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chomp!

chomp!
This presentation is
brought to you by
Grammar Bytes!,
2014 by Robin L.
Simmons.
Tense Shift
Do I use the
present tense
to maintain
consistency?
Or do I need
the past tense
instead?
This presentation
covers recognizing
appropriate verb
tenses for a given
time frame or
context.
A tense shift item on an
objective test might look
like this . . .
Sample Item
When King was a puppy, he chewed toys

and furniture. Now that he is an adult, he

wanted to chew the mail carrier most of all.


A. is
B. was
C. wants
D. No change is necessary.
When King was a puppy, he chewed toys
A
and furniture. Now that he is an adult, he
B
wanted to chew the mail carrier most of all.
C

A. is
B. was
C. wants
D. No change is necessary.
When King was a puppy, he chewed toys
A
and furniture. Now that he is an adult, he
B
wants to chew the mail carrier most of all.
C

A. is
B. was
C. wants
D. No change is necessary.
Is was, is, or
wanted in the
wrong tense?
Wanted should
be present
tense, a
correction option
C makes.
Use present/ present perfect
tense to i ndi cate
cur rent/ regul ar acti on.
Jeffrey goes to the gym six days a week where he
has gained not only muscle but also discipline.
Present tense: verb + s = singular; verb + =
plural.
Present perfect tense: has or have + past
participle
I have gained
attention from
women too!
Jeffrey had lifted free weights for over an hour
before someone mentioned the rip in his
shorts.
Use past perfect to i ndi cate a
past acti on that occur red
before another past acti on.
Its a good
thing I have
cute
glutes.
Past tense: regular = verb + ed; irregular forms
vary.
Past perfect tense: had + past participle
Jeffrey was showing off when he tore a muscle
in his shoulder.
Use progressi ve tenses to
i ndi cate an ongoi ng acti on
that occurs as another acti on
happens.
Progressive tenses: form of be + verb + ing
Ouch!
When l ogi c per mi ts, you can mi x
past/ present tenses wi th future.
Because he went to the gym today, Jeffrey will
reward himself with a triple bacon cheeseburger for
lunch. After he weighs himself tomorrow, he will
regret the poor food choice.
Because I ate
badly, I will have
to do more crunches
at the gym.
Could/ would = past tense of
can/ will .
Jeffrey thought he will have enough energy for his
workout, but skipping breakfast meant that he cannot
complete his training.
You would
have had the
same
problem!
Jeffrey thought he will have enough energy for his
workout, but skipping breakfast meant that he cannot
complete his training.
Jeffrey thought he would have enough energy for his
workout, but skipping breakfast meant that he could not
complete his training.
Quick Test
Directions: In the items that follow, choose
the option that corrects an error in the
underlined portion(s). If no error exists, choose
No change is necessary.
You think youre
tough? Show
me your tense
strength.
Item 1
Aunt Lillian had frozen four quarts of her

homegrown strawberries, but she lost them after

the hurricane was knocking out power for eight

days.

A. froze
B. had lost
C. knocked
D. No change is necessary.
Aunt Lillian had frozen four quarts of her
A
homegrown strawberries, but she lost them after
B
the hurricane was knocking out power for eight
C
days.

A. froze
B. had lost
C. knocked
D. No change is necessary.
Aunt Lillian had frozen four quarts of her
A
homegrown strawberries, but she lost them after
B
the hurricane knocked out power for eight
C
days.

A. froze
B. had lost
C. knocked
D. No change is necessary.
Item 2
Because Sammy had been eating all of the
chocolate mint ice cream before she got home,
Roxanne whacked him over the head.

A. ate
B. was eating
C. had eaten
D. No change is necessary.
Because Sammy had been eating all of the
chocolate mint ice cream before she got home,
Roxanne whacked him over the head.

A. ate
B. was eating
C. had eaten
D. No change is necessary.
Because Sammy had been eating all of the
chocolate mint ice cream before she got home,
Roxanne whacked him over the head.

A. ate
B. was eating
C. had eaten
D. No change is necessary.
Item 3
Carlos pawed at his hair and shook his head, but

he cannot dislodge the giant spider tangled in

his curls.

A. was pawing
B. was shaking
C. could not
D. No change is necessary.
Carlos pawed at his hair and shook his head, but
A B
he cannot dislodge the giant spider tangled in
C
his curls.

A. was pawing
B. was shaking
C. could not
D. No change is necessary.
Carlos pawed at his hair and shook his head, but
A B
he could not dislodge the giant spider tangled in
C
his curls.

A. was pawing
B. was shaking
C. could not
D. No change is necessary.
Item 4
Grandpa planted a backyard garden, hoping that it
was helping with the high cost of food.

A. will help
B. would help
C. helped
D. No change is necessary.
Grandpa planted a backyard garden, hoping that it
was helping with the high cost of food.

A. will help
B. would help
C. helped
D. No change is necessary.
Grandpa planted a backyard garden, hoping that it
was helping with the high cost of food.

A. will help
B. would help
C. helped
D. No change is necessary.
Item 5
When Gretchen was a freshman, she wanted to

major in biology, but after her first rat dissection,

she couldnt change her major fast enough.


A. had been
B. was wanting
C. cannot
D. No change is necessary.
When Gretchen was a freshman, she wanted to
A B
major in biology, but after her first rat dissection,

she couldnt change her major fast enough.
C

A. had been
B. was wanting
C. cannot
D. No change is necessary.
When Gretchen was a freshman, she wanted to
A B
major in biology, but after her first rat dissection,

she couldnt change her major fast enough.
C

A. had been
B. was wanting
C. cannot
D. No change is necessary.
Item 6
Everyone is sleeping soundly when Brendan
dropped the glass pitcher of lemonade on the stone
tiles of the kitchen floor.

A. had been sleeping
B. slept
C. would sleep
D. No change is necessary.
Everyone is sleeping soundly when Brendan
dropped the glass pitcher of lemonade on the stone
tiles of the kitchen floor.

A. had been sleeping
B. slept
C. would sleep
D. No change is necessary.
Everyone is sleeping soundly when Brendan
dropped the glass pitcher of lemonade on the stone
tiles of the kitchen floor.

A. had been sleeping
B. slept
C. would sleep
D. No change is necessary.
Item 7
Ancient Egyptians spent their entire lives preparing

for their death and burial. Today, however, people

are thinking that such arrangements are morbid

and impolite to discuss.

A. were spending
B. think
C. would be
D. No change is necessary.
Ancient Egyptians spent their entire lives preparing
A
for their death and burial. Today, however, people

are thinking that such arrangements are morbid
B C
and impolite to discuss.

A. were spending
B. think
C. would be
D. No change is necessary.
Ancient Egyptians spent their entire lives preparing
A
for their death and burial. Today, however, people

think that such arrangements are morbid
B C
and impolite to discuss.

A. were spending
B. think
C. would be
D. No change is necessary.
Item 8
When Felicia saw the turtle trying to cross the busy
road, she leaped out of her car and had carried
the reptile to safety at the other side.

A. was carrying
B. carried
C. will carry
D. No change is necessary.
When Felicia saw the turtle trying to cross the busy
road, she leaped out of her car and had carried
the reptile to safety at the other side.

A. was carrying
B. carried
C. will carry
D. No change is necessary.
When Felicia saw the turtle trying to cross the busy
road, she leaped out of her car and had carried
the reptile to safety at the other side.

A. was carrying
B. carried
C. will carry
D. No change is necessary.
Item 9
George Washington believed that he was invincible

in battle. He rode a conspicuous white horse that

made him an easy target, yet no bullet had hit him,

validating his conviction of invulnerability.

A. had believed
B. was riding
C. hit
D. No change is necessary.
George Washington believed that he was invincible
A
in battle. He rode a conspicuous white horse that
B
made him an easy target, yet no bullet had hit him,
C
validating his conviction of invulnerability.

A. had believed
B. was riding
C. hit
D. No change is necessary.
George Washington believed that he was invincible
A
in battle. He rode a conspicuous white horse that
B
made him an easy target, yet no bullet hit him,
C
validating his conviction of invulnerability.

A. had believed
B. was riding
C. hit
D. No change is necessary.
Item 10
We would have bite marks on our ankles and
scratches on our thighs ever since adopting
Nelson, our feisty kitten.

A. had
B. have
C. will have
D. No change is necessary.
We would have bite marks on our ankles and
scratches on our thighs ever since adopting
Nelson, our feisty kitten.

A. had
B. have
C. will have
D. No change is necessary.
We would have bite marks on our ankles and
scratches on our thighs ever since adopting
Nelson, our feisty kitten.

A. had
B. have
C. will have
D. No change is necessary.
The End.