Tensed from Tenses 2

Writer's Digest Grammar Desk ReferenceTensed from Tenses 1 contains the basic info on tenses. This entry has special notes on verb usages. (Resources: Writer’s Digest Grammar Desk Reference, A Writer’s Reference with Writing about Literature)

Present Tense

Habitual action

  • He eats a hearty breakfast.
  • I play tennis.

General truth / Scientific principles

Use present tense unless it has been disproved.A Writer's Reference with Writing about Literature

  • The US is in North America.
  • Galileo taught that the earth revolved revolves around the sun.

Fictional events

Use present tense when quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing the author of a nonliterary work, even when the author is dead.

  • In Ibuse’s Black Rain, a child reached reaches for a pomegranate in his mother’s garden…

Past Perfect Tense

Using simple past tense when past perfect should be used

  • By the time dinner was served, the guest honor left.
    By the time dinner was served, the guest honor had left.

Using past perfect when 2 past actions occurred at the same time.

  • When we got there, she had met us at the train.

Avoid Verb Shifts

Inconsistency in voice

Depending on the need, the sentence can be in passive or active voice, as long as the voice stays the same.

  • She lists each score in a cell then the students were sorted according to the scores.
    She lists each score in a cell then sorted the students according to the scores.

Between indirect and direct

For questions:

  • I wonder whether Karla knew of the theft and, if so, did she report it to the police?
    I wonder whether Karla knew of the theft and, if so, whether she reported to the police.

For quotation:
Direct quote repeats the speaker word by word when indirect quote doesn’t.

  • Mom said that she’d be late and please do not leave for the game until Dad comes home.
    Mom said that she’d be late and asked me not to leave for the game until Dad came home.

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