Often, when I am learning a language, I understand the tenses when I focus on them one at a time.  Then, when I have a conversation, I get confused because we use more than one tense at a time in real life.  If this also happens to you, you’ll like today’s mini-lesson.  First, we’ll do a short review and complete an exercise.  Then, we’ll watch an interesting video about how China is Changing Hollywood and better understand those tenses and why they are used.  Let’s get started!

Present Simple

I, you, we, they: (verb)   he, she, it: (verb)s

Uses:

  • Action that always/often happens: I wake up at 8:00 each day.
  • Fact/generalization: Snakes scare me.
  • Scheduled event in near future: Our flight leaves at noon.
  • Now (non continuous verbs):  I’m at your apartment.  Where are you?

Present Perfect

have/has + (past participle)

Uses:

  • Experience: Have you seen Westworld?
  • Change: He has lost weight since last year.
  • Accomplishments: Scientists have found vaccines for many diseases.
  • Incomplete, expected action: Have you finished your homework yet?
  • Several actions in the past at different times: I have tried that 20 times.

Future

will + (verb)

Uses:

  • Prediction: Who will become president?
  • Promise: I will clean my room tonight.
  • Volunteering for something: I will wash the dishes for you.

Past Simple

(verb)ed

Uses:

  • Completed action in the past: We rode our bikes home yesterday.
  • Series of completed actions: We rode our bikes home, cooked dinner, and watched TV.
  • Duration of completed past action: I lived in Santiago for one year.
  • Past habits or hobbies: Where did you work in high school?

 

Part I.  Now, we’ll take a look at a partial transcript from the video we are about to watch.  I have already written the use, and it’s your job to choose the correct tense and conjugation of the verb.  Don’t forget to write your answers in the comments section!

 

  1. Fact/generalization: In the 4th Transformers movie, (there’s/there was) a scene where a random guy in an elevator (helped/helps) Stanley Tucci beat someone up.  That guy? (Turned/Turns) out (he’s/he has been) a Chinese boxer, Zou Shiming, a world champion and gold medalist.
  2. Promise: Elsewhere in the movie (you’ll see/you see) product placement everywhere.
  3. Completed action: If you (didn’t/don’t) recognize these references, that’s because they (aren’t/weren’t) meant for you.
  4. Accomplishment: The growth of China’s middle class (created/has created) a massive new market.
  5. Prediction: Next year, China’s box office revenue (likely surpasses/will likely surpass) the US, making it the largest movie market in the world.
  6. Accomplishment: China (has built/built) 27 new cinema screens per day on average this year.
  7. Fact/generalization: The problem (was/is), the Chinese government only (allows/allow) a certain number of foreign films to enter the country each year, and each one (have/has) to pass through the government censorship agency.
  8. Completed action: Before the 1990’s, very few Hollywood movies (make/made) it to Chinese audiences.  The Chinese government (has/had) its own film industry, and they (used/will use) it to distribute propaganda.
  9. Completed action: In 1993, that (drops/dropped) to 5 billion, but in 1994 things (started/starts) to change.  The Fugitive (became/becomed) the first new American film set for general release to the Chinese public.  It (was/were) so popular that scalpers outside theaters were getting double the price of the ticket.
  10. Change: Since then, Hollywood (has pushed/have pushed) the US government to continually negotiate for higher quotas.

Part II.  For this part, the verbs are filled in for you, and it’s your job to decide why the tense is used.  Fill in the blank with the correct uses.

  1. __________These days, a US film typically makes it into a Chinese movie theater in one of three ways…the most common is the revenue sharing model where the studio gets 25% of the revenue.
  2. __________Over the last ten years, American films have strategically incorporated positive Chinese story elements to bolster their chances of being one of the films selected.
  3. __________In Red Dawn, the enemy was originally China, but changed to North Korea in post production.
  4. __________It’s important to note, though, that studios don’t have to do this.  Harry Potter is a great example.
  5. __________There are two ways to get around the 34 film limit.  The least popular among big Hollywood studios today is the flat fee model because they’re selling the film at a fraction of the cost, and China gets 100% of the ticket sales.  The other option is co-producing the movie with a Chinese company so that it’s not technically a foreign film.  But, co-productions are the most tightly regulated…it also has to have at least a third of the cast be Chinese.  In short, China somehow has to play a significant role in the film, and it can’t be as the villain.
  6. __________Before Looper was released, its director in studio partnered with DMG, a Chinese-based entertainment company…DMG recommended that the script be rewritten…but ultimately, separate American and Chinese versions of Looper were released because the Chinese scenes in the film didn’t resonate with US and international audiences.
  7. __________That’s always the issue…as important as the China market is, it’s not the only market.  Ultimately, China wants their own films to outnumber and outplay their foreign competitors, so they’re building their own Hollywood.  It’s an 8.2 billion dollar investment.
  8. __________From the same company that actually bought AMC in 2012, and subsequently doubled their ticket sales.
  9. __________,__________Sure, China will share their facilities with US studios, but their doors are still only half open.
  10. __________,__________That film quota that has held the US at bay for the last two decades, will also apply to Hollywood studios vying to book the state of the art facilities.

 

Good work!  You’ve already read most of the transcript from the video below, so this will help your listening comprehension too.  As you watch, make sure your answers for the above exercises are correct.

Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of why the variety of tenses were used in this video.  Are you still confused?  Or, want to practice your new knowledge in a conversation with a native speaker?  Schedule a class with LOI now!  We have plenty of professional, friendly teachers who can help at any time that’s convenient for you!

  • Yuri Manzhos

    great video, thanks. I didn’t get what Oliver Platt’s phrases mean, do his words mean that he had thought ‘it was impossible’ but now he sees that it was possible due to Chinease. Or is it all about something else? Thanks

  • LOIEnglish

    Yuri, great questions! I think that you are confused by the phrase: “leave it to The Chinese”
    This phrase has the meaning that something BIG has been accomplished and it surprised the person saying it but also confirmed their belief. Here is another example: Leave it to Teauna to successfully negotiate that deal.

  • Yuri Manzhos

    Thanks. Great explanation. I have an idea how to sell more of LOI classes. You should offer learners to buy less time for less money, like coffee sticks, because 55min is a big jar of time that not everyone wanna buy, we need just 10-15 min of friendly conversation to ask how to undestand a point; like you just explained me the meaning of that phrase. I bet that in 10 min you could give me a couple of answers like that, which would greatly satisfied me

  • LOIEnglish

    Yuri,

    Thank you for the idea of shorter classes. We’ve often thought about the 10 or 15 minute class, but we haven’t quite figured out the logistics. I think you can expect something like this in the future. We do offer 25 minute classes at the moment and a lot of our students love these. In fact you can choose to take 55 minute classes or 25 minute classes. So, for example, if you buy 10 Credits you can take ten 55 minute classes or twenty 25 minute classes.

  • Yuri Manzhos

    So, please, sell me a 25 min class

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