Ghanaians don’t like ‘perfect’.
The missing perfect tense in Ghanaian English 2
We will begin our lesson this week by correcting the ‘imperfect’ sentences from last week.
1. We have just finishED reading this article
2. Our lives are greatly influenceD by what we read
3. We are determineD to buy the car
4. They have joinED another car to church
5. Your failure can be explainED by your attitude.
The correction is in upper case so that it will catch your attention. As we indicated last week, the final ‘ed’ ending makes the tense the perfect tense. There are three types : present perfect, past perfect and future perfect. That conjugation itself is known as the past participle. Like ‘eat-ate-eaten’: eaten is the past participle.
Alright, enough of the grammatical terms already! What we need you to understand is that when you use’ ‘have’ to indicate that an action is completed, you use the past perfect and never the present.
Of course no one says ‘I have eat all my food’ (except my nephew) but it’s common to see ‘she has finish the work’. Why because that final ‘d’ sound is so elusive. But both sentences refer to the past so should be written as such.
So next time you are writing this, be careful so your sentence doesn’t sound like : I have understand the lesson. (P.S. it’s understood!)
We hope you learnt something this week. We are back next week with a lesson on been vs being.
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