English Grammar Step by Step
UNIT 9 - Page 4
VERB TENSES: USES
Write the verbs in brackets in the correct tense.
I’m afraid he is going to kick the bucket. A bullet has
pierced a vital organ.
Look at those clouds! We are going to have a shower.
The be going to form indicates that there are signs that
something will occur.
a They knew that they (perish), for they were in the middle
of a tidal wave.
b Look! Those cars (crash).
c It (be) a very serious depression. People have lost
faith in everything, and are afraid of investing their
money in creating new businesses. They don’t even want
to maintain the ones they have.
d ‘Hey! That man (shoot) a wildebeest.’
‘Let’s shout to prevent him from killing it.’
e That thug (beat) our friend. Let’s try to avoid it.
I think (that) they will put their foot in it.
They will probably catch him red-handed.
Maybe her parents will consent to her going out with you.
Will + infinitive is used to express an opinion or point
a I suppose the house-keeper (watch) over the house while you
b I hope they (release) him on parole very soon.
c I’m sure they (treat) you badly.
d Fortunately for them, their parents (give) them the money
they need; but we are not so lucky, and (have) to work to
e I presume they (root) all the dead trees out, and (plant)
I’ll tell you a secret as soon as we have finished dinner.
If she phones, she’ll reverse the charges.
Will is not possible in temporal subordinate clauses; and
unusual, in conditional clauses. See also section 27.
a Unless you (invite) them round, they will never come to see
b If you (not bid) for that vase, I will.
c I (stay) here until I have finished reading this magazine.
d He will not buy the cooker as long as it (not be) in
e If she (catch) him in the act, she will kick him out.
49 Revision exercise.
a I presume everything (have) to be redone.
b The lioness was starving hungry when she (see) a herd of
c If the gate (be) locked, ring the bell. Don’t climb over the
fence, or the dog (attack) you. Last week, it (bite) a child
when he (go) to catch his ball.
d Hurry up, or we (miss) the bus.
e I guess we (have) to forgo their help this afternoon.
f He (wring) my hand and (congratulate) me when I told him
that I (go) to be promoted.
g Buffaloes (bellow).
h They (hope) to be with you since you (leave) them last year.
i In the event of fire, you (get) ten million pounds.
j In my opinion, she never (be) able to lip-read, unless she
(work) harder, of course.
k If you (kneel) in front of the altar and (pray), God would
have helped you.
l If I (retell) these fairy stories in English, could you help
me to get them published?
m No matter how hard I (study), she would always fail me.
n If you had bound the wound, it (not be) infected. Now
it (take) longer to heal.
o If he (foretell) what was going to happen earlier, we wouln’t
have gone bankrupt.
p By the time she reached there, the murderer already (kill)
his victim, and (be) hidden behind a bush.
q This spot (bring) back memories of my childhood.
r When I (enter) her house, she was overcome by despair, since
her husband and son (abandon) her.
s He (not want) anybody to outdo him, so he worked day and
t While you (eat) the bag of potato crisps, I (buy) a souvenir
for my mother. She loves them.
u Occasionally, she (like) being isolated from the rest of
v I (sneeze), and she said, ‘Bless you’.
w They (interweave) pop and hard rock, and were very
x I just (spill) my white coffee all over the desk when my
boss came in, and got cross with me for what I (do).
y Wait a moment! I just (come)!
z Your espadrilles (stink) to high heaven. You (not wash) them
for a year, I think!
My husband will fetch me my slippers whenever I ask him to.
A gentleman will allow a lady to enter a place first.
Will + infinitive can be used instead of the simple present
tense to denote a present habit.
a A wild bear always (fear) men unless it is injured and/or
cornered. In this case, it (defend) itself against the
b He never (listen) to what you say, which is very irritating.
c My father (crack) nuts every evening when he was alive.
d Erica (send) politicians up whenever we talk about politics.
e Every time he comes here, he (take) this footpath.
51 Examples: (interrogative: first persons→I, we)
Shall we go swimming? (a suggestion)
What shall I do? (You are asking for advice. Should is
also possible here: What should I do?)
Shall I open the window? (You are asking for permission.)
Shall I help you? (You are offering your help.)
Shall/Will I pass my exam? (The listener cannot do anything
about it. He or she can only give you his or her opinion.)
Shall is necessary in the first persons when we want our
listener or listeners to tell us what we should do. If we
merely ask for an opinion, that is to say, something that
cannot be controlled by the person or people we are
talking to, will is possible instead of shall. In case
of doubt, use shall, as it is safer.
a ‘We (go) to Tom’s party?’
‘Well, I’d rather we stayed at home.’
b ‘I (come) over to your place this evening?’
c ‘What we (do)?’
‘I think you should look after her?’
d ‘I (live) for ever?’
‘I don’t think so.’
e ‘I (stay) here?’
‘Yes, of course.’
He shall have what he deserves. (a threat)
You shall have my help. (a promise)
This usage of shall (second and third persons) is very
emphatic, and old-fashioned. In modern English, we tend
to use will. In formal instructions, shall is also
possible: Customers shall pay at the desk.
Shall is to be avoided to mean Do you want to...? or Are you
so kind as to...?; instead, will must be employed:
Will you come this way, please?
—Will you marry me?
—Yes, I will. (short answer)
a You (have) the day off. (I promise.)
b ‘You (be) my husband?’
‘Yes, I ... .’ (short answer)
c She (pay) for what she did.
d He (have) the money. (I shall/will, personally, see to it.)
e You (shut) the door when you leave, please?
53 Revision exercise.
a She (intend) to allude to the causes of the fire in
tonight’s speech, but please don’t allow her to.
b ‘I (know) you (like) it. This is why I (buy) it.’
‘Thanks a lot.’
c I (remember) you whenever I (see) your photograph. I
(promise)! You (know) I always (love) you.
d If we (crossbreed) them, we would have obtained a better
e I don’t know where the treasure is hidden, but I (find) it
f She (encourage) him not to abandon his investigation tonight.
g Their little child (pass) away last week.
h I (loathe) thunderstorms, as I always think that something
i If they (retake) the town, they might have won the war.
j Personally, I think they (have) to cut down on their
k If you tell me another lie, I (wring) your neck.
l ‘We (help) the poor?’
m Those cherries are laden with fruit. We (pick) some?
n They (withstand) all our attacks until now, but we (beat)
o ‘They (accommodate) Carol?’
‘I hope they ... .’ (short answer)
p My sister always (force) me to play with her. I’m sick and
tired of it, but she’s four years older than me.
q ‘They (waylay) him in a dark alley last night, and stole
all the money he had on him.’
‘He (report) the incident to the police?’
‘Well, I (not know).
r He (not be) a good boy today, so he (not have) his
favourite dessert after supper. (I’ll make sure he
does not have his favourite dessert this evening.)
s When we told her that she (misdeal) the cards, she (get)
t He (outwit) the police by hiding under a bridge. Later, he
(cross) the border, and was never to be found.
u These pieces of news (come) to light. (I promise.)
v There’s something fishy going on here. Why we (not
investigate) the matter more carefully?
w ‘They (underwrite) the race last year, but they won’t this
x ‘I’m very thirsty.’
‘I (bring) you a glass of water.’
‘Thank you very much... Now I’m very hungry.’
‘All right! I (cook) something for you.’
‘You’re an angel!’
y ‘I (study) with Tony tonight. He (expect) me at 11 pm. Would
you like to join us?’
‘Yeah, I’d love to.’
z If we (speed) up, we (reach) our destination in good time.
Now we (be) late.
54 Examples: (imperatives)
Stand up, please!
Have a drink!
Please send me a letter.
(You,) come here at once! (If you mention ‘you’, it conveys
that either you are angry, or want to make someone know
that you are addressing him or her.)
John, clear the table!
Step back, Paul!
Don’t speak Greek to me!
Don’t be such a fool! (See unit 6, part 1, section 7.)
Do sit still! (emphatic)
Imperatives are used to give orders, invite, and so on.
In the negative, don’t or do not are placed before the
main verb. Do is emphatic in the affirmative.
a ‘Can I borrow you ten pounds?’
‘Yes, of course, but (not make) a habit of it.’
b John: I’m going to open a very good business, and become
Mary: (not count) your chickens before they’re hatched.
c —She’s the prettiest girl in the world!
—(not make) me laugh! She’s very ugly. And what’s more she’s
got a big moustache.
d (not make) a false move, or I’ll kill you.
e Oh, hello! (come) in! (make) yourself comfortable!
I wish she were/was here. (It is a pity she is not here.)
If only she were/was here. (More emphatic than I wish she
I would rather/sooner you didn’t go in your car. (You can
do what you want, but I do not like the idea of your going
in your car.)
It is (high/about) time we studied hard. (We should have
studied hard earlier.)
I wish to go swimming. (I would like to go swimming.)
I would rather/sooner have spaghetti than pizza. (I would
prefer to have spaghetti.)
It is time (for us) to go home. (Let us go home.)
It is time for dinner. (Let us have dinner.)
All the examples above refer to the present. If we mention
after I wish, it is time, I would rather/sooner a subject,
we must use a past tense. Note also the use of were, which
is not possible after it is time + a subject: It is time
she was here. High and about give emphasis to the sentence,
as seen above. It is also possible to say It is (high/about)
time for us to tell them the whole truth.
a I wish I (have) an electric razor.
b I wish (declare) that we shall stand up for our rights.
c If only I (not be) so hairy.
d It’s high time they (take) precautions.
e I’d rather (die) than (help) her.
I wish I had told her that I loved her.
If only I had told her that I loved her.
I would rather/sooner they had not come to the party.
If we use a subject + a past perfect tense after the
expressions seen in the above examples, we refer to
a I’d rather she (stay) at home. She’s too young to be here.
b I wish you (not mix) things up yesterday.
c If only my parents (not empty) these bottles. There’s
nothing to drink now.
d I wish I (not eat) so much octopus last night.
e I’d rather he (not call) me an idiot when I told him that
his work needed a little bit of improvement.
I wish it would stop raining. (I am sick and tired of
so much rain.)
If only it would stop raining.
I wish she wouldn’t go after me all the time. (She is
really a nuisance.)
If only she wouldn’t go after me all the time.
In the above sentences, the usage of would implies that we
would like things to be different in the present, or in the
future. The subject of wish is different from the subject
of would, since the control of the things that we would
like to be different do not depend on the subject of wish,
but on the subject of would. Would very often conveys the
idea of criticism.
a I wish his sheep (not graze) in this field. I have told
him a hundred times that they eat my plants.
b If only it (rain) a little. It hasn’t rained for months.
c I wish she (stop) smoking. When she runs a few hundred
metres, she pants and wheezes as if she were a very old
d If only he (get) up ten minutes earlier. He always gets to
work ten minutes late.
e I wish it (not hail) so often. It always ruins my crops.
58 Revision exercise.
a If only I (be) appointed president, but I don’t think I will.
b Please (remind) me to post this letter.
c It’s very dark in here. I (turn) on the light.
d This meat is overdone. Why we (not go) to a restaurant and
(have) a proper meal?
e I’d sooner (not overlook) his bad manners this time.
f (make) yourselves at home!
g I wish you (not upbraid) me last night with the things I did
in the army.
h (not overdo) your role, or nobody (believe) you.
i I’d sooner you (not sedate) me then.
j It’s time for you (go) to bed.
k I wish (get) back.
l (help) yourself!
m ‘Hands up!’ they (say). ‘If you (move), we (kill) you.’
n You (eat) humble pie. (I see to it myself.)
o She (find) out your love affairs sooner or later.
p These hinges (rust) away. We’d better change them.
q ‘I (seem) to have mislaid my car keys.’
‘You always (mislay) things!’
r ‘He (forsake) his family, and they (die) of hunger a
couple of weeks later.’
‘Why he (do) that?’
‘I (think) they (have) no food to live on, and he couldn’t
stand the situation, which is why he (flee) from home.’
s If you (overspend) your money like this, you’ll be a poor
lady very soon.
t ‘(halt),’ said the sentry. ‘(halt), or I (shoot).’
u I’d rather she (not scream). Now the enemy (know) where we
are. We must leave the place this minute.
v If only he (stop) telling these bad jokes.
w I’d sooner he (not come) to our wedding anniversary. Please
(not invite) him.
x If you (not do) as you are told, you’ll lose your job.
y I wish you (not endure) the whole crisis yourself. If you
(ask) for help, we would have lend you a hand.
z Mr Brown (outbid) me for the Victorian terraced house. I
would have liked to get it, but he (be) filthy rich! He
(inherit) a large sum of money from an uncle of his.
59 Examples: (as if/as though)
She talks as if/as though she were/was the most intelligent
person in the world; but, actually, she is a real dunce. (She
is not the most intelligent person in the world.)
You look as if/as though you have been working very hard. (I
suppose you have been working very hard by the way you look.)
A past tense is used for unreal situations; and a present,
for real ones, as seen in the examples above. In an informal
style, like is often used instead of as if/as though, but
should be avoided in formal writing, or speech.
a He behaves as though he (be) the boss; but he’s only an
b It sounds as if they (have) a party next week. I’ve been told
that they bought heaps of wine and beer from the shop round
the corner this morning and that Peter has asked his parents
to let them use their garage.
c ‘It tastes as if you (have) put a bulb of garlic in the
‘Yes, I have. Don’t you like it?’
d They treat me as if I (be) their son. My parents die long
ago, and they have taken care of me ever since.
e ‘It smells as though you (have) a string of garlic in your
‘Well, I have. You know I love garlic. And at the same time,
it keeps vampires away.’
If you would like a precious stone/to get a precious stone,
you must do what I tell you. (‘If you would like’ + object
or an infinitive object)
If you like, we could go to the seaside this afternoon. (‘If
you like’ without an object or infinitive object)
If you will/would hold on, I’ll tell Mrs Green that
you’re here. (= If you are so kind as to hold on,
I’ll tell Mrs Green that you’re here.)
I should/would be very grateful if you would send me your
catalogue. (= If you are so kind as to send me your
catalogue, I should/would be very grateful.)
If you won’t go, I’ll go. (= If you refuse to go, I’ll go.)
If you will arrive late, I’ll leave you. (= If you keep on
arriving late, I’ll leave you.)
He asked me if they would help him.
They want to know if he will come to their party.
For full details, see unit 24, sections 13 and 15.
a If your car (not start), change the battery.
b If they (like) to have dinner now, I’ll set the table.
c If they (like), I’ll lay the table.
d We should be most grateful if you (train) our son to be a
very good politician.
e If you (tell) me your name, I’ll see if she is in her office.
In the past, would + infinitive.
Or would, in the past.
For will in conditional clauses, see section 60, and
unit 24, section 15.
In the past, we use would. See unit 6, part 2.
Instead of will, we may use would: Would you speak out,
please? This is a little bit more polite than Will you
speak out, please? Won’t you...? is an emphatic
alternative: Won’t you give me a kiss?
That is possible after I wish and it is time when these
two expressions are followed by a subject, but it is
normally left out:
I wish (that) she were/was out.
It is (high/about) time (that) we studied hard.
I should rather is incorrect. Americans sometimes say
had rather, instead of would rather. I should avoid the
usage of had rather.
The subjunctive form were is more formal than the past form
was. Were is only possible in unreal situations:
He looked as if/as though he was sad. (real→He was sad,
so he looked sad.)
He looks as if/as though he were/was a monster. (unreal→
He is not a monster.)
Although we have a clause introduced by if in this sentence
and in the following one, they are not conditional ones, but
indirect questions. The original words would be:
‘Will they help me?’ he said to me.
‘Will he come to our party?’ they say.
Author: Miquel Molina i Diez
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and the key
1 Negative and interrogative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
2 Short answers (Page 2 and the key)
3 Question tags (Page 2 and the key)
4 Questions and exclamations (Page 2 and the key)
5 So, neither, nor, either (the key)
6 Be, used to, would, be/get/become used to, dare, have, get, become, grow, go, turn, fall and feel (Page 2 and the key)
7 Verb tenses: forms (Page 2 and the key)
8 Irregular verbs
9 Verb tenses: uses (Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 and the key)
10 Personal pronouns, possessives and reflexive pronouns (Page 2 and the key)
11 The genitive case (the key)
12 Singular and plural nouns (Page 2 and the key)
13 Gender (the key)
14 A, an, some, any, no, not, none, each, every and the; compounds of some, any, no and every (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
15 Neither, not...either, none, not...any, both and all (the key)
16 A few, few, a lot, lots, a little, little, many, much, no and plenty (the key)
17 Enough, too, so and such (the key)
18 Comparative and superlative sentences (Page 2 and the key)
19 Adjective order (the key)
20 Relative clauses (Page 2 and the key)
21 Do and make (the key)
22 Modal verbs (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
23 Infinitives, gerunds and present participles (Page 2 and the key)
24 Conditional sentences (Page 2 and the key)
25 Passive sentences (the key)
26 Reported speech (Page 2 and the key)
27 Purpose (the key)
28 Word order (the key)
29 Inversion (the key)
30 Connectors (Page 2 and the key)
31 Prepositions (Page 2, Page 3 and the key)
32 Phrasal verbs (the key)