The Three Main Tenses Used in Academic Writing

Are you going to be studying in an academic environment? Are you a student looking for some additional knowledge and tips on how to improve your understanding of the English language? If so, then this post is just for you. It will go over all of the three main tenses used in academic writing: The Present Simple Tense, The Past Simple Tense, and The Present Perfect Tense.

How to Use the Tenses?

Each of these tenses is used differently in an academic environment. Below are some examples of how to use each tense in academic writing. It will help you to better understand the differences between each one.

The Present Simple Tense

The tense is used for the present. It is often used when talking about verbs that indicate things happening now. For example, if you wanted to say, “I am writing“, you would use the present simple.

The main exception to the present simple tense concerns verbs that indicate things happening now. These are called dynamic verbs, and they always use the present simple tense. It includes verbs like play, work, run, swim, and talk. Other examples of these types of sentences include “I am working“, “We are running” and “She is talking“.

The tense describes general truths that have been proven in the past. It is also used to describe habitual actions that are regularly done. In addition to these, it can also indicate how something is in the present.

The Past Simple Tense

The Past Simple Tense describes things that have happened in the past but not in the present. For example, “I went to school” is something that occurred in the past, but it doesn’t occur now. The same would be true for “I played my guitar.”

This tense can be used for specific events, as well as regular actions. The specific event could occur once or multiple times a week or month. We cannot use the tense to indicate actions happening now or today.

The Present Perfect Tense

The Present Perfect Tense explains actions that began in the past and have continued up to the present. This tense is also used to describe something that happened once, but has lasting effects. It can also describe things that happened some time before another event took place. It cannot, however, be used to specifically indicate something that is happening in the now/present. Lastly, this tense can also be used for a general truth or an assumption about a past event.

The Present Simple Tense

The tense is used for things that are happening now or that have been happening up to this point in time. For example, “I am earning a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism.” In this sentence, the verb ‘earn’ is in the present simple tense. You would also use it to describe things that are happening at this moment. It could be used for a general statement or an assumption about something taking place. For example, “She is driving to work.”

The Past Simple Tense

The past simple tense is used for single actions and events that occurred in the past. For example, “I went to school today.” It should be used for a specific event that happened once in the past. It can also be used to describe the past before something else occurred. For example, “I ate dinner after I arrived home.” If you went to school that day and then ate dinner, this would be correct.

The Present Perfect Tense

The present perfect tense is used for things that happened or began in the past but continue to have an effect on the present. For example, “I have lived in Texas for two years.” In this statement, the present perfect tense is used because the person has been living in Texas for the past two years.

It can also be used for a general fact or assumption about something that happened in the past. For example, “Physics has always been my favorite subject.” It could be a personal preference from high school and an assumption based on past grades of a student’s performance in this class.

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