Friday, 30 October 2020

Past Tense - an Overview


Past Tense at a Glance






































Past Perfect Continuous Tense


 Tenses

The word ‘tense’ is derived from Latin word ‘tempus’ and it means time. Basically tense conveys the time of action.

Tenses are mainly divided into three parts – Present, Past and Future. They are further subdivided into four categories – Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous.


PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE

PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE (also called Past Progressive Tense) is generally used for an action which began at some time in past and continued for some time in past. It usually emphasises duration or the length of time that an action took. This tense shows that the action mentioned in the sentence was continuously happening for a period of time in past / the time being reported / talked about.


Basic Structure of Sentence in the Tense

Basic structure of a sentence in this tense is –

Subject +   Had +         been  +       base verb + ing (V1+ing) +  object

I                  had             been           reading                          the book.

She            had             been            working on a project. (affirmative)

He              hadn't         been           showing progress. (negative)

Had            she              been           wasting her time? (interrogative)

 

Past Perfect Tense is used to describe/show/denote  


1. Something that started in past and continued for some period/duration in past–

For example :

He had been working on the project for a year when he was fired. (started in past and continued for some period in past)

She had been sleeping for two hours when I rang her up.


2. To denote an action continued before another action in past   

For example –

They had been talking for over an hour before Tom arrived. (action continued before another action in past)

Shankar had been wasting his time in video games before he met his new teacher.


3. To denote an action that began in past and continued up to that moment, till the time being talked about –

I was irritated because he hadn’t been working at all. (in sequence with Simple Past Tense)

I did not know he had been doing an important project on History of India that time.


4. To emphasise long continuation of an action –

For example –

Mother had been working all day despite her sickness. (emphasis is over the length/duration)

I had been waiting for you all through the night.

 

Prepositions (for/since) used with certain time expressions:

Since – used to denote point of time when some work/action began.

For – used to denote for total duration of some work/action

More adverbs/adverb phrases used as time expressions with since/for:

When                   at that time           all the day

before                  after                     that time

morning              childhood           for an year

since 1990          whole day           since I was a child

for four days       for three weeks   since the time

 

Verb form used in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense–

The past perfect continuous form of a verb consists of three elements:

1. Past form of auxiliary verb ‘have’ – had (both plural and singular)

2. Third form of be – been

3. Present participle form of main verb (Verb 1+ing) – playing, going, reading, working, cooking, etc.













More such verbs (not to be used in Present Perfect Continuous Tense)

 feel                              hear                               have

 smell                            measure                         assume

 believe                          consider                       seem

find                                suppose                        forget                  

imagine                        know                                mean         

recognise                       remember                     understand

fear                                hate                                hope

 love                              mind                              prefer

wish                              cost                                hold

 

More examples :

1. My mother had been working for 4 hours when I reached home.

2. I had been working in this firm for 6 years when I was suspended.

3. At that time I had been studying in the college for 3 years.

4. It had been raining for 3 days when we were stuck in jam.

5. They had been talking for an hour before they left for Jaipur.

6. What had you been doing there when I called you?

7. Mr. Joshi had been teaching in this school for 20 years when he retired.

8. Father scolded him as he had been sleeping the whole morning.    

         

Exercise for practice

1.    She ____________  in this company for three years when she got transferred. (work)

2.    He ______________ from Malaria for a long time before he recovered. (suffer)

3.    Sohan ____________ whole afternoon that’s why he was exhausted. (bat)

4.     I asked him why he ___________ for the competition in the beginning. (prepare)

5.    My parents _________ for the case in court for four years when I met with an accident. (fight)

6.    Earlier, people _____________ for a long time that the earth was flat. (believe)

7.    The students _________ for 15 days when the programme was cancelled. ( practise)

8.    My condition did not improve though I  _________ medicines regularly for a year. (take)  

 




Answers :

1.    Had been working                            2. Had been suffering           

3. Had been batting                              4. Had not been preparing             

5. Had been fighting                              6. Had been believing

7. had been practising                          8. Had been taking        




Wednesday, 28 October 2020

No Men Are Foreign


No Men Are Foreign

                                    By James Kirkup

 

Analysis of the poem


§  The poem ‘No Men are Foreign’ is composed by James Kirkup, an English poet, translator and travel writer.

§  The tone of the poem is didactic as the poet teaches us to stay united and peaceful.

§  It is composed in blank verse. The poem is divided in five quatrains (stanza of four lines). The lines of poem don’t rhyme.

§  The theme is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or universal brotherhood, cross border peace and harmony. The theme of the poem highlights that all human beings are equal and all are the children of one God, hence are brothers and sisters.

§  A very significant message is conveyed through the poem that we all should break the boundaries and bridge the differences. The poet stresses that nations should not be at war with each other. The poet appeals to the readers that we can win others through love, and not war.

 

Summary / Synopsis

·       Starting the poem with the word ‘remember’ the poet wants to lay stress from the opening lines that we all belong to same world and earth is home of all the mankind.

·       The poem emphasises that entire mankind are similar in physique and equal in their needs. No people are foreigner or strange just because they belong to some other country. This earth is one big home for all humanity. All divisions based on nation, caste, creed, colour, religion and language are created by man however, God has created all the creatures in same way and given them birth on same land. The soldiers may wear different uniforms and people may put on variety of clothes but under these clothes they have same physique.

·       We all have the same basic needs and we depend on the same resources such as air, food and water to fulfil our needs. People everywhere have the same physical, mental and emotional needs and experiences.

·       They are, in no way, different or strange even though they wear different clothes, speak different languages and profess different religions. If we harm anyone, we harm ourselves because we all have same emotions and feelings. We must keep in our minds that if we think to destroy some other country, we are also posing the threat of destruction on our own land because if we wage war on other country, we, ourselves, have allowed or invited other country to do destruction upon us.

·       Since we are all same, we must not take arms against any one because this way we spoil the purity of our hearts and innocence of our emotions. The dust and smoke in war pollute the air and mix poison of hatred in our hearts. Moreover, people and countries can be won with love, and not by war. That’s why, violence of all kinds should be stopped. Throughout, the poet appeals us to live in peace and harmony and dedicate ourselves to spread fraternity across the globe.

 

Theme

The theme of the poem is reflected in its central idea. Throughout the poem the poet highlights the theme of universal brotherhood and world peace. Very beautifully he tells the mankind that we can win others with love and not by war.


Message

The poet urges the entire humanity to live in peace and harmony and bridge the difference based on religion, culture or nationality strengthening solidarity and fraternity across the globe.

 

Rhyme Scheme

The poet is composed in blank verse as the lines of the poem don’t rhyme.

 

Poetic Devices

Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign – Refrain, Repetition

Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes – Alliteration

Like ours: the land our brothers walk upon – Alliteration

Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie – Assonance, Consonance

They, too, aware of sun and air and water – Polysyndeton, Consonance

Are fed by peaceful harvests – Transferred epithet

by war’s long winter starv’d – Alliteration, Metaphor  

Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read – Repetition

A labour not different from our own – Consonance

Remember they have eyes like ours that wake – Alliteration

Or sleep, and strength that can be won – Alliteration, Assonance

By love. In every land is common life – Alliteration

That all can recognise and understand – Assonance, Consonance

To hate our brothers, it is ourselves – Assonance, Consonance

That we shall dispossess, betray, condemn – Asyndeton 

It is the human earth that we defile – Assonance, Alliteration, Metaphor  

Our hells of fire and dust outrage the innocence of air – Metaphor

Remember, no men are foreign, and no countries strange – Refrain, Repetition   






Friday, 23 October 2020

My Childhood


My Childhood

                                                By A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Analysis

·       The chapter ‘My Childhood’ is an extract from ‘Wings of Fire’ which is an autobiography of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, a great scientist and 11th President of India.

·       It beautifully strings important incidents and episodes in early life of APJ Abdul Kalam who is a great inspiration to all the young people.

·       The story highlights the importance of religious unity and communal harmony through several episodes in Kalam’s early life in which his teachers played a pivotal role in moulding his personality and shaping his thoughts.

·       The chapter is a beautiful message for all the Indians to keep their nation integrated and unified. Simultaneously, it appeals us to break all the religious and communal barriers and live together harmoniously.

Summary /  Synopsis

§  APJ Abdul Kalam was born in a middle class Muslim family. He had three brothers and a sister. Kalam lived in his ancestral house in the island town of Rameshwaram in erstwhile Madras State (now Tamil Nadu).

§  The father of APJ Abdul Kalam believed in living a simple life without hoarding unnecessary materials. Nevertheless, he made all the necessities available to his children and his was a secure childhood both materially and emotionally. His father didn’t receive much formal education but he was far too wise and sensible. His mother was kind and charitable.  More were outsiders than the family members eating in his house every day. Kalam inherited the qualities of self-discipline, honesty from his father and faith in goodness and compassion from his mother.

§  Kalam’s family was secular in nature. His family giving an equal amount of respect to all the religions, actively participated in Hindu festivals and arranged boats for Sita Ram Kalyanam Ceremony. Kalam grew up listening to the stories from Ramayana by his mother and grandmother.

§  World war II broke out when Kalam was 8 years old. During the world war due to an emergency he helped his cousin in distributing newspapers and earned his first wages. Earlier this, he also earned few annas by collecting tamarind seeds and selling them to a provision store.

§  Kalam had three close friends from orthodox Hindu Brahmin families but the innocent feelings of the friends were untouched by any poison of discrimination.  All the friends went into different professions.

§  When Kalam was in 5th standard, a new teacher came in his class. Kalam, a Muslim boy, was sitting with Ramanandha, a Hindu priest’s son. The new teacher was not able to tolerate this. So, he asked Kalam to sit on the backbench. Both the friends felt very sad and narrated all this to their respective parents.

§  After this, Ramanandha’s father met with the teacher to apologise for his mistake and warn him not to spread the poison of social inequality and communal hatred in young minds. Consequently, there was reformation in the nature of the new teacher.

§  One day, the science teacher of Abdul Kalam invited him to his home for dinner. However, wife of the science teacher didn’t agree to serve Kalam in her kitchen due to her rigid religious beliefs. The teacher decided to serve Kalam with his own hands and sat beside him to eat his meal. The wife was observing all this behind the kitchen. When the teacher invited Kalam again for a meal in his house, next weekend, his wife took Kalam inside her kitchen and served him with her own hands.

§  Kalam expressed his desire to go to Ramanathapuram for further studies after the end of Second World War. His parents consented as they didn’t want to obstruct their child’s growth and development by keeping him with them in a small town.

Message

The story teaches the lesson of religious unity and communal harmony. It tells us to break all the religious and communal barriers, remove the differences of religion, caste and community, not to be orthodox and rigid in our thoughts and actions, rituals and customs. The chapter is a beautiful message for all the Indians to stay united and help keep India integrated and unified and make it a progressive nation.

 

Important Question answers

Q1. ‘Teachers can make or break their students’ lives’. Illustrate it with reference to the chapter.

Ans. ‘Teachers can make or break their students’ lives’. This statement is apt in all the times and for all the people. When the new teacher saw Kalam, a Muslim boy sitting with Ramananda Shashtry, a Hindu priest’s son, he was not able to tolerate and asked Kalam to sit on the backbench. This incident could have mixed the poison in the hearts of innocent children but Krishna Shastry intervened and brought reformation in the new teacher. On the other hand, the science teacher tried his best to bridge this religious difference and social inequality by inviting Kalam to his house for dinner ignoring his wife's displeasure. He was successful in his efforts bringing a positive change in his wife and showing right path to Kalam. Thus, the teachers like Shivasubramania Swami play a pivotal role in casting a positive influence in the life of students and help them be the change that is needed in the society.



Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Animals


Animals

                                           By Walt Whitman


Analysis :

·       The poem ‘Animals’ is composed by Walt Whitman, renowned as national poet of America. This poem is song no. 32 in the ‘Song of Myself’ which is a part of Walt Whitman’s collection ‘The Leaves of Grass’.

·       The poem is critical in tone and didactic in nature. It criticises human attitude of never being satisfied.

·       The poem is composed as free verse without any rhyme scheme and stanza division and pattern. The line length is also irregular.

·       The Poet making a comparative study  between Animals and humans affirms that animals are far better than human beings.                                                                                     

·       The poem conveys that the human beings in the course of being civilised, advanced and progressive, have lost the more important values such as innocence, contentment and happiness. He stresses upon the fact that if we are not happy, contented and peaceful, all the civilisation and advancement is of no use.

·       The theme of the poem is that real happiness and peace of mind are more important than advancement and development.

 

Summary / Synopsis

The poet, Walt Whitman wants to take a U-turn and go back to the old age when humans used to live the way animals do. He wants to live among animals because he thinks animals are far better than human beings. Animals are calm, contented and peaceful. He wants to observe them so that he may learn and imbibe their qualities.

According to the poet, there is no end to the desires of human beings. They are always dissatisfied and keep complaining about their present condition. The animals unlike humans don’t get depressed and restless, nor they weep for their sins or past mistakes.

 The animals don’t bother about their religious duties and God. The human beings worship other human gods who lived on this earth thousand years ago.

The animals are blessed with self satisfaction also, they are not mad about hoarding all the materialistic things. They are satisfied and happier that’s why they don’t try to please other animals. No animal is more respectable for other animals.

The poet accepts the animals as his ancestors and feels that he belongs to them.  Animals clearly show to have possessed the qualities which even human beings possessed once and lost them out of their ignorance. Unfortunately, in the course of being civilised they have lost these qualities that they were born with.


Line by line explanation

 

Line 1 – 2

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are

so placid and self-contain’d,

I stand and look at them long and long.

In these lines, the poet has expressed his wish to about turn and go back to the ancient time when humans used to live the way animals do. He wants to live among animals because he thinks animals are far better than human beings. Animals are calm, contented and peaceful. He wants to stand close to them and observe them quietly for a long time, to learn their qualities so that he can make his life more peaceful and happier.

 

Line 3 -8

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, 

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with

the mania of owning things,

Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that

lived thousands of years ago,

Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

According to the poet human beings are greedy and there is no end to their desires. They tire themselves beyond the limit in fulfilling their desires and are always dissatisfied with their lot. They keep complaining about their present condition and always feel miserable. On the contrary the animals are happy with what they have. The animals unlike humans don’t get depressed and restless, nor they shed tears for their wrong doings. They don’t worry about their religious duties nor they bother so much about pleasing God. Here, the poet criticises humans who give more importance to their religion and God than their fellow human beings. The animals are blessed with self satisfaction and unlike humans they are not mad about hoarding all the materialistic things and luxuries. The human beings worship other human gods who lived on this earth thousand years ago. Here, Walt Whitman criticises humans for worshipping human gods from various religions such as Rama, Buddha, Mahavir, Guru Nanak, Jesus Christ, etc. The animals on the contrary consider other animals equal to them. The poet mocks at human beings and their ignorance about God as animals seem to be more understanding to the poet. They are satisfied and happier that’s why they don’t try to please other animals. No animal is more respectable for other animals. All are considered to be equal by animals but unfortunately humans don’t understand these simple things that’s why they are always unhappy and miserable.


Line 9 - 12

So they show their relations to me and I accept them,

They bring me tokens of myself, they evince

them plainly in their possession

I wonder where they get those tokens,

Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them?

The poet is able to see that the animals are his ancestors and human beings developed from them. The poet proudly accepts the animals as his ancestors and feels that he belongs to them.  Animals clearly show to have possessed the qualities which even human beings possessed once and lost them out of their ignorance.  Unfortunately, in the course of being civilised they have lost these qualities that they were born with. Hence, the poet decides to take a U turn and go back to the ancient time and enjoy living with animals the way they live.

 

Poetic Devices

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are  - Anaphora , Assonance, Repetition

so placid and self-contain’d, -  Consonance 

I stand and look at them long and long. – Anaphora, Repetition, Consonance

They do not sweat and whine about their condition, - Anaphora, Metaphor

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, - Anaphora   

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, - Anaphora, Alliteration

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with – Repetition, Alliteration, Consonance

Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that – Anaphora, Alliteration  

Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth. – Anaphora

So they show their relations to me and I accept them, - Alliteration 

They bring me tokens of myself, they evince – Alliteration

them plainly in their possession – Alliteration

I wonder where they get those tokens, - Alliteration, Metaphor  

 Note : There is an extended metaphor used in the entire poem as the poem is a comparative study between human being and animals. 


Important Question - Answers

Q1. How does the poet in the poem ‘Animals’ suggest that animals enjoy their present while human beings cry over past and worry for future? How are animals different from man according to the poet?

Ans. Walt Whitman admires the qualities of the animals and wishes to live with animals as they clearly understand what they want and when they get it, enjoy it without pining for what other things they don't possess. Animals are contented and know how to be happy with their lot. Animals are not restless and feel miserable, nor they lie awake in nights crying over their past. The humans, on the contrary, always crave for the past and cry for the things they don't have instead of enjoying the bounties they have at the moment. They worry about the future and would always imagine that they would be happier with the thing they don't possess at the moment.

Q 2. Why does the poet wish to turn and go to live with the animals?

Ans. Walt Whitman being a romantic poet can learn important lessons from nature and other creatures of nature that he considers equal to men. He perceived the futility of civilisation and advancement because man is not able to enjoy his gains and cries for what he doesn't have. Hence he wants to go back to ancient period when men were like animals and were happy and satisfied with their lot. All the progress and civilization is worthless if they can't make us happy.

Video on the poem Animals 
https://youtu.be/KctYAFgUxyA