Introduction to Tenses: Finished vs unfinished vs unspecified of time

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Actions or states in the positive or negative sentences are relative to time period they are at. This topic is useful when we study differences between tenses, sequence of tenses and indirect speech etc.

Finished (period of) time

last year, last month,
one millisecond ago,
a hundred years ago,
in 1964,
on the 11th of August,
from 1998 to 2003,
at 5 in the morning, from 2 to 5, between 4 and 7 pm, etc

We went to the movies at 4

Unfinished (period of) time

this year, this month,
this morning
(if it’s before noon at the time of speaking)
this semester,
, now

They have been to Paris this year.

Unspecified (period of) time

Before the present time:

have your own? contact me

She has not seen this movie before

Unfinished and finished time compared

this year – last year
now – then

Don’t mix this topic with always, never, often, etc. These characterize the frequency of actions and states.

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