General English Level 4 V 3
UNIT 01 The media TOPIC 02 Read all about it!
LANGUAGE FOCUS 05 Newspaper reports
In this section we look at the language of newspaper reports.

1. Simple past tense

The newspaper article says:
An armoured car driver stopped at the pub to pick up four bags of money. As he was leaving the pub, Mr Coleman attacked him from behind and hit him on the head.

We use the simple past tense to talk about something that happened in the past and has now finished e.g. stopped, attacked and hit.
Newspaper reports use the simple past tense and other past tense forms to tell what happened.

I
You
He
She
We
They
carried
saw
counted
saved
the money.

Examples

1 Read the examples.
2 Listen to the examples.
3 Practise saying each example. Use the Pause button.
The taxi driver stopped at the traffic lights.
The police caught the robber.
The doctor treated the injured man.
The women had lunch in a restaurant.
The young boy ran after his dog.

 

2. After + ing and before + ing clauses

The newspaper article says:
… the police arrived. After seeing the thief with the bags of money, they arrested him immediately.

This means the same as: After they saw the thief with the bags of money, they arrested him immediately.
First the police saw the thief, then they arrested him.

The newspaper article says:
After leaving the café we saw this little man carrying four bags.

This means the same as: After we left the café, we saw this little man …
First they left the café, then they saw the man.

The newspaper article says:
Once a month we collect all our small coins before sending them to the bank to be counted.

This means the same as: Once a month we collect all our two-cent coins before we send them to the bank….
First they collect the coins, then they send them to the bank.

After seeing the thief …., After leaving the café…., and before sending them ….. are called non-finite clauses, because they do not have a complete or finite verb.
Newspaper reports often use these types of clauses to show what happened first, second, third and so on.

1. We can only use these clauses when there is no need for a new subject - when the clause is about the same subject as the main clause, for example:

We were in the café. + We saw this little man.

We is the subject in both clauses so we can say:

After leaving the café we saw this little man carrying four bags.

2. This kind of clause can be at the beginning or the end of the sentence, for example:

The women went shopping after having lunch.

After
Before
closing
opening
the door
the window
the gate
the book
I
you
he
she
we
they
went to bed.
had lunch.
drank some water.
answered the phone.

We make similar clauses with while and since, for example:

He ate his dinner while watching television.
Since leaving my job, I haven't had much money.

Examples

1 Read the examples.
2 Listen to the examples.
3 Practise saying each example. Use the Pause button.
After stopping at the red light, the taxi driver turned on the radio.
Before catching the robber, the police chased him across the road.
Before treating the injured man, the doctor asked him what happened.
After having lunch the women went shopping.
After chasing his dog, the boy caught it.

 

Now go to 06 LANGUAGE FOCUS Quoting speech.

 

© 2002 acl Pty Ltd