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Grammarly: Verb Form Use

Verb Form Use

Mistakes in verb form use usually involve using inconsistent forms of verbs, which can confuse the reader. The cause of this error is often sudden shifts in verb tense. Here, Grammarly has identified a potential issue with verb form use:

screen shot of grammarly feedback

The student has written the following:

This description is very broad, but the measurement of intelligence has been very narrow before, which didn’t allow for others to be included as intelligent.

There are three verb tenses in this sentence: the present tense (is), the present perfect tense (has been), and the past simple tense (didn’t allow). The word before and the use of past tense at the end of the sentence (didn’t allow) suggest that the middle verb, has been, is not correct—that verb should take the past tense, as well. The student could correct this error by writing,

This description is broad, but the measure of intelligence was very narrow before, which did not allow for others to be included as intelligent.

An overview of verb tenses and their uses in academic writing is available at Verb Tenses.