Movellist: Issue #2


3Likes
0Comments
326Views
AA

4. The Three Tenses and Perspectives: When and How to Use Them

I ran down the street, my hair flailing behind me and the wind screaming by my ears.

 

You ran down the street, your hair flailing behind you and the wind screaming by your ears.

 

They ran down the street, their hair flailing behind them and the wind screaming by their ears.

 

 

I run down the street, my hair flailing behind me and the wind screaming by my ears.

 

You run down the street, your hair flailing behind you and the wind screaming by your ears.

 

They run down the street, their hair flailing behind them and the wind screaming by their ears.

 

 

 

I will run down the street, my hair flailing behind me and the wind screaming by my ears.

 

You will run down the street, your hair flailing behind you and the wind screaming by your ears.

 

They will run down the street, their hair flailing behind them and the wind screaming by their ears.

 

 

That was a demonstration of each tense and perspective used in a sentence correctly. Here is a quick lesson on how and when to use them.

 

Perspectives :

 

The First Person

 

In the first person, you are referring to yourself, the narrator is the protagonist or the main character. This does not mean you have to be writing an auto-biography, though. Even if your name is Doug, you can write a book that goes

"My name is Lesley. One day I walked down the street and found something super weird."

Basically, the idea is that the main character of the novel is narrating it, not authoring it. However, when you write a diary novel (like Dork Diaries or Diary of a Wimpy Kid), you pretend as if it really is the main character authoring it. At least within the story. Whenever you are writing something not a part of the story, then you're yourself again. First person does not only need to be used in Diary stories, they are used as if somebody is writing down everything that goes on in the character's head, word for word. Almost like the entire book is just their inner monologue. First person is usually used in the past or present tense.

 

 

The Second Person

 

 The Second Person is commonly used in persuasive writing (You will love this offer!) and also usually in the present or future tense. It is not very common in fiction because it's very hard to write a book using the "You" pronoun. However, those "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories use it very effectively, because it's interactive it makes more sense to talk directly to the reader, giving them the choice of what they do. Otherwise, you're telling them what they did/are doing/will do, which is weird. 

 

The Third Person

 

The Third Person is about as common as The First Person. It is most commonly used in the past tense, but will make just as much sense in the present. However, it's not common in literature because sentences like

"She runs in the field" are usually only found in poems or screenplays, as they are like stage directions. However, many very popular books are told in The Third Person in the past tense like The Fault In Our Stars and Harry Potter. The Third Person is very common, because, unlike The First Person, there isn't a certainty that the character won't die. Because it's told from an omniscient point of view, it wouldn't be impossible to reccount the main character's death, were as in The First Person in the Past tense, you know they must be alive because otherwise the character wouldn't have been alive to tell the tale. There is an exception, however. An example being "The Lovely Bones". 

 

 

Tenses :

 

The Past Tense

 

Most commonly used with The Third or First person, the past tense is used when recounting something that happened in the past, and is the prominent tense used in Diary entries because they usually talk about things that happened earlier that day and are being recounted. Sometimes The Present Tense is used, however, like when mentioning what they are doing as they write. 

 

 

The Present Tense

 

Used a lot these days is The Present Tense. This is when the narrator is talking about the events as if they were currently happening. Usually used with First Person or Second Person. Third Person and The Present Tense together is very uncommon in literature, and usually reserved for screenplays or poems.

 

 

The Future Tense

 

Not very common in literature, except occasionally when the narrator talks about something that the main character will eventually do. For example,

"I will be a singer some day."

This is usually only ever used prominently in non-fiction, like when describing something that animals WILL do to you IF (sometime in the FUTURE) you do this or that. For instance,

"IF you THROW a rock at a seal, it WILL try to hurt you."

However, it is only ever used occasionally, maybe a little more often in diary entries when the narrator describing what they are doing as they write.

 

And that is ALL SIX of the different tenses and perspectives! I hope this helped!

 

By Florence Morgan

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...