Scientific Writing: Verbs

The tense of verbs will vary in the discussion stage.  The commonest tenses found in the discussion are the simple present and simple past.

Simple present Initial testing indicates that....
Simple past Initial testing indicated that....

They vary according to the kind of information in the sentence. Simple present is often used to make generalisations, while simple past is used to describe individual events or actions which occurred prior to the time of writing.

Scientists are always careful about in expressing how certain and how usual their results are. Modal verbs (and some adjectives and adverbs) are useful here. Compare the examples below:

No modal verb This effect results from...
Modal verb This effect may result from...
Modal verb This effect can result from...
Adverb with verb This effect possibly results from...
Adjective with verb It is possible that this effect results from...
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