Year 8 Grammar – Verb Agreement

Year 8, Week 6: Verb agreement

It is important when you are writing to remain in the tense that you started writing in, unless you are making a deliberate change. This means that all of the verbs you use need to agree with the tense that you want to write.

Verb agreement in the past tense

It is usually easiest to stay in the correct tense when you are writing in the past tense as most stories are written in the past tense and we usually tell stories in the past tense.

However, it is possible to get confused:

I lived in a town where there are lots of other teenagers.

Even though you might think that the town still has lots of teenagers, you need to keep the sentence in the past tense. The correct way to write this would be:

I lived in a town where there were lots of other teenagers.

 

Verb agreement in the present tense

The present tense can be more difficult to control as we are more used to using past tense forms and these can often creep in:

There is a girl on the bus in front of me. She picked up her bag and moved forward. I stare out of the window.

This example has a mixture of present and past tense verbs. The paragraph began in the present tense, however, with is so should continue in this way. Picked and moved are past tense verbs and so have been misused.

The paragraph should read:

There is a girl on the bus in front of me. She picks up her bag and moves forward. I stare out of the window.

 

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