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Know Your Tenses: How They Relate to the Purpose and Structure of Texts

In this worksheet, students consider which tenses are used in different types of text, and why.

'Know Your Tenses: How They Relate to the Purpose and Structure of Texts' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:   Understand Structure and Purpose

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

When we write we use different tenses depending on the type of text we are writing.

 

Stories and recounts are usually written in the past tense.

Goldilocks opened the door and peered into the cottage.

Manchester United took the lead after fifteen minutes and then scored again in the second half.

 

Reports and explanations are usually written in the present tense.

Hedgehogs hibernate every winter.

A hovercraft skims over the surface of the water on a cushion of air.

 

The future tense is not used as often, but it is needed for things like forecasts.

Tomorrow it will rain heavily in the south but the sun will shine in the north.

 

In this activity, you can practise choosing the correct tense for different types of text.

Which tense would you use to write an account of a school trip you went on to a museum?

coach

past tense

present tense

future tense

Which tense would you use to write an explanation of how a bicycle works?

bike

past tense

present tense

future tense

Which tense would you use to write a diary?

past tense

present tense

future tense

Which tense would you use to write an article for your school magazine about a football tournament you took part in?

past tense

present tense

future tense

Which tense would you use to write about the life cycle of a butterfly?

past tense

present tense

future tense

Which tense would you use to write the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

 

past tense

present tense

future tense

Read this diary entry, written in the past tense. One sentence has a verb written in the present tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

 

Yesterday was a very exciting day. My dad came home from work and said that he had a surprise for us. When we went outside to look we see a small puppy sitting on the grass. I was so excited that I screamed!

Read this report about elephants, written in the present tense. One sentence has a verb written in the past tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

 

Elephants have very long trunks. They use them to pick things up and to drink with. When it was very hot they spray water over themselves.

Read part of the story of the Three Little Pigs, written in the past tense. One sentence has a verb written in the present tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

The first pig built his house out of straw, but it wasn't strong enough. The wolf came along and blew the house down. The pig had nowhere to hide and the wolf eats him up.

Read this explanation of how a compass works, written in the present tense. One sentence has a verb written in the past tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

A compass contains a small magnet, called a needle. This needle always pointed towards the North Pole. This means that wherever you are in the world you always know which way is north.

  • Question 1

Which tense would you use to write an account of a school trip you went on to a museum?

coach

CORRECT ANSWER
past tense
EDDIE SAYS
When you are retelling the events of the school trip, it would be normal to use the past tense, as you're explaining things that have already happened. For example: 'At 10 o'clock we all got on the coach, I sat next to my friend James.'
  • Question 2

Which tense would you use to write an explanation of how a bicycle works?

bike

CORRECT ANSWER
present tense
EDDIE SAYS
An explanation of how something works would be written in the present tense. For example: turn the handlebars to steer the bike left or right.
  • Question 3

Which tense would you use to write a diary?

CORRECT ANSWER
past tense
EDDIE SAYS
A diary entry is a recount of your day, things that have already happened and how they have made you feel. Therefore the past tense is correct for a diary entry.
  • Question 4

Which tense would you use to write an article for your school magazine about a football tournament you took part in?

CORRECT ANSWER
past tense
EDDIE SAYS
Reporting on a football tournament would involve recounting what happened during the match by explaining details such as the best players and who scored the goals. This is an event that has already happened so the article would be written in the past tense.
  • Question 5

Which tense would you use to write about the life cycle of a butterfly?

CORRECT ANSWER
present tense
EDDIE SAYS
This would be written in the present tense. It would contain factual information and explanations that you may find in a science book. For example: 'the female butterfly lays her eggs on leaves or stems of plants.'
  • Question 6

Which tense would you use to write the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
past tense
EDDIE SAYS
'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' is a traditional story that retells events that have already happened. We would use the past tense to write this story. For example: 'Goldilocks opened the door and peered into the cottage.'
  • Question 7

Read this diary entry, written in the past tense. One sentence has a verb written in the present tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

 

Yesterday was a very exciting day. My dad came home from work and said that he had a surprise for us. When we went outside to look we see a small puppy sitting on the grass. I was so excited that I screamed!

CORRECT ANSWER
When we went outside to look we saw a small puppy sitting on the grass.
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? The verb 'see' in the past tense should be changed to 'saw'. Did you remember to use a capital letter at the start of your sentence?
  • Question 8

Read this report about elephants, written in the present tense. One sentence has a verb written in the past tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

 

Elephants have very long trunks. They use them to pick things up and to drink with. When it was very hot they spray water over themselves.

CORRECT ANSWER
When it is very hot they spray water over themselves.
EDDIE SAYS
The word 'was' changes to 'is' to fit in the present tense sentence. Did you remember to start with a capital letter too?
  • Question 9

Read part of the story of the Three Little Pigs, written in the past tense. One sentence has a verb written in the present tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

The first pig built his house out of straw, but it wasn't strong enough. The wolf came along and blew the house down. The pig had nowhere to hide and the wolf eats him up.

CORRECT ANSWER
The pig had nowhere to hide and the wolf ate him up.
EDDIE SAYS
The word 'eats' changes to 'ate' to fit in with the past tense sentence. Keep up the hard work!
  • Question 10

Read this explanation of how a compass works, written in the present tense. One sentence has a verb written in the past tense by mistake. Write the sentence out again correctly, just pressing the space bar once between each word.

A compass contains a small magnet, called a needle. This needle always pointed towards the North Pole. This means that wherever you are in the world you always know which way is north.

CORRECT ANSWER
This needle always points towards the North Pole.
EDDIE SAYS
The word 'pointed' changes to 'points' to fit in with the present tense explanation.
---- OR ----

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