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Ten tips for scientific writing

Scientific writing uses the past tense particularly when describing how a piece of work was carried out.  However, if there are indications of future plans or considerations of outcomes it becomes necessary to move to the future tense.

Examples of tenses being used

The following sentences shows how past, present and future tenses can be used:

  • 'The culture was collected in a sanitised environment.' (past tense describing what happened)
  • 'It is vital to prevent cross-contamination.' (present tense indicating a general 'truth')
  • 'It will be crucial to confirm that the same conditions are repeated in any subsequent experiments.' (future tense recommending a future action)