How to use tenses correctly in your IELTS essays and letters

Use different grammatical constructions in your IELTS letters and essays. Sticking to just one tense is a great mistake. By using different grammatical structures you can add variety and sophistication to your writing and that is exactly what the examiner is trying to assess. Remember that your letters and essays are marked for their grammatical range and accuracy.

In general, however, the following guidelines may help you know when to use past and present tense.

Even though the book is in past tense, as you read it you are in the book's "present," so you are in the action. When you're analyzing it, you're analyzing what occurs. You'd use past tense if you were talking about something which happened in the character's past:


we use a simple past tense in the if-clause and would ..

If you have questions about tense or other writing concerns specific to your discipline, check with your adviser.  USE PAST TENSE.

Usually, the perfect tenses are the hardest to remember. Here’s a useful tip: all of the perfect tenses are formed by adding an auxiliary or auxiliaries to the past participle, the third principal part.


The Past Perfect Progressive Tense - Ginger Software

You may be asking why I leave "felt" as a past tense word in the above example. This is because we are discussing a piece of history that is best expressed in the past. However, when we discuss the writing of Smith, or the writing of Shelley as it still exists today, we discuss it in the present tense because it still exists and will continue to exist in the present moment.

How to teach the past perfect tense - My English Pages

Even an essay that does not explicitly tell a story involves implied time frames for the actions discussed and states described. Changes in verb tense help readers understand the temporal relationships among various narrated events. But unnecessary or inconsistent shifts in tense can cause confusion.

Simple Past Tense Explanations - GrammarBank

It is not always easy (or especially helpful) to try to distinguish perfect and/or progressive tenses from simple ones in isolation, for example, the difference between simple past progressive ("She was eating an apple") and present perfect progressive ("She has been eating an apple"). Distinguishing these sentences in isolation is possible, but the differences between them make clear sense only in the context of other sentences since the time-distinctions suggested by different tenses are relative to the time frame implied by the verb tenses in surrounding sentences or clauses.

The Past Simple Tense - Ginger Software

This writer uses the present tense to describe the appearance of a dragonfly on a particular July morning. However, both past and future tenses are called for when she refers to its previous actions and to its predictable activity in the future.