Tense shift

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Slide 1: 

chomp! chomp! This presentation is brought to you by Grammar Bytes!, ©2008 by Robin L. Simmons.

Tense Shift : 

Tense Shift Do I use the present tense to maintain consistency? Or do I need the past tense instead?

Slide 3: 

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 . . . : 

A tense shift item on an objective test might look like this . . .

Sample Item : 

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. is was wants 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 is was wants 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 is was wants 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 indicate current/regular action. : 

Use present/present perfect tense to indicate current/regular action. 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 + Ø = plural. Present perfect tense: has or have + past participle I have gained attention from women too!

Use past perfect to indicate a past action that occurred before another past action. : 

Jeffrey had lifted free weights for over an hour before someone mentioned the rip in his shorts. Use past perfect to indicate a past action that occurred before another past action. It’s a good thing I have cute glutes. Past tense: regular = verb + ed; irregular forms vary. Past perfect tense: had + past participle

Use progressive tenses to indicate an ongoing action that occurs as another action happens. : 

Jeffrey was showing off when he tore a muscle in his shoulder. Use progressive tenses to indicate an ongoing action that occurs as another action happens. Progressive tenses: form of be + verb + ing Ouch!

When logic permits, you can mix past/present tenses with future. : 

When logic permits, you can mix past/present tenses with 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. : 

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 : 

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 you’re tough? Show me your tense strength.

Item 1 : 

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. froze had lost knocked 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. froze had lost knocked 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. froze had lost knocked No change is necessary.

Item 2 : 

Item 2 Because Sammy had been eating all of the chocolate mint ice cream before she got home, Roxanne whacked him over the head. ate was eating had eaten 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. ate was eating had eaten 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. ate was eating had eaten No change is necessary.

Item 3 : 

Item 3 Carlos pawed at his hair and shook his head, but he cannot dislodge the giant spider tangled in his curls. was pawing was shaking could not 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. was pawing was shaking could not 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. was pawing was shaking could not No change is necessary.

Item 4 : 

Item 4 Grandpa planted a backyard garden, hoping that it was helping with the high cost of food. will help would help helped No change is necessary. Grandpa planted a backyard garden, hoping that it was helping with the high cost of food. will help would help helped No change is necessary. Grandpa planted a backyard garden, hoping that it was helping with the high cost of food. will help would help helped No change is necessary.

Item 5 : 

Item 5 When Gretchen was a freshman, she wanted to major in biology, but after her first rat dissection, she couldn’t change her major fast enough. had been was wanting cannot No change is necessary. When Gretchen was a freshman, she wanted to A B major in biology, but after her first rat dissection, she couldn’t change her major fast enough. C had been was wanting cannot No change is necessary. When Gretchen was a freshman, she wanted to A B major in biology, but after her first rat dissection, she couldn’t change her major fast enough. C had been was wanting cannot No change is necessary.

Item 6 : 

Item 6 Everyone is sleeping soundly when Brendan dropped the glass pitcher of lemonade on the stone tiles of the kitchen floor. had been sleeping slept would sleep No change is necessary. Everyone is sleeping soundly when Brendan dropped the glass pitcher of lemonade on the stone tiles of the kitchen floor. had been sleeping slept would sleep No change is necessary. Everyone is sleeping soundly when Brendan dropped the glass pitcher of lemonade on the stone tiles of the kitchen floor. had been sleeping slept would sleep No change is necessary.

Item 7 : 

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. were spending think would be 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. were spending think would be 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. were spending think would be No change is necessary.

Item 8 : 

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. was carrying carried will carry 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. was carrying carried will carry 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. was carrying carried will carry No change is necessary.

Item 9 : 

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. had believed was riding hit 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. had believed was riding hit 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. had believed was riding hit No change is necessary.

Item 10 : 

Item 10 We would have bite marks on our ankles and scratches on our thighs ever since adopting Nelson, our feisty kitten. had have will have No change is necessary. We would have bite marks on our ankles and scratches on our thighs ever since adopting Nelson, our feisty kitten. had have will have No change is necessary. We would have bite marks on our ankles and scratches on our thighs ever since adopting Nelson, our feisty kitten. had have will have No change is necessary.

Slide 22: 

The End.

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