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Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Example ; Past tense =               
              ; Present tense =                   

About 6 months ago, a moment of pure grace happened to me in the middle of one of these internal push-pulls. I was drying my hair and my 3-year-old son, Ben, walked into the bathroom. He played with the lipsticks in the drawer, he asked about my eye makeup remover, and then he looked at me appraisingly and said, “Your belly is funny.” It all began to rise in me: the initial feelings of body shame so deeply programmed in me by my culture, the thoughts I want to feel about the sacredness of my body, and a memory of playing in the leaves with Steve and the boys last fall. We were tickling and rolling in the leaves and one of the boys tickles me and says, “Daddy’s belly is hard and yours is squishy.”  “Yes,” I said, “That is right.” But, I had thought: I don't think I want to play tickle again.

This time, my 3-year-old son is standing in front of me, saying, “Your belly is funny,” and the magic happens. I stood in a place where all the times of my life were present—past, future, and this boy standing in front of me now. Images and sensations of those I love flashed through my mind. I experienced the warmth of Steve’s broad back against mine in bed and the pleasure of recognizing his gait 200 hundred yards before his face comes into focus. I saw the scar under my father’s eye where the horse kicked him. I saw the reading glasses perched on my sister’s distinct elegant English nose as she holds her pen in her long straight fingers making bold careful shapes. And, I saw my own mother putting on makeup after a shower with a towel wrapped around her head while I played with her lipsticks. The curve of her hips, the dough of her soft belly and the silken freckles and cream tone of her skin is beautiful beyond measure. And I understood something.

General Advice
When you write an essay, an exam answer, or even a short story, you will want to keep the verbs you use in the same tense. Remember, moving from tense to tense can be very confusing.
eg. Mrs. Maryam sees her returning son and, in her excitement, twisted her ankle rather badly. Her sister calls the doctor immediately.
In this example, the verb "twisted" is the only verb that appears in the past tense. It should appear in the present tense, "twists," or the other verbs should be changed to the past tense as well. Switching verb tenses upsets the time sequence of narration


*  Inconsistent tense
    When writing about events in a novel, you must first make the decision whether to use the present or past tense. Generally speaking, either is acceptable, but once you make the choice, you need to be consistent.
John decides to go to bed, but then he drank too much coffee and could not fall asleep. He watches television for half an hour, then he finally felt sleepy.John decided to go to bed, but then he drank too much coffee and could not fall asleep. He watched television for half an hour, then he finally felt sleepy.
2. Plot summaries instead of analysis
    Although it is often necessary to recount some of the plot to make your point, your paper should not be solely a plot summary. I know what happens in the book, and I assume you do, too. After recounting the relevant part of the plot, make an analytical statement about that passage; show me you have thought about the book.
Michiko placed the money she earned prostituting herself into the empty box which was meant for her husband's ashes. She held the box tightly as a tear ran down her cheek.Michiko's act of placing the money she earned prostituting herself in her late husband's ash-box demonstrates how her recent corruption had replaced a previous life of happiness.

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