Asked by: Julie Staranowicz
Is it OK to switch between past and present tense?
Writers should be careful to use the exact tense needed to describe, narrate, or explain. Do not switch from one tense to another unless the timing of an action demands that you do. Keep verb tense consistent in sentences, paragraphs, and essays.
Why do authors switch from past to present tense?
Most writers, it seems, prefer one tense over another. Many of us use the past tense as our default, as it allows for foreshadowing, and, conversely, it allows reflection from the present “telling” moment. We’re telling a story of which we know the narrative arc and, therefore, it happened in the past.
What tense do we use for situations that began in the past and continue up to now?
Present Perfect Continuous tense
The Present Perfect Continuous tense is used to describe something that started happening in the past, continuously happened up to the present, and still happens during the present.
How do you change past tense to present tense in a sentence?
By slightly modifying the verb, you can change the sentence from past tense to present tense. Change the simple past tense to the simple present tense. For example, a simple past-tense sentence that reads “I smiled” can be changed to “I smile,” which is simple present tense.
Can you mix past and present tense in a story?
It is not advisable to mix past and present tense in a story. It is good practice to avoid switching tenses during a scene or within the same paragraph unless doing so is essential for clarity. Switching tenses can be jarring to the reader and make the story hard to follow.
Can you mix past and present tense in a sentence?
The bottom line is this: there is no restriction on what tenses we can use and mix within a sentence, as long as they are appropriate for the context.
Should I always write in present tense?
In a writing class, my teacher said we should always use present tense when talking about the action in a novel. Is this right? Yes, when discussing the events in a work of literature—or other form of art—use present tense. This is called literary present tense.