Error in Use of Tense for Competitive Exams

Rajesh Bhatia4 years ago 6.9K Views Join Examsbookapp store google play
Tense Rules

Errors in the Use of Tenses

The changed forms of a verb that indicate time of the action are called Tenses of the verb.

1. When the verb in the Principal Clauses is in the Past tense, the verbs of the Subordinate Clauses should be in the Past tense.


He said that he had finished his work.

I was informed that her mother was ill.

2. But a past tense in the Principal Clauses may or may not be followed by the Past tense in the sub-ordinate clauses if the latter expresses universal or habitual truth.


The teacher said that the earth revolves round the sun.

3. Any tense may be used in the sub-ordinate clause if it gives a comparison by using the word than.


The teacher liked Anil better than he liked me.

4. Any tense can be used when the sub-ordinate clause is in a quotation.


I said, “I am going to “Delhi today.”

5. The Present Perfect Tense (subject + has/have +3rd form of verb) cannot be used when an expression of Past time (yesterday, last night, ago etc.) is used.


We wrote to you yesterday about his mother.

6. In conditional sentences the subordinate clause, beginning with if, is generally in Present or Past tense but not in future tense.


If I go to Delhi, I shall see the Red Fort.

If he had worked hard, he would have passed.

7. With the phrases as if and as though, Past tense and plural form of the verb should be used.


He behaves as if he were a millionaire.

8. Past Perfect tense (subject + had + 3rd form of verb) is used when a sentence refers to two past actions and one of them occurs earlier than the other.


When my uncle came to India I had passed M.A.

9. Words like usually, generally, often, whenever etc. are used in Present Indefinite tense.


I usually go to play cricket.

10. If the action began in the past and is still continuing in the present, use Present Perfect tense (Subject + has/have + been + 1st form of verb + ing).


I have been reading in this class for two months.

11. Don’t use of Future or the Present tenses after such expressions as suppose that, it is high time; it is time, as if etc.


It is high time that you went home.

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Rajesh Bhatia

A Writer, Teacher and GK Expert. I am an M.A. & M.Ed. in English Literature and Political Science. I am highly keen and passionate about reading Indian History. Also, I like to mentor students about how to prepare for a competitive examination. Share your concerns with me by comment box. Also, you can ask anything at

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