In this post we’re looking closely at, or eyeing, past perfect tense. In a previous post I showed that past perfect tense is probably not very useful in IELTS writing and speaking. It belongs more to the narrative genre, and in IELTS we don’t write stories!
When I explain this to students and they look at me as though they don’t really believe me, and so we go ahead and look at a story to see how past perfect works.
The following video contains a story, and I have devised a listening activity to help you to focus on the use of past perfect in the story. If you’re not sure how past perfect works, please see my earlier post for an explanation and examples before continuing with the listening.
- Watch / Listen to the story and write down (on a piece of paper) all of the verbs that relate to events in the story, one after the other, as you hear them. Pause the video occasionally to give yourself time to write. Do that now. The next instruction follows the video.
- After you have watched the video / listened to the story, look at your list of verbs (events) and number the events as they actually happened in time (chronologically): First thing that happened ‘1’, second event ‘2’, third event ‘3’, etc.
- Next, compare the sequence of events that you have written down with your numbered chronological sequence. You will find that not all of the events in the video are mentioned chronologically beginning with the earliest and ending with the final event.
- Identify the events in the video that are mentioned outside of the chronological sequence and write these events in the comments box below this post. What tense is used to introduce these ‘out of sequence’ events in the video?
As usual, I look forward to reading your comments!
Listen to David Rothery talking about our moon and correct the statements. (print statements here)
- Our moon is the only moon that doesn’t have a particular colour.
- It’s not just the moon that causes bubbles in the Earth’s oceans.
- Pieces of the moon sometimes move around.
- As everybody knows, the moon has a dark side.
- It was the discovery of the moons of Jupiter that first demonstrated that not all motion in the universe goes around the Sun.
- Only planets can have moons.
- Most moons orbit in the same direction that their planet is orbiting.
- Saturn’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
- Some moons are so cold that the ice on the surface behaves just like ice from the fridge.
- Moons such as Jupiter’s Europa are some of the more likely places where water could be found.
When you have finished, check your corrections against the key at the bottom of this page.
Key – Corrected moon facts!
- Our moon is the only moon that doesn’t have its own name.
- It’s not just the moon that causes tides in the Earth’s oceans.
- Pieces of the moon sometimes fall to earth.
- Contrary to belief, there is no dark side of the moon.
- It was the discovery of the moons of Jupiter that first demonstrated that not all motion in the universe goes around the Earth.
- It’s not just planets that can have moons.
- Most moons orbit in the same direction that their planet is spinning.
- Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
- Some moons are so cold; the ice on the surface behaves just like rock.
- Moons such as Jupiter’s Europa are some of the more likely places where alien life could be found.