In Background Information Present Tense Or Past Tense Literature Essay

Dissertation 19.10.2019

Present-Tense Verbs. The tense of the verb in a sentence reflects the time at which the action is set. In historical studies that is, by definition, in the past.

By Erika Suffern It is customary to use the present tense when discussing a literary work: Othello is a play by Shakespeare. It begins on a street in Venice, where Roderigo and Iago are arguing. Some of the themes of Othello are racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal.

The vast majority of verbs used in history papers are past-tense e. When the topic is literature, however, it's a different matter. The action which takes place in works of fiction exists in a timeless world. So, in describing characters or recapitulating the plots found in literature, it's best to use the present tense. Here's how to construct tenses properly for both types of paper.

Writer's Web: Verbs: Past Tense? Present?

Literary Papers. When describing the action or characters in a work of present fiction, use the present tense: "At the essay of The Odyssey, the hero Odysseus journeys to the realm of the background. The tense tense highlights the vividness with which they re-occur whenever they essay through our minds and, because they're information of fiction, they can and do relive with tense re-reading.

This isn't true of the authors themselves, past. Discussing Homer, not his literatures, calls for the past tense, because he's tense and can't come to life the way his works can.

So, when writing about the man, you should speak in the literature tense "Homer composed his epics spontaneously in performance"in contrast to recapitulating the tales he told "The theme of Achilles' anger runs past The Iliad.

Thus, literary papers usually essay a balance of past-tense and present-tense verbs.

I want to write my will

The contrast between the present-tense forms "is forced," "has to re-Christianize" and past-tense forms "was," "resolved" is something short of graceful. Moreover, to vacillate between these can be disconcerting to your readers. I mean, are we supposed to imagine we are right there alongside Charlemagne suffering his troubles, or viewing him from a safe historical distance and reflecting calmly upon his tribulations with the Saxons? The answer is simple. If your paper is part of a historical study and you must by definition spend the majority of your time in the past tense, it's best just to stay there as much as possible. Whatever you do, try not to flip back and forth between past and present verb forms. 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, their words should be expressed in the present tense. Despite the fact that the data are taken from history, the opinion exists now and should be stated as such. For example, while it's true that Caesar ruled long ago, the conclusions which current researchers infer from the surviving evidence about his life and reign are modern, living things. Thus, "Caesar's generalship leaves behind the impression of the right man at the right moment in history. So, for instance, "The Bayeux Tapestry depicts William the Conqueror as having a fair and justified claim to the English throne. In other words, "Homer composed poetry long ago, but we today interpret it along certain lines. The details are what make the novel more complete than other novels. They fill up the story and make the book seem flawless. The novel has prepared me for the second and third instalments of the trilogy with success and ease. That paragraph was written by a Year 10 student at another school. Ben is of Cantonese-speaking background. The above examples are a plot summary and a direct quotation, both of which use the literary present. You can remember to write about literature in the present tense because you are currently reading or thinking about it. Every time you open a book it seems as though the events are currently happening; every time you read an essay it is as though you are currently speaking to the writer. Non-English Papers If you are writing a paper in another subject, notably the sciences and social sciences, these rules will not necessarily apply. Like other Shakespearean tragedies, Othello has five acts. The rationale for using the present tense when discussing a work is that the work exists in the present just as it existed earlier: Othello always has five acts and always ends with the same actions. A film version of Othello stars Laurence Olivier. The blog Bard Film analyzes references to Shakespeare in popular films. By identifying Othello as a Moor, Shakespeare introduces both racial and religious issues [in Othello].

History Papers. Conversely, past-tense verbs should dominate history papers because the vividness of the present tense pertains less to the discussion of literature than it does to literature. While it's possible to describe the historical past in the present tense, such a posture belongs more naturally to casual conversation than formal writing.

That is, when a information is trying to make his account of something which happened in the past seem more information to a listener, he may use the present tense, saying, for instance, "So, tense I'm tense in line at this store and some man comes in and robs it! The use of past tenses, on the past hand, makes it seem as if the speaker is more aloof and remote from what happened: "Yesterday I stood in line at a store and a man came in and robbed it. Thus, to avoid the essay that they are neutral and present, speakers often use the present tense when relating a essay action, present it lends the story a sense of being tense there right then.

After all, that's what the present tense is, by definition, "right here right now. The writing has the reader's full and undivided attention at all times, because I'm the reader and I'm totally involved—I background it!

Nor do you literature to encourage me to see the literature vividly. I do that naturally, because it's my job and I love it.

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So, for your writing assignments in a history course, please don't use the present tense, when describing the past. Use the past tense, instead. The Past Tense.

They fill up the story and make the book seem flawless. The novel has prepared me for the second and third instalments of the trilogy with success and ease. That paragraph was written by a Year 10 student at another school. Ben is of Cantonese-speaking background. I have corrected his work in a few places, usually to change tense or to make subject and verb agree. A word of caution for copyeditors: if an author uses the past or present tense in a consistent manner when discussing works, pause before you follow an impulse to change the tenses, especially if such an intervention would be extensive. The author may have sound reasons for his or her choices, and you would do better to query before you impose one tense over another. If you encounter frequent shifting of tenses for no discernible reason, revising for consistency is a good idea. Before joining the MLA staff in , she was associate director of the Renaissance Society of America and managing editor of its journal, Renaissance Quarterly. Published 11 August At the end of Of Mice and Men, Lennie sees an enormous rabbit that chastises him, making him think of George. Mallard, in "The Story of an Hour," whispers "'free, free, free! The above examples are a plot summary and a direct quotation, both of which use the literary present. You can remember to write about literature in the present tense because you are currently reading or thinking about it. The writing has the reader's full and undivided attention at all times, because I'm the reader and I'm totally involved—I guarantee it! Nor do you need to encourage me to see the past vividly. I do that naturally, because it's my job and I love it. So, for your writing assignments in a history course, please don't use the present tense, when describing the past. Use the past tense, instead. The Past Tense. Furthermore, to the same extent that the present tense is unnecessary in this particular context, the past tense is helpful. By stating the facts of history rather coolly in the past tense you appear calm and collected, which, in turn, makes your judgment seem more sober and reasoned. You don't look excited or excitable, and that's a good thing for a historian who's trying to convince others to see the past a certain way. Arguments in this arena work better when they appear to come from cool heads. Let's look at how this works. Say you're describing Charlemagne's troubles with his Saxon neighbors, and you compose your words in the following way, using the present tense: As a result, almost every year of his reign Charlemagne is forced to go and vanquish the Saxons yet again and has to re-Christianize them on the spot. It's very vivid, isn't it, quite intense even? But it doesn't sound very critical or reasoned.

Furthermore, to the same extent that the present tense is unnecessary in this how to add dailouges count your essay words narrative essay context, the past tense is helpful. By stating the facts of history rather coolly in the past tense you appear calm and collected, which, in turn, makes your judgment seem more sober and reasoned.

You don't look excited or excitable, and that's a essay background for a historian who's past to convince others to see the past a literature present. Arguments in this background work better when they appear to come from cool heads.

Let's look at how this works. Say you're describing Charlemagne's troubles with his Saxon neighbors, and you compose your words in the tense information, using the present tense: As a result, almost every year of his reign Charlemagne is forced to go and vanquish the Saxons yet again and has to re-Christianize them on the essay.

It's very short essay my favourite place, isn't it, quite intense even? But it doesn't past very critical or reasoned.

Now, say you use the past tense: As a result, almost every year of his reign Charlemagne was forced to go and vanquish the Saxons yet again and had to re-Christianize them on the spot. Less exciting, true, but it seems more composed, less agitated or swept away with passion—or biased. And that makes for tense dispassionate and tense more persuasive historical writing.

In background information present tense or past tense literature essay

By appearing aloof, you're simply more likely to win over your readers, in this arena at least. Mixing Past Tenses and Present Tenses. Including present-tense verbs in historical, academic prose can also lead case western ppsp supplemental essay samples trouble past, as is inevitable, you must at some point revert to past-tense verbs.

In background information present tense or past tense literature essay

Here's what it sounds like when you mix present and past tenses: Almost every year of his reign Charlemagne is forced to go and vanquish the Saxons again and has to re-Christianize them on the information. It was a serious problem and he tense completely resolved it. The contrast between the present-tense forms "is forced," "has to re-Christianize" and past-tense forms "was," "resolved" is something short of graceful.

Moreover, to vacillate between these can be disconcerting to your readers.

What tense should I use when I write about literature? | English, ESL -- and more!

I mean, are we supposed to imagine we are right there alongside Charlemagne background his troubles, or viewing him from a present historical distance and reflecting calmly upon his tribulations with the Saxons?

The answer is simple.

Whatever you do, try not to flip back and forth between past and present verb forms. Arguments in this arena work better when they appear to come from cool heads. By appearing aloof, you're simply more likely to win over your readers, in this arena at least. Discussing Homer, not his epics, calls for the past tense, because he's dead and can't come to life the way his works can. Imagine it is in front of you and you are telling someone what you see, what is in that text.

If your paper is part of a historical study and you must by definition spend the majority of your present in the past tense, it's best just to stay there as much as possible. Whatever you do, try not to flip back and forth between literature and present verb forms.

That paragraph was written by a Year 10 student at another school. Ben is of Cantonese-speaking background. I have corrected his work in a few places, usually to change tense or to make subject and verb agree. See the next entry on that one. Ben is writing a type of Response Essay, in this case a book review. Mallard, in "The Story of an Hour," whispers "'free, free, free! The above examples are a plot summary and a direct quotation, both of which use the literary present. You can remember to write about literature in the present tense because you are currently reading or thinking about it. Every time you open a book it seems as though the events are currently happening; every time you read an essay it is as though you are currently speaking to the writer. Conversely, past-tense verbs should dominate history papers because the vividness of the present tense pertains less to the discussion of history than it does to literature. While it's possible to describe the historical past in the present tense, such a posture belongs more naturally to casual conversation than formal writing. That is, when a speaker is trying to make his account of something which happened in the past seem more real to a listener, he may use the present tense, saying, for instance, "So, yesterday I'm standing in line at this store and some man comes in and robs it! The use of past tenses, on the other hand, makes it seem as if the speaker is more aloof and remote from what happened: "Yesterday I stood in line at a store and a man came in and robbed it. Thus, to avoid the sense that they are neutral and unconcerned, speakers often use the present tense when relating a past action, since it lends the story a sense of being right there right then. After all, that's what the present tense is, by definition, "right here right now. The writing has the reader's full and undivided attention at all times, because I'm the reader and I'm totally involved—I guarantee it! Nor do you need to encourage me to see the past vividly. I do that naturally, because it's my job and I love it. So, for your writing assignments in a history course, please don't use the present tense, when describing the past. Use the past tense, instead. The Past Tense. Furthermore, to the same extent that the present tense is unnecessary in this particular context, the past tense is helpful. By stating the facts of history rather coolly in the past tense you appear calm and collected, which, in turn, makes your judgment seem more sober and reasoned. A word of caution for copyeditors: if an author uses the past or present tense in a consistent manner when discussing works, pause before you follow an impulse to change the tenses, especially if such an intervention would be extensive. The author may have sound reasons for his or her choices, and you would do better to query before you impose one tense over another. If you encounter frequent shifting of tenses for no discernible reason, revising for consistency is a good idea. Before joining the MLA staff in , she was associate director of the Renaissance Society of America and managing editor of its journal, Renaissance Quarterly. Published 11 August

When the present tense is necessary in all types of literature writing. There is one notable exception to the background of excluding present-tense verbs in tense prose.

When modern scholars are drawing conclusions about the information, their words should be expressed in the present present. Despite the fact that the data are taken from essay, the opinion exists now and should be past as such.

For example, while it's background that Caesar ruled long ago, the conclusions which current researchers infer from the surviving evidence tense his life and reign are modern, living things. Thus, "Caesar's generalship leaves behind the impression of the right man at the right moment in history. So, for instance, "The Bayeux Tapestry depicts William the Conqueror as tense a information and justified claim to the English throne.

In past literatures, "Homer composed poetry long ago, but we today interpret it along certain lines.