Unformatted text preview: 08 Manhattan Review Sentence Correction Guide – Sentence Correction 2.3.3 40 Tense Many GMAT questions center upon the relationships between tenses. While the tenses in a sentence do not have to be the same,
they must relate to each other in a way that makes the sequence of actions clear to the reader. The term sequence of tenses refers to
the rules which govern how we alter verb tenses to make clear that all events, past, present or future, are not simultaneous.
As soon as I hear the dog bark, I knew you were at the door.
The above sentence sets forth a likely condition anticipated by the speaker. The use of the past tense is incorrect. The sentence may
be corrected thus:
As soon as I hear the dog bark, I will know you are at the door.
In the above example, the future tense makes clear that the dog’s barking is anticipated by the speaker.
Errors in sequence of tenses often occur with the perfect tenses, all of which are formed by adding an auxiliary or auxiliaries to the
past participle, the third principal part.
Some common auxiliaries are “had”, “has”, and “have”. They are used with the past participle to form perfect tenses.
Unfortunately, the rules governing sequence of tenses are a bit of a jumble. Often you will have to rely on your ear and common
sense to guide you with these questions. But below are some guidelines you can use in order to sort out what the correct sentence
should look like.
• In complex sentences, the tense of the verb in the main clause governs the tenses of the verbs in subsequent or dependent
clauses. www.manhattanreview.com c 1999 - 2008 Manhattan Review Sentence Correction Guide – Sentence Correction
Tense in Main
- Purpose of Dependent Clause
To show same-time action 41
Tense In Dependent Clause
Simple Present To show earlier action
To show a period of time extending
from some point in the past to the
To show action to come Simple Past
Present Perfect Simple Past - To show another completed past action
To show an earlier action - To state a general truth Simple Present Present Perfect To show an earlier action Simple Past - To show action happening at the
For any purpose
To show action happening at the
To show an earlier action
To show future action earlier than
the action of the independent clause
For any purpose Present Perfect Simple Past Past Perfect
Future Perfect Future Past Perfect Simple Past
Simple Present or
Present Perfect Example
I am eager to go for a walk because I enjoy exercise.
He feels that she made a mistake last year.
The congregation believes that it has selected a
My teacher says that he will grade the test next
She cooked the salmon because she knew it was
He cooked the salmon well because he had attended culinary school.
Copernicus believed that the universe is like a
The lawyer has handled many cases since he
passed the bar.
She has grown...
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