English Language Resource Center
Changing Sentences: Present to Past


Directions: Pretend that this story happened a year ago. Change the verbs so that they are in the past tense. Retype each of the sentences in the boxes below. (Reading and retyping will help your English improve quickly.)

When you are finished, click on "Our Version" to see the answer.

Try to write your own sentence before you click on "Our Version." The first two sentences are done for you.


A Story of a Cat

Original:  I have a cat. Her name is May.
Changed version:  I had a cat. Her name was May.
1. She is very small; she weighs only 11 pounds.
Write your sentence here:
    

I got her from New York City when she was found under a car in extremely cold weather. My boss, Richard Rosenwald, took her in and kept her in the office; however, he had asthma and had to give her to me.
2. My husband is not fond of the cat.
Write your sentence here:
    

3. Little things seem to irritate him such as her using the sofa as a scratching post, getting hair all over the house, and bringing cat litter on our bed.
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4. He is being uncooperative and inconsiderate of my feelings.
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5. May seems to avoid him when he comes into a room.
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6. Our clothes are visibly full of white fur, and everyone seems to know we have a cat.
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7. My husbandís eyes seem to tear and he often sneezes.
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8. When the cat gets in his way, she shows her claw and hisses at him.
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9. Sometimes she takes a swat at him and tears his pants.
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One night, we had invited a friend to dinner.
10. I have baked a cake as well as an apple pie and have set the table with plates, napkins and utensils.
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11. Then I go out of the dining room to answer the door.
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12. I welcome our visitor, and then take his coat and hang it in the closet.
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13. As I enter the dining room, my cat is on the table eating our dinner.
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14. I am so embarrassed; what will my guest think?
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15. Will he eat dinner in spite of the fact there are paw prints in this gourmet feast?
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16. This seems to be a problem for my husband, but I have prepared enough food for everyone.
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17. Occasionally, I arrange a play date for my cat. His name is Butch.
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18. He has the attitude: feed me and there wonít be any violence.
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19. Butch and May enjoy each otherís company.
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20. My husband has an office in the house.
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21. It is furnished with a very expensive leather couch.
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22. While my husband is on the phone talking to his client, Butch suddenly jumps onto the couch and gives a defiant look; then he urinates all over the costly sofa.
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23. My husband is enraged and leaps for the couch to catch the cat.
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24. He slips, and his knee falls right into the wet puddle.
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25. Needless to say, there are no more play dates with Butch.
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Soon after that May was adopted by another family. We now have a stuffed animal that purrs.

Original written by Shashi Ishai, Professional Tutor in the
English Language Resource Center at Bergen Community College, NJ


Posted December 6, 2006