Discover the best verb tense checkers you can use to check for consistent verb tense use in a piece of writing.
Consistency is key to good writing, a rule that applies to tenses too. While most English writers know how to use a grammar-checking program to scan their work for grammar errors and inconsistencies, not all grammar check software includes a verb tense checker.
Ask any English grammar teacher, and they’ll tell you verb tense is an integral part of writing. Strong writing employs a consistent verb tense throughout, whether you choose future, past, or present tenses. While sometimes, especially in fiction writing, changing verb tenses is OK, most writers aim for consistency. So how can you ensure you make the best use of verb tense in your writing? A verb tense checker is an excellent place to start.
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What Is Verb Tense?
Verb tense refers to when the action takes place and how you conjugate verbs to show that. Verbs come in three primary tenses, which refer to the verb’s conjugation and when the action takes place. The three tenses are:
- Past – Actions that already happened
- Present – Actions that happen right now
- Future – Actions that will happen later
Within these three primary tenses, writers also have additional conjugations, which are these:
- Simple – The verb without many helping verbs, except for simple future, usually pairs with will.
- Continuous – Uses a form of to be to show the action is ongoing, such as, “I am reading.”
- Perfect – Pairs a form of the verb to be with the simple past tense, such as “I will have read.”
- Perfect Continuous – Pairs to be with been to show continuous action at some point, such as “I will have been reading.”
In your writing, staying consistent with the main three simple tenses, and using conjugations of those tenses, will make your work clearer. To learn more, check out our list of common verbs.
Why Verb Tense Matters
Verb tense matters in your writing for clarity and consistency. Using the right verb conjugation is vital to presenting the correct meaning to your reader. If an action happened in the past, but you write it as if it is in the future, your readers will get confused.
Similarly, in most writing, verb tense stays consistent throughout. Most of your writing should use the past tense if you’re talking about something that happened in the past. Fiction is a caveat, however. Knowing how to identify conjugations is important to ensure you can check your verbs properly.
How a Grammar Checker Can Help with Verb Tense
With 12 different verb tenses in existence, writers can easily get confused. Even with the best proofreading skills, inconsistencies can slip into your writing.
Sometimes, writing demands more than one verb tense, but you can use a verb tense checker to highlight inconsistencies too. During a proofread, decide what to change or keep
Unfortunately, not all grammar checkers check for verb tense inconsistencies. That’s particularly true for free ones. Even premium software doesn’t catch every verb issue. That said, here are some tools writers can use to check verb tenses for consistency.
Grammarly is a popular, powerful grammar checker with a free and paid version. You can download an extension for Chrome and other web browsers. It also works nicely with Google Docs and Microsoft Word. It features a spell and grammar checker for editing anything you write online. The free version checks for issues like common use and subject/verb agreement but does little with verb tense.
With the paid version, you get a verb tense checker. This can scan your work for consistency in verb tense use. I use Grammarly regularly, which spots when I use the passive voice and provides recommendations and suggestions. It also identifies when I switch tense by mistake.
If you are serious about error-free writing, it is an excellent addition to your toolbox. However, a writer should still judge if these suggestions are relevant. To learn more, read our Grammarly review.
Grammarly is a top spelling, grammar and plagiarism checker. It'll help you find and fix errors fast, and it works everywhere. It's trusted by millions of writers for a reason.
ProWritingAid is a grammar checker tool with a free and professional version. It uses artificial intelligence to suggest ways you can fix your sentences. This includes suggestions for stronger or more consistent verb tense use. ProWritingAid provides style suggestions as well. For example, I wrote:
I was invited to join their affiliate program.
ProWritingAid suggested tightening this piece of writing with a stronger verb tense in the active voice. As a result, it recommended:
They invited me to join their affiliate program.
This verb tense is cleaner, easier to understand and more direct, assuming the context is correct. To learn more about this tool’s other grammar reports for syntax and sentence structure, read our ProWritingAid review.
ProWritingAid is a powerful, accurate grammar checker and style editor. It's suitable for non-fiction and fiction writers and doesn't require a monthly subscription. Save 20% per month or year.
Antidote is a popular grammar checker that works on a user’s desktop. The grammar report spots subject-verb agreement issues quickly and easily. The style report color-codes instances of the passive voice and provides suggestions for fixing them. It’s an excellent alternative to Grammarly and ProWritingAid and catches and fixes many common grammar errors. It works even if you’re writing offline, too. To learn more, read our Antidote review.
GrammarCheck.me is a simple checker that scans for some verb tense problems. It’s not as powerful as Grammarly professional, but it is effective at your initial proofreading. It’s also easy to use.
Simply paste your piece into the box and hit check. The program highlights potential problems. Hover over highlighted text to receive suggestions on how to fix the issue.
5. Perfect Tense
As its name implies, Perfect Tense focuses on verb tense and other grammar issues. This tool embeds into your text boxes to provide instant suggestions for grammar improvement through powerful artificial intelligence.
Perfect Tense works with plain and rich text editors. It’s also compatible with most major browsers. Simply download the app to your computer and start writing.
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Scribens checks everything grammar and punctuation, including verb tense. It scans your English language writing for wordiness, looks for grammatical errors, checks every comma and period and even looks for redundancies. It, like many grammar checkers, offers a free and paid version.
With the free version, you copy and paste your work into the text box on the website and get suggestions based on common grammar rules. With the paid version, you add an extension to your computer to check grammar as you write.
The Final Word About Verb Tense Checkers
Nothing can replace proofreading for checking your writing, but a verb tense checker can help. Learn your conjugations and verb tenses, then utilize helpful grammar check tools as part of your editing process. These tools will help you create strong, clear writing that appeals to your readers and convey your message appropriately.
FAQs About Verb Tense Checker
When should I use a verb tense checker?
Use a verb tense checker when you’re concerned about the passive voice, incorrect tenses or conjugation errors. Many grammar checkers offer apps or extensions you can download to check your work while writing.
These extensions and tools make it possible to utilize a verb tense checker and improve your English writing. They simultaneously check for comma and other punctuation errors, spelling issues and verb tenses.
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