Monday, September 6, 2010

A Reader's Guide to Author's Jargon 22

tense shift

The slight and imperceptible switch from the past tense to the present tense in an action sequence. This is done to make it more alive for the reader. However, it can also disorient readers and get you an F from Miss Biddiebartlestein's English grammar exam (not to mention a reviewer's perverse glance). It's done all the time, but can only shift for a few sentences and needs transitioning.

Edward C. Patterson

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