An exception to these rules is the narrative essay, in which the writer can choose past or present tense, but the essay should still remain consistent in tense throughout. Lori Steinbach Certified Educator This is a really good question, and it demonstrates your interest in writing the most effective essay possible; so I commend you for asking.
What tense should be used in academic essays is a topic that sparks debate among some people. It is sometimes appropriate to use the present tense in academics if it is executed properly. Definition The present tense conveys what is happening now.
However, the present tense can also be used to convey future times as well as past times, depending on the form of the present tense used. It may also convey habitual, ongoing or constant actions. Various forms of the present tense exist. The present simple tense describes present activities, facts, universal truths, habits, permanent situations, arrangements, narrations and events that are certain to happen e.
For example, the present is acceptable for science papers that deal with facts that are applicable to all time. It is also ideal for literary papers when the writer is describing actions in a literary work. However, it might not be as appropriate for history papers in which past actions are discussed.
Within the humanities, it is generally best to use the present tense. Many academic essays center around research, so using the correct present tense can convey the status of the research to the readers.
For example, the present perfect tense implies that the research is generally accepted and also currently relevant. Format The formatting style of the academic essay also influences whether or not the present tense is acceptable.
For example, the MLA style sheet prefers present tense for papers as well as in citations.
The APA style sheet calls for the writer to use either the present perfect tense or the past tense. However, the Chicago Manual of Style prefers the past tense for academic essays. Consistency Consistency is important in academic essays.
If an essay began with the present tense, then it should generally use the present tense throughout the entire essay. This is not to say that it is never appropriate to switch tenses in academic essays, because it is necessary when the time frame switches from the present to the past.
For example, when discussing a literary work, a writer might use the present tense, but then switch to the past tense to discuss the author of the work.It should appear in the present tense, "twists," or the other verbs should be changed to the past tense as well.
Switching verb tenses upsets the time sequence of narration. "The Literary Present". The present tense gives an essay a more immediate tone than the past tense. Academic essays showcase students’ abilities to present their thoughts on a topic in an organized manner. What tense should be used in academic essays is a topic that sparks debate among some people.
When the present tense is necessary in all types of formal writing. There is one notable exception to the rule of excluding present-tense verbs in academic prose. When modern scholars are drawing conclusions about the past, . For example, when we’re writing in present tense, we can simply shift into the simple past when a flashback starts and then return to the present when it’s finished.
DISADVANTAGES OF PRESENT TENSE. 1.
Present tense restricts our ability to manipulate time. It should appear in the present tense, "twists," or the other verbs should be changed to the past tense as well.
Switching verb tenses upsets the time sequence of narration. "The Literary Present". First, there are three basic verb tenses used in research papers: present (simple present), simple past, and present perfect. We will talk about how research paper sections determine verb tense in a minute, but first let’s review when each tense should be used in general throughout the paper.