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The tense to use in your writing depends on the type of the essay and instructions from your college. Most essays are written in either the present or past tense. However, in the course of the essay, the writer may move from the past to the present and future to describe some events in the essay. It is important that you determine the tense to use in your essay at the start, as you will not change it in the course of your writing.

The type of the essay that you would like to write affects the choice of verb tense that you use in your essay. Here are a few examples:

  • Descriptive essays use the present tense as they describe an object or a subject and its features. These truths do not change hence the present tense requirement.
  • Historical essays describe actions that took place in the past. Therefore, you use past tense to describe events
  • Process essays normally use present tense to describe processes used in accomplishing various goals or products.

Tenses change at particular points where the writer wants to describe events that happen in different time periods. However, he or she takes the readers back to the primary verb tense used in the essay. While answering the question, “What tense should an essay be written in?” it is vital to note that tenses are not static and change as per your work.

7 Secrets of How to Maintain One Tense in an Essay

tips on what tense should an essay be written in

Pick the main tenses for the paper

Determine the tense to use in your academic paper before writing the first word. This will be the base tense for all the events in the article. You can move to other tenses but should always bring your users back to the primary verb tense. Evaluate the paper you are writing and learn how to maintain one tense in an essay.

All theories and generalizations should be in present tense

Facts are not attached to a specific time. Therefore, they should be stated in present simple time. Here is an example, “A teaspoon of a neutron star material weighs about 6 billion tons.” Besides, generalizations based on theories are also expressed in present simple tense. For example, there is a high-income disparity in capitalist economies.

Use past simple tense to report research steps and historical events

Use past simple to report events that have been completed including historical background information and research process steps. Here is an example, “We recruited 20 participants for the study.” The tense is also used to describe historical events. For example, “Queen Bohemian Rhapsody pioneered music video production.”

When summarizing results of previous studies, use present perfect tense

Present perfect tense helps build a link between research done in an unspecified time and your own work. This also involves summarizing results of the study. For example, “Various studies have shown a connection between uric acid in meat and gout.”

Use future simple to state intentions and make predictions

Future simple is commonly used in research proposals to show your intention and state hypothesis. Use words such as assume, predict and expect to avoid implying high level of certainty in your statements. Here is an example, “We expect a strong positive correlation between skills and per capita income.”

Use past perfect when differentiating different points in the past

Use the past perfect when writing a historical essay and would like to different time periods in the past. For example, “He had won two trophies when retired from sports.”

Always proofread your essay before submitting work

If you ask, “Is it a must that I check verb tense in my essay?” Know that this is important. Go through your work to determine if there are tenses that are not in line with the tips shared above. After doing manual proofreading, it is important that you use a verb tense checker online or tense shift checker to polish any errors that you have missed.

How to Maintain One Tense in an Essay: Tips and Tricks

There are various guidelines on how to check tense change in an essay. Here are a few ways to maintain the same tense throughout your essay.

Pick the best tense according to your paper

Read the guide on choosing the tense in the section above and pick one that best matches your essay. This makes it easy to maintain it throughout the essay.

Take your time when proofreading essays

Proofread essay for tenses. By reading through your work, you are able to tell when the tenses change and paragraphs that are not clear. Always complete your work on time so that you have time to go through the work and make the necessary corrections. Professors always know rushed work.

Use software tools to check tenses

Pick a tool that checks if the essay is in the same tense. This helps find and fix errors with verb tenses that you may have missed during the manual editing stage. Our online essay tense corrector provides a comprehensive verb tense service and is able to help any student who asks, “How can I convert my essay to present tense?”

Features of Essay Tense Shift Checker

We have created an ultimate essay tense finder, corrector and converter online. Here are some features that you can use to check your essay for past tense online, present or the future tense.

how essay tense checker works

An in-built past tense checker

The essay past tense corrector and grammar tense checker finds and fixes errors in the past tense. It helps fix wrong verb tense changes if you are writing in past tense. The past tense finder essay tool ensures proper verb noun agreement across all verb forms in past tense.

Present tense essay checker

Our essay present tense finder helps you correct any mistakes that you have made with the present verb tense. It is also a solution to students asking, “How do I convert my essay to present tense?’’, as it converts all the wrong tenses to the present.

In-built proof-reader

Our tense fixer is able to find and fix errors in punctuation, noun-verb agreement and other grammar errors in your work. Its versatility makes it a popular tool among students all over the world. If you are asking, “Is all my essay in the correct tense?” This tool will help you ensure that.

Set the right tense for your essay with our essay tense corrector!