Reaching out across the Web .. ...分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/zuojun Zuojun Yu, physical oceanographer, freelance English editor

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和任胜利老师: 科技写作时态 (Past tense? Present tense?) 精选

已有 12250 次阅读 2013-1-28 06:31 |个人分类:Most shared|系统分类:论文交流|关键词:paste,tense,,present,tense,,consistently| present, paste, consistently


任胜利老师的科技写作(103):时态的使用要妥当

http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=38899&do=blog&id=656933&cid=2437830

 

I left a comment at Ren lao shi’s Blog, and received this homework assignment.


I don’t know if I can do a better job than his book, but let me try to add my two cents. (Why me? I was a researcher who wrote papers in English, and I am a freelance English editor who edits about 150 research papers each year.)

 

First, I am a numerical modeler. So when I am ready to write a paper, I have done most of the numerical experiments already.


1. Introduction


In the introduction, we often need to cite many publications. Our rules are:


1) use the past tense when a sentence starts with a publication;

For example: Ren et al. (2012) noted a dramatic increase in publication by Chinese authors in SCI journals during the 2000s, thanks in part to the cash reward and promotion criteria set by the (Chinese) system. (Sorry, I made up this sentence, and this Ren is not any Ren lao shi at SciNet.)


Note that even though the publication is recent, I still use the past tense, “noted.”

Note also that I have no authority to make you follow this rule, but from now on you should pay attention to what your colleagues do when you read their papers.


2) use the present tense for a result/fact that remains true today, even though the result/fact was obtained 100 years ago.


For example:  The Gulf Stream is the most powerful western boundary current on Earth, which was discovered and confirmed by sailors and scientists hundred years ago.


3) use both mixed (say past and present) tenses in one sentence.


If you don’t like the sentence I made up in 2), here is one from Wikipedia: European discovery of the Gulf Stream dates to the 1513 expedition of Juan Ponce de León, after which it became widely used by Spanish ships sailing from the Caribbean to Spain.[1] 

 

2. Methodology


To describe the methods and data sets used in the paper, we use the present tense.


For example: We use the WOA (World Ocean Atlas) data as initial conditions for our experiments. We use satellite data to validate model’s phytoplankton field in the surface layer.

 

3. Results


We use the present tense to describe all our (finished) experiments. If you prefer to use the past tense, it is fine as long as you do so consistently. Do not switch from the past tense to the present tense randomly.


4) Discussion and Conclusion


We tend to use the present perfect tense, such as “We have shown,” but again one can use the past tense or the present tense. Just be consistent.

 

I hope this helps.



ps. You may also want to check this out:

Scientific Writing for Beginners (1)-(8)

by Zuojun Yu

using this link:

http://blog.sciencenet.cn/home.php?mod=space&uid=306792&do=blog&id=432195





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http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-306792-657146.html

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