"I like horse," screams Hendry.

"I like horse," scream Hendry.

"I like horse," Hendry screams

"I like horse," Hendry screamed (why used past tense)

Say you are writing a story about people talking to each other. Which one will you use?

For example, in http://www.fanfiction.net/s/569887/1/Little-Red-Riding-Hood-The-Wolf-s-Version people use past tense to describe speech. In most stories I read people use past tense. I wonder why.

Here, another story also uses past tenses http://www.magickeys.com/books/noblegnarble/page9.html#pictop

Is there any stories that use present tense so it's easier to understand? Is using past tense the de facto standard in grammar?

  • Some very famous novels make use of present tense. guardian.co.uk/books/2004/mar/06/fiction.johnlecarre – Jim Feb 27 '13 at 3:09
  • Why do you think present tense is somehow “easier to understand” than past tense? Why would that be true? Now is but the middle of a sandwich held between a slice of the past behind it and a slice of the future before it. Once upon a time there was an old lady who lived in a shoe. – tchrist Feb 27 '13 at 3:35

"I like horse," scream Hendry.

is wrong, because in the 3rd person singular present the verb should take an 's'.

All the others are correct. The word order is flexible, and both the present and past tense are commonly used in narrations. Present tense narration is more common in informal contexts, such as telling a joke. ("A man walks into a pub....")

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