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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #107877: Surprise...Surprise ! ... 2/2
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Speaking | Tales | Find the correct tense [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Vocabulary: greeting people - Past tenses - Vocabulary: on the phone - On the phone - Interacting with someone - Dialogue : What time...? - Conditional clauses - Differences between Like and As
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    Surprise...Surprise ! ... 2/2

    Congressman Quinn and Laverty have most certainly had a serious conflict in the past. Many years after their latest encounter, Laverty entered Quinn's surreptitiously. They discussed briefly about a letter of denunciation which might exist (or not!). Eventually, Laverty shot Quinn and went home light heartedly, absolutely certain to get away with it.


    Remember, the tense used to tell or narrate a story is   the simple past.  

       ex: Laverty entered Quinn's home and shot him.

         * As usual, if two (simultaneous) actions of the past happened at the same time, then:

          - the important and long action) is in the preterite in -ing and the short action which interrupts the long one, is in the simple past.

            ex: Laverty was still lying in bed when his door bell rang.

    * If an action happened before the past action expressed in  the simple past, it must be in the past perfect simple (or in the past perfect in -ing if we want to insist on the duration of the action)

                         had + verb in the past participle   or  had + been + verb + ing  

       ex: Laverty had shot Quinn calmly and after cleaning up, he left for his home.

    * If you must use a future, remember that it doesn't get on well with the past and that the sequence of tenses then forces you to use a conditional.

      ex: Quinn believed he would be safe because Laverty would never write an incriminating letter...






      BEWARE ! For the first time in this kind of test, I'm going to make you use (and even over-use) a form that you don't really master in spite of all the excellent tests and lessons on this site... Let's observe the sentence:

        ex: Because of a conflict that happened long ago, Quinn was cold-bloodedly assassinated by Laverty.

        The second part of the sentence is in the passive form:

    The subject of the sentence : 'Quinn' is followed by the auxiliary of the passive : BE + past participle : 'was assassinated'. The action is endured by the subject. The agent of the action is introduced by 'by', and is often omitted in English. Here, the agent is 'Laverty' who initiated the action.

    PASSIVE SENTENCE = Subject ( who endures the action) + auxiliary of the passive : BE (in whatever tense or mode) + past participle.

    To be thorough, let's remember that: the PAST PARTICIPLE = Verb + ed / 3rd column of the IRREGULAR VERBS ; To be known BY HEART!

         ex: If anything happens to Quinn a letter will be given to Laverty and to the police.

         Here the subject is 'letter' (an object) and the verb is a future (will be given.)

         ex: Quinn shouldn't have been unprotected when Laverty was at large.

         (In this sentence, the subject is still 'Quinn', but the verb in the passive has a very complex construction. There is a modal auxiliary 'should' = in the past, 'shouldn't have been + past participle' which is added to the auxiliary of the passive 'be'.

         He was unprotected = the action was endured by Quinn, it 'shouldn't have been', and it was a fatal mistake.

         ex: Laverty had been sure he couldn't be punished.

         (The second part of the sentence is in the passive form): 'he couldn't be punished': 'he' = subject of the modal verbal form 'couldn't be' = 'it was impossible for him to be punished' ('BE' is the auxiliary of the passive form : to be punished.)






    This text was adapted from a short story by Frederic Brown:  Nightmares and Geezenstacks. 1961

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    (continued ...)
    After he had slipped on a robe, he went to the door light heartedly and opened it. His heart stood still and stayed like that... He was dead...

    The man at the door, though horrified and shocked, did exactly what to do. He stepped over Laverty's body, dialed 911 and waited for the detectives to arrive, anything.
    When the detectives arrived, they questioned Mr Babcock about what . Babcock , his papers were examined carefully. So was the envelope ... He explained he had rung at the door and delivered to Laverty a letter years before. The detective wearing gloves took the letter, asked Babcock perplexedly : 'do you know what on it?' The man shook his head. The gloved policeman opened the letter ... It was blank ! Of course the man didn't know ... His boss, Congressman Quinn had given him that letter, Laverty, here, in case anything unusual to Quinn.
    'So when I heard on the news that my boss had been killed the preceding night, ! '
    -' Were you his secretary? - no I wasn't .'
    ' It was a secret, but now... I used to take his place for unimportant meetings and speeches he didn't ! You see, Detective, I'm his double!'

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Surprise...Surprise ! ... 2/2
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