SAT Writing : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #41 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Although Steven does not usually have an appetite, he has ate more tonight than anyone else at the dinner. No error

Possible Answers:

Although

he

than

has ate

No error

Correct answer:

has ate

Explanation:

The phrase "has ate" should be "has eaten." "Eaten" is the proper participle for the present perfect form.

Example Question #42 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Marketers are finding greater success making sales when they phoned people in the morning rather than late in the afternoon. No error

Possible Answers:

greater

phoned

when

rather than

No error

Correct answer:

phoned

Explanation:

The sentence is present tense, so use "phone "instead of "phoned."

Example Question #43 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The undercover agents chose not to apprehend the suspect in the mall that afternoon, but instead apprehended him at the harbor before he is boarding a ship to Morocco. No error

Possible Answers:

not

is boarding

but instead

No error

in the mall

Correct answer:

is boarding

Explanation:

"Is boarding" should be "boarded" because it matches the tense of other verbs in the sentence.

Example Question #44 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Despite a strict ban and severe punishments, the circulation of illegal jokes remains a thriving part of that country's underground cultureNo error

Possible Answers:

No error

remains

Despite

of

culture

Correct answer:

remains

Explanation:

For the timeline of the sentence to make sense, "remain" should be changed to past tense, because it occured before the Soviet Union collapsed. A simple correction would be "remained."

Example Question #45 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Many people theorized that the darkness was caused by smoke from a volcanic eruption, but a few know that the real cause was an alien invasion. No error

Possible Answers:

Many people

No error

know that

from a volcanic eruption

but

Correct answer:

know that

Explanation:

This sentence has an error in verb tense. Since the first half is in past tense, the second half should be too. The corrected sentence reads, "Many people theorized that the darkness was caused by smoke from a volcanic eruption, but a few knew that the real cause was an alien invasion."

Example Question #46 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

One alien invader, who misunderstood the orders he has been given, landed in the Great Barrier Reef instead of Great Britain. No error

Possible Answers:

in 

who

has been given

instead of

No error

Correct answer:

has been given

Explanation:

This sentence has a problem with verb tense. The main clause is in the past tense, and the modifying phrase should reflect that. The corrected sentence reads, "One alien invader, who misunderstood the orders he had been given, landed in the Great Barrier Reef instead of Great Britain."

Example Question #47 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Feeling uninspired, the writer stared out at the gloomy landscape and thought of the days when he had rode along the old county roads in his father’s truck.

Possible Answers:

Feeling uninspired

had rode

No error

his father's truck

he

Correct answer:

had rode

Explanation:

This sentence uses an ill-formed verb. The corrected sentence reads: Feeling uninspired, the writer stared out at the gloomy landscape and thought of the days when he had ridden along the old county roads in his father’s pick-up.

Example Question #48 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

He decided it would being a good idea to tell his friends that his birthday was actually the following day, but he was not sure how to say it tactfullyNo error

Possible Answers:

tactfully

No error

was actually

being a good idea

how to say

Correct answer:

being a good idea

Explanation:

This sentence uses “being” when “be” is appropriate. The corrected sentence reads, "He decided it would be a good idea to tell his friends that his birthday was actually the following day, but he was not sure how to say it tactfully."

Example Question #49 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Thankfully, they brang their pirate diorama to school show-and-tell that day; they would have failed if they had forgottenNo error

Possible Answers:

would have failed

No error

that day; they

brang

had forgotten

Correct answer:

brang

Explanation:

To correct this sentence's error, "brang" needs to be changed to "brought," which is the correct but irregular past tense form of "bring."

Example Question #50 : Identifying Verb Tense Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Until recently, scientists think that genes alone determine the longevity of new crops; however, new research suggests that environment, in addition to genetic factors, plays a crucial role in regulating a plant’s ability to resist pests and disease. No error

Possible Answers:

however

suggests

think

plays

No error

Correct answer:

think

Explanation:

When we encounter a phrase such as "until recently," we know it must describe an event that took place in the past, but the verb "think" is in the present tense. This sentence therefore contains a tense error in the verb "think." Changing "think" to "thought" corrects the sentence's error. 

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