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Sequence Of Tenses Exercise

Fill in the blanks with appropriate verbs. Remember to observe the rules regarding the
sequence of tenses.

1. They sold the house because it ……………….. old.

is
was
has been

A past tense in the principal clause is almost always followed by a past tense in the
subordinate clause.

2. I found out that he ………………………..

is lying
was lying
has lied

A past tense in the principal clause is almost always followed by a past tense in the
subordinate clause.

3. I never thought that I ……………………. see him again.

will
would
had

A past tense in the principal clause is almost always followed by a past tense in the
subordinate clause. Would is the past tense form of will.

4. She replied that she ……………………. better.

feel
feels
felt

A past tense in the principal clause is almost always followed by a past tense in the

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Sequence Of Tenses Exercise

subordinate clause.

5. Whenever we meet, we ……………………… of our school days.

talk
talked
would talk

A present or future tense in the principal clause may be followed by any tense required by
the sense.

6. He was so tired that he ………………………. barely stand.

can
is able to
could

A past tense in the principal clause is almost always followed by a past tense in the
subordinate clause. Could is the past tense form of can.

7. He asked again whether supper …………………… ready.

is
was
will be

A past tense in the principal clause is almost always followed by a past tense in the
subordinate clause.

8. He worked hard that he ……………………….. win the first prize.

may
can
might

Might is the past tense form of may. A past tense in the principal clause is almost always
followed by a past tense in the subordinate clause.

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Sequence Of Tenses Exercise

9. He said that money ……………………… the root cause of all evil.

is
was
Either could be used here

A past tense in the principal clause may be followed by a present tense in the subordinate
clause when the subordinate clause expresses a universal truth.

10. His health has improved since he ……………………… the city.

leaves
left
had left

A present or future tense in the principal clause may be followed by any tense required by
the sense.

11. You may come and stay with us whenever you ………………………

want
wants
wanted

A present or future tense in the principal clause may be followed by any tense required by
the sense.

12. He rested his horse for it ………………………..

limps
was limping
has been limping

A past tense in the principal clause is almost always followed by a past tense in the
subordinate clause.

PLAY AGAIN !

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Sequence Of Tenses Exercise

Answers

1. They sold the house because it was old.


2. I found out that he was lying.
3. I never thought that I would see him again.
4. She replied that she felt better.
5. Whenever we meet, we talk of our school days.
6. He was so tired that he could barely stand.
7. He asked again whether supper was ready.
8. He worked hard that he might win the first prize.
9. He said that money is / was the root cause of all evil.
10. His health has improved since he left the city.
11. You may come and stay with us whenever you want.
12. He rested his horse for it was limping.

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