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Introduction to Dialogue 17

In this dialogue about our future visit to see our grandchildren we use a mix of present, future and past tenses. In all conversations there is usually a mix of tenses and you are now aware of many of these.  


Notice the use of  'ought to' and 'should' . These are usually interchangeable.


'You ought to give him some food.' - 'You should give him some food'

You might also say 'You need to give him some food'


Similarly- 'Perhaps you should get him a Leicester shirt.' - 'Perhaps you ought to get him a Leicester shirt' or 'Perhaps you need to get him a Leicester shirt.'  All three sentences have a very similar meaning and are usually interchangeable.

Dialogue 17

G. It's time to pack our bags.

C. What? Are we going away again?

G. Yes - We are going to visit our sons and their families. I think we'll be babysitting whilst they go out. ....and we'll need to pack our walking gear.

C. I'm really looking forward to seeing the grandchildren again. They keep changing. Scarlet's three  now and DongDong is nearly two.

G. Scarlet talks all the time  - I suppose that's because she's female! Dongdong just likes to kick a ball around.

C. I'm going to pack my bags tomorrow and I must remember to pack all the presents. Where shall we go when we get there?

G. Well we could all go out for a walk on the beach or perhaps up the mountains. It depends on the weather really.

C. Too cold now to go swimming and the days are short. Scarlet won't walk far. We could take everyone out to that farm park near the lake. Scarlet loves all the animals.

G. Yes..... but the staff were all a bit grumpy and that goat tried to attack me last time!

C. Well you ought to have given it some food instead of laughing at it.

G. Mmmmmmm. I know what we could buy for DD. I'll go into town tomorrow and buy him an Ipswich Town football kit. I'm sure they're on sale now. What size do you think he is?

C. Probably 2 to 3 but perhaps you should  get him a Leicester shirt?

G. No that's your team not his.

C. Well he might not know that - he is only 2. He likes football and will kick a football round for hours  - I suppose it's a boy thing. We'll buy a ball when we get to their place - it's too big to pack in a case.

G. Girls do like football as well you know.

C. I think you have the wrong noun there dear. Girls like footballers, it's different.

G. I'm not very good a football.

C. Quite!! 

Review of Dialogue 17

There was, as stated in the introduction, a complex range of time and tense in the dialogue as we talked about our family, the future visit and events in a past visit.


Note the use of 'shall' instead of 'will'.

'Where shall we go when we get there?'

The replacement of 'shall' with 'will' is one very clear example of changes in modern English. 'Shall' used to be very common after 'I' and 'we' in talking about the future but it is now used less and less.

'I will go tomorrow.'  - rather than 'I shall go tomorrow.'

'We will see you tomorrow.' - rather than 'We shall see you tomorrow.'

However 'shall' still needs to be  used for asking instructions or making suggestions.

Shall I open the window?  Shall we have a meal? Let's go and buy the cake, shall we?

What time shall we meet up?