Complete the blanks with the Past Simple, Past Progressive, Past Perfect Simple or Past Perfect Progressive of the verbs in brackets.

1) Last year I .....(go) on an exciting safari holiday in Namibia with my husband. 2) I remember it ....(rain) continously for several days in Brussels before we ....(leave), so I couldn't wait to board the plane which ....(head) for sunnier climes. 3) Our safari holiday ....(be) unique in that, unlike many other safari holidays, the aim was not just to show a bunch of tourists some wild animals; while on holiday we would be volunteering at a conservation centre. 4) Our first night in the bush, while the biologists ....(entertain) everyone with tales, I ....(sit) back and ....(gaze) at the patterns made by the stars. 5) At one stage I ....(get) up to stretch when all of a sudden I ....(see) a huge creature nestled on my husband's shoulder; I ....(let) out an embarrassing squek of fear. 6) Apparently it was just a stick insect. Not like any stick insect I ....(ever/see); it was as big as my forearm. 7) The next day we ....(set) off early; our task was to make a note of any wildlife we saw. 8) While we .... (walk) through the thick forest, we ....(hear) birds and monkeys chattering in the trees. However after three hours, the novelty ....(wear) off, and I was exhausted. 9) And then I ....(see) it. A deer ....(stand) under a tree just a few metres away from me; I proudly ....(make) a note on my pad. 10) The next day, while we ....(travel) to a nearby village, we ....(spot) a herd of elephants crossing the road. 11) All too quickly our two weeks in Namibia ....(draw) to a close and we .... (find) ourselves back at home. 12) Altough we were a little sad, we both felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction as we ....(not only/visit) a beautiful part of the world, but we ....(also/make) our own small positive contribution.

Hi - This piece of writing is all in the past tense. The events have happened last year. Go - wentRain - rainedLeave - leftHead - headedBe - wasEntertain - entertainedSit - satGaze - gazedGet - gotLet - let (the same in both present and past)Ever/see - Ever sawSet - Set (the same in present and past)Walk - walkedHear - heardWear - woreSee - sawStand - stoodMake - madeTravel - traveledSpot - spottedDraw - drewFind - foundNot only/visit - not only/ visitedAlso/make - Also made
Hannah R.
04 December 2018
wentrainedleftheadshad beenentertainedsatgazedgot upsawletever sawsetwalkedheardwore offsaw itstandingmadetravelledspotteddrewfoundnot only visitedalso made
12 December 2018
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Active verb definition

How do you know if a verb is active?

Verbs are either ‘active’ or ‘passive’ according to whether the subject of the sentence is doing the action or whether they are having it done to them.  An active verb is a word that basically shows an action within a sentence. In an active sentence, the subject of the sentence is the thing or the person carrying out the action (see the below examples). Whereas, in a passive sentence, the thing being acted upon is the subject of the sentence. So active verbs are those verbs, in sentences, which are being done by the subject of the sentence. All verbs are doing words and involve action, but examples of ‘active verbs’ depend on whether the thing being done, (cleaning, eating etcetera), is being done by the subject of the sentence or not.

Examples of Active Verbs

Charlotte talks for an incredibly long time. The active verb here would be talks; as talking is something that Charlotte can do. Remember, active verbs express something that a person, animal, or object can do. That’s why they are named Action verbs Jack cleaned the house. The verb To Clean is active here, (cleaned) because the subject of the sentence ‘Jack’ is doing the cleaning. The house was cleaned by Jack. In this sentence, the verb ‘To Clean’ is passive because the subject of the sentence, the house, is being cleaned. My parents bought a house. The verb is active, the subject (my parents) is doing the action of ‘buying'.   “Sally brushed the dog” Here “brushed” is an active verb. Compare this with “The dog was brushed by Sally” – where “was brushed” is a passive verb.

What is the active voice?
When should you use the active and passive voice?

What is the difference between active and passive verbs?

There are 2 types of sentences - active and passive. All verbs have an active and passive voice. Where active verbs detail the action ie: The teacher taught the lesson. The passive sentence would read: The students are taught the lesson. The passive voice is used when we want to emphasize the action (the verb) and the object of a sentence rather than the subject. Basically it means when someone is not physically doing anything! For example,  Active:

  • I am building a house.
  • You are driving the car.
  • Bill is eating his dinner
  • Mary is playing the game.
  • Jill washed the dishes
  • Katie carried her bag


  • The house was built by me.
  • The car was driven by you.
  • The dinner was eaten by Bill.
  • The game was played by Mary.
  • The dishes were washed by Jill
  • The bag was carried by Katie

  Do you have any other examples of active or passive verbs? Leave them in the comments and we will add them to the list!