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Understanding Grammar - Narrative Tenses

Understanding Grammar - Narrative Tenses

In this episode of the Premier Skills English Podcast, Rowan tells Jack about the time she met a famous person.

Transcript

If the listening was a bit difficult, you can listen again and read the transcript at the same time.

Jack: Hello. My name’s Jack.

Rowan: And I’m Rowan.

Jack: Welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.

Introduction

Rowan: In the Premier Skills English podcast, we talk about football and help you learn or revise English.

Jack: Today, we’re talking about anecdotes. An anecdote is a description of an event, like a short story, that happened to you.

Rowan: I think you can tell an anecdote about someone else, but they are normally about you.

Jack: Anecdotes are basically stories that you tell in regular conversation. Sometimes they are special stories that you may have told many times and sometimes they are just what you did at the weekend.

Rowan: And as anecdotes are stories about things that happened in the past, you can use narrative tenses, that’s what the grammar is called in textbooks.

Jack: Narrative tenses are simply tenses you use to talk about the past. You normally only describe the past simple, past continuous and past perfect as narrative tenses when you combine them in a story.

Rowan: So I’m going to tell Jack a story about a time when I met a famous person and afterwards, the language focus will be on the grammar, on the narrative tenses I use.

Jack: And your task this week will be to share an anecdote in the comments section and use the narrative tenses. But more on that later.

Rowan: Yes. Before we get to that, we need to look at last week’s football phrase. Last week’s football phrase was quite a good one.

Jack: Lots of people got the right answer, but it was interesting to see some of the wrong answers. There are lots of words to describe leaders. Here’s one last chance to see if you can work out the football phrase.

Rowan: Last week’s football phrase was just a word. The word was skipper which means captain or leader. It’s an interesting word because it originally comes from sailing boats. The captain of a boat is often called this. The word has been used for the captain on a boat for hundreds of years but came to be used as the captain of a sports team from 1830.

Jack: Congratulations to Sabanoleg from Ukraine, Hayato from Japan, Gerardo94 from Cuba, HSN from Turkey, Ali Mohamed from Egypt and Emmanuel from France.You all worked out that the correct answer was skipper.

Rowan: At the end of the podcast, there will be a new football phrase. Now it’s time for the anecdote.

Jack: Rowan’s going to tell me an anecdote about meeting a famous person. I need to say now that this isn’t a true story. We made it up for the podcast. While you listen, try to answer the following questions:

  • When did this meeting take place?
  • Where was Rowan?
  • Who did she meet?

Telling an anecdote

Jack: So Rowan, have you ever met a famous person?

Rowan: Ah yes, I have, actually. I met someone just earlier this week.

Jack: Oh yeah? Where were you?

Rowan: I was in London ... I was standing outside a lovely restaurant in the queue

Jack: And why were you there?

Rowan: Well I’d been invited to a meal with my colleagues.

Jack: And er ... what were you ... er ... you were in a queue ... What were you doing?

Rowan: Well we were waiting ... were waiting to be seated and there was a gentleman in front of me with really dark black hair.

Jack: And how did you meet him?

Rowan: Well, we were all wearing masks and were just talking about how cold the weather was and how quickly we wanted to get to our tables. I noticed that he had a Spanish accent so just had a quick conversation about how cold it must have been for him. He told me that he was used to the cold because he’d been living in London for quite a few years now.

Jack: Oh yeah? What else did you talk about?

Rowan: I asked him where he was from in Spain. He was from San Sebastian.

Jack: Oh that’s nice

Rowan: And then we were shown to our tables.

Jack: OK .. And .. so ... all this time you didn’t know who you were talking to?

Rowan: No, I thought this was just some nice chap in front of me ... No no, I didn’t have a clue. We were shown to our tables and then we could take our masks off and do you know who it was?

Jack: Who was it?

Rowan: It was only Mikel Arteta the Arsenal Manager!

Jack: Really!

Rowan: All of the time, I’d been speaking to him and had no idea.

Jack: Wow ... Well, that’s brilliant ... You have an anecdote to tell about meeting Mikel Arteta and you didn’t get starstruck, you got to play it really cool.

Rowan: I wish I’d had a photo taken with him now

Jack: Ah yes ... You met Mikel Arteta and you didn’t even get a selfie!

Rowan: Maybe, I have to go back to the restaurant to see if he’s a regular.

Feedback

We asked you some questions before Rowan’s anecdote. First we asked when this meeting took place and the answer was just earlier this week. We asked you where the meeting took place and it was outside a restaurant in London and we asked you who the famous person was that Rowan met and the answer is Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager.

Language focus

Now it’s time to focus on some of the language Rowan used when she told the anecdote.

Today, I want to look at narrative tenses. This just means verb forms that are used to talk about the past, usually when we’re telling stories. So narrative tenses are just past verb forms, the past simple and past continuous, and the past perfect simple and past perfect continuous.

In Rowan’s anecdote, she used these four different forms and I’m going to focus on why she used each of them in turn. Listen to this example. What form does she use here:

I met someone just earlier this week.

This is the past simple. It’s an event in the past. Rowan even said when it happened, it happened earlier in the week. In an anecdote, we use the past simple to describe events that happened once in the past. For example:

Arsenal won the Premier League in 2004.

Rowan went to London last Tuesday.

Now listen to another example. What form does Rowan use here:

I was standing outside a lovely restaurant in the queue.

This is an example of the past continuous. We use the past continuous in narrative tenses to talk about temporary states or actions. Rowan was standing outside a restaurant. This was a temporary situation because she was waiting to be allowed to enter the restaurant. She was waiting in a queue. Often we use the past continuous to talk about the weather in anecdotes. In the UK, the weather is always changing so it’s always a temporary state.

The rain was falling.

The wind was blowing in the trees.

Listen to another example. What form does Rowan use here?

I’d been invited to a meal with my colleagues.

This is an example of the past perfect. We use the past perfect to talk about events that happened before the anecdote. So Rowan’s anecdote is about meeting a famous person. The time she is talking about is the actual moment she met Mikel Arteta. She was waiting outside a restaurant because before then, perhaps a week before, her colleagues, that is, some people she works with invited her. She could have used the past sim ple if she had mentioned the time that her colleagues invited her. She could have said I was standing outside a restaurant because my colleagues invited me the week before. That way, we would have known when it happened. However, it’s easier to just use the past perfect to say that an event happened before. Her colleagues had invited her. It’s a bit more complex here because it’s also passive: Rowan had been invited. Listen to it again for the pronunciation.

I’d been invited to a meal with my colleagues.

OK. There’s one more form to look at. Listen to one more example. What form does Rowan use here?

I’d been speaking to him and had no idea.

This is an example of the past perfect continuous. In this part of the roleplay, Rowan was talking about when she entered the restaurant and was shown to her seat. When she finally sat down and took off her mask, she saw that the person she was speaking to, before she sat down, was Mikel Arteta. In this example, Rowan is using the past perfect continuous for the same reason as before. This action happened before the main action in the story. So at this point in the story, Rowan was in the restaurant and sitting down so the speaking action happened before. Again, Rowan could have said ‘the person I was speaking to moments earlier ...’ but without the time reference, you can just use the past mperfect. In this example, Rowan also chose to use the continuous form. Normally, we use the continuous to show that something was temporary or to emphasise that the action was repeated or to emphasise that the action happened for some time, for a longer duration. In this instance, Rowan wanted to emphasise the duration, that she had been talking to Mikel Arteta for a while and had no idea she was talking to someone famous.

Task

Now it’s time for you to share your own experiences, your own brushes with fame. Have you ever met a famous person? Now, as this is a language learning activity, if you have never actually met a famous person, I would like you to lie. This will give you the chance to use some narrative tenses. When you share your anecdote, try to answer the following questions:

  1. Who did you meet?
  2. Where did you meet them?
  3. What were you doing when you met a famous person?
  4. Why were you there? What had happened before you met them?

Leave your answers in the comments section on Premier Skills English.

Football Phrase

Now it’s time for this week’s football phrase. I think that skipper was quite a good one last week so I’ve chosen another phrase that means a person. This is quite an easy one, I think. This time, the phrase is used as an award and it’s given to the player that performed the best in a game. The phrase is *** ** *** *****. In women’s football, the award is they say player ** *** *****.

If you know the answer, what the football phrase I described is, leave a comment on the page for this podcast on the Premier Skills English website and if you have a football phrase that you would like us to use in the podcast, just get in touch and let us know.

Before we finish we just wanted to say that we hope you found this podcast useful and we hope all of you stay fit and healthy.

Bye for now and enjoy your football.

It's hard to recognise people when they are wearing masks.

Grammar

The Past Simple

In this activity, you need to correctly identify the correct past simple sentences.

Grammar

The Past Continuous

In this activity, you need to correctly identify the correct past continuous sentences.

  Rowan met a famous person in a queue outside a restaurant (not this restaurant)

Grammar

The Past Perfect

In this activity, you need to correctly identify the correct past perfect sentences.

Grammar

The Past Perfect Continuous

In this activity, you need to correctly identify the correct past perfect continuous sentences.

The rain was falling and Arteta was watching his team.

Task

Your task

Have you ever met a famous person? If you have never actually met a famous person, feel free to lie - you can make an anecdote up. This will give you the chance to use some narrative tenses.

When you share your anecdote, try to answer the following questions:
  1. Who did you meet?
  2. Where did you meet them?
  3. What were you doing when you met a famous person?
  4. Why were you there? What had happened before you met them?
Leave your answers in the comments section below.

 

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Komentar

mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
21/01/2022
TR
6414
points

I think this week's football phrase is ( man of the match )


mobeckham's picture
mobeckham
21/01/2022 17:15
Turkey
Manchester United
6414

I think this week's football phrase is ( man of the match )

Eduardo_Caicedo
08/01/2022
EC
36
points

I don't have an anecdote with a famous person.


Eduardo_Caicedo
08/01/2022 18:37
Ecuador
Leeds United
36

I don't have an anecdote with a famous person.

Douglas
21/12/2021
BR
23
points

Hello! My experiente meeting a famous person was in an aeroport.
I bought two tickets to fly and I was in the boarding queue waiting for check-in. I was traveling because I had been invited for a weeding and I had been talking with my wife when a person came to me asking for a help. When a saw her I noticed that she was a famous brazilian actress.


Douglas
21/12/2021 21:28
Brazil
Manchester United
23

Hello! My experiente meeting a famous person was in an aeroport.
I bought two tickets to fly and I was in the boarding queue waiting for check-in. I was traveling because I had been invited for a weeding and I had been talking with my wife when a person came to me asking for a help. When a saw her I noticed that she was a famous brazilian actress.

Suthiwashong
21/12/2021
TH
1
points

Hi, I'm new here . lastweek I had invited to the party at pub and restaurant. I was waiting for the seats. but I had seen someone out of the restaurant. I was recognizing him right away. that's the mason mount.

So the phase
it might be man of the match


Suthiwashong
21/12/2021 06:49
Thailand
Chelsea
1

Hi, I'm new here . lastweek I had invited to the party at pub and restaurant. I was waiting for the seats. but I had seen someone out of the restaurant. I was recognizing him right away. that's the mason mount.

So the phase
it might be man of the match

hsn's picture
hsn
20/12/2021
TR
3553
points

Hi Rowan! Hi Jack!
I would like suggest a football phrase.It describes an action that raise motivation of team in other words aim to motivate team. Here literally it's said; " to ignite the team" This might be made by player or manager. As you know spark-plug ignite car engine. Its function is the same in the team. What is it called in English-:)
Stay fit and healthy.Bye


hsn's picture
hsn
20/12/2021 13:51
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
3553

Hi Rowan! Hi Jack!
I would like suggest a football phrase.It describes an action that raise motivation of team in other words aim to motivate team. Here literally it's said; " to ignite the team" This might be made by player or manager. As you know spark-plug ignite car engine. Its function is the same in the team. What is it called in English-:)
Stay fit and healthy.Bye

Marcial
15/12/2021
MX
13
points

Hi Jack and Rowan! The phrase is player ** *** ****! Or men or woman.

Best regards!


Marcial
15/12/2021 03:44
Mexico
Manchester United
13

Hi Jack and Rowan! The phrase is player ** *** ****! Or men or woman.

Best regards!

Mehmet SISMAN
13/12/2021
TR
100
points

This week's football is *** ** *** *****.
OR
PLAYER ** *** *****.


Mehmet SISMAN
13/12/2021 20:21
Turkey
Liverpool
100

This week's football is *** ** *** *****.
OR
PLAYER ** *** *****.

CTLN
13/12/2021
RO
392
points

i think the phrase is: player ** *** *****


CTLN
13/12/2021 13:32
Romania
Liverpool
392

i think the phrase is: player ** *** *****

Douglas Cartier
12/12/2021
BR
12
points

I reckon the weekly football phrase is "The player ** *** *****."


Douglas Cartier
12/12/2021 21:11
Brazil
Arsenal
12

I reckon the weekly football phrase is "The player ** *** *****."

hsn's picture
hsn
11/12/2021
TR
3553
points

Football phrase-*** ** ** pitch-Player ** *** pitch


hsn's picture
hsn
11/12/2021 14:52
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
3553

Football phrase-*** ** ** pitch-Player ** *** pitch

Emmanuel's picture
Emmanuel
10/12/2021
FR
91
points

Hi,
I think it's *** ** *** *****.


Emmanuel's picture
Emmanuel
10/12/2021 06:21
France
Manchester City
91

Hi,
I think it's *** ** *** *****.

hsn's picture
hsn
09/12/2021
TR
3553
points

Task
I met a footballer in a household goods shop. I and my wife we were looking for furniture in the week-end. At first sight, I didn’t remember him but his face familiar to me. We talked about football then I realised that he was striker of my city football team and I'd watched him on TV at the match last week.
Phrases
• I'm hoping to be heard. Before getting to that issue. I've more word to say on that topic.
• I’d a brush with traffic penalty when I was driving over the speed limit-:)


hsn's picture
hsn
09/12/2021 17:48
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
3553

Task
I met a footballer in a household goods shop. I and my wife we were looking for furniture in the week-end. At first sight, I didn’t remember him but his face familiar to me. We talked about football then I realised that he was striker of my city football team and I'd watched him on TV at the match last week.
Phrases
• I'm hoping to be heard. Before getting to that issue. I've more word to say on that topic.
• I’d a brush with traffic penalty when I was driving over the speed limit-:)

Thomassi
09/12/2021
HK
7
points

This week's football is '*** ** *** *****'.


Thomassi
09/12/2021 11:15
Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Chelsea
7

This week's football is '*** ** *** *****'.

258963
09/12/2021
VN
1301
points

*** ** *** *****


258963
09/12/2021 03:07
Vietnam
Leeds United
1301

*** ** *** *****

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
09/12/2021
UA
6192
points

Last night when I was in Paris I met Lionel Messi in Champs Elisees. He was holding Balon d'Or up high and singing the Argentinian anthem. I joined the chorus and then, after we had sung the anthem, we started singing the famous Marie Laforet song "Manchester et Liverpool" in French. Then "You'll never walk alone" followed and to finish the show we were performing "The Girl From Ipanema" by Jobim in Portuguese while dancing along. After we had finished we found around 1 000 euros which the street audience had given us during our concert. The red wine we drank in a street bistro not far from the place was so delicious!


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
09/12/2021 03:00
Ukraine
Liverpool
6192

Last night when I was in Paris I met Lionel Messi in Champs Elisees. He was holding Balon d'Or up high and singing the Argentinian anthem. I joined the chorus and then, after we had sung the anthem, we started singing the famous Marie Laforet song "Manchester et Liverpool" in French. Then "You'll never walk alone" followed and to finish the show we were performing "The Girl From Ipanema" by Jobim in Portuguese while dancing along. After we had finished we found around 1 000 euros which the street audience had given us during our concert. The red wine we drank in a street bistro not far from the place was so delicious!

Douglas Cartier
12/12/2021
BR
12
points

That´s a great anecdote, I really like.


Douglas Cartier
12/12/2021 21:06
Brazil
Arsenal
12

That´s a great anecdote, I really like.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
09/01/2022
UA
6192
points

Thanks, Douglas.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
09/01/2022 09:11
Ukraine
Liverpool
6192

Thanks, Douglas.

hayato
09/12/2021
JP
410
points

I think the phrase is the *** ** *** *****


hayato
09/12/2021 00:16
Japan
Everton
410

I think the phrase is the *** ** *** *****

sabanoleg
08/12/2021
UA
2272
points

The phrase is"*** ** *** *****".


sabanoleg
08/12/2021 18:32
Ukraine
Arsenal
2272

The phrase is"*** ** *** *****".

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1mobeckham6414
2Alex_from_Ukraine6192
3wsanta5053
4kwesimanifest4754
5Liubomyr4408
6elghoul3988
7assemjuve3705
8aragorn19863557
9hsn3553
10Gergő Nagy3396
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Colombia68692
2Ukraine34033
3Serbia27090
4Spain24611
5Brazil21051
6Albania20577
7Macedonia19063
8Vietnam18417
9Turkey16867
10Bosnia and Herzegovina16268
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United130616
2Liverpool99041
3Chelsea82327
4Arsenal78318
5Manchester City48043
6Tottenham Hotspur14717
7Leicester City12466
8Newcastle United9888
9Leeds United7384
10West Ham United5393

Level

0
belum ada rating

Goals

Skills: Listening

Grammar: Narrative tenses

Practice: Telling an anecdote