Tense selection in academic writing
Every type of an academic paper (essays, theses, and dissertations) might require you to choose different tenses. This article will show you the different tense selections in different parts of an academic paper.
While the following examples are the most common tense selections, there may be exceptions as these are just decisions rather than rules, and you might have to change your tenses based on your topic.
Abstract and summary
Present perfect will help you present researches from the past that are still relevant:
Present simple will help you tell what the paper does and how it is crucial:
Present simple will help you describe theories and explaining definitions:
Review of related literature and studies
Present perfect will help you describe past researches that are relevant to the present research:
Past simple will help you show the significant actions of previous researchers and the steps they took:
Methodology and results
Present simple will provide explaining a tool’s function which is unchangeable:
Past simple will help you explain experiments that are conducted in the past:
Conclusion and discussion
Present simple will help you interpret your data:
Past simple will help you describe the details regarding your work and its limits:
Modal auxiliary or simple future with hedging language will help what should be the focus of the next studies regarding your topic/thesis statement:
Frequently Asked Questions
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