Verb Tense Shifts - The Writing Center

Verb Tense Shifts - The Writing Center

Verb Tense Shifts Verb Tense Verb tense lets your reader know when an action occurred. Maintain the same verb tense to avoid confusing your reader. Verb Tense Shifts

A verb tense shift occurs when you change verb tense in the same sentence or in following sentences. Not all verb tense shifts are incorrect, but you should always have a reason for shifting verb tense. Verb Tense Shifts

Verb tense shifts are referred to as logical or illogical. A logical verb tense shift is one in which you intend to represent two different periods of time: I detested math when I was in high school; I enjoy it now that I am in college. Here, past tense verbs refer to a time in the past and present tense verbs refer to the present. Different

verb tenses are necessary in order to demonstrate that the writers feelings about math were different at two different times. Verb Tense Shifts An illogical verb tense shift is one in which you change verbs for no apparent reason:

I highlighted important information when I study for tests. The writer starts this sentence with a past tense verb, which leads the reader to expect another past tense verb. The shift to a present tense verb is confusing. Did this happen in the past, or is it happening in the present?

Compound Sentences Unless you are discussing two different periods of time, you should use the same verb tense when you join two sentences with a semicolon or conjunction. Correct: I detested math when I was in high school, but I enjoy it now that I am

in college. Incorrect: I enjoy math, but it was not my favorite subject. Correct: I enjoy math, but it is not my favorite subject. Adjacent Sentences Unless you are discussing two different

periods of time, sentences should have the same verb tense when you have two sentences next to each other. Correct: I detested math when I was in high school. I enjoy it now that I am in college. Incorrect: I enjoy math. It was my favorite subject.

Correct: I enjoy math. It is my favorite subject. Complex Sentences Unless you are discussing two different periods of time, an independent clause (subject and verb that can stand alone) should have the same verb as a dependent

clause (subject and verb that cannot stand alone) in the same sentence. Correct: Although I detested math when I was in high school, I enjoy it now that I am in college. Incorrect: When I study for tests, I highlighted what I thought was important. Correct: When I study for tests, I highlight

what I think is important. Its Your Turn! Decide if the verbs need to be changed in the following sentence. I worked on my essay yesterday, so today I will work on my labs. Its Your Turn!

I worked on my essay yesterday, so today I will work on my labs. Its Your Turn! Decide if the verbs need to be changed in the following sentence. I like afternoon classes, but I did not

like morning classes. Its Your Turn! I like afternoon classes, but I do not like morning classes. Its Your Turn!

Decide if the verbs need to be changed in the following sentence. I liked living in the dorm my freshman year. However, now that I am a junior, I want an apartment. Its Your Turn!

I liked living in the dorm my freshman year. However, now that I am a junior, I want an apartment. Its Your Turn! Decide if the verbs in the following sentences need to be changed. I prefer to attend tutoring on Tuesdays

and Thursdays. My schedule was less hectic on those days. Its Your Turn! I prefer to attend tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My schedule is less hectic on those days.

Its Your Turn! Decide if the verbs in the following sentence need to be changed. Because my major is nursing, I plan to volunteer at a nursing home. Its Your Turn!

Because my major is nursing, I plan to volunteer at a nursing home. Dont forget: print the handout that goes with this presentation! Please complete a survey on this tutorial. For more information about verb tense

shifts or for help with other writing concerns, come to TSUs Writing Center. Visit room 300 in the Learning Resources Center or call 615.963.5102 to make an appointment.

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