Here’s a very short quiz to practice specific understanding of all the tenses. In many situations, different tenses can be chosen to show different meaning (for instance, I went to the park, I am going to the park, I had been going to the park…). Sometimes, the context makes one or more tenses inappropriate – or impossible – to use. The following quiz practices tests this understanding.
A quick tenses quiz! – Mixed Tenses Exercise
The sentences below can be completed with the verbs in brackets. Which answer does NOT create a grammatically correct sentence?
- I ________ tennis every Tuesday this month. (to play)
- a. play
- b. am playing
- c. have been playing
- d. played
- He ________ home when the platypus attacked him. (to run)
- a. was running
- b. had been running
- c. had run
- d. has run
- That group of musicians ________ even when it rains. (to perform)
- a. has performed
- b. performs
- c. is performing
- d. will perform
- We ________ to this abandoned castle far too many times. (to go)
- a. have been going
- b. had gone
- c. will have been going
- d. were going
- For some reason, our dogs ________ at the politicians for hours. (to bark)
- a. were barking
- b. had barked
- c. have been barking
- d. bark
- play – The present simple is used for timeless actions or events, so cannot be used for a specific time like this week.
- has run – The time clause is in the past tense, so the main clause must also have occurred in the past. Though the present perfect demonstrates a completed past action or event, it needs to relate to a current action or event (now).
- has performed – Similar to (2.), as the past perfect refers to relates to a current time or event it cannot be tied to a time clause demonstrating repeated times, when it rains.
- will have been going – The future perfect continuous should demonstrate duration; here, too many times is a number of times, not a duration.
- bark – As the present simple shows a timeless action or event, it cannot be used to demonstrate duration, for hours.