Did you know that a verb can tell time? It’s true! Within every verb is a little piece of information called tense. The tense of the verb tells you when the action of the verb takes place. Mastering the use of correct verb tense is a critical skill that allows a speaker or writer to purposefully convey “time.”
Do some of your students struggle to understand the difference between simple present, past, and future tense verbs? If so, Shurley English has an activity that just might help them comprehend verb tense with more clarity! Follow along, and I’ll show you how it’s done!
1. Give students a paragraph that is written in present tense:
2. Have students identify all the verbs in the paragraph by highlighting or underlining them:
3. Next, ask students to write the verbs in order on a separate sheet of paper and verify that they are written in present-tense:
4. During the next step, ask students to change the present-tense verbs to past-tense.
Tip: If you want to change a present-tense paragraph to a past-tense paragraph, you must change each verb to past-tense, one at a time. Example:
5. Finally, have students rewrite the original paragraph, inserting the past tense verbs in place of the present tense verbs:
This activity purposely focuses students’ attention on the tense of each verb in the passage. It teaches students to use consistent tense to show actions that occur at the same time. If they want to change a present-tense paragraph to a past-tense paragraph, students learn that all they have to do is change each verb to past tense, one at a time!