Back to the future-in-the-past (Sequence of Tenses)

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Should we have 2 new items in English grammar?

Poll ended at Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:33 am

Yes. If it works, why not?
No votes
No. I don't like the idea.
No votes
I don't care
No votes
I don't understand the issue.
No votes
What is Sequence of Tenses?
No votes
Total votes: 0

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Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2017 7:16 am

Back to the future-in-the-past (Sequence of Tenses)

Post by granav » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:33 am

Dear Colleagues,

Like many others I had difficulties in teaching Sequence of Tenses(SoT) rules to my students.

To overcome the problem I built a pictorial chart. Switching to pictorial chart helped a lot. However, another problem appeared.

Exploring SoT rules with my pictorial chart I somehow naturally came to a need to add 2 new items to English grammar. Here is the logic

I understand that Past-in-the-Past looks weird. However, "Back to the Future" also looked weird at the beginning. Now everybody used to it and there are no troubles of any kind.

here is a full chart of what I suggest. ... Tenses.pdf

I would like to know your opinion on it.


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Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:19 pm

Post by GeorgiPorgy » Fri May 04, 2018 8:23 am

You've made a great effort there, but one of your links does not open (only the pictorial sequence chart opens).

It is very comprehensive but might look a little confusing to the eye, at least at first.

If it's of any interest, here's what I did with what you call 'the past in the past' (I was interested to see that you had called it a similar name as I have done).

I have always been a great fan of simplifying complex knowledge as much as possible, so a simple, linear timeline has been a great help in explaining all the tenses to students.

Anyway, I always refer to the Past Perfect Tense (ie 'I HAD done A before B happened) as 'the past Before the past' tense, because that is really what it is:
We are talking about something that happened in the past using Past Simple, but then if we want to add information about what happened before that moment, we have to use 'the past before the past' (Past Perfect).

My students always understood that expression and principle with great ease.

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