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What tense should be used in writing the previous researches? For the following example, which one should I revise? Or I could always use any tense although the research has passed?

More than 20,000 bioactive metabolites are of microbial origin (Berdy 2005).
Starting from 2007 to 2010 there were only approximately 200 publications on endophyte diversity. Further, these publications were mainly used morphology and molecular data as the basis of identification (2011).

Thank you.

marked as duplicate by ColleenV, Nathan Tuggy, Peter, shin, Varun Nair Jul 18 '16 at 5:33

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  • Research is not really a count noun, and thus researches is only a verb, not a noun. – tchrist Apr 19 '13 at 2:09
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Talking of past publications, I would use the past tense, as you did. That is if I don't have to follow a specific style, or I am not supposed to write how a specific style manual tells me.

Notice that in your last sentence you are using the passive voice, when you should use the active voice.

Further, these publications mainly used morphology and molecular data as the basis of identification (2011).

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The tense used is less important than being consistent. Another important consideration is eliminating the inevitable verbosity and awkwardness of biomedical English. Sometimes the latter is difficult to do without a major rewrite, but what I've given you below is much better than the original. I'm not claiming that it's perfect or beautiful, just briefer and clearer, both pluses for biomedical readers.

More than 20,000 bioactive metabolites are of microbial origin (Berdy 2005). From 2007 to 2010, only about 200 articles on endophyte diversity were published, and most of them used morphological and molecular data to identify the metabolites ([AUTHOR NAME] 2011).

I wouldn't use present tense here unless you're about to review those 200 articles. But it really doesn't matter unless the journal's style manual states a preference or requirement for past or present tense.

  • Thank you. Yes, the consideration is although some researches have passed (marked by the year) but the results still happen until today, and some others will be in the future. I am giving you another example: "From those two species, C. ledgeriana is chosen for its economic value, because it is believed to have the highest quinine content amongst the plants in the genus Cinchona (Maehara 2011)." What is your opinion? – rusticmystic Apr 17 '13 at 12:24
  • @Des: "From those two species, C. ledgeriana was chosen for its economic value, because it was believed to have the highest quinine content of the plants in the genus Cinchona (Maehara 2011)." – user264 Apr 17 '13 at 13:24
  • Thank you! I always appreciate your guidance to improve my English. Please tell me if you have your own site/blog so I could explore more of my English knowledge, I would join. Blessings!!! – rusticmystic Apr 19 '13 at 12:07
  • @Des: Thank you. I don't have an active blog. I don't think reading general advice about how to improve your English is very helpful. What's necessary is very specific commentary about your writing, not somebody else's writing: it's personal, sometimes painful, sometimes expensive, & always requires that the writer be constantly aware of what she wants to say, how she says it, & whether it actually says what she means & means what she says. – user264 Apr 19 '13 at 12:37
  • I always love every step I make. While I am doing that I would rather focus on the 'journey' itself. In this case, I should concern more about the essence by learning here, rather than only collecting the points. Observing is always interesting for me. I hope you follow me. Good morning with blessings! – rusticmystic Apr 19 '13 at 12:48

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