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Exercise : Tense Consistency Exercise 3

In the following passage from Alex Haley's Roots, some of the verbs have been deliberately omitted. Supply the appropriate tense for each missing verb, the plain form of which is given in brackets.

In Banjuh, the capital of Gambia, I met with a group of Gambians. They [tell] me how for centuries the history of Africa has been preserved. In the older villages of the back country, there are old men called griots, who [be] in effect living archives. Such men [memorize] and, on special occasions, [recite] the cumulative histories of clans or families or villages as those histories [have] long been told. Since my forefather [have] said his name was Kin-tay (properly spelled Kinte), and since the Kinte clan [be] known in Gambia, the group of Gambians would see what they could do to help me. I was back in New York when a registered letter [arrive] from Gambia.

Words [have] been passed in the back country, and a griot of the Kinte clan [have], indeed, been found. His name, the letter said, [be] Kebba Kanga Fofana. I [return] to Gambia and [organize] a safari to locate him.

Answer: Tense Consistency Exercise 3

The verbs in bold in the following passage are each in the correct tense.

In Banjuh, the capital of Gambia, I met with a group of Gambians. They told me how for centuries the history of Africa has been preserved. In the older villages of the back country, there are old men called griots, who are in effect living archives. Such men memorize and, on special occasions, recite the cumulative histories of clans or families or villages as those histories have long been told. Since my forefather had said his name was Kin-tay (properly spelled Kinte), and since the Kinte clan was known in Gambia, the group of Gambians would see what they could do to help me. I was back in New York when a registered letter arrived from Gambia.

Word had been passed in the back country, and a griot of the Kinte clan had, indeed, been found. His name, the letter said, was Kebba Kanga Fofana. I returned to Gambia and organized a safari to locate him.

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