Verb tenses

Last updated on 10 years ago
Kholm
Kholm Posted 10 years ago
Alright, these are my bane. From my writing classes, I have learned that I always seem to mix these up. I would assume simply because they are spoken in a certain way, but do not translate down to paper that way.

While I try to write most of my stuff in past tense, I seem to get plenty of different verb forms all mashed together.

While I am more cautious about this little problem now, it seems to be boggling me down more then I want it to. Certain situations seem to want me to throw in present tense verbs into the mix.

So here is the question. When are present tense verbs allowed in a past tense setting?

as an example,
-He walked through the thick brush, prodding with his foot the old overturned stones that he once played with so curiously as a child.-

So, its a past tense sentance, but I used prodding as a present tense. is this a no-no? if so, how do I make it work?

Also (I hope this is not the case) I might be in left field. Its been many years since I have attended a school, I just still have flashbacks of an english teacher freaking out on my tenses.
Hope I'm not completely wrong in what I am trying to say.
"Wasn't even a challenge."
"I'm on your team, idiot."
Vermithrax
Vermithrax Posted 10 years ago
In this context, 'prodding,' is just fine.

If, however, you had written;

He walked through the thick brush, but stopped to prod with his foot the old overturned stones that he once played with so curiously as a child.

This would also be fine, but not with the verb 'prodding'.

I suppose, the easiest way to think it is, it the verb ends in 'ed (prodded, nodded, jerked, etc) then it is a past tense. If it ens in 's' (prods, nods, jerks) then present.

There will be exceptions to the rule, but aren't there always?
Vermithrax

Don't try To Fix Me; I'm Not Broken.
Please Do Not Cling To Me; I Swear I Can't Fix You.
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