English Grammar Common errors in Use of Tenses| Exercises | Notes
ERRORS IN USE OF TENSES
The changed forms of a verb that indicate time of the action are called tenses of the verb.
1. When the verb in the Principal Clause is in the Past tense, the verbs of the Subordinate Clauses should be in the Past tense.
e.g. He said that he had finished his work.
2. But a past tense in the Principal Clause may or may not be follwoed by the Past tense in the sub¬ordinate clause if the latter expresses unviersal or habitual truth.
e.g. The teacher said that the earth revolves round the sun.
3. Any tense may be used in the sub-ordinate clause if it gives a comparison by using the word than.
e.g. The teacher liked Anil better than he liked me.
4. Any tense can be used when the sub-ordinate clause is in a quotation.
e.g. I said, “I am going to Delhi today”.
5. The Present Perfect Tense (subject + has/have ‘+ V3) cannot be used when an expression of Past time (yesterday, last night, ago etc.) is used.
e.g. We wrote to you yesterday about his mother.
6. In conditional sentences the subordinate clause, beginning with if, is generally in Present or Past tense but not in future tense.
e.g. If I go to Delhi, I shall see the Red Fort.
If he had worked hard, he would have passed.
7. With the phrases as if and as though, Past tense and plural form of the verb should be used.
e.g. He behaves as if he were a millionaire.
8. Past Perfect tense (subject + had + V3) is used when a sentence refers to two past actions and one of them occurs earlier than the other.
e.g. when my uncle came to India I had passed M.A.
9. Words like usually, generally, often, whenever etc. are used in Present Indefinite tense.
e.g. I usually go to play cricket.
10. If the action began in the past and is still continu¬ing in the present, use Present Perfect tense (Subject + has/have + been Vx + ing).
e.g. I have been reading in this class for two months.
11. Do not use the Future or the Present tense after such expressions as suppose that, it is high time, it is time, as if etc.
e.g. It is high time that you went home.
GERUND & INFINITIVE
Use of Gerund (V1 + ing)
1. When an action is being considered in general sense, gerund is used as subject.
e.g. Swimming is his favourite pastime.
Walking is a good exercise.
2. Gerund is used as subject in short prohibitions
e.g. Smoking is prohibited.
3.Verbs such as help, stop, detest, avoid, finish, dread, mind, prevent, dislike, risk, deny, recollect, no good, no use, resent, delay, postpone, defer, enjoy, forgive, pardon, excuse, suggest etc. are followed by the gerund.
e.g. It is no use saying.
It is no good repenting.
I avoid calling out loudly.
4, A gerund is placed after a preposition :
e.g. She is tired of walking.
He is fond of riding.
But the prepositions except and but are followed by an infinitive.
5. A gerund, showing physical activity, is put after come or go
e.g. He is to go shooting.
Come fishing with us.
6. Nouns, followed by a gerund, are put in the possessive case.
e.g. He hates his brother’s drinking everyday.
She dislikes her child’s playing all the time.
7. If there is a sense of dislike, hesitation, risk etc. in a sentence, use gerund.
e.g. I dislike reading cheap novels.
She hesitates singing in the company of her friends.
8. Adjective before gerund are put in the possessive case.
e.g. I do not mind your going away.
What is the good of his trying to do that ?
9. With a view to is always followed by and not an adjective.
e.g. We go to school with a view to studying.
INFINITIVE (TO + V,)
1. Verbs such as learn, remember, promise, swear, consent, neglect, refuse, purpose, try, endeavour, attempt, fail, care, hope, decide, hesitate, prepare, determine, undertake, manage, arrange, seem, forget, agree, regret etc. are followed by infinitive:
e.g. We endeavour to invite such persons.
We promise to do this work soon.
2. Verbs such as order, tell, invite, oblige, allow, permit, compel, teach, instruct, advise, tempt, encourage, urge, request, show, remind, forbid, warm etc. are followed by object and infinitive
e.g. The teacher instructed the students to go.
She told me to come there.
3. Verbs or expressions like—will, can, do, must, may, let are followed by infinitive without to
e.g. Let him do this work.
Let it be done.
4. Expressions like would rather, would sooner, rather than, sooner than, had better are followed by infinitive without to
e.g. You had better tell him.
I would do rather than suffer.
5. See can be used with infinitive or without it
e.g. Go to see him.
Go and see him.
6. The infinitive is used after adjectives like delight, angry, glad, astonished
e.g. I was astonished to find him.
I was horrified to see the scene.
7. The verb know is never directly followed by the infinitive. It is followed by a conjunction and then the infinitive
e.g. Do you know to play the harmonium ? (X)
Do you know how to play the harmonium ?(√)
8. …had better is always followed by the infinitive without to
e.g. You had better to stop taking the medicine which has harmful side-effects. (X)
You had better stop taking the medicine which has harmful side-effects.(√)
9. Infinitive is not used with to after verbs of perception like-to see, to hear, to feel, to watch etc.
e.g. I saw him cross the street.
She heard her come downstairs.
10. Avoid using split-infinitive:
e.g. He planned to not go on a vacation this year.(X)
He planned not to go on a vacation this year.(√)
These ate helping verbs.
1. May implies permission, doubt or possibility.
e.g. It may rain tonight.
May I use your pen ?
2. Might is the past form of may but it does not . necessarily represent past time.
Often it implies more doubt than may.
e.g. If the clouds are salted, the rains might come.
3. Can is used to express ability.
e.g. He can do this work.
4. Could is the past form of can but it does not necessarily represent past time. Often it implies a more uncertain condition than can.
e.g. She could refuse, but she never does.
5. Should is the past form of shall. It is used in sub-ordinate clauses after in case and sometimes after if.
e.g. I shall get some money in case brother comes. If you should see Raj, give him my regards.
It is also used in past sentences with so that and in order that:
e.g. He turned the stereo down very low so that he should not disturb him.
• Should can also be used in sub-ordinate clauses when we are expressing the idea that something must be done or is important. The fact is that this happens after verbs like command, crder, request, insist, suggest, advise etc. & after adjectives like important, vital, essential, necessary, eager, anxious, concerned etc.
e.g. She insisted that the contract should be read aloud.
I am anxious that nobody should be hurt.
• Should is also used in sub-ordinate clauses in sentences where we express personal reactions to events. We express our reactions with words like— amazing, interesting, shocked, sorry, normal, natural, it’s a shame etc.
e.g. I am sorry you should think I did it on purpose.
I was shocked that she should not have invited Mr. Kapoor. ..
6. Must is followed by the infinitive without to;
e.g. I must get up at five tomorrow.
Must is used to give strong advice or orders :
e.g. I really must stop drinking.
You must be here by 8 o’clock.
Must is used to say that we are sure about something :
e.g. I am in love—that must be nice.
Must is used after a past reporting verb.
e.g. I felt there must be something wrong.
7. Should and Ought have similar meanings, but ought is followed by to. Ought to has a more objective force and is used when we are talking about laws, duties and regulations.
e.g. We ought to see her tomorrow.
Should and ought to can also be used to talk about strong probability.
e.g. He has bought thirty pints of whisky—that ought to be enough.
To talk about things which did not happen, although they were supposed to, we use should and ought to with the perfect infinitive :
e.g. The taxi should have arrived at 8.30.
8. Do is used to make question and negative forms of ordinary verbs.
e.g. Do you know Rajat ?
I don’t like trout.
Do is used in question-tags and short answers
e.g. You know painting, do you ?
Does he know I am here ? —Yes, he does.
Do is used before an imperative to make the request more persuasive
e.g. Do accompany us.
Do is not used in questions which have who, what or which as their subject
e.g. Who said that ?
What happened ?
Which one’s that ?
But if who, what or which is the object of the sentence, do is used
e.g! Who did you see ?
Which department do you want ?
Do is also used with an —ing form when we want to talk of activity that takes a certain time or that is repeated. In this case we find determiners like —the, my, some, much, etc.
e.g. I usually do most of my washing on Sundays.
Can you do the shopping for her ?