Often there are no precise rules on which tense is correct. Native and non-native speakers often get a feel for the ways in which tenses are used. Tenses show the relationship between a subject’s actions and time.
Tense is created by using a speciﬁc auxiliary verb AND the verb ending IN COMBINATION. The table below illustrates the four main tenses that are used in academic writing.
Progressive forms can be used in combination with all of the tenses above to show that an action is still in progress:
Use Present Simple for general statements:
Both Present Simple and Present Perfect can be used to show that findings of past research are currently valid:
Use Past Simple to refer to actions that occurred in the past, or to indicate that research findings have been superseded by more updated research:
Use Future Simple for actions that are certain to occur in the future, for example when describing the functions of equipment or formal procedures:
It is important that in your writing your verb tenses are consistent and reflect a logical progression of events or actions. Within a sentence the tenses must match, and within a paragraph there must be a logical sequence from sentence to sentence.
While there are no rigid rules, certain tenses may be more appropriate for different sections of your assignment:
WANT TO KNOW MORE?
Click the link below to download a PDF copy of the Tense checklist: