1. Arannir
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    Arannir Active Member

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    Tips for avoiding tense jumping

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Arannir, Mar 19, 2014.

    As the title indicates, I need some help with keeping to a single tense. I know it sounds rather silly, but I sometimes go off on tangents in which I don't notice that I've done it. So please may you conjure up some of your finest tips on how to avoid this.

    Thanks,
    Arannir
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there are any tricks to this, except for reading your passages out loud which can help you spot all kinds of errors including tense. Other than that, you simply have to be disciplined enough to check what you write regularly, and correct any inconsistencies. Good knowledge of grammar is all that's required.
     
  3. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Pay attention. Don't go off on tangents.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I've done present and past tense and usually when I'm in present tense I keep my mind set on now. Everything is happening.
    Past feels like I step back a bit - everything has happened and now I'm writing it down.
    Past is more storyteller format ( I think that's why everyone prefers it. ) When you relate a story to a friend you tell it in past tense.

    Elise walks to the store, swinging her purse. The visual is now.
    Elise walked to the store, swinging her purse. The visual feels like a memory recalled.

    Not necessarily a problem - if it's first draft, sometimes it's more important to get it all out and then worry about grammar. But then again the tangent could be a symptom of author interruption which could be a bigger problem than tense issues.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  5. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    I think English Grammar for Dummies has a lot of great information about tenses; it's a gold mine of info.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this!

    thanks for saving me all that typing, jazzy-lady!
     
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  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My suggestion is to make a simple reference chart (or just review it) to keep the problem on the table (literally or figuratively). It'll keep the issue in the front of your mind as you write.

    I found an excellent reference for you.

    All Tensed Up: Using Verb Tense Correctly

    I may even print that page up myself for a quick handy dandy desk reference. :)
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Relax before you leap.
     
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