Past, Present, and Future Tense.

Hello everyone. Welcome back to Theory Thursday. I took an unplanned break last week as it had been an extremely busy day and I will never publish anything on Katelovesliterature.com that I am not 100% happy with. 

There is a #theatretrip post coming up soon as last week I went to see the incredible Les Misérables in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. 

Today I am talking about the concept of tense in English literature so let’s dive in. 

What does the term “tense” mean? 

In English grammar, the term “tense” refers to time. Texts will operate in categories of time, the past, the present, and in the future so the novel will take place in the past-tense, the present-tense, or the future-tense. 

Past, present, and future are the three main tenses. There are different categories within each tense, however that is a more complex topic for another day. 

The past-tense is used to describe things that happened before the present. The present-tense is used to describe things that are happening in the current moment, and the future-tense is used when talking about things that will happen in the future. 

I am going to make up some examples below. 

Examples of past-tense:

“I walked to the shop yesterday.” 

“Three years ago, we moved house.” 

“I lost my purse last week.”

Examples of present-tense:

“I am reading a very good book.”

“It is raining very heavily so I can’t go outside at the moment.”

“I am doing my homework while my dinner is in the oven.”

Examples of future-tense:

“I am going to sing in the talent show next week.”

“Tomorrow I am going to the library to study.”

“I will buy a new jacket when I go shopping next week.”

Why is it important to understand the concept of tense? 

I think it is important to understand the concept of tense because tense tells readers when something happens in a narrative. The use of tense can connect the past to the present, or it can inform us about the future. Deciding which tense to write in is an important decision as it can impact how a story is told. Understanding tense means that you understand another literary technique and having a broad understanding of a wide range of techniques enhances our understanding and enjoyment of literature in general. 

This has been Theory Thursday. I hope you enjoyed it. Do you have a favourite tense? Do you prefer narratives that take place in the past vs.in the present for example? Let me know. 

Kate xo.

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