Wanted: Verb-Tense Shift Superhero

Contributor: Dru Cartier. Lesson ID: 13764

Identifying and correcting inappropriate shifts in verb tense is a job for a superhero. Are you up to the challenge?


Grammar, Writing

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

superhero reveal

  • Are you ready to be a superhero who defeated crime?

Wait, what...I'm confused.

  • What does a superhero do if all the crime has been defeated?

You should be confused. That inappropriate shift in verb tense was a crime. Let's try again.

  • Are you ready to be a superhero who defeats crime?

Totally! Let's do this!

Keep reading to take a look at your new super power!

You are about to wipe out the crime of inappropriate shifts in verb tense.

  • Are you ready?
pointing at you
  • What is an inappropriate shift in verb tense?

Verb tense is when the action is happening:

Mary ran the 5K last weekend. (This is simple past tense because everything is in the past and in the same time in the past.)

Mary will run the 5K this weekend. (This is simple future tense because everything is in the future in the same time.)

Mary will be running the 5K next weekend. (This is future continuous because will be combined with next creates a continual future moment being discussed in present time.)

A shift in verb tense occurs when there is a change in time. It's really that simple.

Let's look back at our very first sentence:

Are you ready to be a superhero who defeated crime?

"Are you ready" is present tense. "Defeated" is past tense.

If we wanted to, we could alter the sentence to make sense using these same tenses. For example:

Are you ready to be known as the superhero who defeated crime?

With this new wording, "defeated" makes perfect sense. You have defeated crime, and this speaker is asking you if that is what you want to be known for.

lightbulb idea

Let's try another example:

A new law has banning all superhero activities.

"Has" shows whatever is being talked about already happened and is done."Banning" shows that this thing is in action right now.

  • So, which is it?
  • Are superhero activities already banned, or are they in the process of being banned?

Which tense you choose can make a big difference.

Try this challenge to see if you've got it.

Image - Video

Good job!

Swoop over to the Got It? section for more practice defeating those pesky inappropriate shifts in verb tense!

silhouette of superheroes

Image - Button Next