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  • [How do you use the present to talk about the past?]


  • So yesterday morning, I'm running a bit late, I grab a piece of toast and head out to my car, but my car won't start. So I have to take the bus.

  • Now, let me pause me right there.


  • Did you notice anything unusual grammatically about what she, I, just said? When did all this happen?


  • So yesterday morning. I'm running a bit late ...


  • Yesterday morning. So it's past, right?


  • OK, so listen again. How many past verb forms can you hear?


  • So yesterday morning, I'm running a bit late, I grab a piece of toast and head out to my car, but my car won't start. So I have to take the bus.

  • Thank you, Joanne. Right, let's look at the score.


  • Now would you look at that: zero, nil, nothing, zilch, nought.

    今、あなたはそれを見てください。zero, nil, nothing, zilch, nought.

  • I think we can agree that this did happen in the past.


  • So how is it that Joanne didn't use any past forms? Did I, she make a mistake?


  • Well, surprisingly, no.

  • Let me explain how it's possible to use the present to talk about the past.


  • We call it the historical present, or it may also be called the dramatic present, or narrative present.


  • We use it a lot when we tell jokes or anecdotes, for example, because using present forms to describe past actions makes the story seem more immediate, more engaging, more personal.

    例えば、ジョークや逸話を話すときによく使います。なぜなら、過去の行動を表すのに現在形を使うと 物語をより身近に、より魅力的に、より個人的に感じさせてくれます。

  • We also see present forms being used for the past a lot in news headlines, whether read by newsreaders, or written in print, or online.


  • And historians might use it to talk about the ancient past in a way to make history more appealing.


  • In 1066 William the Conqueror invades and thousands of new words enter the English language.

    1066年、ウィリアム・ザ・コンケラー(William the Conqueror)が侵入。と、何千もの新しい言葉が英語に入ってくるのです。

  • Now, in all of these cases, we could use past forms.


  • Let's get Joanne back to tell us the story againonly this time using past forms.

    もう一度、ジョアンに話を聞いてみよう。 今回は過去形を使っています。

  • So yesterday morning I was running a bit late, I grabbed a piece of toast and headed out to my car, but it wouldn't start and I had to take the bus.

  • Let's have a look at the past form scoreboard, and we've got a grand total of five.


  • Exactly the same events, but using past forms.


  • Umm, it's not quite as involving, not quite as engaging, but it is still correct.


  • [Is 'will' the future and 'would' the past?]

  • Now, I want to go back to the car.


  • My car won't start.


  • Notice here that we have what might appear to be a future form being used in the present to talk about something that happened in the past.


  • The first thing to mention here is that 'will' is not really a future form.


  • It's a modal auxiliary, and we do use it to talk about an intention to do something in the future, say, for example, opening a window.

    意思を伝えるための助動詞であり、意図を伝えるために使います。to do something in the future, 例えば、窓を開けるとか。

  • It's hot. I'll open the window.


  • The act of opening the window might be in the future, but the intention to open it is in the present, at the moment of speaking.


  • It might seem weird, but 'will' actually refers to present time, not future time.


  • And believe it or not, it's the same for would and wouldn't.


  • In the same way that will and won't are not about future time, would and wouldn't aren't about past time.

    それと同じように、willとwon'tは未来の時間に関するものではありません。would と wouldn't は過去の話ではありません。

  • It's a bit more tricky to get your head around that point, so I would prefer to talk about that another time.


  • Oh, look! I just use 'would' to talk about something that hasn't happened yet.


  • Hmm. An example that shows it can't be the past.


  • So I'm going to have to knock off a point from our past-o-meter.


  • Before I leave you, one more thing to make you think.


  • As we've seen, 'will' is used for an intention, a plan, an idea to do something. So when we say:


  • My car won't start!


  • Are we suggesting the car doesn't have the will to start, it has chosen not to start just to wind us up, just to make us angry?


  • It may be we choose to give the human quality of stubbornness to an inanimate object as a way to express our frustration.


  • Well, my car certainly is inanimate at the moment, and that is very frustrating.


[How do you use the present to talk about the past?]



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A2 初級 日本語 過去 will ジョアン 現在 未来 動か

歴史的現在を使って、あなたのジョークや物語を向上させましょう| 英文法レッスン (Using the Historical Present to Improve YOUR Jokes and Stories! | English Grammar Lesson)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 09 月 13 日