SEQUENCE OF TENSES | Sentence Correction Tips —Errors due to Sequence of Tenses

Sentence Correction Tips —Errors due to Sequence of Tenses—-Exercise with answers.,

 

SEQUENCE OF TENSES

This is another area where error occurs while writing sentences with one clause connected to the other. In examination a candidate is asked to locate  error in a sentence where sequence of tenses is not in order.

Sequence of Tenses Is the principle in accordance with which the tense of the verb in a subordinate clause follows the tense of the verb in the Principal clause.

1. When verb in Principal clause is in  Present or Future tense,  the verb in the dependent  clause may be in any tense (according to sense).

 

  • 1. He says that he likes music.    Or He will say that he likes music.
  • 2. He says that he liked music.    Or He will say that he liked music.
  • 3. He says that he will work hard. Or He will say that he will work hard.

 

2. When the verb in the Principal clause is in the Past Tense, the verb in the Dependent clause must also be in one or other of the four forms of the past Tense.

  1. He said that he was late.
  2. You said that you would help him.
  3. He worked hard so that he might pass.
  4. He said that you were working hard.

 

EXCEPTIONS :

3. If the Dependent clause states a universal truth or a habitual truth, a Past Tense in the Principal clause is followed by Present Tense in the Dependent clause.

  1. He said that the sun rises in the east.
  2. You said that you are a vegetarian.

 

4. A Past Tense in the Principal Clause is followed by any tense in the Adverbial clause beginning with ‘than’ as :

  • I valued  your friendship more than( I value) his.
  • He liked you more than I shall (like you).
  • He liked you more than I did ( like you).
  • He liked you more than I do(like you).
  • I then saw him oftener than I see him now.

 

5. A Past tense in the Principal Clause may be followed by any tensein the adjectival clause as:

 

  • I visited the place where he lives.
  • I visited the place where he lived.
  • I visited the place where he will live

 

6. Some other Exceptions :

 

  • He works hard lest he should fail.                                        (Purpose)
  • He talks as if he were mad.                                       (Manner)
  • I eat that I may live.                                                              (Purpose)
  • I shall nurse him that he may live.                                          (Purpose)

 

 


 

Exercise for Practice.

Insert  the correct tense of the verb (given in bracket)  in the following blanks.

 

1. I told him that I……………… (be) late for school.
2. He walked fast  so that he………………..(may) catch the train.
3. She told her child that two and two………….( make) four.
4. Little did I know that he…………….. (be) an early bird.
5. Take medicine lest you…………….. (suffer) from fever.
6. We shall not visit the zoo if ………….it (rain).
7. He worked harder than you…………….. (do).
8. I believe that all ……….(be) well that…………. (end) well.
9. I fear that all……………. (fail) in the examination.
10. I shall ask him whether he……………… (steal) the book.

ANSWERS

1.was    2.might     3.make     4.is     5.should suffer    6.rains    7.do (or did)   8.is,ends   9.will fail   10.stole

 


 

Exercise for Practice.

 

Insert  the correct tense of the verb (given in bracket)  in the following blanks.

1. He remained silent when he……….( hear) that.

2. He feels sad whenever he………..( think) of his friends.

3. He never understood why he……….( act) so.

4. We find flowers wherever we……..( wander).

5. He did not tell us whence he……….( come).

6. Let me ask you how you………….( do) this.

7. He wished to know whether I………..(be) ready to start.

8. Ten o’ clock is the hour when we must………( start).

9. Ten o’ clock is the hour at which we must……..( start).

10 Let me ask you how you………….(be) today.

 

 

ANSWERS

1.heard  2. thinks 3.acted  4.wander  5.had come 6.did  7.was  8. start 9.start 10.are.

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