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The experiment in a paper usually has already happened. Should we use the present tense or past tense when writing about it?

(1) In this study, there are/were 15 adults who complete/completed the test.

(2) In this paper, there are/were 15 adults who complete/completed the test.

1 Answer 1

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You could use the past because you are describing the way the test was performed, which is an action finished in the past. However, because of its impact on the present, you could also say:

In this study, (there are) 15 adults (who) have completed the test.

I put between parenthesis what you can omit.

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  • Thank you for your answer. Do you mean that "In this study, there are 15 adults who completed the test" is ok, too?
    – vincentlin
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 8:01
  • Yes, that's fine too. But here the emphasis is less on the impact on the present than on the action itself.
    – fev
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 9:42

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