This is moved from my small Github repository.
Article Tense Checklist
There used to be several guidelines on the internet which included some kind of a checklist, to indicate which tense is to be used in a specific situation. However, they sadly disappeared from the first page of Google. So I decided to build my own, and supply them with examples whenever possible.
This might be of little help to other people, as ‘yet another’ tense guide (see the references. I mainly intend to use it as a personal reference, or a pedagogical tool.
It is worth noting that the recommendations from different guidelines are very often contradictory, and that papers published nowadays are more often to misuse the tenses than not. In modern scientific writings, the formalist pursuit of grammatical appropriateness shall be relinquished. Thus the guidelines here only provide a consistent way for readers to observe, rather than a judgmental criterion.
- Generally in simple present tense.
The tense of the Abstract is basically in line with the tense use in the body of the manuscript.
Abstract is generally in the present tense.
General facts ==> simple present tense or present perfect tense.
The plant immune system is fundamental for plant survival in natural ecosystems and for productivity in crop fields. Substantial evidence supports the prevailing notion that plants possess a two-tiered innate immune system, called pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI).
- Past research activities ==> present perfect tense or past tense.
Several studies have established that B.1.1.7 is more transmissible than preexisting variants, but have not identified whether it leads to any change in disease severity.
- Introducing the subject of the research ==> simple present tense. However, some people use the past tense.
Here, we develop robust cell type decomposition (RCTD), a computational method that leverages cell type profiles learned from single-cell RNA-seq to decompose cell type mixtures while correcting for differences across sequencing technologies. We demonstrate the ability of RCTD to detect mixtures and identify cell types on simulated datasets.
Here we report the detection by the IceCube neutrino observatory of a cascade of high-energy particles (a particle shower) consistent with being created at the Glashow resonance. A shower with an energy of 6.05 ± 0.72 PeV (determined from Cherenkov radiation in the Antarctic Ice Sheet) was measured. Features consistent with the production of secondary muons in the particle shower indicate the hadronic decay of a resonant W− boson, confirm that the source is astrophysical and provide improved directional localization. The evidence of the Glashow resonance suggests the presence of electron antineutrinos in the astrophysical flux, while also providing further validation of the standard model of particle physics.
- Introducing the observations of the research ==> past tense.
A shower with an energy of 6.05 ± 0.72 PeV (determined from Cherenkov radiation in the Antarctic Ice Sheet) was measured.
- Stating conclusions ==> simple present tense, may include modal verbs.
Our findings suggest that either large earthquakes rarely propagate as self-healing pulses, with potential differences between tectonic settings, or their radiated energy is substantially underestimated, raising questions about earthquake physics and the expected shaking from large earthquakes.
Together, our results indicate that RNA methylation provides a protective effect in maintaining cellular integrity by clearing reactive ERV-derived RNA species, which may be especially important when transcriptional silencing is less stringent.
Purpose ==> past tense.
Introduction ==> simple present tense.
Many pregnant persons in the United States are receiving messenger RNA (mRNA) coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines, but data are limited on their safety in pregnancy.
- Methods ==> past tense.
From December 14, 2020, to February 28, 2021, we used data from the “v-safe after vaccination health checker” surveillance system, the v-safe pregnancy registry, and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to characterize the initial safety of mRNA Covid-19 vaccines in pregnant persons.
- Results ==> past tense.
A total of 35,691 v-safe participants 16 to 54 years of age identified as pregnant. Injection-site pain was reported more frequently among pregnant persons than among nonpregnant women, whereas headache, myalgia, chills, and fever were reported less frequently.
- Conclusion ==> past tense to state the research conclusion, and simple present tense to provide context.
Preliminary findings did not show obvious safety signals among pregnant persons who received mRNA Covid-19 vaccines.
However, more longitudinal follow-up, including follow-up of large numbers of women vaccinated earlier in pregnancy, is necessary to inform maternal, pregnancy, and infant outcomes.
- Introducing the known facts ==> simple present tense.
Globally, an immense research effort is underway to improve further the power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) of perovskite-based photovoltaics.
O-GlcNAcylation (Fig. 1a), the addition of the monosaccharide N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc), is an intracellular post-translational modification (PTM) that occurs on serine and threonine residues (Fig. 1a). The installation of this PTM is catalysed by the enzyme O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and it is removed by the glycosidase O-GlcNAcase (OGA). These enzymes are required for embryonic development in mice and Drosophila.
- Commenting on the current status of the research ==> present perfect tense.
A variety of proteins have been shown to be O-GlcNAc modified including regulators of transcription and translation, signalling proteins and metabolic enzymes.
- Literature review ==> present perfect tense and past tense. Use the present perfect tense when a specific name of the author does not appear, and use past tense otherwise. However, the account of the research findings may be classified as the fact.
Applications to the control of mode locking and pulse shaping have also been demonstrated numerically. Yet, all these applications have been restricted either to (slow) genetic algorithms or to feedforward neural network architectures limited to determine the correspondence between a given input and some single output parameter.
Recently, the EEHG experiment at FERMI showed a fully coherent FEL amplification at wavelengths as short as 5.9 nm, the exponentially amplified 45th harmonic of the 265-nm-wavelength seed laser. However, its radiation wavelength is limited to the soft X-ray region because the amplitude of higher harmonics decreases drastically as the harmonic number increases.
- Describing the purpose / overview of the research ==> simple present tense.
Here we show that self-healing pulses that propagate on quasi-statically strong, dynamically weak faults (hypothesis H1) radiate much more seismic energy than crack-like ruptures on persistently weak faults (hypothesis H2), given similar static stress drop.
- Describing the research activity ==> simple present tense. In some cases, the past tense has also been adopted.
In this Article, we present a solution to this problem using machine learning to predict complex nonlinear propagation in optical fibres with a recurrent neural network (RNN), bypassing the need for direct numerical solution of a governing propagation model.
- Commenting on the impact of the research ==> simple present tense, often with modal verbs.
This captures an important characteristic of human decision-making: we make first-time decisions based on inferences from previously encountered options.
Methods and Materials
Very simple, basically just use past tense or present perfect tense.
Results, or the result part in Results and Discussion
- Describing the research activity ==> past tense.
To estimate specimen ages using mitogenome data, we conducted a Bayesian molecular clock analysis that was calibrated using samples with finite radiocarbon dates (tip calibration) and a log-normal prior that assumed a genomic divergence between the African savannah elephant and mammoth lineages at 5.3 Ma15 (root calibration).
- Presenting the results ==> past tense.
All dwelling macrophages within the wound site exhibited photoconverted Kaede 24 h after conversion (Fig. 1h, i), indicating that they are derived from the initial transient population.
- Explaining the results ==> simple present tense.
This localized macrophage response is reminiscent of macrophage ‘cloaking’ behaviours, in which tissue-resident macrophages rapidly insulate muscle fibre micro-lesions.
- Referring to figures and tables ==> simple present tense.
And Fig. 5b clearly shows that the number of found peaks against resolution shells is shifted to higher resolutions for the self-seeded mode (SS1) than the SASE mode (SASE1) (Supplementary Fig. 7).
- Commenting on the results ==> simple present tense.
However, the total sum of the spectrum (blue dotted line in Fig. 2c) remains almost constant until the slice energy spread by laser heater is 27 keV; this result supports the hypothesis that the unsuppressed MBI channels the radiation power into the sidebands.
Discussions, or the discussion part in Results and Discussion
- Summarizing the findings ==> past tense. However, the present perfect tense seems to be more common.
Here we have mapped the conformational transitions that are required for dual-function glutamate transporters to enter a Cl− conducting state (ClCS).
We have demonstrated gravitational coupling between a test mass and a 90-mg spherical source mass.
- To develop the idea as presented by the results ==> simple present tense.
Our genomic analyses suggest that the Columbian mammoth is a product of admixture between woolly mammoths and a previously unrecognized ancient mammoth lineage, represented by the Krestovka specimen. Given the finding that each of these lineages initially contributed roughly half of their genome to this ancient admixture, we propose that the origin of the Columbian mammoth constitutes a hybrid speciation event.
Our observation that STING agonists provide substantial antinociception in an exceptionally painful model of BCP warrant immediate further exploration.
- Stating future impact ==> future tense.
Going to smaller masses will involve additional challenges, because other noise contributions will play an increasing role.
- Referring to the conducted research ==> past tense. Often, simple present tense is also used.
The combination of self-seeding and undulator tapering was considered a feasible way to realize the required intensity in the simulation.
In this work, a composite electrode design approach is proposed that uses the thermal-expansion offset provided by an NTE component to greatly enhance long-term electrode durability and ORR activity
- Comments on the work ==> simple present tense, future tense when needed.
It is becoming clear that the principles that underlie physical space representation in medial temporal structures also apply during high-level cognition such as interactive decision-making. Not only is MFC active during new choices, but disruption of the MFC impairs making such choices on the basis of an appropriately integrated representation of the options’ component features (Fig. 4).
Acknowledgement and other stuff
- ‘This work was financially supported by …’
- ‘We thank …’
- ‘A and B conceived and designed the project…’
- ‘The authors declare no conflict of interest.’
This section is not on the tense of the reference part of the manuscript. Rather, it lists the sources consulted during the compilation of this document. In fact, the reference part of an article does not involve the use of verbs, in general.
Examples are taken from journals published by Springer Nature, and I believe that this project falls perfectly in the realm of fair use. Anyway, if a copyright concern is raised, I can subsitute the examples with sources bearing other inclusive licenses (such as BY-CC or GPL).