Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. In this lesson, I'm going to talk about how to use the word, "just," for actions that finished very, very recently. I'm going to talk about a couple of different patterns where we see the word, "just," used to talk about recently finished actions. I'm also going to talk about maybe one question that you might have about tenses with the word, "just."
For this lesson, I'm going to use a timeline from past to future with a point in the present. Also, just a reminder to review, we use the word, "just," as an emphasis word for this lesson, an emphasis word for an activity that's close to the present, something that happened close to the present time, in the past in this case, but we can also use it for future actions. You can check a different video to see the word, "just," used for future actions. Let's take a look at today's points, then.
The first pattern that I want to talk about is marked in green here. It's the subject of the sentence plus the word, "just," plus a past tense verb, a simple past tense verb, in this case, and extra information according to the verb that you use. This is a very simple past tense statement, but we want to emphasize that it was something that took place, something that happened just before or very, very recently, in the very recent past in other words. Let's take a look at a couple of examples, then.
First example, "I just sent you an email." Here my subject, "I" followed by "just" and then my simple past tense "sent," which is the past tense of the verb "send," you an email. This is something that happened very, very recently. "I just sent you an email." We can drop the word "just" here, "I sent you an email." However, using the word "just" shows how recently the action happened. This is an emphasis word. We can see it pretty clearly here, I think. Let's look at another example. "We just saw that movie." "Saw" is the past tense form of "see." "We just saw that movie." Very, very recently, we saw that movie. That's what we want to communicate with this sentence. Another example, "He just got back from France," or "He just came back from France" is good too. I've used "got" here to get back from a place as kind of a casual verb choice. We can say, "He just came back from France," as well. Each of these, we see a simple past tense verb is used. These are completed actions, then, and they happened very recently. Something very, very close to the present, but it happened in the past. To give a visual, we can imagine that these actions happened very recently in the past.
In the second pattern that I want to look at, however, I'm going to change the sentence a little bit. Let's take a look. Again, we have the subject. Here, though, I have the verb "to be." In this case, we're going to use the past tense of the verb. Then we have "just" followed by the progressive or the continuous tense of the verb. This is the "-ing" form of the verb, and again any extra information according to the verb that you're using.
Let's take a look at when we might use this kind of pattern. Here, first one, "I was," past the tense according to my subject, "was," "I was just," and then "studying" is my verb here. "I was just studying." This is an action that was happening, you'll notice the progressive tense, in the very recent past. Something I was doing, I was in the process of doing, in the very recent past. Let's take a look at another example here. "He was just washing the dishes." "He was just washing the dishes," shows this is an action that was happening, but in the past very recently. "Just" shows us that this action was in progress. This is something "he," in this case, this person, was doing in the past. It was a continuing action in the past very recently. Let's look at one more example, then. "Someone was just smoking in here." If, for example, you enter a room and it's very smoky, you were not smoking, maybe you want to make a guess someone was just, so very recently, smoking in here, in the process of smoking in this case. Each of these shows that something was happening in the past very recently, and perhaps it was interrupted, or it ended at the present point in time. For example, this sentence, "I was just studying." Maybe, for example, you're in the process of studying, but your phone rings. You pick up the phone, and you answer it with "Oh, hello. I was just studying." Something I was very recently continuing to do. In this case too, "He was just washing the dishes," shows us, for example, that someone was recently, very recently, washing the dishes. That was the ongoing action. But, perhaps that action was interrupted. He was just washing the dishes, but now he's outside taking out the garbage, for example. These patterns we can use to show an action that was continuing in the past and recently finished, or perhaps that was just interrupted. Maybe that action is going to continue in the future. For example, "I was just studying," I picked up the phone to talk to my friend. I'm going to continue studying in the future. We can use "was" here or "were," a past tense form of the verb "be," plus the continuous tense, to show an action continuing, that was continuing, in the very recent past.
This can be quite useful for interrupted activities, as I said. But there are a couple of things I want to mention here because while these are useful, and perhaps you can check the other video about how to use just for future actions, there's one similar pattern, I suppose, that might cause some confusion or that might not be so clear. I have a couple of example sentences here. In this lesson, I've talked about using the past tense form of the verb "to be," but I'm using the progressive form here. Or, in the first pattern I introduced, I'm not using the "be" verb, in this case, but I'm using a simple past tense verb. If, however, you see a sentence like one of these, for example, "I was just about to send you an email," or "He was just about to make dinner," it might cause some confusion because here we have past tense. "I was" or "he was," in this case. But this point, "just about," to suggest a future action. So, it seems like it doesn't match really. There's a past tense point and maybe a future tense point together here. This is a pattern that's used for actions, we were planning to do, we had a plan, something we wanted to do in the near future. However, the action was interrupted. For example, this is a sentence you can use at work, or maybe at school. Maybe you have a plan to email your professor or to email a colleague, however before you have time or before you have a chance to email your colleague, your colleague comes to you or your colleague calls you, for example. You can say, "I was just about to," something you plan to do in the very recent future, however, you did not do. The plan was interrupted, or you did not have a chance, or there's some reason that you did not take the action you're describing here. In this example, "He was just about to make dinner," but perhaps an action interrupted it. "He was just about to make dinner when his friend invited him out for pizza," for example. Perhaps these are used for interruptions. We plan to do something but that plan is interrupted for some reason. We mix this past tense "be" verb plus this, "about to," which I talked about more in the future tense example or the future tense sample patterns in the other video about this topic. Please check that out if you have some questions about how to use "just" for future actions.
Thanks very much for watching this lesson. I will see you again soon. Bye, bye.

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Lee
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I just learned this lesson.

Thanks.