English Tense Review for Advanced Level Learners

It's back-to-school time. Before you or your students get down to studying the specifics of various grammar structures, it is a good idea to review the basic English tenses. If you are an advanced student, a review will help remind you of the tenses and also point out any weaknesses or insecurity that you may have. If you are an upper level student but not yet aware of all the tenses, these exercises will make a good introduction to some of the important structures ahead.

For an overview of conjugation in detail of all 12 tenses in English, use the tense tables for reference. Teachers can use theses guides on how to teach tenses for further activities and lesson plans in class

The following exercises serve two purposes:

  1. Re-familiarization of standard tense names
  2. Tense conjugation practice

The first exercise is very important as you may not remember exactly the names of the various tenses. This exercise will help you remember the names of the tenses.

Once you have finished the first exercise, read the text through one more time to familiarize yourself with it completely. Go on to the next exercise that asks you to conjugate the verbs in the extract. You should be very familiar with the extract so you can concentrate on the correct conjugation. Notice how the tenses relate to each other in time. Remember that many verbs are conjugated based on how they relate to one another.

Teachers can use these exercises in class by using the following lesson plan which includes the exercises in a format useful for the classroom.

Tense Review Lesson Plan and Materials

Here is the original text. Once you have finished, click on the exercise link to begin exercise one.

John has always traveled a lot.

In fact, he was only two years old when he first flew to the US. His mother is Italian and his father is American. John was born in France, but his parents had met in Cologne, Germany after they had been living there for five years. They met one day while John's father was reading a book in the library and his mother sat down beside him. Anyway, John travels a lot because his parents also travel a lot.

As a matter of fact, John is visiting his parents in France at the moment. He lives in New York now, but has been visiting his parents for the past few weeks. He really enjoys living in New York, but he also loves coming to visit his parents at least once a year.

This year he has flown over 50,000 miles for his job. He has been working for Jackson & Co. for almost two years now. He's pretty sure that he'll be working for them next year as well. His job requires a lot of travel. In fact, by the end of this year, he'll have traveled over 120,000 miles! His next journey will be to Australia. He really doesn't like going to Australia because it is so far. This time he is going to fly from Paris after a meeting with the company's French partner. He'll have been sitting for over 18 hours by the time he arrives!

John was talking with his parents earlier this evening when his girlfriend from New York telephoned to let him know that Jackson & Co. had decided to merge with a company in Australia. The two companies had been negotiating for the past month, so it really wasn't much of a surprise. Of course, this means that John will have to catch the next plane back to New York. He'll be meeting with his boss at this time tomorrow.

Follow the links to begin the exercise:

Exercise One: Tense Identification

Exercise Two: Tense Conjugation