Grammar for Academic Writers: Common Verb Tenses in Academic Writing
Last update 2/6/2018
Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.
Audio: Guitar music.
Visual: The video’s title is displayed on a background image of books on a table. The screen opens to the following slide: Common Verb Tenses in Academic Writing
- The hospital admits patients whether or not they have proof of insurance.
- Zimbardo (1998) researched many aspects of social psychology.
- Numerous researchers in the field have used this method.
- I will conduct semistructured interviews.
Audio: So, in academic writing, really there are four main tenses that make up the majority of sentences. Even though there are the many tenses in the English language, the most common ones in academic writing are the four that I have on the slide here. So, the simple present, the simple past, the present perfect, and the future tense.
The simple present is often used for general truths. Things that are true, you know, maybe they were true in the past, they are true now, and they will very likely be true in the future. So, “The hospital admits patients whether or not they have proof of insurance.” So, this is something that is generally true, in the past, now, and likely in the future, so we would use the simple present tense.
The simple past is used to talk about things that happened at a specific point of time in the past and/or something that was completed in the past: “Zimbardo researched many aspects of psychology.” Also, you might know that the simple past tense should be used when discussing what authors and researchers did or said in their published works, because their works are already published because it’s something that happened in the past. So, for example, “the researcher claimed” or “the authors explained,” you’d use the simple past tense.
Present perfect tense is often used to explain an action that happened over a period of time in the past. So, like the example, “Numerous researchers in the field have used this method.”
And then finally, the future tense. In academic writing, the future tense is often used when writing about maybe a study that you will conduct, such as a capstone study at Walden. And so, like the example here, “I will conduct semi-structured interviews.” So, talking about actions that you will conduct in the future.
Visual: The screen changes to end with the words “Walden University Writing Center” and “Questions? E-mail [email protected].”