1. stonecold
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    stonecold Member

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    Rule for writing a paragraph?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by stonecold, Apr 14, 2009.

    What are some rules when writing a paper or essay regarding present tense and past tense? If you write present for one part, does the whole paper has to be present? I'm just confused.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm confused as to just what it is you want to write... if it's a tutorial of sorts, then of course it needs to be in present tense, since past would make no sense... and i don't see why part of the paper itself would be in any other tense... aside from showing examples of past tense, that is...

    and why is the subject title of this thread about a paragraph, if you're asking about an essay?...
     
  3. stonecold
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    stonecold Member

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    If I'm writing any paragraph, am I allow to mix present tense or past tense together, or either the whole paragraph be present tense or the whole be past tense. I noe it's confusing. I suck...grrrr
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I am writing a short paragraph that will show you multiple tenses. I thought of digging one from my writing, but I couldn't find a good example immediately.

    It all depends on context. If the meaning covers past, present, and future, so can the verb tenses.
     
  5. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    You can change tenses within a paragraph but you should stick to the tense you originally start out using.

    For example, going from "He put in the cd and then he installed the program" to "He grabs the mouse and clicks on the next button" is inaccurate. Within sentences, changing tenses is fine. But if you are using present tense originally, then most of your tense words should refer to the present. Same with past, future, past perfect.

    ~Lynn
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    essays can be [and many are] written in simple, declarative present tense... but, it depends on what it is you're writing about, whether other tenses need to be used... there's no rigid rule... you'll have to show us a sample of what you're writing, to get valid, specific advice...
     

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