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The remaining tense relationships parallel those in the first two examples.In general the use of perfect tenses is determined by their relationship to the tense of the primary narration.He turned the stereo down and stood up to answer the door. The man began to speak slowly, asking for directions.
suggests action that began in the time frame prior to the main narrative time frame and that is still underway as another action begins.
The remaining tense relationships parallel those in the first example.
The stereo-listening was underway when the doorbell rang.
The standing on the steps was underway when the door was opened.
General guideline: Do not shift from one tense to another if the time frame for each action or state is the same.
Examples: is future, referring to action expected to begin after the current time frame (the concert will start in the future, and that's when it will need amplification.) General guideline: Establish a primary tense for the main discourse, and use occasional shifts to other tenses to indicate changes in time frame.Example 1: Simple past narration with perfect and progressive elements By the time Tom noticed the doorbell, it had already rung three times.As usual, he had been listening to loud music on his stereo.If the primary narration is in simple past, then action initiated before the time frame of the primary narration is described in past perfect.If the primary narration is in simple present, then action initiated before the time frame of the primary narration is described in present perfect.As usual, he has been listening to loud music on his stereo.He turns the stereo down and stands up to answer the door. The man begins to speak slowly, asking for directions.If the primary narration is in simple future, then action initiated before the time frame of the primary narration is described in future perfect.Past primary narration corresponds to Past Perfect ( past participle) for earlier time frames The present perfect is also used to narrate action that began in real life in the past but is not completed, that is, may continue or may be repeated in the present or future.Hints: It is not always easy (or especially helpful) to try to distinguish perfect and/or progressive tenses from simple ones in isolation, for example, the difference between simple past progressive ("She was eating an apple") and present perfect progressive ("She has been eating an apple").Distinguishing these sentences in isolation is possible, but the differences between them make clear sense only in the context of other sentences since the time-distinctions suggested by different tenses are relative to the time frame implied by the verb tenses in surrounding sentences or clauses.