1. Whether you are dealing with fiction, poetry, or nonfiction literature, use the present tense (also called the literary present tense) to discuss the actions and thoughts presented in the text. Do this because literature exists as a present phenomenon regardless of whether or not its author is alive.
Writing Resources – Verb Tense – Hamilton College
- In general, use the present tense to describe actions and states of being that are still true in the present; use the past tense to describe actions or states of being that occurred exclusively in the past. Use the present tense to make generalizations about your topic or the views of scholars:
Should writing be in past or present tense?
The Basic Rule: You should use the past tense when discussing historical events, and you should use the literary present when discussing fictional events. 1. When commenting on what a writer says, use the present tense. Example: Dunn begins his work with a view into the lives and motivations of the very first settlers.
What tense should be used when telling a story?
When you tell a story you’re telling about events that happened in the past, so you would almost always use the past tense. There is however a usage called the historical present, dramatic present or narrative present, using the present tense to tell a story.
How do you know when to use past tense and present tense?
The past is used to describe things that have already happened (e.g., earlier in the day, yesterday, last week, three years ago). The present tense is used to describe things that are happening right now, or things that are continuous.
Why do authors use present perfect or present participle tense?
It creates a sense of immediacy: Writing in the present tense makes it feel as though the events of the novel are happening in real time. This can help the reader feel an immediate connection to a first person narrator, since we witness the life events and emotional transformations of the POV character as they happen.
Why do authors use past tense?
This is because stories were traditionally told using the past tense. This made the narrator sound as if they were narrating events from a distance, instead of being ‘present’ amongst the action. Using the past tense is also the natural way you might tell a story about something that has happened to you.
How do you make sure you are writing in present tense?
You can write in present tense by simply using the root form of the word. However, if you’re writing in third person singular, you need to add -s, -ies, or -es.
Can you mix past and present tense in a story?
You can “mix” the past and present tense in the way you seem to be doing; people do it all the time. Generally in this sort of narrative, you use the past tense for actions completed/things that are already over, and the present tense for things that continue to be in progress or generally true at the time of writing.
Are novels written in past or present tense?
The past tense is used in most genre novels. Since the past tense is familiar to readers, readers don’t have to adjust when they begin a story written using past tense. There might well be an adjustment period for readers of present-tense stories.
What are the examples of present tense?
Examples of Present Tense:
- Rock wants to sing.
- Bill writes the letters.
- Peter is coming to our place.
- Bob has given the book to Allen.
- I am going to the varsity.
- Aric loves to read books.
- Lisa has been living in this area for twenty years.
- The singer is singing nicely.
Why do we use present tense when telling a story?
If you’re writing a prose story, writing in present tense creates the same effect of making the reader feel like they’re experiencing the action of the story as it’s happening. This helps the reader to feel more immersed in the story than if it was told in past tense by a single character.
What tense is Harry Potter written in?
Harry Potter is written in the third person limited – we only get to hear Harry’s thoughts and feelings. (There are a few exceptions to this in the Harry Potter novels.)
Where do we use past tense?
Using the past simple
- We use it with finished actions, states or habits in the past when we have a finished time word (yesterday, last week, at 2 o’clock, in 2003).
- We use it with finished actions, states or habits in the past when we know from general knowledge that the time period has finished.