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Course 1 > Unit 4 > Write and Produce > General Writing 2
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General Writing

Consistency of Verb Tenses

We use the verb tense to indicate the particular time of an action, event or condition. When we want to describe a number of actions or events, we will use different tenses in a sentence, a paragraph and a whole composition. Changes in verb tense can help readers understand the relationships among various events. But if we make too many shifts in tenses, it will cause misunderstanding. We usually keep one tense as the main tense and indicate changes of time by changing tenses relative to the main tense.

1 There is a verb tense that is incorrectly used in each of the following sentences. Try to find the mistakes and correct them.
1. Before the meeting had been over, some of the people had left their seats for home.

2. After driving for fifteen miles, he suddenly realized that he has been driving in the wrong direction.

3. Suddenly, as we were running toward the house, a black dog was jumping from behind the door.

4. Technology can make our lives better, but it can be harmful if we used it for bad purposes.

5. I have bought a bike last year, but I have not sold my old bike yet, so at the moment I have two bikes.


2. In each of the following groups of sentences, two verbs must be changed in form so that they agree with the other verbs. Cross out the incorrect verbs and write the correct forms in the space at the right.

1. My goal is to become a teacher whom students will remember well into adulthood. I have known that I can use my own learning experiences to better others. I thought my own struggles will always help me remember that I will always be a student myself no matter how many degrees I may eventually have.

2. A career is more than a job. Remember, once you will graduate from college, you will most likely spend the majority of your adult life working. Isn't it better to spend your time working in a position that interests and challenging you and provides you with opportunities for growth?

3. We can have a lot of fun if we have many different kinds of friends. For example, some people liked sports, others like music, still others like to study. If we have friends with many different interests, we never felt bored and we are sure to enjoy a colorful life.

4. When students are busy in their school study they need to be careful how many hours they can put in for their part-time jobs. It is helpful for students to try some part-time jobs. But when a student found it hard to finish his homework in time or if he tended to be late for class because of his job, he must think it over. Anyway, study is more important.

5. In each country I have learned a different language, experienced a different climate, talking with people in different ways. I have learned that each place have something special about it and that no place on Earth is a perfect place. We may lose something when we leave a country, but we always gain something else in another.

©Experiencing English 2002