Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about using "just" for the very recent past and for the near future. Let's get started!
All right, I want to begin this lesson by talking about the very recent past. So, I have two different patterns that you, we can use to talk about the very recent past with "just." The first will be for actions that were completed very recently and the second will be for actions that were planned for completion recently.
So, let's start with this first one here, number one. I've marked it on this timeline here with a check mark. So, on my timeline, this is the present. Back here is the past. For actions then that were very recently completed, we can kind of imagine this check mark as like something that happened very, very recently, so just before now.
So, a simple statement pattern that we can use with "just" is this "[subject] + just + [simple past tense verb]." This is the most basic way to make a statement with "just."
Some examples are:
"I just finished work."
"He just arrived."
"They just left."
So you see, in each of these very simple example sentences, we have just, followed by a simple past tense verb, in these cases; finished, arrived, and left. So if you want to make a basic statement about a finished action, something that has finished, is done, in the very recent past, you can use a pattern like this.
I want to include one note about this, this particular point, this number one point. You might also hear the present perfect used. By that, I mean, instead of "I just…" or "he just…" or "they just…," sometimes, people will use "I've just…," "he's just…," "they've just…" So this "-ve" and "s" here, this is…
"I have just…,"
"He has just…,"
"They have just…"
You may hear present perfect use as well. It has the same meaning, like…
"I've just finished work."
"He's just arrived."
"They've just left."
The meaning is the same. For whatever reason, the speaker has chosen to use present perfect tense. Perhaps, it sounds a little bit softer, but these two uses or rather these two patterns have the same purpose, it serves the same function. So you may hear these two.
Let's look, however, at kind of the opposite of this.
So, point number two here is used to express an action that was planned for the very recent past, but that did not get finished, is not done, it was not completed. It might get done in the future, we don't know, but it did not happen. So, to imagine this like visually, we can use this X mark in the very recent past. So something just before the present time that did not happen, but we had a plan to do this.
So, some examples of this, actually, I'll introduce in a second, but when we want to make a statement, with this kind of grammar, we can use again the subject, but we'll use the past-tense form of "be." So by that, I mean the "be" verb, so that means like "was or were" plus "just about to…" so this is a key difference here between the regular completed-action pattern. And then we use the present-tense form of the verb. So here, you already noticed maybe, there are a couple of different points between this and this.
So, some examples of this in action.
"I was just about to call you."
"We were just about to leave."
"She was just about to cancel the appointment."
So, in each of these example sentences, we see our subject plus the past tense form of the verb "to be," in this case, "I was, we were, she was." So here is our "be" verb. Then, we include "just about to…," there's no change in these sentences, "just about to (something)." And then our verb is the present-tense form of the verb, "call, leave, and cancel" in these cases.
So when you want to talk about something that was planned for the very recent past, but that did not happen, you don't need to change the verb, you don't need to conjugate the verb to past tense. We conjugate the verb to past tense when we're talking about finished actions. So please keep these points in mind. So, simple past tense for completed action, present tense, simple present tense for actions that are not completed or were not completed.
Okay, so with that in mind about the very recent past, I want to talk now about some patterns you can use with "just" for the very near future. So, let's begin with this first one, number one here. This pattern is used to talk about an action in the very near future, so something we have planned, we are thinking about that action or we're planning to do that action in the very near future. So here on this timeline, we're looking now into the future. So, this is my "now" point. This number one, I've represented with a check mark here. So this marks an action that I have planned. I want to do that or I'm thinking about that action and I'm going to do it soon.
To make a basic sentence with this, a basic statement, we can say "[subject] + [present tense of the verb "to be"] + "just about to" and the present tense form of the verb. So you'll notice actually, there's only one difference between this sentence and this sentence, and that's this part right here. In this part, where we were talking about the very recent past, we used the past-tense form of the verb "to be," "I was, you were." Here, we're using the present-tense form of the verb "be," "I am, we are." So, this is one hint that it's actually a future action, so this will tell you, is it a future action or is it a past action? It's a small point to listen for.
Some examples though are:
"I'm just about to finish work."
"He's just about to arrive."
"They're just about to leave."
So here, I've reduced it in each of these example sentences, but my "be" verb is here. "I'm" is "I am."
"He's" is "he is."
And "they're" is "they are."
So, "I'm just about to finish work."
"He's just about to arrive."
"They're just about to leave."
These tell us something is going to happen very soon.
Another point about this, is that sometimes, native speakers will drop "just" from this pattern.
So, "I'm about to finish work."
"He's about to arrive."
"They're about to leave."
These are all fine. They communicate the same thing, it's just the speaker's preference, so you can choose whichever you prefer.
Okay, then I want to continue to point two for this part.
Point two, let's look at the pattern first. It's [subject] + [present tense "be"] again here plus "just" and then we see the progressive form of a verb. So, this is something that we use for an action that's happening now and it's like something that we expect is going to finish in the very near future, so we use "just" to emphasize this. To visualize this then on a timeline, we can imagine with this kind of wavy line here that something is happening now and it will continue until the very, very, like near future. So maybe it stops or it finishes here. If you want to talk about an action like that, you can try using this pattern.
So, some examples are:
"I'm just finishing work."
"He's just arriving."
"They're just leaving."
So these show like the action has already started. So "I'm just finishing work" means maybe, I'm making my last, like steps in my day or I'm taking the last, I don't know, bits of information from my day. I'm putting them somewhere, I don't know, it depends on you. But, we use this to talk about actions that started and that we expect to finish very soon. So, you can try using one of these at, like, the end of your work day or like, maybe, when you're leaving a location. Those are some common situations where we would use patterns like this, so please keep that in mind.
When you're using the progressive form of the verb, it's going to sound like something is already like happening now. It's begun. When you're using it without, when you're just using the present-tense form of the verb here, it's something you are planning to do in the future.
Okay, so that's a quick introduction to using "just" for the very recent past and for the near future. I hope that you found some patterns that you can use to talk about your recent past and to describe some of the things you're going to do in the near future. Of course, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let us know in the comment section of this video and also, please feel free to leave some example sentences if you want to practice using this grammar. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!