Improve your English with these exercises on verb tenses, passive and active voice, and conditionals. Good luck!
Exercise Group #1: Simple & Progressive Tenses (Past, Present, Future)
- It (rain) now. Let’s stay inside.
- Water (boil) at 100 degrees.
- Peter (cook) dinner when his phone rang.
- I think I (order) pizza tonight.
- She (move) to Australia last year.
- The new store (open) next month, on February 1st.
- My uncle is rich. He (own) a big house.
- Use the present progressive with the keyword now.
- Present simple – this is a general truth/fact.
- Use past progressive when one longer action (cooking) is interrupted by a shorter one (the phone ringing)
- Use ‘will’ when a future action is just decided or is a possibility (i.e. it is not something that was planned a long time ago).
- Use past simple with ‘last year’ because this is a finished time in the past.
- Use ‘is going to open’ or ‘is opening’ to talk about planned events in the future.
- Use present simple for the verb own, a state verb that is never used in the progressive tenses.
Exercise Group #2: Perfect Tenses (Present, Past, Future)
- It (be) very warm recently. I love this weather.
- My dad (not/try) sushi until last night. He liked it.
- We (study) for four hours. Let’s go home.
- By the end of this year, John (work) for 40 years at his company.
- I couldn’t buy anything because I (forget) my wallet at home.
- The road is closed because there (be) an accident.
- Use present perfect with the keyword recently.
- Use past perfect to describe an action or state that continued from one point in the past until another in the past. Here the action is not trying sushi, which continued from your dad’s birth until last night.
- Use present perfect progressive to focus on the duration of an action that started in the past and continues until now.
- Use future perfect with the phrase “By the” + future time period. E.g. By the time we pass away, the world’s population will have started to decrease.’
- Use past perfect to describe actions (forgetting your wallet) that happened before another past section (not buying anything).
- Use present perfect to describe actions that have just happened or that have some connection to now. Because the road is closed (present), it’s more natural to use the present perfect (there has been an accident) here because this implies a connection with now. If the sentence was the road was closed, then it would be natural to continue to use the past tense (there was an accident) because the action is finished and in the past.
Exercise Group #3: Verb Tense in Questions
- A: When (you/join) the company? / B: Two years ago.
- A: (you/ever/ live) abroad? / B: No, I haven’t.
- A: Excuse me. (you/have) a dollar I can borrow? / B: Sorry, I don’t have any money on me.
- A: How long (you/had) a cold? / B: Two weeks. I hope I get better soon.
- A: How often (you/exercise) nowadays? / B: Three times a week.
- A: (be) the movie interesting? / B: No, it was boring.
- A: (you/see) my keys? I can’t find them. / B: No. Sorry.
- A: (you/ask) your boss for a raise? / B: Yes, I plan to do it on Friday.
- Use past simple for finished actions in the past.
- Use present perfect to ask about life experiences.
- Present simple
- Use present perfect for actions that started in the past and continue until now.
- Use present simple with the keyword ‘nowadays’.
- Present simple + adjective
- Your keys are lost now. For actions that started in the past and have a connection with now, use present perfect. Here, have you seen my keys is the same as Have you seen my keys (since I lost them)?
- For a future planned action, use ‘BE + going to’ or present continuous.
Exercise Group #4: All Verb Tenses
- Brian is still working. He (not/finish) his assignment yet.
- We (play) football when Tina hurt her ankle.
- It (rain) all day. I wish it (stop).
- Ben (live) in Europe for two years when he was a young adult.
- While you (be) out, I cleaned the house.
- Mrs. Johnson (take) her car to a mechanic later today because it is making a strange noise.
- This is the third time my phone (stop) working. I need a new one.
- I didn’t like my job at first, but I (start) to enjoy it now.
- The students (work) for four hours, so they decided to take a break.
- Use present perfect with the keyword ‘yet’.
- Use present progressive when focusing on a longer action (playing football) that was interrupted by a shorter one (hurting an ankle).
- Use present perfect continuous to focus on the duration of an act that continued in the past until the present. // Use ‘would + verb’ after wish when talking about an action that you wish someone or something else would do. (Here, you wish the weather would stop; you are talking about an action that something else (the weather) is doing).
- Past simple. This is a finished action.
- Past simple. This is a finished action.
- Use BE + going to or present progressive (‘is taking’) for future plans.
- Use present perfect for actions that occur over a period. (Here, the implied period is the period which you’ve had your phone; during this time, it has broken three times.)
- Use present progressive with the keyword ‘now’.
- Use past perfect progressive to focus on the duration (four hours) of an action that occurred in the past (studying) before another action (taking a break).
Exercise Group #5: Conditional Tenses (Present Real, Unreal,
- If I (be) you, I’d get a hair cut.
- If she (pass) the test, she’ll be quite happy.
- If it (rain), the streets get wet.
- I don’t know what I (do) if I ran out of money.
- If the store (raise) prices, customers will shop elsewhere.
- Joseph (buy) a new car if he had more money.
- Present Unreal (2nd) Conditional = past simple, + would/could/might + verb. (Note: You could use ‘was’ here though most grammar textbooks prefer using ‘were’ with the present unreal conditional.
- Present Real (1st) Conditional. This is a real possibility. = present simple, will + verb
- Zero Conditional. This is used to describe general truths/facts. = present simple, present simple
- Present Unreal Conditional. Fact: You haven’t run out of money. Unreal condition: if you did, you don’t know what you would do.
- Present Real Conditional. This means the sentence presents a real possibility.
- Present Unreal Conditional. Fact: He doesn’t have more money. Unreal condition: if he had more money, he would buy a car.
Exercise Group #6: Conditional Tenses (Past Unreal, Mixed), Wish, and Unless
- If Harry (study) harder as a child, he might have a better job now.
- If I had known it was a costume party, I (wear) a costume.
- I wish I (not/spend) so much money on clothes.
- Lily wishes her children (help) more with the chores. She’s tired.
- The fans (be) angry if their team had lost. Thankfully, the team won.
- People (communicate) much differently today if the Internet hadn’t been invented.
- Unless you (have) a question, then let’s continue studying.
- This is a mixed conditional. Past condition + present result.
- Past Unreal (Third) conditional. Past condition (had + past participle), Past result (would/could/might + base verb).
- Use wish + had + past participle to describe a wish about a past action.
- Use wish + would + verb because Lily is taking about an action she would like someone else to do.
- Past Unreal (Third) conditional. Past result, past condition (the clauses are reversed, but this doesn’t change the meaning)
- This is a mixed conditional. Present result, past condition.
- Unless is the same as “If …not…”. This sentence has the same meaning as “If you do not have a question, then let’s continue studying.”
Exercise Group #7: Verb Tense with Passive and Active Voice
(See our page for help on active and passive voice).
- Jose (raise) in a small town.
- His mother (raise) him all by herself.
- The Bible is the world’s most translated book. It (translated) into over 2000 languages.
- The safety rules (not/follow), so an accident happened.
- A: I’m hungry! / B: Be patient. Dinner (make) right now.
- The company (announce) that it would hire 300 more employees.
- Because the medicine (not/test) properly, it was not approved for public use.
- The new president (interview) on TV right now. Let’s watch.
“If you don’t cooperate, you (ask) to leave.”
- Past simple with passive voice. Passive voice is BE + past participle. Because this sentence is in the past, the verb ‘BE’ is conjugated in the past (was).
- Active voice in past simple. His mother is the subject of the sentence, and she is agent who is doing the verb ‘raise’. She raised him.
- Use present perfect to describe an action that started in the past and continuing until now. We are using the passive voice (been + translated) because the subject of the sentence is ‘the bible’, which is the object of the verb translate.
- Past simple with passive voice
- Use present progressive with the keyword ‘now’. Also, use passive voice because the subject ‘dinner’ is actually the object of the verb ‘prepare’.
- Active voice in past simple
- Past perfect (had + past participle) + passive voice (BE + past participle) = had not been tested
- Use present progressive with the keyword ‘now’. This is the same as #5.
- Future tense + passive voice. All possible answers: will be asked/may be asked/might be asked/are going to be asked/could be asked
I hope these verb tense exercises have been useful. If you find a mistake in the worksheet or have a question, please leave a comment below.
— Matthew Barton / Creator of Englishcurrent.com (copyright)
- Keywords & Verb Tense Exercises
- Subject Verb-Agreement Exercises
- Passive Voice Exercises
- Verb Tense Review Quiz (Intermediate)