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English Grammar Mixed Tenses Exercises

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Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

English language learners (ELLs) are faced with a variety of challenges. One of these challenges is understanding and using grammar correctly. This lesson provides ELLs with exercises designed to help them understand mixed tenses. Updated: 07/29/2021

Understanding Mixed Tenses

In order to understand mixed tenses, you must first understand how verbs work. Verbs are words used to describe actions and also provide a tense, or a time frame, for those actions. Let's look at the following sentences in which the verb is some form of ''run.''

  • I ran yesterday. (an action that began and ended in the past)
  • I am running. (an action that began in the past that's continuing now)
  • I will run. (an action that will take place in the future)

There are many tenses in English, but in this lesson, we will focus on three of the most common:

  1. Simple past
  2. Simple present
  3. Simple future

Mixed tenses occur when the verbs in a sentence are in more than one tense. For example: ''I ran (past) yesterday and I will run (future) tomorrow.''

Remember that English can be complicated, and you don't have to learn everything at once. Take your time to fully understand one grammar concept before moving on to the next, and don't get discouraged if you're still confused. Learning English is a lifelong process.

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Coming up next: English Grammar Advanced Mixed Tenses Exercises

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  • 0:04 Understanding Mixed Tenses
  • 1:12 Mixed Tenses Exercise 1
  • 3:28 Mixed Tenses Exercise 2
  • 4:43 Lesson Summary
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Mixed Tenses: Exercise 1

Let's do an exercise where you insert the appropriate verbs into each sentence that we see here.

  1. I _____ to the bank yesterday, and tomorrow I _____ go to the supermarket.
  2. People _____ to send letters in the mail, but now many people _____ email.
  3. If she _____ more, she would have received a better score on the exam.
  4. If we _____ planned better, we _____ be behind schedule now.
  5. You _____ be ill if you _____ that spoiled food.
  6. Dogs that _____ badly before being trained can now _____ well.
  7. We _____ to the show last week, but we _____ early.
  8. Jane wants to play tennis if she can _____ her new shoes.
  9. In the past, the winters _____ very cold, but now winters _____ milder.
  10. You will improve your English if you _____ every day.

In this exercise, you had to insert the appropriate verbs into each sentence.

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