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Error 10: Inappropriate Shifts in Person/Tense (shift)
Person: In grammar, person refers to the distinction among the person talking (first person), the person spoken to (second person), and the person, object, or concept being talked about (third person).
All nouns are 3rd person. Teacher, student, lifeguard, person, etc. are all 3rd person words.
The first person pronouns include I, me, mine, we, us, and ours. The second person pronouns are you, your, and yours. The third person pronouns are he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, its, they, them, theirs.
Writers need to be careful not to shift person. Shifting person means changing from first person pronouns to third person nouns or pronouns or from second person pronouns to third person nouns or pronouns, without a logical reason.
In the following sentences, there is no shift in person.
Most of the time, when writers wrongly shift person, they shift from third to second person, like this:
Instead of shifting person, writers should be consistent.
Tense: Tense shows the time of the verb’s action. There are several verb tenses: present (e.g., sits), past (e.g., sat), future (e.g., will sit), past perfect (had sat), present perfect (has sat), and future perfect (e.g., will have sat). You don’t need to know all this verb terminology, though, in order to understand the following:
First, it’s important to recognize that sometimes it is perfectly logical to change verb tenses within a sentence.
An inappropriate shift in tense occurs when writers move (shift) from one tense to another without a valid reason.
Please print this exercise, mark the correct answers, and check your work against the version with answers.