Learning English verb forms
Mixing the past and present perfect
- Published: 3/02/2013 at 10:18 AM
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Famous TV commentator looks back over his life in his last essay for 60 minutes (CBS News). It's very clear and easy to follow and a great example of how we mix verb forms.
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Andy Rooney’s last essay on 60 minutes (CBS News)
Until October, 2011, the famous 60 Minutes US CBS news program ended with an essay from Andy Rooney. Naturally, in his final essay he had a lot to say of his life as a writer, journalist and TV personality. Listen to and read what he says and notice how he mixes present, present perfect and past forms.
When you finish listening and reading, go back and find a few examples and consider why he uses the verb form he does. Is he talking about the present time, relating something that happened in the past to the present, or is he talking about a specific time in the past?
Watch the final essay here:
Not many people in this world are as lucky as I have been. When I was in high school I had an English teacher who told me I was a good writer so I set out to become a writer myself. I've made my living as a writer for seventy years now. It's been pretty good.
During World War II, I wrote for the army newspaper the "Stars and Stripes." After the war I went to work in radio and television because I didn't think anyone was paying enough attention to the written word. I worked with a lot of great people who had the voice for radio, or they looked good on television. But someone had to write what they said, and that was me.
When I went on television it was as a writer. I don't think of myself as a television personality. I'm a writer who reads what he's written.
People have often told me I said the things they are thinking themselves. I probably haven't said anything here that you didn't already know or have already thought. That's what a writer does. There aren't too many original thoughts in the world.
A writers' job is to tell the truth. I believe that if all the truth were known about everything in the world it would be a better place to live. I know I've been terribly wrong sometimes, but I think I've been right more than I've been wrong.
I may have given the impression that I don't care what anyone else thinks, but I do care. I care a lot. I have always hoped people will like what I've written. Being liked is nice but it's not my intent.
I spent my first 50 years trying to become well known as a writer, and the next 30 trying to avoid being famous. I walk down the street now or go to a football game and people shout "Hey Andy!" And I hate that.
I've done a lot of complaining here, but of all the things I've complained about, I can't complain about my life. My wife Margie and I had four good kids...now there are grandchildren. I have two great grand children although they're a little young for me to know how great they are. And all this time I've been paid to say what is on my mind on television. You don't get any luckier in life than that.
This is a moment I have dreaded. I wish I could do this forever. I can't though. But I'm not retiring. Writers don't retire and I'll always be a writer.
A lot of you have sent me wonderful letters and said good things to me when you meet me in the street. I wasn't always gracious about it. It's hard to accept being liked. I don't say this often, but thank you. Although if you do see me in a restaurant, please, just let me eat my dinner.
journalist – a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television ผู้สื่อข่าว
personality – a famous person คนที่มีชื่อเสียง
impression – an opinion or feeling that you have about someone or something you have seen but do not know very well ความรู้สึก
intent – your plan or purpose จุดประสงค์
dread – to be very afraid of something; to fear that something bad is going to happen กลัวมาก
forever – for all time in the future, or for as long as you can imagine ตลอดไป
retire – to stop working because you have reached the age where you are too old to work เกษียณอายุ
To further understand the past simple and present perfect, check out Understanding English verb forms.
You can find a full description of Understanding English verb forms here:
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About the author
- Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager