Essay in past tense or present

While it's possible to describe the historical past in the present tense, such a posture belongs more naturally to casual conversation than formal writing.

literary present tense

However, if you are citing articles in the paper, as you probably should, then you should check with your professor to see if he or she would prefer that you use the literary present or the past tense when referring to these articles.

In the book's chapter, "Seeing," Annie Dillard contends that "vision Nor do you need to encourage me to see the past vividly.

So, for your writing assignments in a history course, please don't use the present tense, when describing the past.

simple past tense

However, the future tense can be useful in the following situations: Making predictions about the future Offering recommendations based on your results Suggesting new avenues of research In all these cases, the future tense will help you express yourself more clearly.

When describing the action or characters in a work of literary fiction, use the present tense: "At the midpoint of The Odyssey, the hero Odysseus journeys to the realm of the dead.

Past tense essay topics

By appearing aloof, you're simply more likely to win over your readers, in this arena at least. The contrast between the present-tense forms "is forced," "has to re-Christianize" and past-tense forms "was," "resolved" is something short of graceful. When the topic is literature, however, it's a different matter. In the book's chapter, "Seeing," Annie Dillard contends that "vision Including present-tense verbs in historical, academic prose can also lead to trouble when, as is inevitable, you must at some point revert to past-tense verbs. Discussing Homer, not his epics, calls for the past tense, because he's dead and can't come to life the way his works can. Past Tense The past tense is used when describing events that have already happened. While it's possible to describe the historical past in the present tense, such a posture belongs more naturally to casual conversation than formal writing. Mixing Past Tenses and Present Tenses.

Thus, literary papers usually entail a balance of past-tense and present-tense verbs. In other words, "Homer composed poetry long ago, but we today interpret it along certain lines.

Past tense essay example

Conversely, past-tense verbs should dominate history papers because the vividness of the present tense pertains less to the discussion of history than it does to literature. When modern scholars are drawing conclusions about the past, their words should be expressed in the present tense. The present tense highlights the vividness with which they re-occur whenever they pass through our minds and, because they're works of fiction, they can and do relive with every re-reading. The writing has the reader's full and undivided attention at all times, because I'm the reader and I'm totally involved—I guarantee it! Switching verb tenses upsets the time sequence of narration. Thus, "Caesar's generalship leaves behind the impression of the right man at the right moment in history. To be specific, there is much disagreement about tense use in essays : specifically, is past or present tense best? The present tense can also do this in a literature review, since it frames research in terms of its current significance. Here's what it sounds like when you mix present and past tenses: Almost every year of his reign Charlemagne is forced to go and vanquish the Saxons again and has to re-Christianize them on the spot. Remember, moving from tense to tense can be very confusing. Here's how to construct tenses properly for both types of paper. Literary Papers. If your paper is part of a historical study and you must by definition spend the majority of your time in the past tense, it's best just to stay there as much as possible.

When the present tense is necessary in all types of formal writing. Quoting an essay, you would write, eg.

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Tense Use in Essays: Past vs. Present