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Module 1: Grammar Module 2: Sources Module 3: Structure
Home » Module 1 Unit 4: Tenses » Common mistakes - page 7/9
Unit 1: Sentence fragmentsUnit 2: Run-on sentences Unit 3: Subject-verb agreementUnit 4: TensesUnit 5: PassiveUnit 6: ApostrophesUnit 7: Articles

You'll get a lot of clues about the tenses you might use in the body of your essay by thinking carefully about the essay question.

Think both about the instruction words you are given (e.g. 'discuss', 'evaluate', 'describe') and about the topic of the question.

Always remember that your choice of tense will be influenced by the purpose of your writing, and may change when your purpose changes.

Here are some examples of essay questions. Think about the tenses you would mainly use in the body of your essay to answer these questions. Click on 'Explanation' to check your understanding.


Always read your assessment question carefully. Look for the instruction words, think about the nature of the topic and ask yourself what kind of tenses you are likely to use in the body of your essay to respond to this question.