Perfect Tenses Help (page 2)
Every time you write a sentence, you use a verb to express time:
- Present time: My best friend visits us from time to time.
- Past time: She visited four times last year.
- Future time: She will visit us again next week.
These are the simplest expressions of time, but as you read in Chapter 1, ideas are occasionally more complicated and require a different use of verbs.
Present Perfect Tense
How do you express an action that started in the past but continues into the present time? You add a helping word has or have to the past tense of the verb. Take the previous example:
- My best friend has visited us from time to time.
The verb has visited tells us that the visiting started in the past but continues in the present.
Verb Tense Practice and Answers
Using the preceding information, find and correct the past-perfect verb errors in the following sentences. The first one is done for you.
- Lacey banked at Yardley Trust for four years, but she's considering a change of banks.
- I banked at Yardley Trust for one year, and I'm planning on staying there.
- I am writing business manuals for twenty years. (Tricky! Remember that am is a form of be.)
- The Tomkins owned the pharmacy for ten years and are now starting to renovate it.
- I watched baseball on TV year after year, but now I'm reserving seats at the stadium.
1. Lacey has banked… 2. I have banked at Yardley Trust… 3. I have been writing business… 4. The Tomkins have owned… 5. I have watched baseball…
Past Perfect Tense
On occasion, one past action occurs before another past action. For example:
- My friend had visited us from time to time before he moved to Seattle.
Both verbs are in the past (visited, moved), but the visiting took place in the past before the moving. The challenge is to always make clear which action occurred first. The helping verb had makes that clear. For example:
- Jackie had eaten alone before I invited him to join us.
The addition of the helping verb had shows that Jackie ate alone before someone invited him to join a group.
Present and Past Perfect Tense Practice and Answers
In each of the following sentences, indicate the present or past perfect tense by inserting a helping verb where needed. The first one is done for you.
- Before I finished my second dessert, my mother brought the main course.
- I took yoga for three years before I heard about Pilates.
- I never saw a vineyard before I went to California.
- If you remembered your diet plan, you definitely would not have started with dessert!
- I chose the menu, but I still didn't take the blame.
- Bill said, "If you screamed, I would have come running."
- I owned a small car for years before I actually needed to save on gas.
- My niece participated in the Iron Man Competition for several years before she stopped running.
- I worked at ABC Management for four years before I received a promotion!
- Eli and Eleanor ate at that restaurant many times before it closed.
1. had finished 2. had taken yoga 3. I had never seen… 4. If you had remembered… 5. I had chosen the menu… 6. Bill said "If you had screamed… " 7. I had owned a small car… 8. My niece had participated… 9. I had worked… 10. Eli and Eleanor had eaten
Future Perfect Tense
What if you want to express one future action before another future action? For example:
- I will have visited my grandchildren a number of times before they stay with me in the summer.
The words will have show that the visiting will be completed before the staying occurs in the summer. In other words, a future action—visiting—will be completed before another future action, staying, happens.
Future Perfect Tense Practice and Answers
Correct the verb tense errors in the following sentences. The first one is done for you.
- I will have planted a hundred bulbs before I will have considered stopping.
- I will have flown one million miles before I will have retired.
- I will fly one million miles before I will have retired.
- By the time you will have arrived, I will bake the cake.
- The exterior house painting will have been done before you will have moved in.
1. …before I consider stopping 2. before I retire. 3. I will have flown one million miles before I retire. 4. By the time you arrive, I will have baked the cake. 5. …before you move in.
Consider one more: the use of time in a sentence that expresses simultaneous actions.
- As the baseball hero walked into the stadium, the ecstatic fans cheered.
Two actions happened at the same time: (1) The baseball hero walked and (2) the ecstatic fans cheered. When two actions occur simultaneously, neither action word is accompanied by had.
Tense Practice and Answers
Choose the correct verb for each of the following sentences.
- When the singer appeared to sing the National Anthem, everyone (rose/had risen).
- I (will have commuted/commuted) one million miles by air by the time I retire.
- The music (swelled/has swelled) and the movie began.
- As I lifted the Sunday newspaper, I (saw/had seen) my missing pen.
- By the time I leave the house, my bus (will have left/left).
- The court (decided/had decided) that the driver was wrong.
- As we (filed/had filed) out of the room, the lights went out.
- I (picked/had picked) up my personal mail before I arrived at work.
- When the electric lines fell, our lights (went out/had gone out).
- Before she goes up to the platform, she (will have prepared/prepared) her talking points.
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