Identifying and Correcting Verb Tense Errors

Proofreading Practice

verb tense exercise
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This proofreading exercise will give you practice in identifying and correcting verb tense errors. Before attempting the exercise, you may find it useful to review our pages on regular verbs and irregular verbs.

Instructions
The following passage contains 10 errors in verb tense. The first paragraph has no errors, but each of the remaining paragraphs contains at least one faulty verb form. Identify and correct these errors.

When you're done, compare your answers with those on page two.

 

The Worst Tourist

 

The least successful tourist on record is Mr. Nicholas Scotti of San Francisco. In 1977 he flew from America to his native Italy to visit relatives.

En route the plane made a one-hour fuel stop at Kennedy Airport. Thinking that he has arrived, Mr. Scotti got out and spends two days in New York believing he was in Rome.

When his nephews are not there to meet him, Mr Scotti assumes they had been delayed in the heavy Roman traffic mentioned in their letters. While tracking down their address, the great traveller could not help noticing that modernization had brushed aside most, if not all, of the ancient city’s landmarks.

He also noticed that many people speak English with a distinct American accent. However, he just assumed that Americans were everywhere. Furthermore, he assumed it was for their benefit that so many street signs were written in English.

Mr. Scotti spoke very little English himself and next ask a policeman (in Italian) the way to the bus depot. As chance would have it, the policeman came from Naples and replies fluently in the same tongue.

After twelve hours traveling round on a bus, the driver handed him over to a second policeman. There followed a brief argument in which Mr. Scotti expresses amazement at the Rome police force employing someone who did not speak his own language.

Even when told at last that he was in New York, Mr. Scotti refuses to believe it. He was return to the airport in a police car and sent back to California.
(Adapted from Stephen's Pile's Book of Heroic Failures, 1979)

 

For additional practice see Proofreading for Errors in Verb Tense.

Here (in bold) are the answers to the proofreading exercise on page one: Identifying and Correcting Verb Tense Errors.

The Worst Tourist

The least successful tourist on record is Mr. Nicholas Scotti of San Francisco. In 1977 he flew from America to his native Italy to visit relatives.

En route the plane made a one-hour fuel stop at Kennedy Airport. Thinking that he had arrived, Mr. Scotti got out and spent two days in New York believing he was in Rome.

When his nephews were not there to meet him, Mr Scotti assumed they had been delayed in the heavy Roman traffic mentioned in their letters. While tracking down their address, the great traveler could not help noticing that modernization had brushed aside most, if not all, of the ancient city’s landmarks.

He also noticed that many people spoke English with a distinct American accent. However, he just assumed that Americans were everywhere. Furthermore, he assumed it was for their benefit that so many street signs were written in English.

Mr Scotti spoke very little English himself and next asked a policeman (in Italian) the way to the bus depot. As chance would have it, the policeman came from Naples and replied fluently in the same tongue.

After twelve hours traveling round on a bus, the driver handed him over to a second policeman. There followed a brief argument in which Mr. Scotti expressed amazement at the Rome police force employing someone who did not speak his own language.

Even when told at last that he was in New York, Mr. Scotti refused to believe it. He was returned to the airport in a police car and sent back to California.
(Adapted from Stephen's Pile's Book of Heroic Failures, 1979)


For additional practice see Proofreading for Errors in Verb Tense.