Questions tagged [tenses]

This tag should be used for questions about using grammatical tenses in your work, such as questions about the correct usage of tenses or about the effect that certain tenses have on the reader's feelings.

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167 views

“Am I mixing my tenses?” She asked, scratching her head

I'm very confused about tenses. I am not sure if I am mixing modifiers up or slipping from past to present. Can someone help me please, here are a few examples: Stooping, he lit a fire, warming ...
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3answers
346 views

Are the following passages examples of tense change? Are they allowed in fiction writing?

We reached the place a few minutes later, which turned out to be—a record store? The room was tiny but nice. Simple, and with the comfort and coziness of the countryside. Plus it had ...
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2answers
995 views

Tenses I should use in a translated-novel

I have been translating a novel that is originally written in my native language into English. Considering that the book's plot is the author's experience of a life that has happened in the past, I've ...
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2answers
689 views

Is there a problem in switching from present to past for a backstory sequence?

My understanding was that it's fairly normal for a present-tense novel to switch into past tense in a backstory sequence. But I was having a conversation with a friend and he insists any tense ...
2
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2answers
639 views

“Where did X go?” vs “where had X gone.”

Which one should be used for a story written in the past tense? Example: But just as I was about to consider that possibility, I spotted something: a blood-stained feather. It was caught between ...
2
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1answer
103 views

Switching tense and point of view between the chapters [duplicate]

I'm writing a story told mostly in first person point of view in present tense where the narrator alternates between two characters from chapter to chapter. I have gotten some critics about this ...
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1answer
392 views

Moving between a narrator's memories of the past and the “literary present”

The rule is simple in general: use the present tenses when discussing events in literary works. One situation where this gets more complicated is where you have to switch timelines because, for ...
2
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1answer
56 views

Managing Document Versions for Multiple Tenses

I need to create two versions of a document, one in future tense and one in past tense: Document A: The consultant will do X. Document B: The consultant did X. In the past, I've handled this by ...
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1answer
13k views

the use of “now” in past tense [closed]

I want to write something like Now that he met his lost daughter, his happiness is now complete. But I'm not sure how to turn that into narrative past tense, especially the "now" part. Is it like ...
2
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1answer
113 views

Referencing the present while using the past tense

It feels awkward and confusing to speak specifically about the present -- e.g. "right now," "these days", "this very moment", etc. -- when writing in past-tense. For example: "He mused about it; ...
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2answers
121 views

Varying POV and tense

My novel is written in the third person. When changing POV between different scenes (or chapters), is it OK if the parts for different POV characters use different tenses: some - the past tense, and ...
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3answers
7k views

Can I change between the use of past tense to present tense for the story being told by a character in first person?

My story is told by one of the characters and frequently uses the past tense when describing events. But occasionally I feel like some of the events should be told in the present tense, and I switch ...
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2answers
981 views

Tense in a query letter, synopsis, outline

When writing fiction, we generally use past tense for the narration and present tense for dialogue. When you are done with a fiction novel and are ready to query a literary agent/publisher, what ...
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2answers
5k views

“That's when” vs “That was when.”

Should I use the former or the latter in a story written in first-person past tense? Example: My heart started to race, my adrenaline to spike, and that's when the thought hit me: I had to find ...
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3answers
240 views

What tense to use for events that are still happening?

The question is similar to this but the answers does not answer me. In my general fiction novel, which is told in first person singular past tense, I encounter moments where I am confused whether to ...
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1answer
420 views

Should I use “could be” or “could have been” in past-tense narration?

Examples: Using "could": I looked at the flyer again, and then back at Mark. Very strange---meeting someone who didn't see me as a weirdo. But could it be true? Could there be a club dedicated ...
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2answers
505 views

Use past or present tense for lasting fact

I'm writing a story in present tense. One sentence is a little tricky for me, and I don't know if I should use past or present tense: Present tense The tree was so massive, that it even withholds ...
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3answers
637 views

Present tense novel with past tense flashbacks

I'm currently writing a mystery novel in the third person present tense. I chose this to create more suspense as I like the idea that the reader is discovering things at the same time as the ...
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1answer
50 views

Do you use past-perfect in narrative to make a reference about a time before the point of narrative? Or is it better to use past simple?

I had a question regarding the use of past perfect tense in a narrative that is in past tense. Is it correct to use the past perfect tense for an event that occurred before the point of narrative? Or ...
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2answers
146 views

Flashforward Tense

I am a new-ish author. I've written a lot of books, but they've never been published. Anyway, for this new book I'm about to write the first scene is a flash-forward to the end of the book. I really ...
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1answer
78 views

There will be vs There is : When writing proposals for IT projects [closed]

Please read following two sentence. There will be around 20 reports. There is around 20 reports. What is the correct / most suitable one?
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3answers
183 views

Stating facts in novel written in the present tense, third person omniscient. Can I use the past tenses or would I risk losing consistency?

So I've come across this little (but very annoying) problem when writing my first novel in the present tense: I'm second guessing my choice of tenses all the time, very much afraid to end up being ...
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3answers
112 views

How would I keep using past tense with resulting actions

I'm having trouble figuring out which form is the past tense for sentences like these. For each example, which would be correct? Or have I completely missed something? Thanks. John stepped on the ...
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1answer
103 views

What is this writing style called and how can I remove pronouns?

Some background. I am currently in the editing phase of my dissertation and I have no clue what 'tense?'/'personage?'/writing 'style?' I have used. For example consider the sentence, "In this ...
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1answer
225 views

Issue of tense and breaking the fourth wall/meta

Looking at another thread on tense, I realize that this one of mine may be misconstrued as me asking for help fixing a specific paragraph. Rather than that, I am asking for advice in general on ...
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1answer
628 views

Should I change the verb tenses in a letter I'm translating that has them in the present but talking about the past?

I am translating a letter written by a 16 year whose native language is not Spanish. I feel very positive that I have to translate into correct English and keep any colloquialism or idioms. ...
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1answer
403 views

Which makes better sense? [closed]

Is it correct to say: Sign Up to our Newsletter Or Sign Up for our Newsletter Thanks!
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1answer
224 views

Using present tense for events in the novels past

I have a novel I am working on that opens in present tense narration. At the beginning of chapter two it is revealed that the previous chapter, and the rest of the novel, are POV narration from a ...
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1answer
105 views

Correctly implementing past tense

I'm having difficulties with a sentence (and others like it) in the prose of a story. I've heard a lot of advice to both remain consistent with tense but also to not be too rigid about it. Could ...
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1answer
419 views

Are these examples of tenses? Why do writers use the tenses that they do?

I have a passage about a character who has just woken up, and then there's the line The room fell into silence. Or should it be The room falls into silence. I can't get my head around which it ...
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1answer
46 views

Are there rules related to tense used? [closed]

I started my novel in third person, past tense, then I changed it to third person present tense, then I changed it to first person present tense, and now I've changed it to first person past tense. I ...
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1answer
109 views

Tense change when referring to how protagonist currently is while he is describing events

I have written a novel that I want to send out to agents, but am now having doubts if it is polished enough to do so yet. A big problem for me right now is tense. My novel is written in past tense, ...
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3answers
67 views

What tense should the dialogues be in a first person singular write-ups?

I am writing my novel in first person singular in the past tense as narrated by the protagonist. So obviously the narrative is in past tense, but I am confused about how to write dialogue, whether it ...
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1answer
34 views

Avoiding tenses problems

I think I'm facing many problems concerning the use of tense when I write things..so is there any app or website that can check my mistakes and correct them?
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1answer
85 views

Shifting Tense and Commas in Writing

I received some critiques on my writing where the reader indicated it read fine but there was just something off about my tense. However, he couldn't put a finger on what, exactly, was wrong with it. ...
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1answer
1k views

Confusion on inconsistent verb tenses in a magazine article

I have an obstacle writing articles that have consistent verb tenses. Generally, I've been told that if I start an article in the past tense, I should keep other verbs in the past tense. But as I read ...
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2answers
29 views

Present tense in personal recounts

I'm writing a travel memoir and have come across a dilemma of sorts. Yes, I know that a memoir is usually written in the past tense -- since it happened in the past. But certain facts remain true as I ...
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1answer
74 views

Is Third-Person Present Tense Common and Popular in Adult Novels?

I was wondering if third-person present tense was common and popular in adult novels. I know when I'm reading Young Adult novels that this tense is like the norm. I mostly write YA novels so I can ...
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2answers
72 views

Past or present tense when describing a well-known method in the description of an experiment?

I am describing an experiment for a scientific paper. In this experiment, I use a very well-known technique which I briefly describe, similar to the following variant (#1): In this experiment, we ...
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1answer
67 views

A question of tenses

I'm writing a novella. A lot of it is told from the protagonist's point of view when he is telling someone about the events of the last three years. I'm struggling with tenses. I have written the ...
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1answer
2k views

Problems with past tenses in formal paper on a novel with MLA Format

I have been writing high school English paper on a novel in MLA format. Is there any rule about using past participle or past imperfect? Throughout the essay there have been many places that can be ...
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0answers
26 views

If I am teaching someone through Video tutorial than how to ask question from him?

I am making a tutorial video on programming language. During video I want to ask question who is watching the video. Confusion is between 2 words. "I" or "You". Let's see few examples. After ...
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0answers
78 views

Challenges in switching tense [duplicate]

I am writing fiction and considering using past tense by default but then switching to present tense for action scenes. This answer leads me to believe switching tense can be done. I assume that ...
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1answer
37 views

Past tense or not in a statement about a general idea [closed]

Sometimes, I come across with a problem like this: I don't know if I should use past tense or not in the sentence like below. Nine out of ten adults live a mentally health life. The one who doesn't ...
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2answers
2k views

How to show crying through text? [duplicate]

How are you able to show crying in a text without using emoji or sentimentalism?
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2answers
183 views

How can I avoid repetition of “I”, while keeping present tense in first person? [duplicate]

I'm writing a first-person fantasy novel. I can't exactly figure out how to avoid the repetition of "I" when explaining the actions of the character. Any way I have ever seen makes the story seem like ...

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