Thursday, 15 October 2009

Watch that Tense!

One problem that my students in all three exams keep having is losing points in the Use of English sentence transformations part of the paper. These questions are worth two points each but one small slip and you'll only get one. The most common mistake is that of changing the tense. If the first sentence is present simple then your sentence should be present simple. If it's past then keep it past. For example from the CAE:

You led me to believe the job was mine if I wanted it.
I ........................................ that the job was mine if I wanted it.

Some students put 'have the impression' here when 'led' in the first sentence is in the past tense (of 'lead'). It's a good guess (as better answers are 'was under the impression', an idiomatic phrase meaning 'I thought (perhaps because I inferred)'.
But a passing answer is 'I had the impression'

So, check your tenses carefully (especially the Presnt Perfect!)

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