*Careful writers avoid shifts in verb tense unless there is a good reason.*
Read the following paragraph. Notice all the underlined verbs.
“It was a bitter cold night for speed skating, but the three teams gave their all for the regional competition. Most surprising was the performance of Coolidge High, which outskated the other two teams in every category. They were the easy winners.”
--What tense are ALL the verbs in? Past, present, or future?
Notice that ALL the verbs are in past tense. Generally speaking, once you choose a tense, STICK WITH IT!
--Read the following paragraph. Does it sound funny to you?
“Johnson raced down the court. He stops dead, raises those incredibly long arms, and sinks the ball slow-motion into the basket. He scored 33 points before the final quarter ended.”
--What THREE verbs should be changed? How should they be changed?
--How about this one? Should the verbs be changed? Why or why not?
“Golf has always been my dad’s favorite game. He says it is easygoing, just like he is. He used to spend every Saturday and Sunday on the links when he was my age. He worked as a caddy to earn enough money to play golf himself.”
On the next blank sheet in your writer’s notebook, write the title of today’s mini-lesson at the top – “Verb Tense Consistency” (and record in your table of contents).
Write the following paragraph in your notes. Then, underline any INCONSISTENT verb tenses. Rewrite the paragraph, correcting any sentences containing a verb that is inconsistent with the rest of the paragraph.
“I had never seen a rodeo before. I expect the events to be tough and exciting. What I don’t expect was the gracefulness and incredible agility involved. I was glued to my seat.”
--Record the main idea of today’s mini-lesson in your notes:
Careful writers avoid shifts in verb tense unless there is a good reason....