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E-mail writing - Part 9

E-mail writing - Part 9

Monday, June 20, 2011, 14:49 GMT+7

Level: Pre-intermediate and above

Brief description:

This unit is designed to raise student’s awareness of the accurate use of Past Simple and Present Perfect tenses in improving their email writing skills.

KEY CONCEPT:

Accuracy in writing: What are the differences in form of the Past Simple and Present Perfect tenses?

Purposes in writing: In what situations or contexts are the Past Simple and Present Perfect tenses used?

An inconsistent writer: What common errors do you make in using the Past Simple and Present Perfect tenses?

Conventions in writing: What are the forms of the Past Simple and the Present Perfect tenses?

Style in writing: How often do you use the other tenses (e.g. Continuous or Future Simple) in business email writing? In what situations or contexts do you use them?

Let’s begin the adventure!!!! …

What is the difference in meaning between these pairs of sentences?

I lived in Hanoi for two years. I have lived in Hanoi for two years.

I telephoned them three times yesterday. I have telephoned them three times today.

I went to Danang last month. I've been to Danang many times.

She wrote a lot of books. She has written a lot of books.

The company went bankrupt. The company has gone bankrupt.

In these sentences there is one use for Past Simple - to talk about finished time.

There are three main uses for Present Perfect:

1. Unfinished Time - A time period that continues up to now:

Compare ‘I went to London twice last month’ (finished time) and ‘I have been to London twice this month’ (unfinished time)

2. Experience - In a sense this is similar to the Unfinished Time rule as it means 'in my life so far'

For example, ‘I have been to Ho Chi Minh City many times’; ‘I have never eaten Japanese food’

3. Recent news that is important now - often used with 'just'

For example, ‘We have just decided to open a new branch’, ‘Someone's spilt coffee on that chair’

The Past Simple

Very often the past simple ends in –ed (regular verbs)

• We invited them to our party. • She passed her exams.

But many verbs are irregular, for them the past simple does not end in –ed

• I wrote a letter to my penfriend. (write-wrote) • She went to Japan last June. (go-went)

In questions and negatives we use did/didn’t + infinitive (enjoy/see/go)

• What did you see at the cinema? • Where did she go last year? • I didn’t enjoy the film. • She didn’t go to America last year.

Note: Be careful when do is the main verb in the sentence

• What did you do at the weekend? (not “What did you at the weekend”) • I didn’t do anything. (not “I didn’t anything”)

The past of be (am / is / are) is was / were

I/she/he/it was/wasn’t               was I/he/she/it? We/you/they were/weren’t        were we/you/they?

Note: We do not use did in negatives and questions with was / were

• I was angry because they were late. • Was the weather good when you were on holiday?

The Present Perfect

I                                                                          I You     have     finished                    Have     you     finished? We                                                                     we They                                                                  they He                                                                     he She     has     finished                     Has       she    finished? It                                                                         it

I                                                           He You     have     finished                    She      hasn't   finished We                                                      It They

Glossary:

• To go bankrupt (verb): a person or company goes bankrupt when it cannot pay off debts any longer (Bị phá sản)

• Template (noun): a document or pattern that can be used repeatedly (Mẫu)

• (Inspection) engineer (noun): a professional who does a physical examination of a property (e.g. house or building) or objects to see that it meets a certain set of standards (Kỹ thuật viên giám sát chất lượng, giám định viên)

• (Discount) percentage (noun): a fraction or a small amount that is deducted from the whole price or value of something (Mức giảm giá)

Writing Practice:

Look at the sentences below. In each case, decide whether the verb given in brackets should be Present Perfect or Past Simple, and write it in the space provided.

1 I............... (know) him all my life.

2 He............... (speak) to the man in French.

3 Mary............... (be) in bed with a bad cold all this week.

4 I............... (speak never) to her since.

5 He only............... (have) one leg.

6 There is a new Head of Department, Steven Tan......... (retire) now.

7 I............... (know) this was going to happen!

8 I............... (have not) time to do it yet.

9 Mr. Khanh............... (assure) Mr. Nguyen during the site meeting on 25 October that it would be improved.

10 You............... (be reminded) already that our inspection engineers need to check the packing before the equipment is shipped.

11 Tony.............. (just cancel) the meeting, so I'll be able to see you after all.

12 The day I got married............... (be) the happiest day of my life.

13 We............... (explain) our reservations about the proposal on 4 June 2010.

14 As requested, I………………… (create) templates in portrait and landscape in color and mono-color.

15 The discount percentage is what ACET…………………… (apply) for CEEVN since 2008.

WELL- DONE! You have fulfilled another mission in the adventure to master Business English. See you in the next lesson.

ANSWERS:

1. I have known (know) him all my life.

2. He spoke (speak) to the man in French.

3. Mary has been (be) in bed with a bad cold all this week.

4. I have never spoken (speak never) to her since.

5. He only had (have) one leg.

6. There is a new Head of Department, Steven Tan has retired (retire) now.

7. I knew (know) this was going to happen!

8. I haven’t had / have not had (have not) time to do it yet.

9. Mr. Khanh assured (assure) Mr. Nguyen during the site meeting on 25 October that it would be improved.

10. You have been reminded (be reminded) already that our inspection engineers need to check the packing before the equipment is shipped.

11. Tony has just cancelled (cancel) the meeting, so I'll be able to see you after all.

12. The day I got married was (be) the happiest day of my life.

13. We explained (explain) our reservations about the proposal on 4 June 2010.

14. As requested, I have created (create) templates in portrait and landscape in color and mono-color.

15. The discount percentage is what ACET has applied (apply) for CEEVN since 2008.

This material is provided by the Australian Centre for Education and Training (ACET).

Tuoitrenews

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