used as "I had" sometimes when I watch TV. Maybe a slang term on the caption?

Thank you so much for reading all this, and I'll be waiting for replies.
Thank YOU!
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Lib



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2003 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Young,
Your English is certainly very good. Congratulations! About your questions: I think I'd prefer to let an AE (American English) speaker reply to your first set of doubts. I speak BE (British English) and I know there are some differences in the use of the past (the train started) and what I call the present perfect (the train has started).
Regarding your second question: YES! 'd can be 'would' or 'had'. It's actually quite easy to recognise which is which. If 'd is followed by an inifinitive, then it's 'would': I'd like to go to the cinema. I'd buy a car if I had enough money.
If 'd is followed by a participle, then it's 'had': I'd finished preparing lunch when they arrived. I'd never been there before.
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young6ee



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 5
Location: United States

PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2003 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you so much for your kindness, Lib.
I feel so good when I learn new things.

Hopefully, somebody else would answer my 1st part of questions soon.

Thank you so much, once again!
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bud



Joined: 09 Mar 2003
Posts: 2111
Location: New Jersey, US

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2003 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Young, I agree with Lib that your English is very good. Bravo for wanting to improve it even more.

I don't know the names of tenses, but I can give you a reason for using each of your examples. There may be other reasons besides these:

"The train had started" - You would use this when you are referring to something in the past, and this particular event happened even earlier than your context. For example - "I was very tired and all I wanted to do was go home and get to bed. The train had started five minutes before I got to the station, so I was really in a bind. Since it was the last train of the day,..." The train started even earlier than the timeframe of your story.

"The train has started" - You would use this for something that started in the past and continues at present. For example - Dear Chris, the train has started and it will be a long trip, so I thought I'd use the time to write you this letter... (Of course for I/you/we/they you would use "have." "I have started my homework, Mom.")

Sometimes the event started and ended in the past, but it remains relevant to the present context. For example - "No thanks, I don't want half of your sandwich because I have already eaten lunch."

"The train started" - This is a little more difficult to describe. I think I would use this when the context of time, other than the fact that it is in the past, is not important. For example - "The train started at 8:30 this morning. There must have been problems because it always leaves at 8 sharp..." There is nothing happening at present that relates to the fact that the train started late this morning. There is nothing that is affected now by that fact, so I used the simple past. Note that I used "there must have been problems" because that fact does have relevance to the train leaving late.

I hope that helps. Maybe Lib will add her thoughts even though her English is a little different. I suspect she can explain it better.
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Lib



Joined: 02 May 2003
Posts: 35

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok Bud, thanks for that! As far as I can see there really is no difference between BE and AE (although I've heard differently).
I agree with your usage of the Past Perfect: We would say 'The train had started' when we are speaking about a past time and want to refer to an earlier past - When I finally found a seat the train had (already) started - I found a seat, and before that moment the train started.
If we say 'the train has started', we mean that NOW the train is moving. The present perfect (has started) always tells us something about the present. In this case it tells us that the train is moving.
Your other example 'I've had lunch' also tells us something about the present - that you are not hungry now.
The past simple (the train started) simply tells us about the past. It has nothing to do with the present moment.
Hope all this helps you, young6ee.
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bud



Joined: 09 Mar 2003
Posts: 2111
Location: New Jersey, US

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your thoughts, Lib. Now I have a better grasp.
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young6ee



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 5
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 4:14 pm    Post subject: Thank you so much! Reply with quote

Wow!!

You guys are awesome!

I feel a lot better with the usage!

Thank you so much!!

This webpage is so great!!

Thank you again!
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river1974



Joined: 20 May 2003
Posts: 525
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2003 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The English grammar has always been a confused thing for me, too. For examples, sometimes I don't know how to distinguish the differences between "to" and "for" while they are used as a preposition, as well as the proper usages between "while" and "when". Although I do refer to the grammatical reference book, I still feel puzzled about these usages. I guess the best way to correctly use these terms is just to read more English articles, and I need to pay more attention to it.
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dduck



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 109
Location: Scotland/Mexico

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

river1974 wrote:
The English grammar has always been a confused thing for me, too. For examples, sometimes I don't know how to distinguish the differences between "to" and "for" while they are used as a preposition, as well as the proper usages between "while" and "when". Although I do refer to the grammatical reference book, I still feel puzzled about these usages. I guess the best way to correctly use these terms is just to read more English articles, and I need to pay more attention to it.


Let's start with:

'While' represents a time period. For example:

While I was waiting for the number 10 bus (normally about 5 minutes), the weather turned bad.
While he was talking (2 minutes) I thought of something interesting to say.

When represents an event. For example:

When the bus arrived I was completely soaked.
When do you think he'll arrive?
When the time comes, I'll know what to do.

Iain
_________________

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.
--Chinese Proverb
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hitchhiker



Joined: 03 Jul 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This page might be useful:

http://www.englishforums.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1525
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young6ee



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 5
Location: United States

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THANK YOU GUYS!!
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