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Helpful Tense Shift Checker or How to Switch Tenses Like a Pro

What Is a Verb Shift Tense?

A tense shift in English grammar refers to the change from one verb tense to another. These shifts in tense can be difficult to spot and a tense shift checker can come in handy if you are having trouble identifying verb tense shifts in your text. Typically you should use consistent verb tense in your writing to avoid confusing the reader. The following are a few examples of text containing verb shifts.

  • Verb shift tense example #1: The supervisor explains the rules to new employees who asked questions during orientation.” (incorrect verb tense shift). Past and present tenses are used in the same sentence for actions that take place during the same time frame.
  • Verb tense shift example #2:The crowd starts cheering as Dave scored the goal.” (incorrect verb tense shift). Again past and present tense are used in the same sentence for actions that take place at the same time.
  • Verb tense shift example #3: “As a child I wanted to be a cowboy but now I’m studying veterinarian medicine.” (correct verb tense shift). Past and present tense are both used but a change in time is indicated by the word “now”.

Controlling Shifts in Verb Tense with a Tense Change Finder

Controlling verb tense shifts is crucial to avoid confusing the reader and delivering your message in the way you intended. The question, then, is how do you control tense shifts? The following are some basic guidelines for controlling verb tense shifts in your text:

  • Determine the primary verb tense that you want your text to be in. This will most likely be either past tense or present tense.
  • As you write make sure the tense of the verbs you use aligns with your primary text.
  • Only use tense shifts occasionally to show changes in the time frame like when referencing an action that has occurred in the past when writing in present tense.
  • As a general rule of thumb, use present tense to state facts, discuss your own ideas or ideas of an author in a particular work and use past tense to narrate events.
  • If your text’s primary tense is present tense, use present perfect tense for earlier time frames. If the primary tense of your text is past tense then past perfect should be used for earlier time frames. Likewise, for a narrative with a future prime tense, earlier time frames should use future tense.

There is a good chance that no matter how careful you are some inconsistent tense shifts will find their way into your text. To fix verb tense issues take the following steps:

  • In text where an unnecessary shift has occurred take note of the verbs and verb phrases in the particular piece of text
  • Change the tense of the inconsistent verbs or verb phrases so that they now align with your chosen primary tense
  • Read the corrected text out loud to see if the text now sounds consistent

Proofreading and editing for verb tense shifts is often a tedious and time consuming process, especially if you aren’t sure how to check verb tense agreement. One alternative is to use English grammar tenses software like ours to find and correct inconsistent verb tense shifts in your text. With our tense mixing shifter you don’t need to know exactly how to find shifts in verb tense. Running your text through our verb consistency website will identify any issues for you. Not sure how to fix tense agreements issues once you have found them? Our faulty tense sequence fixer suggests corrections to fix tense shifting problems it identifies.

Rules for Keeping Verb Tense Consistent

There are a few main rules to follow in order for you to maintain verb tense consistency throughout your essay or other text. The following are some basic rules that will help you avoid verb tense inconsistencies:

  • Change tense only when necessary. This is the basic rule for tense consistency. Maintain the same tense unless it is necessary to signal a time change or when you follow a generalization with a specific example of an action or event in the past.
  • Do not shift from one tense to another tense if the time period for each action or condition is the same. Doing so will result in a tense shift error.  Example: “Last Monday I rode the bus to work but later I walk home.”   Last Monday indicates that this occurred in the past. The word “rode” is past tense but “walk” is present tense. Corrected: “Last week I rode the bus to work but later I walked home.”
  • Do shift tenses to show a change in the time period from one action or condition to another. Example: “Dave and Lisa enjoy their new hot tub, which they installed themselves.” In this case “enjoy” is present tense because Dave and Lisa still enjoy the hot tub but built is past tense because they installed it previously to the current time frame and aren’t still installing it. 
rules to avoid tense inconsistency

The basic rules for keeping your verb tense consistent appear quite simple, but in practice it is much more difficult to do.  An additional rule could be to use our tense mixing checker to ensure verb tense consistency in your writing.

About Our Tense Inconsistency Checker

Our tense switching checker is an outstanding tool and the best way how to find consistent verb tense solutions to your inconsistent tense problems. The capabilities of our consistent verb tense checker for assisting with tense related problems include:

  • Identify any mistakes related to past, present and future tense use. There are 3 basic tenses (past, present and future) and a total of 12 types of verb tenses in English grammar, and our tense change finder will find any mistakes related to their use.
  • Correct all tense related mistakes. Our tool functions as a future, past and present tense corrector. Once it has detected any verb tense error it provides suggestions on how to fix the mistake
  • Detects any inappropriate shifts in verb tense. The shift in tense checker can distinguish between inconsistent verb tense shifts and those shifts that are necessary to show a change in a time period and will identify any inconsistent verb tense shifts.
  • Correct any inconsistent verb tense shifts. Our tense changer makes recommendations on how to fix any inconsistent tense shifts in your text. You need only make the corrections it suggests to eliminate any verb tense shift related errors from your text.

Polish Your Writing with Our Tense Shift Finder

It’s easy to fine tune your writing for a polished final product using our tense shift finder. To eliminate all verb tense shift and other tense related errors from your text take the following steps:

  • Enter your text. Copy and paste your text into the provided field. You may also type directly into the field.
  • Initiate text analysis. Click the button to start the text analyzing process.
  • Receive your text analysis. You will receive a report identifying all inconsistent verb tense shifts and other tense related errors. The report includes suggestions on how to fix the identified mistakes
  • Make the recommended corrections to your text

Ensure all of your writing is in the correct tense and eliminate all verb tense inconsistencies by using our tense shift checker on every writing assignment.