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Consistent Verb Tense

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Lauren Brandenburg

on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of Consistent Verb Tense

Composition with
Ms. Brandenburg

Consistent Verb Tense
Simple tense
Progressive Tense
Does not use auxiliary verbs
Perfect tense:
Uses have, has, had as auxiliary verb.
Uses is, are, was, were as auxiliary verbs with an -ing ending on the main verb.
1. Action
2. State of Being
Also helps express who or what performs the action (person), how many people or things perform the action (number), the speakers attitude toward or relation to the action, and whether the subject is the giver or receiver of the action. Also help express time.
Auxiliary verbs include be, have, do
Refers to a specific time period during which something happens, something happened and is over, or something will happen.
Something happens: (present tense)
I eat.
Something happened and is over:
I ate.
Something will happen:
I will eat.
Allows the action to continue over time.
Present perfect -- action happened and may still be going on.
I have eaten.
Past perfect -- action happened before something happened in the past.
I had eaten.
Future perfect -- action will be considered in the future, by which time it will have already happened.
I will have eaten.
Focuses on the progress of an action.
Present progressive (action is in progress right now)
I am eating.
Past Progressive (Action was in progress in the past)
I was eating.
Future progressive (Action will be in progress in the future)
I will be eating.
Each of those verb types denotes SPECIFIC times for an action or event to take place
Must be careful to use the precise tense for the correct situation.
In general, you want to avoid switching from one tense to another unless the timing of the action demands that you do.
Tense consistency at the sentence level.
Keep tenses consistent within the sentence
During the movie, Sam stood up and drops his popcorn.
What should the sentence read?
Verb consistency on paragraph level
In general, it is best to establish a primary tense and keep tense consistent from sentence to sentence.
Don't shift tenses between sentences unless you are trying to show a shift in time.
A tiny bird sits on the ground. The bird cries out nervously for its mother. Several people pass by and look at it, but no one touches the bird. If a cat sees the bird, the cat will kill it. However, the area seems remote, and no cats are nearby.
Verb tense consistency on the Essay Level
Use present tense when:
1. Writing essays about your own ideas
2. Factual topics
3. The action in a specific movie, play, or book.
Use past tense when:
1. Writing about past events
2. Writing about completed studies, findings, arguments presented in scientific or other scholarly literature
Use future tense when:
1. Writing about an event that will occur in the future
Full transcript