JM's little problem with grammar
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[To view the slides correctly you need a screen width of at least 1000 pixels.] Figure 1
Figure 1
This is JM. It's his first day at FIS.
Figure 2
JM is on his way to the cafeteria at break. He takes his English grammar book with him everywhere he goes.
Figure 3
JM is standing in line to buy a snack.
Figure 4
Suddenly he hears someone behind him say "Hi" and he turns around.
Figure 6
It's Mary, who is in science class with JM.
Figure 6
Figure 6
JM opens his grammar book.
Figure 6
JM thinks: "If I remember, I must use the present perfect to express a period of time stretching from the past into the present. Let me just check. ... Yes, that's right!"
Figure 6
Figure 6
JM thinks: "Wait a minute. I don't think 'since' is correct. I can use it if I say the starting date, but if I state a duration of time, I'm pretty sure I must use the preposition 'for' instead. Let me just check. ... Yes, that's right!"
Figure 6
Figure 6
JM thinks: "Stop. I may have put 'only' in the wrong position. I believe it should precede the noun phrase it qualifies, not the verb phrase. Let me just check. ... Yes, that's right!"
Figure 6
Figure 6
Figure 6
Figure 6
JM thinks: "Hold on. Maybe I need the past simple rather than the present perfect, because the present perfect implies that I think she will be coming back, and I don't think she's coming back. Let me just check ... ."
Figure 6
The light flashes. It's time for math class .. and JM never got to buy his snack.

Inspiration for for this page: The Peanuts cartoon by Charles M. Schulz where Snoopy, the intrepid flying ace, lands in France. He is approached by a beautiful French girl who tries to make conversation with him, but Snoopy is too busy with his phrasebook to pay her any attention.

Cartoon drawings by Ye-Jin - with thanks!