Walking on the Beach – Spot the Mistakes 1 (Tenses)

english spot the mistakes beachAn excellent way to test your understanding and boost confidence in learning English is to approach a full text and see if you can spot the mistakes. This is especially challenging if you don’t know where the mistakes are – as to decide if a sentence is incorrect, you need to know what makes a sentence correct! With that in mind, this is the first in a series of reading exercises to practice this skill.

In the following reading exercise, see if you can identify 14 mistakes. The number of mistakes in each paragraph is indicated in brackets. Your only clues is that all the mistakes are something to do with English tenses. The answers are given below. This is a true story about Worthing beach.

 

Walking on the Beach – Spot the Mistakes 1 (English Tenses)

I love going for walks on the beach. It was very peaceful there, and also beautiful. I am fortunate, because I am living just a few minutes from the beach, and can walk there whenever I has some spare time. As long as the weather is nice. (3)

Actually, I also like walk on the beach when the weather is stormy. It can be very dramatic, and it is fascinating to watch the violent sea. I have been on the beach during tremendous storms, and the waves been incredible! (2)

The beach here is covered in pebbles, or shingle – lots of small rocks, instead of sand. When the tide is going out, you can see sand beyond the pebbles. There had been shingle on the beaches in this area for many years, though some people believe it was once mostly sand. The sand that was here before was took for the purposes of building, so while the beach is not manmade, it has certainly been altered by human activity. (3)

Having a shingle beach has many benefits over sand. You never get sand in your shoes, or hair, and it will stay cool in hotter weather. People love to throwing pebbles into the sea and I often see people playing games, like throwing small stones at a bigger one or to hunt for specific colours. The pebbles are more difficult to walk on than sand, though, and can be uncomfortable for sitting. (3)

What about swimming?

Well, watersports like kite surfing are very popular here, but the water is rather cold. I went swimming once or twice so far and it felt like I was going to shrivel up in coldness. Swimming in the sea is exhilarating but requires a lot of courage, so most people be happy just to walk or sit. This is rather typical of the English coastline. On a hot day, however, if you watch carefully, you will be seeing plenty of brave souls charging into the water. (2)

Most of them regret it.

 

Answers to the Exercise

The answers are given in the same piece of text below, with the mistakes shown in bold and explanations given in brackets. If you have any questions, or spotted extra mistakes, let me know in the comments! And if you find it challenging choosing between different tenses, be sure to check out my full grammar guide.

I love going for walks on the beach. It 1. was (is – the passage starts in present, so this is a general, present rule) very peaceful there, and also beautiful. I am fortunate, because I 2. am living (live – the continuous for “to live” suggests a temporary arrangement) just a few minutes from the beach, and can walk there whenever I 3. has (have) some spare time. As long as the weather is nice.

Actually, I also like 4. walk (to walk / walking – for actions, like must be followed by an infinitive or an –ing form) on the beach when the weather is stormy. It can be very dramatic, and it is fascinating to watch the violent sea. I have been on the beach during tremendous storms, and the waves 5. been (were / are – a simple tense is appropriate here) incredible!

The beach here is covered in pebbles, or shingle – lots of small rocks, instead of sand. When the tide 6. is going (goes – this is a general rule) out, you can see sand beyond the pebbles. There 7. had (has – present perfect because it is still relevant/true now) been shingle on the beaches in this area for many years, though some people believe it was once mostly sand. The sand that was here before was 8. took (taken – the passive form uses a past participle) for the purposes of building, so while the beach is not manmade, it has certainly been altered by human activity.

Having a shingle beach has many benefits over sand. You never get sand in your shoes, or hair, and it 9. will stay (stays – this is a general rule, not a future event) cool in hotter weather. People love 10. to throwing (to throw or throwing) pebbles into the sea and I often see people playing games, like throwing small stones at a bigger one or 11. to hunt (hunting – like throwing, this process agrees with playing) for specific colours. The pebbles are more difficult to walk on than sand, though, and can be uncomfortable for sitting.

What about swimming?

Well, watersports like kite surfing are very popular here, but the water is rather cold. I 12. went (have been – present perfect because it is an event that can still be changed, indicated by “so far”) swimming once or twice so far and it felt like I was going to shrivel up in coldness. Swimming in the sea is exhilarating but requires a lot of courage, so most people 13. be (are) happy just to walk or sit. This is rather typical of the English coastline. On a hot day, however, if you watch carefully, you will 14. be seeing (see – simple future) plenty of brave souls charging into the water.

Most of them regret it.

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