DailyWritingTips

Lesson 3: Mixed Tenses in Sentences

Not all tenses can be mixed easily. The important thing to remember is the context of the tenses you are using to help show your message clearly and without confusion. 

Simple tenses are usually very easy to mix with other tenses. Let’s practice this using the past simple tense:

  • I checked out a library book. (Past Simple)
  • I checked out a library book, and now I am in the reading room. (+Present Simple)
  • I checked out a library book, but I will get two books next time. (+Future Simple)
  • I checked out a library book, and now I am reading it. (+Present Continuous)
  • I checked out a library book while my dad was waiting in the car. (+Past Continuous)
  • I checked out a library book, and I will be staying here to read. (+ Future Continuous)
  • I checked out a library book, and I have left for class. (+Present Perfect)
  • I checked out a library book after school had finished. (+Past Perfect)
  • I checked out a library book, and I will have read 10 books this month if I finish it this weekend. (+ Future Perfect)
  • I checked out a library book, and I have been thinking about it ever since. (+Present Perfect Continuous)
  • I checked out a library book after I had been learning all day. (+Past Perfect Continuous)
  • I checked out a library book, and I will have been doing so every day for a month by the end of the week. (+Future Perfect Continuous)

Here are some other examples of sentences with mixed tenses. Notice how they all make sense within the context of the subject:

Present and Past Tenses

  • She is an accomplished pianist, and last year, she performed at Carnegie Hall.
  • I love the beach, and last summer, I spent two weeks by the ocean.

Present and Future Tenses

  • I am currently studying for my exams, and I will graduate next year.
  • She is saving money now so she can travel to Europe next summer.

Past and Future Tenses

  • I forgot to bring my umbrella yesterday, so I will make sure to pack it tomorrow.
  • Last night, I watched a movie, and tomorrow I will visit the museum.

Present, Past, and Future Tenses

  • I am learning Spanish now, I took a course last year, and I will be fluent by next year.
  • She is reading a novel about World War II, she visited a war museum last month, and she will give a presentation on the topic next week.

Present Perfect and Past Tenses:

  • I have visited that city before, and I enjoyed the experience.
  • She has read that book already, and she discussed it in the book club.

Past Perfect and Past Tenses

  • After I had finished my presentation, I went to get some coffee.
  • Once they had completed the project, they celebrated their success.

Present Continuous and Past Tenses

  • I was washing the dishes when the phone rang, and now I am calling them back.
  • I was watching a movie when my friend arrived, and now we are chatting about it.

Past Continuous and Past Tenses

  • He was watching TV when the power went out.
  • Dan was playing soccer when he twisted his ankle.

Future Continuous and Present Tenses

  • I will be attending the conference next week, and I am preparing my presentation.
  • I will be traveling to Paris next week, and I am so excited about it.

Present Perfect and Future Tenses

  • I have finished my assignments, so I will have more time to relax this weekend.
  • She has learned Spanish, and she will use it on her trip to Mexico next month.

Remember that while mixing tenses can add complexity and depth to your communication, it’s important to do so with a clear purpose and in a way that makes sense. Ensure that the mixed tenses contribute to the overall clarity and understanding of your message.