What A Language: Reading Mixed Tenses
This story is about three Frenchmen who lived for some time in England. The first Frenchman once heard someone shout: “Look out!” He was at a hotel when he heard these words. He put his head out of the window and a bucket full of water fell on him.
The second Frenchman was once on a ship and heard the captain shout: “All hands on deck!” He put his hands on the deck and someone walked on them.
The third Frenchman wanted to visit a friend of his. When he came to the door of the house, he knocked. A maid opened it. He said: “Is Mr Brown in?” The maid answered: “He isn’t up yet. Come back in half an hour.”
When he came after half an hour, the maid said: “He’s not down yet.” He said: “If he’s not up and he’s not down, where is he?” The maid answered: “Oh, it’s simple. When I say he’s not up, I mean he has not got up, and when I say he’s not down, I mean he has not come downstairs.”