Tense consistency: abdopus octopus
The Grammar Bit!
Read aloud the three multi-clause sentences opposite. You’ll notice that they don’t sound right. This is because the action performed by the subject in the first clause takes place at a different time to the action in the second clause.
Shifting from one tense (past, present or future) to another without a good reason, either within sentences or throughout paragraphs, can be both confusing and distracting for the reader.
With your talk partner, discuss ways of making each sentence sound right. What changes will you make? Which tense will you use?
1) The octopus is using its suckered limbs to haul itself out of rock pools and walked across the rocky shoreline.
2) As the octopus slunk into the new rock pool, it will only find a startled fish and several purple sea urchins in there.
3) After the octopus uses its sharp beak to drill a hole into the crab’s exoskeleton, it extracted and ate the fleshy parts.
“I may be a cold-blooded killer, but I’m certainly not a heartless creature. Together with my blue blood, I actually have three hearts!”