Narrative tenses worksheet - Exercises 2


Put the verb in brackets into the correct form in the gap AFTER the verb. Where no verb is given, put one of the following linking words into the gaps.

While / finally / and / although / however / as soon as / but / then / before / when (there's one linking word you don't need to use).

The Unlucky Burglar

One evening Paul (watch) ____________ the television ____________ (eat)____________ his supper ____________ the door suddenly (open) ____________ and a burglar (come) ____________ in. He (wear) ____________ a mask and (carry) ____________ a sack. ____________ doing anything else he (tie) ____________ Paul to the chair. ____________ he went upstairs to look for money. ____________ he (not find) ____________ any money he (find) ____________ a lot of jewellery, which he (put) ____________ into his sack. In his rush to get downstairs he (not see) ____________ the dog (lie) ____________ at the bottom of the stairs, and he (fall) ____________ over it, losing his glasses. ____________ the burglar (look for) ____________ them, Paul (try) ____________ to free himself. ____________ Paul (manage) ____________ to escape and he (phone) ____________ the police. ____________ the burglar (find) ____________ his glasses he (run) ____________ out of the house. ____________ unfortunately for him, the police (wait) ____________ for him at the end of the garden.

Put the verb in brackets into the correct form. Where possible, use 'used to' and 'would'.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens ____________ (born) in 1812 in Portsmouth. The family ____________ (move) to London in 1823. When he was twelve he ____________ (work) in a blacking factory. He worked by a window facing the street and passersby ____________ (pause) and watch him at work. Every day he ____________ (trudge) through the London streets from Camden Town to Southwark. His family ____________ (be) very poor. His mother ____________ (hope) to open a small school. While she ____________ (try) to do this, her husband ____________ (send) to prison for being 40 in debt. When Charles ____________ (be) twenty-four, his first work, sketches by Boz, ____________ (publish). This ____________ (follow) by Pickwick Papers with which he ____________ (achieve) financial security and popularity. For the rest of his life, work simply ____________ (pour) from his pen. He ____________ (die) of a stroke in 1870.

Put the verb in brackets into the correct form. Where both the past simple and past perfect simple are possible, write 'BOTH'.

  • 1. Until I ____________ (explain) the situation to her I felt guilty.

    2. After I ____________ (finish) my lunch I went back to work.

    3. When the police ____________ (interview) me they let me go home.

    4. As soon as I got home my brother ____________ (go out).

    5. The children had to stay in until the rain ____________ (stop)

    6. When I ____________ (see) John coming towards me I walked in the other direction.

    7. I phoned my mother to find out why she ____________ (not write) for so long.

    8. We stayed in our seats until the film ____________ (finish).

  • Continue the following sentences using the words in bracket in either the past perfect simple or continuous.

  • 1. My landlord threw me out of my flat because (not pay the rent for six months / and break all the windows)


    2. When I eventually got to the meeting I was bad tempered and exhausted! I (sit in traffic jam 45 minutes / motorist bump into me / and get completely lost)


    3. By the time 5 o'clock arrived Brenda was furious. She (wait for an hour / drink six cups of tea / and they still not arrive)


    4. I was so depressed that I couldn't do the exam. I (study every day for two months / and give up see my friends)


    Put the verb in brackets in an appropriate form of the future in the past.

    1. "Henry! Good Lord! I forgot that you ____________ (come) to dinner. I'm sorry, come in."

    2. The police ____________ (charge) me with speeding, but I told them that I'd never driven a car.

    3. The beginning of the film was terrible. I hoped it ____________ (get better).

    4. I went to bed early as I was ____________ (leave) for Rio the next day.

    5. Tom was sensible and his mother knew he ____________ (take) care of himself.

    6. "You ____________ (show) me your holiday photos but we were interrupted."

    7. "Our last holiday was a disaster. We ____________ (travel) to Austria, but I broke my leg."

    8. I ____________ (just/ring) the receptionist about the tv when an engineer arrived to fix it.

    9. I had invited them to come to the party at 9 o'clock, but I knew they ____________ (be late).

    10. "Last time I saw you, you ____________ (emigrate) to Canada! Did you?"

  • Narrative tenses worksheet

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