This exercise tests your knowledge of regular and irregular past tense verbs with a story about hunting for a job. Fill in the blanks (gaps) using the correct past tense form of the verb given right after each blank.
(It will tell you if you need a past participle rather than the simple past tense. You can also recognize that for yourself by noting if the verb is preceded by have, has or had.
In fact, one purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate the use of the past perfect tense when talking about things that happened before other past events.)
The first paragraph of the gap-fill is completed as an example.
Before starting, here are the forms and meanings of verbs related to employment. Except for ‘quit’, these are actions an employer (the company or person who has jobs available) takes that affect a person who wants or has a job (the job seeker or employee.)
verb/ past tense/ past participle (pp)
Aside from the verbs above, any irregular verbs used in the gaps are on the List of Irregular Verbs (the Top 50) and the Irregular Past Participles List if you want to check before answering. (Two that are not on that list are done for you.) It’s better to try them without checking. That will help fix them in your memory. Some (but not all) regular verbs are also included in the gaps. Remember that regular past tense verbs end in ‘-ed,’ and their past participles are the same as their simple past forms.
The first three sentences have been done as an example. Underlined words are the answers; words in parentheses give the base form (present tense) of the needed verb and say ‘pp.’ if the gap should be filled with the past participle form of that verb.
Instructions: fill in each blank/gap with the past tense form of the verb in parentheses (or its past participle if it says pp.)
Last June, Henry, Jim, Elena, and Sue were (be, plural) all looking for work. Henry, a mechanic, had been laid (pp. of lay) off when his company downsized. Jim had quit (pp. quit) his job to take a dream vacation in Europe.
(Now you try it!)
For more past tense (and perfect tense) practice see List of Irregular Verbs (top 50) with Practice,