Scientific Language: Verbs

Your abstract reflects the verb choices you made in the different parts of your report. The main tense choice is the PAST tense because you are summarising the experiment that you carried out, its aim, methods and results. This is factual information relating to how the experiment happened.

However, when you draw conclusions or generalise from your results, you use verbs which show how certain you can be about your interpretation of your results. You can either use the PRESENT tense if you are certain about your conclusions or if you are tentative about your claims, judgements and recommendations, you use a MODAL verb which expresses different degrees of certainty e.g. ‘can, ‘may’, ‘should’, ‘is reasonable’ or verbs like ‘appear’, ‘suggest’.

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