Category Archives: Parts of Speech

Migrating to Canada and Improving my English – Verb Tense – Past Tense

Migrating to Canada and Improving my English
by Sharon Regalado

Sharon is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency.  She is preparing for her migration to Canada, and she wants to improve her English and communication skills first.
Sharon is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency. She is preparing for her migration to Canada, and she wants to improve her English and communication skills first.

Hello everyone.  I am Sharon, and I am studying at the American Institute for English Proficiency because I am going to migrate to Canada very soon.  My husband has already been living there for five years, and my papers will soon be completed this year.  After five long years of having a long distance marriage, I am so excited to finally join him.  My two kids can’t wait to see their father as well.

But before we go to Canada, my husband told me that I needed to improve my English and communication skills because he wants to make sure that we will adjust more easily and quickly to the environment there.  I can easily adapt to things, but English is one of the things I don’t do so well.  Now that I am studying at The American Institute, I feel a little more confident day by day.

I am writing here on my teacher’s blog as part of my assignments to improve my English and communication skills.  I will be practicing my sentence structures, subject-verb agreement, and verb tenses.

Verb Tenses
Click on image to enlarge.

First, I will focus on my verb tenses, especially the past tense, because during class, I had difficulty being in the right tense.  When I talked about an event in the past, I always switched to the present tense.  You may wonder why my writing is like this, but of course, my teacher has already corrected this.

So on to the past tense.  I need to make sure that when I describe something in the past, I am writing in the past tense.  My teacher, Chris Delacruz, taught me that there are four past tenses: simple, progressive, perfect, and perfect progressive.  Here’s a quick explanation of the four past tenses:

Simple: Verb +d (baked), +ed (cooked), +ied (studied), irregular (ate)

  • I baked a cake with my kids yesterday.
  • I cooked pakbet for lunch, and my kids loved it.
  • I studied my English lessons, especially the verb tenses.
  • I ate with my kids at the mall.

According to my teacher, the simple past tense is used to describe an event that happened in the past.  It is used to generally describe a completed event or situation.

Progressive: was/were + verb + ing (was/were eating)

  • I was eating when you called me.
  • They were eating when I called them.

According to my teacher, the past progressive tense is used to describe an event that started in the past and continued.  It was ongoing.  The action was moving.  It was not completed yet.  In Filipino, we say, “tuloy, tuloy.”

Perfect: had + past participle (had eaten)

  • I had eaten my breakfast before I went to school.
  • I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m. before I went to school at 9 a.m..
  • I went to school at 9 a.m. after I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m..
  • After I had eaten my breakfast with my kids at 8 a.m., I went to school at 9 a.m..

According to my teacher, the past perfect tense is used when we have at least two events or situations that were completed in the past.  For example, in this case, “eat breakfast” and “go to school.”  So instead of saying it with two simple past tenses like, “I ate breakfast.  Then I went to school,” we can also use the past perfect form like, “I had eaten breakfast before I went to school.”  This would make the speaker sound more sophisticated.

In Filipino, the past perfect tense is equivalent to “naka,” as in “Nakapagluto ako ng tanghalian bago ako pumunta sa eskwelahan.”  I had cooked lunch before I went to school.

Perfect Progressive: had + been + verb + ing (had been eating)

  • I had been eating when you called.
  • My kids had been watching TV when I talked to my husband.
  • They had been listening to the teacher when it started to rain outside.
  • I had been cooking lunch when doorbell rang.

According to my teacher, it is similar to the past perfect form, except that the first event or situation is still ongoing when the second event happened.  The activity is still moving when the second event completed.

My assignment is to write more examples in the comment section of this article.  My teacher will be monitoring my progress here.  Please feel free to practice here with me, so that we can learn from each other.  I am still learning, and I know that I have a lot to learn.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon is a student at the American Institute for English Proficiency.  She is migrating to Canada, and she would like to improve her English and communication skills first before going.

Advertisements

How to Put your Adjectives in Order

A Philippine colorful, old, slow,  beautiful, passenger boxy jeepney.  A what???  That’s right.  What happens when you have several adjectives to describe something?  Do you know how to correctly put them in order?  It’s so much easier when you only have a two adjectives, but it gets very confusing when you have more than that.  Here’s your guide on how to put the adjective in order:

Study English at the American Institute for English Proficiency: www.aiepro.com
Study English at the American Institute for English Proficiency: http://www.aiepro.com
  1. Determiner – a, an, the, my, your, few, several
  2. Observation (Opinion) – beautiful, fast, colorful
  3. Physical Description (Size) – big, small, tiny, huge
  4. Physical Description (Shape) – rectangular, round, square
  5. Physical Description (Age) – new, old, young, ancient
  6. Physical Description (Color) – red, white, blue, yellow
  7. Origin – Filipino, Philippine American, Spanish
  8. Material – gold, wooden, metal
  9. Qualifier – Purpose Adjective, Limits the Noun  such as basketball player, sleeping bag, birthday party
  10. Noun – What you are describing

Here are some examples:

  1. I met a beautiful, petite, young, tanned Filipino woman at the birthday party.
  2. I would like to buy a fast, big, red, Italian sports car for my birthday next year.
  3. I ate a delicious, round, white, Filipino, street food they call squid or chicken ball.

Now let’s try describing the jeepney again using the royal order of adjectives.  Can you do it now?  One easy way to memorize the order is to put it into an acronym or initialism: DOSSACOMQ.  Can you create a sentence out of that?  Hmmm.  Let me try making one.  I’ll be back to update this blog when I come up with one.  In the meantime, keep practicing and you’ll eventually get it without using a cheat sheet.

Easy Way to Remember the PARTS OF SPEECH

Image Source: GrammarKnot
Image Source: GrammarKnot. Click on image to enlarge.

To master English, one must have a very good foundation of the English language, which begins with understanding the categories the different words belong to.  These categories are called “Parts of Speech,” which are the building blocks of forming sentences.  Each word in the English language belongs to eight different categories:

  1. Verb
  2. Adjective
  3. Noun.  Person (Chris, that’s me), place (American Institute for English Proficiency, that’s where I teach), thing (English, that’s what I teach), or an idea (freedom, that’s what I want to have).  You can proper nouns (specific names of people like Chris and places like Makati or Quezon City) or improper nouns (general names like mom or places like school).
  4. Conjunction
  5. Adverb
  6. Pronoun
  7. Preposition
  8. Interjection

To make it easier for you to remember, look at it as an acronym:
VAN (Automobile), CAP (Hat), PI (In math, it’s roughly equal to 3.14.  For Filipinos, it’s the Philippine Islands).  To make it even easier to remember, create a sentence out of it.  I drove my VAN, put on my CAP, and thought about the PI.  Trying playing around with it.

Okay, I know this post is not complete.  I will come back to give definitions to the rest of the parts of speech.  Let the picture above guide you for now.  In any case, this should be very basic for you.  Come back often because I will soon be posting intermediate to advanced writing and grammar tips.