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Consistency of Tense


Consistency of Tense

Consistency of Tense

Do you want to improve your writing skills and communicate more clearly? One of the most important aspects of writing is using the correct tense forms to show the relationships between verbs in a sentence. In this article, you will learn how to use tense forms correctly to describe events that occur at the same time or at different times. You will also learn how to avoid common errors in the consistency of tense that can confuse your readers. By following these simple rules, you will be able to write with more accuracy and confidence.

Use tense forms correctly to show relationships between verbs in a sentence.

Events That Occur at the Same Time

When describing events that occur at the same time, use verbs in the same tense.
    The pitcher throws the ball, and the batter swings at it.
  • PAST
    The pitcher threw the ball, and the batter swung at it.
    The pitcher will throw the ball, and the batter will swing at it.

Events That Occur at Different Times

When describing events that occur at different times, use verbs in different tenses to show the order of events.

  • Lynn attends the state university now, but she went to a community college last year. [In the present, Lynn goes to the state university, so attends is in the present tense. At a specific time in the past, before she began attending the university, Lynn attended a community college, so went is in the past tense.] 
  • Lynn has decided that she will become a speech therapist. [Lynn made her decision at some indefinite time in the past, so has decided is in the present perfect tense. In the future Lynn will become a speech therapist, so will become is in the future tense.]

The tense used depends on the writer’s desired meaning.

  • Jesse says that he is taking some nursing classes. [Both verbs are in the present tense. Both actions are occurring now.] 
  • Jesse says that he will take some nursing classes. [Says is in the present tense, so this action is happening now. Will take is in the future tense, so this action will happen in the future.]

Common Errors in Consistency of Tense

There are a number of common errors that people make when it comes to the consistency of tense. Some of the most common errors include:
  • Mixing past and present tense: This is a common error that occurs when writers switch between past and present tense within the same sentence or paragraph. For example, the sentence "I went to the store and buy some bread" mixes past and present tense. The correct sentence would be "I went to the store and bought some bread."
  • Using the wrong tense for a particular action: This error occurs when writers use the wrong tense to describe an action. For example, the sentence "I will go to the store tomorrow" uses the future tense to describe an action that is happening in the present. The correct sentence would be "I am going to the store now."
  • Using the wrong tense for a particular time frame: This error occurs when writers use the wrong tense to describe an action that takes place over a period of time. For example, the sentence "I was working on my project for two hours" uses the past tense to describe an action that is still ongoing. The correct sentence would be "I have been working on my project for two hours."
It is important to be aware of these common errors so that you can avoid making them in your own writing. By following the tips in this article, you can improve your consistency of tense and write clear and concise sentences.

Consistency of Tense Interactive Quizizz Quiz

Consistency of Tense Practice

The verb tenses in the following paragraph are not used consistently and logically. Rewrite the paragraph to correct errors in the use of tense.
  1. Haiti’s natural resources—ranging from mahogany forests and Caribbean coral reefs to mountain slopes where farmers grow coffee and cacao—have been remarkably diverse. 
  2. Today, Haiti’s environment has been under serious threat. 
  3. Only 10 percent of Haiti’s once lush forests were remaining. 
  4. Similarly, waters that will have been teeming with fish no longer yielded rich catches. 
  5. However, efforts were now underway to protect and restore Haiti’s lands and waters. 
  6. For instance, several groups had supported the creation of a marine conservation park at Les Arcadins Bank. 
  7. Also, fine-mesh nets that will harvest young fish before they have reproduced had already been outlawed. 
  8. Fishing boats were working in deeper waters now so that fish can grow and spawn in shallow waters. 
  9. Schoolchildren were being taught about the value of the forests and waters. 
  10. These efforts and others, it is hoped, will have helped to conserve and restore Haiti’s natural resources.


Some answers may vary.
  1. have been 👉👉👉are
  2. has been👉👉👉is
  3. were remaining👉👉👉remain
  4. will have been teeming/yielded 👉👉👉teemed/yield
  5. were👉👉👉are
  6. had👉👉👉have
  7. will have reproduced/had 👉👉👉reproduce/have
  8. were👉👉👉are
  9. were👉👉👉are
  10. have helped👉👉👉help
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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