There are two corrects answers in this sentence according to the answer keys, but I don't know why and when (like in a certain situation) which one should be used.

Before the train departs, all the tickets --------- collected.

  1. are being --correct
  2. were being
  3. had been
  4. will have been --correct

I understand that number 4 is correct if the writer wants to say that tickets will be collected in the future before the train departs. As for number 1, under what circumstance is this used? Does the writer want to say that all the tickets are being collected not before the train departs?

Thank you.

2 Answers 2


In the first case, the tickets are being collected right now, and the train is going nowhere until the ticket collection is complete. It would be the answer to the question, "[w]hat's going on?"

If the collection and subsequent departure were imminent, you would (normally) use will be.

The will have been version would be used when describing the operating procedure; it doesn't imply that a particular train is going anywhere soon. It might be used to answer the question "[h]ow do you make sure there are no freeloaders?"


You could consider using the following sentences instead.

Before the train departs, all the tickets must be collected.


Before the train departs, all the tickets are to be collected.

  • Because this is a multiple choice question from an English class, the OP cannot consider possibilities other than the four choices given.
    – MetaEd
    Oct 27, 2016 at 16:12
  • Yeh, I got that already. You don't do discussions here, you answer questions! Oct 28, 2016 at 7:57

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