Sunday, December 02, 2012

61. Time and Tense

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The Big Adventure Goes on
This is the second delivery for the ABCs who dare to grapple with the use of tenses in English.
But who are the ABCs? Well, they can be you or me – the Authentic Bold and Courageous!

What were you doing while I was preparing today’s post (at about 13:30hrs today)?
What did you do this morning that you think was pleasant, worthwhile, useful (for you or for others)?
What had you been doing before you logged on the blog to see what was new?
Here’s today’s delivery. When you have finished, you will be able to answer at least the two questions. Good luck!

Past Simple & Past Continuous: Tense Relationship

past_________________|_________________|__________-> future

                                                    then                                        now                  
past-------------------------------|----------------------------------------------------> future

Put the verbs in brackets into the simple past or past continuous tense.

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1   Mr Smith never (wake) up in time in the mornings and always (get) into trouble for being late; so one day he (go) to town and (buy) an alarm clock.
2   To get home he (have to) go through a field where a bad-tempered bull usually (graze).
3   This bull normally (not chase) people unless something (make) him angry. Unfortunately, as Mr Smith (cross) the field, his alarm clock (go) off.
4   This (annoy) the bull, who immediately (begin) to chase Mr Smith.
5   Mr Smith (carry) an open umbrella as it (rain) slightly. He (throw) the umbrella to the ground and (run) away as fast as he could.
6   The bull (stop) and (begin) to attack the umbrella. While he (do) this Mr Smith escaped.
7   When he (awake) she (sit) by the window. She (look) at something in the street, but when he (call) her she (turn) and (smile) at him.
8   Why you (interrupt) me just now? I (have) a very interesting conversation with Mr Pitt.
9   The murderer (carry) the corpse down the stairs when he (hear) a knock on the door.
10   When I (look) through your books I (notice) that you have a copy of Murder in the Cathedral
11   As they (walk) along the road they (hear) a car coming from behind them. Tom (turn) round and (hold) up his hand. The car (stop).
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12   When I (arrive) at the station Mary (wait) for me. She (wear) a blue dress and (look) very pretty. As soon as she (see) me she (wave) and (shout) something, but I couldn't hear what she (say) because everybody (make) such a noise.
13   The prisoner (escape) by climbing the wall of the garden where he (work). He (wear) blue overalls and black shoes.
14   She said that the car (travel) at 40 k.p.h. when it (begin) to skid.
15   She said that she (not like) her present flat and (try) to find another.
16   While he (make) his speech the minister suddenly (feel) faint. But someone (bring) him a glass of water and after a few minutes he (be able) to continue.
17   When I (see) him he (paint) a portrait of his wife, ~ You (like) it? ~
He only just (start) when I (see) it, so I couldn't judge.
18   I (take) my friend to a murder trial the other day. ~ Who (be) tried? ~
A man called Bill Sykes. ~
Was he acquitted? ~
I don't know. They still (listen) to the evidence when we (leave).
19   I (be) sorry that I (have to) leave the party early, because I (enjoy) myself.
20   As we (come) here a policeman (stop) us. He (say) that he (look) for some stolen property and (ask) if he could search the car.
21   I (see) you yesterday from the bus. Why you (use) a stick? ~
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I (use) a stick because I had hurt my leg that morning falling off a horse. ~ Whose horse you (ride)?
22   The floor was covered with balls of wool. Obviously Mrs Pitt (knit) something.
23   Ann said that she (be) on holiday. I (say) that I (hope) that she (enjoy) herself.
24   While he (water) the flowers it (begin) to rain. He (put) up his umbrella and (go) on watering.
25   I just (write) a cheque when I (remember) that I (have) nothing in the bank.
26   I (find) this ring as I (dig) in the garden. It looks very old. I wonder who it (belong) to?

1 woke, was always getting/always got, went, bought 2 had to, usually grazed/was usually grazing 3 didn’t normally chase, made, was crossing, went 4 annoyed, began 5 was carrying, was raining, threw, ran 6 stopped, began, was doing 7 awoke, was sitting, was looking, called, turned, smiled 8 did you interrupt, was having 9 was carrying, heard 10 was looking, noticed 11 were walking/walked, heard, turned, held, stopped 12 arrived, was waiting, was wearing, (was) looking/looked, saw, waved, shouted, was saying/said, was making 13 escaped, was working, was wearing 14 was travelling, began 15 didn’t like, was trying 16 was making, felt, brought, was able 17 saw, was painting, did you like, was only just starting, saw 18 took, was being, were still listening, left/were leaving 19 was, had to, was enjoying 20 were coming, stopped, said, was looking, asked 21 saw, were you using, was using, were you riding 22 was knitting 23 was, said, hoped, was enjoying 24 was watering, began, put, went 25 was just writing, remembered, had 26 found, was digging, belonged



  1. Ups! I have no problem with this exercise, but I miss the solution for the last sentences, please!

    1. Oops, you're right - thank you! They're there by now.

  2. Thank you for the solutions

    1. Thank you for needing the key to the exercises - this means you did them!

  3. Fortunately, I haven't found this exercise too difficult, but I have only a question:
    In the sentence n. 25, it's possible to write:
    "I was just writing a cheque when I remembered that I was having nothing in the bank"?

    Thank you

    1. I was having dinner when...-- I was having a party while...--I was having a shower when...--
      And so on.

      You have = you celebrate an activity, usually for your spiritual or physical benefit.

      Money in the bank can be possessed, so HAVE is a stative verb in sentence nº 25.

      Thank you!