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Home » Module 1 Unit 4: Tenses » Common mistakes - page 4/9
Unit 1: Sentence fragmentsUnit 2: Run-on sentences Unit 3: Subject-verb agreementUnit 4: TensesUnit 5: PassiveUnit 6: ApostrophesUnit 7: Articles


Mistake 2 - You forget that the choice of tense is related to the purpose of your writing and that certain tenses predominate for certain reasons.

All academic and professional writing can be looked at in terms of purpose. The choice of tense is related to the purpose of each section of an essay or report.

Each section of an introduction, for example, has a different purpose, including: giving background information, providing definitions and stating the writer's position.

Next time you write, or edit your writing, ask yourself:

What is the primary purpose of this section? i.e. What am I trying to do?

Which tense best allows me to do this?

The tense you choose relates to the purpose of the section you are writing. You only change the tense within a section if you change your purpose.