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VERB TENSE On GMAT always prefer simple tenses. One more [#permalink]
19 Oct 2012, 09:55
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On GMAT always prefer simple tenses. One more important thing is the syntax of tenses in active and passive voices as on GMAT active and passive voice play an important role. The rules of usage of tenses are below:
RULE #1: SIMPLE TENSES
There are three simple tenses. Simple tenses do not use auxiliary verbs (be, have, do).
Simple Present Tense: To show a trend, habitual action, facts.
• Active Voice: Once a week, Tom cleans the house.
• Passive Voice: Once a week, the house is cleaned by Tom.
Simple Past Tense: To show a past completed action.
• Active Voice: Sam repaired the car.
• Passive Voice: The car was repaired by Sam.
Simple Future Tense: To show a future action.
• Active Voice: Rohan will finish the work by 5:00 p.m.
• Passive Voice: The work will be finished by 5:00 p.m.
RULE #2: PERFECT TENSES
There are three Perfect Tenses. Perfect Tenses are used to show completed action. They use auxiliary verbs (has, have, had).
Present Perfect Tense: It is used to show an action that started at an indefinite time in the past and may or may not continue into present. It just shows that event has occurred at least once.
SYNTAX: has / have + past participle
• Active Voice: Many tourists have visited the temple in past three years.
• Passive Voice: The Temple has been visited by many tourists in past three years.
• It has rained for three days.
• India has become a strong economy.
Now consider this sentence:
• Barney Sanders has climbed The Mount Everest.
Before moving ahead ask yourself:
1) When did Barney climb?
2) How many times has Barney climbed Mount Everest?
In fact we cannot answer both the questions. What we know at last is that Barney has climbed Mount Everest at least once.
Present Perfect Vs Simple Past Tense
Consider these two sentences:
1) Ted has visited France.
2) Ted visited France.
Sentence 1) is in Present Perfect Tense and 2) is in Simple Past Tense.
Simple past tense only refers to one specific event in past.
Present perfect does not refer to a specific event. There are several possibilities. Maybe right now Ted is in France. Maybe he visited France last year. We don’t know anything about it. All we can tell is that Ted has visited France at least once.
1) Jill has worked at TLC for eight years. (We don’t know whether she is working there at present or not).
2) Jill worked at TLC for eight years. (Means she does not work at TLC any more).
Now look at these two sentences
1) I bought a new bike. (Simple past is used to emphasize the verb / action, what I did – I bought)
2) I have bought a new bike. (Present Perfect is used to emphasize the result / outcome – a new bike)
Both the sentences are correct. The difference is the emphasis.
USAGE OF PRESENT PERFECT:
If the word since is used, Present perfect must be used to indicate continued effect.
• Since 2011, no one has broken the record for highest run chase in ODIs.
If a prepositional phrase starting with the word “within” is used, then present perfect must be used.
• Within last ten days, twenty people have died due to malaria.
Past Perfect Tense: It is used to describe an action that occurred before some other completed action. The other action is described in simple past tense or by a time marker.
SYNTAX: had + Past participle
• Active Voice: George had repaired many cars before he received his mechanic’s license.
• Passive Voice: Many cars had been repaired by George before he received his mechanic’s license.
• Marcy quickly adjusted to life in Paris because she had studied French.
• The film had started by the time we reached the theatre.
• Prior to 1995, Gary had visited New Delhi several times. (Prior to 1995 is a time marker, so past perfect can be used)
• Mary baked a cake and served it to her family. (Although cake was baked earlier than time it was served, simple past tense can be used. If the order of events is 100% sure, *had* is not mandatory).
• Before John won the lottery he had been a poor locksmith. (Two events are related).
• Before John won the lottery he published a book on American history. (Two events are not related, had is not required).
Future Perfect Tense: It is used to describe a future action that will be completed before another future event.
SYNTAX: will + have + Past Participle
• They will have completed the project before the deadline.
• The project will have been completed before the deadline.
• On May 29th, Barney will have served as Mayor for three years.
RULE #3: CONTINUOUS TENSES
Continuous tenses are used to describe actions that are in progress during the time framework indicated.
Present Continuous Tense: It is used to describe the action that is taking place at present. It uses - am, is, are, was, or were as auxiliary verb with -ing ending on main verb.
SYNTAX: am/is/are + Present Participle
• Active Voice: Sarah is writing the letter.(If I go and have a look at Sarah, then she will be writing a letter at this very moment).
• Passive Voice: The letter is being written by Sarah.(Notice the usage of being).
Do not use present continuous tense to indicate a future action. Use Simple Future.
• Jane is attending a concert tonight. (Incorrect)
• Jane will attend a concert tonight. (Correct)
Past Continuous Tense: It describes an action that was occurring in past when another action occurred.
SYNTAX: was/were + Present Participle
• Active Voice: The salesman was helping the customer when thief came into the store.
• Passive Voice: The customer was being helped by the salesman when thief came into the store.
• Sarah missed the test because she was sleeping.
Future Continuous Tense: It describes an action that will be in progress at some time in future.
SYNTAX: shall be / will be + Present Participle
• Active Voice: At 8:00 p.m. tonight, Sheldon will be doing his laundry.
• Passive Voice: At 8:00 p.m. tonight, the laundry will be being done by Sheldon.
• When Harvey arrives, Kevin will be painting his apartment.
NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PASSIVE VOICE OF FUTURE TENSE Vs FUTURE CONTINUOUS TENSE.
Present Perfect Continuous: It is used to describe an action that started in past and continues into present.
SYNTAX: has/have + been + Present Participle
• John has been waiting here for three hours.
Past Perfect Continuous: To describe an event that started in past and continued till another time in past.
SYNTAX: had + been + Past Participle
• I had been studying when the thief arrived.
The difference between Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous. (See examples)
USAGE OF HAD
Had can also be used to own things and not just as a helping verb in past perfect tense.
• I had an important meeting with the client yesterday. ( We cannot remove had from this sentence)
Had is of course also used as a helping verb but have, has, and had also used to indicate possession.