1. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    present tense

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by zaffy, Sep 27, 2010.

    I have set myself a task to write a short story in the present tense and I would like a little help pleae.
    ________________

    A man rises from the mud floor. He removes his hat. He nods.

    Or should it be.

    A man rises from the mud floor. He is removing his hat. He is nodding.
    ___________________

    I am trying to understand how present tense works, so answers please on the correctness rather than the quality of the example.
     
  2. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's very likely a technical term for what you're doing in the second option. I don't know what that is, but if you want to write in the present tense and not tie yourself up in ugly knots, you will go with option one.
     
  3. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    Art, I'm pleased to hear that, otherwise there would be a lot of 'isses' in my story.
     
  4. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    The first option without repeating "he"... instead use conjunction "and" to connect the last two sentences.

    Option two is also present tense and grammatically correct but it distance the readers from the action.... this is true for past tense also.
     
  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup, the second option is the present continuous and would be difficult to maintain for a whole story. It may be best left to phrases like "I'm learning the difference between the two". You'll notice that present continuous doesn't actually have to be used to describe the actual present. "I'm studying French" does semantically encode that you are doing it right now, rather that you are in the middle of a course or self-teaching.

    Rather than sticking blandly in one present tense, mix it up and you're results will likely be better.

    "Rising from the floor and nodding, the man removes his hat."

    I think the first verb forms here are called gerunds, but you'll notice the tone remains in the present.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with Gannon mixing the present tense would it be styles? Works well it can be a little abrupt with one and reptitive with the other.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The second form incorporates present progressive verb tense, which indicates ongoing actions. It is also sometimes referred to as present imperfect tense (ehen you hear perfect or imperfect in connection with a tense, think completed or not completed actions).

    Do not confuse verb tense with narrative voice tense, though. Narrative voice tense is either past or present (and potentially future, if you want to get silly). Within a given narrative voice tense, you can have a mixture of grammatical tenses within the sentences. You can even have past and future grammatical tenses in a present tense narrative.
     
  8. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    I don't want to be an annoyance, but if you can, would you mind giving some examples of that?
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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