Tense In Essays

Tense In Essays-35
Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Sometimes we narrate a story as our main purpose in writing; sometimes we include brief anecdotes or hypothetical scenarios as illustrations or reference points in an essay.Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. Even an essay that does not explicitly tell a story involves implied time frames for the actions discussed and states described.He will turn the stereo down and will stand up to answer the door. The man will begin to speak slowly, asking for directions.

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If the primary narration is in simple future, then action initiated before the time frame of the primary narration is described in future perfect.

Past primary narration corresponds to Past Perfect ( past participle) for earlier time frames The present perfect is also used to narrate action that began in real life in the past but is not completed, that is, may continue or may be repeated in the present or future.

Changes in verb tense help readers understand the temporal relationships among various narrated events.

But unnecessary or inconsistent shifts in tense can cause confusion.

He turned the stereo down and stood up to answer the door. The man began to speak slowly, asking for directions.

suggest action underway at the time some other action took place.

If the example narrative above were a scene in a play, movie, or novel, it might appear as follows.

Example 2: Simple present narration with perfect and progressive elements By the time Tom notices the doorbell, it has already rung three times.

This narrative style might be used to describe a scene from a novel, movie, or play, since action in fictional narratives is conventionally treated as always present.

For example, we refer to the scene in (present perfect) the pizzeria window.

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