Listening practice - Foundation

Sometimes it's useful not just to understand about people's actions, but to know when they took (or will take) place. The tenses of verbs help to work this out. For example:

PastPresentFuture
reciclé el papel (I recycled paper), reciclaba el papel (I used to recycle paper)reciclo el papel (I recycle paper)voy a reciclar el papel (I am going to recycle paper), reciclaré el papel (I will recycle paper)
recogé basura (I picked up litter), recogía basura (I used to pick up litter)recojo basura (I pick up litter)voy a recoger basura (I'm going to pick up litter), recogeré basura (I will pick up litter)
reducí el malgasto de agua (I reduced water waste), reducía el malgasto de agua (I used to reduce water waste)reduzco el malgasto de agua (I reduce water waste)voy a reducer el malgasto de agua (I'm going to reduce water waste), reduciré el malgasto de agua (I will reduce water waste)

Remember that the use of time indicators like these can also give clues as to whether the speaker is referring to past, present or future actions:

PastPresentFuture
antes - before, previouslyahora - nowen el futuro - in the future
el año pasado - last yeareste año - this yearel año que viene - next year
la semana pasada - last weekesta semana - this weekla semana que viene - next week
ayer - yesterdayhoy - todaymañana - tomorrow

Laura and Pablo are talking about helping the environment

Listen to what they say about:

  • what they have done in the past
  • what they are doing now
  • what they will do in the future
Question

Laura

Complete this table in English.

PastPresentFuture
Laura
PastPresentFuture
LauraPicked up litter (in the park)Recycles glass and paperWalk to school

Laura: El año pasado at the start of the sentence and the imperfect ending on recogíamos indicate that 'picking up litter' is what happened in the past. Ahora and the present tense ending of reciclo tell you that 'recycling glass and paper' is what she does now. El año que viene and the use of voy a + infinitive indicate that 'going to school on foot' is going to happen in the future.

Transcript:

Laura: El año pasado yo era miembro de un grupo de voluntarios y cada sábado recogíamos basura en el parque, pero tuve que dejarlo porque ahora tengo demasiado trabajo. Sin embargo, siempre reciclo el vidrio y el papel. El año que viene voy a ir al colegio a pie en vez de ir en coche. ¿Y tú, Pablo? ¿Qué haces tú?

Translation:

Laura: Last year, I was a member of a group of volunteers and every Saturday we used to pick up litter in the park, but I had to leave it because I've got too much work now. However, I always recycle glass and paper. Next year, I'm going to walk to school instead of going by car. And what about you, Pablo? What do you do?

Question

Pablo

Complete this table in English.

PastPresentFuture
Pablo
PastPresentFuture
PabloSaved waterAvoids using chemicalsUse rechargeable batteries

Pablo: You have to listen to this item more carefully as he mentions the three activities in a different order from the table. Ahora and the present tense ending on evito are the clues that 'avoiding the use of chemical products' happens in the present. En el futuro and the future ending on utilizaré indicate that 'using rechargeable batteries' will happen in the future, while antes and the imperfect tense of trataba de ahorrar indicate that 'saving water' was something he did in the past.

Transcript:

Pablo: Pues, ahora siempre evito el uso de productos químicos y he decidido que en el futuro solo utilizaré pilas recargables. Antes no hacía mucho, pero siempre trataba de ahorrar agua porque es un recurso muy importante.

Translation:

Pablo: Well, now I always avoid using chemical products/chemicals and I've decided that in the future, I will only use rechargeable batteries. Previously I didn't do a lot but I always used to try to save water because it's a very important resource.