Verb Tense • Verb tense tells us when the action of the sentence is taking place – in the past, in the present, or in the future. • The present tense indicates an action that is happening right now. • He runs the 440 in 50 seconds. • The simple past tense indicates an action that took place entirely in the past. • He ran the 440 in 50 seconds.
Verb Tense • The future tense indicates an action that will take place at some point down the road. • He will run the race next Saturday. • The present perfect tense indicates an action that started in the past, but may continue into the present. • He has run the 440 in under 50 seconds in the last four races.
Verb Tense • The past perfect tense indicates an action that happened in the past and that preceded another action also in the past. • He had run 100 yards of the race when he twisted his ankle. • The future perfect tense indicates that an action will be completed by a definite time in the future. • He will have finished the race by next Saturday.
ACT • The ACT writers want to see whether you can spot inconsistencies in verb tense. • If a verb in a non-underlined portion of the sentence is in one tense, the verb in the underlined portion needs to be in the same tense. • Sam is walking down the street when he found a large suitcase. • The verbs “is walking” and “found” are in two different tenses.
ACT • Sam is walking down the street when he finds a large suitcase. • Sam was walking down the street when he found a large suitcase. • On the ACT, only one of the verbs will be underlined and it will be up to you to look at the other verb in the sentence or the verbs surrounding sentences to decide how to change the underlined verb.
Work Cited • Martz, Geoff, Kim Magloire, and Theodore Silver. Cracking the ACT. 2007 ed. New York: Random House, 2007.