Tense Agreement Rules


When writing a sentence, it is important to think about when the action in your statement occurred. You should keep the tense uniform throughout the sentence when discussing things that happened at the same time. When referring to separate events, the tenses might differ, but it is important to recognize the difference. Below are some examples of tense agreement and disagreement.

Subject Exercises:

Tense Agreement Exercise

Talking About the Same Event


Tense Agreement

When I went to the coffee house, I bought two cookies.
Both 'went' and 'bought' are in past tense.


Tense Disagreement

When I went to the coffee house, I buy two cookies.
'Went' is in past tense, but 'buy' is in present tense. They do not match.


Different Events at Different Times


Tense Agreement

I biked to class last Monday, but today I am taking the bus.
'Biked' is past tense because it happened in the past. 'Taking' is present or future because this is happening or will happen today.

Tense Disagreement

I bike to class last Monday, but today I am taking the bus.
Because it happened in the past, 'bike' should not be in present tense.

Also See:

Tense Agreement Exercise
Verb Tenses Chart
Subject Verb Agreement

Quick Exercise


Here are some examples of sentences with tense disagreement. Correct them so that the tenses match.

1. My father to Harvard and biology.

2. When I in USA, I always dinner at Cheesecake Factory.

3. I to the gym and every Saturday.

4. I grades and transcripts at the student center.

5. I always the Flintstones, and my favorite character
Fred.

Correct answers:


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