Verb Tense Analysis - Present and Past Tenses

Read the following example sentences. Look at the verb tenses. What tenses are used? Why are those tenses used? What do they mean?

 

Intro to Evolution Lecture

When Charles Robert Darwin wasn't in classes, he was walking around, collecting specimens, pressing plants, and talking to animals, and he just was a naturalist at heart.

 

Women in Science Conference Panel

My work on this policy is an example where I felt that I was helping someone in need rather than helping the Women's Movement.

 

Organic Chemistry Study Group

And then underneath that we were just writing other stuff: has a carbocation, chirality is maintained, has a carbocation, needs blah. Blah is of course a highly scientific term, used only in prestigious universities such as this one. Like today, in my lab notebook, I was classifying things as mushy.

 

History of the American Family Lecture

What protective legislation accomplished was very very complicated and mostly negative. It helped women, at the immediate moment when they needed it, but the fact that men weren't protected also drove many women workers out of industries.

 

Public Math Colloquium

People believed for a long time that this was the best way to pack cells together... Herman Bile, for instance, in his book on symmetry says that he was inclined to believe that this was the best possible arrangement... However, two physicists shocked the mathematicians a few years ago when they constructed a counterexample.

 

American Culture Advising

I understand that we're moving fast but I wanted to give the maximum time for revisions. But you're saying it's too many deadlines for drafts

Because I am budgeting all my own time, and sort of like I explained this to all my teachers. It's just like I need a class where they say, "Write a one-page response paper to this thing," once a week, so that I can feel like I've got it done rather than once a month having to turn in twenty pages.

 

Graduate Buddhist Studies Seminar

In English, "imaginary" usually implies something that is totally concocted and totally artificial. but "le imaginaire" is around somewhere between reality and what is purely mental. It refers to those worlds that are not natural, but that a culture accepts as somehow real. So when you're talking about heaven, to call it imaginary, then has decided the whole issue beforehand and then is going to put you in a position that you will not be able to appreciate what it means to believe in it. So then this is an attempt to protect the reality for the believer by using that term.

 

All examples of authentic spoken English from MICASE:
R. C. Simpson, S. L. Briggs, J. Ovens, and J. M. Swales. (2002) The Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English. Ann Arbor, MI: The Regents of the University of Michigan (http://micase.umdl.umich.edu/)