Lesson 40 - Summary Of Tense Forms

To start off this month's article here is the translation into English of last month's little bit of Spanish.

Hoy ha sido un día normal de trabajo para mí, con mis clases en Torrevieja. Tengo muchos alumnos ya, sobre todo en el segundo grupo del día.

Después de la última clase tengo que recoger todas mis cosas y volver a mi casa en coche. Hoy he pasado al supermercado para comprar naranjas y pan, y también a la tienda de fotocopias. En casa he encontrado a mis dos hijas, una viendo la tele y la otra estudiando para un examen. Esto no es lo más norma en nuestra casa. Muchas veces mis hijas están fuera de casa haciendo deporte o paseando con sus amigos. Pues, la hora es bastante tarde ya y estoy trabajando todavía. Enseguida voy a apagar este maldito ordenador y relajarme un poco antes de dormir. ¡Qué vida tengo!

Today has been a normal working day for me, with my classes in Torrevieja. I have a lot of students now, especially in the second group of the day. After the final class I have to gather all my things and drive towards my home in San Pedro. Today I have called into the supermarket to buy oranges and bread, and also to the photocopy shop. I have found my two daughters at home, one watching the TV and the other one studying for an exam. This isn't the most usual situation. Many times they are out doing sport or walking with their friends. Well, it's quite late now and I am still working. In a minute I'm going to switch of this cursed computer and relax a little before going to sleep. What a life I lead!

Before we move onto a new topic, we are going to summarize the three verb forms we have been studying over a period of months. If you remember, right back at the beginning we looked at a way of referring to our future intentions by using 'voy a' (I'm going to), which changes to 'vas a' (you're going to), 'va a' (he or she is going to), 'vamos a' (we're going to) 'vais a' (you're going to – plural form) and 'van a' (they're going to). We saw that after these we put the main verb of the sentence into the infinitive form – giving us, for example 'Voy a comer' (I'm going to eat) or 'Vas a aprender' (you are going to learn).

Later we looked at the 'present action' tense which expresses activities taking place at the present moment. This is made up by using the verb 'estar' in the appropriate form and the main verb in what we call the 'gerund' or 'present participle'. That gives us, for example 'estoy comiendo' (I am eating), 'estás aprendiendo' (you are learning).

Finally, we have been looking at the 'recent past' tense which expresses something in the past which is still connected in some way to the present. This is formed with the verb 'haber' plus the 'past participle'. 'He comido' (I have eaten), 'Has aprendido' (you have learnt).

We can therefore put these ideas together to form a 'time line' as follows:

Voy a comer.
(I'm going to eat)
Estoy comiendo.
(I'm eating)
He comido.
(I have eaten)
Vas a aprender.
(You're going to learn)
Estás aprendiendo.
(You are learning)
Has aprendido.
(You have learnt)

You can now have hours of fun doing the same thing with as many verbs as you wish and changing the person to 'he', 'she', 'we', 'they' etc.

I think it is an effective way of revising what we have learnt, reminding ourselves which form is which and how it is made up and also the time sequencing of past, present and future.

Voy a terminar este artículo. Estoy terminando este artículo. He terminado este artículo. Hasta luego.

Jane Cronin's "Step by Step Spanish" articles are available as e-books at www.janecronin.eu where you can also obtain Jane's "Step by Step Internet Spanish" course.