Tense consistency: meerkat

2 - The Grammar Bit

The Grammar Bit!

Read aloud the three multi-clause sentences opposite. You’ll notice that they don’t sound right. This is because the action performed by the subject in the first clause takes place at a different time to the action in the second clause.

Shifting from one tense (past, present or future) to another without a good reason, either within sentences orthroughout paragraphs, can be both confusing and distracting for the reader.

With your talk partner, discuss ways of making each sentence sound right. What changes will you make? Which tense will you use?

Scintillating Sentences

1) The startled meerkats scurried into their burrows, when the eagle circles high above.

2) As I reached for my camera, I can hear a wily drongo imitating the alarm call of a sentry meerkat.

3) When the mob of meerkats retreated underground, the trickster is snatching a juicy scorpion.


“Get your grubby beak away from my grub!”