Hey guys, it’s Shane from English Understood here and this is part four of the common mistakes series.
A lot of the time I hear my students say things like ‘I tell him already.’ I tell him already.
And what’s wrong with this sentence? Why is it not okay?
Because we have ‘tell’ which is a present tense verb, right? And then we have ‘already’ which is something that happened in the past. So we’ve got present tense and then we’ve got past tense coming together, like this. They don’t go together.
If you say this, yes a native speaker will understand you but it’s not the correct grammar.
So when you’re speaking English, always try and make your sentences go together. For example, present and present. But if you use past and present, it will be like this. It won’t go together.
Okay so how can we fix this sentence? I tell him already. The first thing we could do is to not use the word ‘already’. We could just say ‘I tell (him*)’. And what does this mean? Well, it’s a present simple sentence so it’s probably a habit or a routine. Something that happens all the time. Past, present and future.
And how can we fix this sentence to make this sentence say that it was one thing that happened in the past? Well we could say ‘I told him already.’ This sentence means this action is finished and it was only one action which happened in the past. Only one time.
This is the kind of knowledge you need if you want to understand English like a native speaker. You need to see a sentence and know the meaning. Is it talking about the past? The present? How many times?
Once you start to understand the meaning of English sentences like this, this is when you will start to understand English like a native speaker. So just remember, when you’re making sentences in English, the words have to go together.