Tense?

(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
ivnx
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:00 pm

Tense?

Postby ivnx » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:16 am

So far, the overwhelming majority of the PS samples on the board seem to be written in the past tense. Does anyone have advice and/or pro-con opinions of past vs. present tense usage?

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minnbills
Posts: 3153
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Tense?

Postby minnbills » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:20 am

Well what would you be writing about?

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Bildungsroman
Posts: 5548
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:42 pm

Re: Tense?

Postby Bildungsroman » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:21 am

Since the PS usually recounts some event(s) in the writer's life, past tense seems appropriate, although I've seen a couple great PSs that bucked the narrative style and used present tense as well. As with most things, it's all about the execution.

ivnx
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 5:00 pm

Re: Tense?

Postby ivnx » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:24 am

A personal growth-character sketch emphasizing my interests in manipulating perspectives from early childhood to college years, with examples of domestic abuse-visas and research experience in drafting non-disclosure agreements. A sentence from my intro for instance:

[I learn at an early age that perspectives are to be trifled with. No, that is not the whole truth. I do not learn this without curiosity, but within the necessity of being raised in love and anger. When I am eight, I do not question a father who quietly warns me that after his death, I must be strong enough to take on the traditional Korean role of becoming the “center pillar” of the family.]

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minnbills
Posts: 3153
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Tense?

Postby minnbills » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:49 am

It sounds interesting. I would be sure to make clear that you are manipulating perspective or else they may just think your grammar is awful.

Write it and see how it goes!

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Bronte
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Tense?

Postby Bronte » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:03 am

I would generally avoid it. It reads similarly to writing about yourself in the third person.

MumofCad
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:46 pm

Re: Tense?

Postby MumofCad » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:33 pm

Bronte wrote:I would generally avoid it. It reads similarly to writing about yourself in the third person.


+1 - I read on one of the T-6 Dean's blogs about nifty little tricks like this. Their basic recommendation was to not get cute unless you have some serious serious writing chops that have been documented by publications, awards, and what not. Even then, they generally recommended against this sort of thing, because you can't assume that because you get obscure references or plays on ancient Greek philosophy, that they will pick up on it. They may not share your academic background or literary loves. If they don't get your "theme," they will just think you are a horrible writer. Better to just effectively convey your thoughts and don't try to come off as so clever, that you end up just looking stupid or clueless




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