Do You Write Essays In Past Or Present Tense

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), describe the results of your research (“we have developed a new…”), or to draw conclusions (“this has led us to conclude that…”).

We consulted these works while writing this handout.

The present simple tense is the basic tense of most academic writing.

Use this as your first choice unless you have a good reason to use another tense.

Past simple tense is used for two main functions in most academic fields: 1.

To introduce other people’s research into your text when you are describing a specific study, usually carried out by named researcher.For example: If you choose the present tense, as in Example 1.1, you're implying that the findings of the research are generally accepted, whereas the present perfect tense in 1.2 implies not only general acceptance but also current relevance and, possibly, the continuity of the findings as an authoritative statement on the causes of death.On the other hand, the past tense in Example 1.3 emphasizes the finding at the time the research was conducted, rather than its current acceptance.In the following example, there are two opposite findings, so neither is the accepted state of knowledge: Some studies have shown that girls have significantly higher fears than boys after trauma (Pfefferbaum et al., 1999; Pine &; Cohen, 2002; Shaw, 2003).Other studies have found no gender differences (Rahav and Ronen, 1994).Aspect allows you to be more precise in your selection of verbs.Aspect falls into two categories: continuous and perfect.Specifically, the present simple is used: To show strong agreement with a conclusion or theory from a previous paper (“Smith suggests that”).However, note that the present simple is not used to show agreement with specific findings or data (use the past simple).The passive voice allows you to move the subject of your research into a place in the sentence where it will have more focus.You can also use the present perfect tense to tell the history of your idea (what “has created” it?


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