Friday 30 October 2020

Past Tense - an Overview

Past Tense at a Glance

Exercise :

Murli ______________ in the pool at that moment. (swim)
 We ___________ to have dinner when our uncle arrived. (go) 
 I __________ ‘Ignited Minds’ last week. (read)
 By the time my friend came, I _________ . (sleep)
 The thief _______________ when the police arrived. (escape)
 My friend _________ for Mumbai yesterday to enjoy the weekend. (leave)
 She __________________ there for a year when she died. (live)
 If she __________ hard, she would have succeeded. (work)
 Teresa ____________ even the last train. (miss)
  ____   you _________ in the weekend? (travel)

Past Perfect Continuous Tense


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 (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

 Video on Integrated Grammar Practice

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)  

 Video on Future Tense

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.



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.


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.

 Video on Road not Taken

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 

Important Question Answers 

 Q1. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

Remember, no men are strange, no countries foreign

Beneath all uniforms, a single body breathes

Like ours: the land our brothers walk upon

Is earth like this, in which we all shall lie.

(a) Who does the poet address in the poem? Name the poetic device here.

(b) What does the word “uniform” refer to? How is it ironical?

(c) What does the word ‘single’ mean?

d) ‘In which we shall all lie.’ Explain the sentence.

e) Which poetic device is used in first line?

f) What does the poet want us to remember?


Q2. Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow.

They, too, aware of sun and air and water,

Are fed by peaceful harvests, by war’s long winter starv’d.

Their hands are ours, and in their lines we read

A labour not different from our own.

(a) Whom does the word ‘they’ refer to?

(b) What is the significance of the word ‘too’?

(c) What does the poet mean by ‘peaceful harvests’? Which poetic device is used here?

(d) What does the poet want to convey through these lines?

e) Why is war compared to long winter?       

Video on Wind

Friday 23 October 2020

My Childhood

My Childhood

                                                By A. P. J. Abdul Kalam


·       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.

Video on Revision of Beehive

§  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.


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.

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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 Shivasubramaniam Iyer 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.