Forums: Index > The Wizengamot > Verb tense policy

Greetings all--

I am a 52-year old man from Ohio, USA. I've been enjoying tying together snippets of information about the HP universe by reading the articles here. (I've seen all the films but have not read the Order of the Phoenix or Half-Blood Prince novels yet, so there have been gaps in my knowledge.)

I have spent a good deal of my life working as a writer and editor (and as a scholar--I have been to graduate school twice and have taught English several times), and it makes me crazy reading articles that switch back and forth between present and past tense, sometimes within sentences, and often from one sentence to another. I have joined this Wiki in hopes that I may be able to lend my editorial skills to smoothing out some of the grammatical and stylistic inconsistencies that I see.

I don't want to just plunge in without getting a bit of the lay of the land here, I found a reference to the editorial policy that explains why past tense is preferred here; my understanding is that because everything that happened in the books (apart from the epilogue) happened in the past from the perspective of today, past tense is to be preferred.

While I acknowledge the logic of this thinking, I think it important to point out that in the literary world at large, it is far more common to synopsize narratives in the present tense--I have always understood the reasoning to be that in the book the action is always current, and therefore timeless--and not in the past tense.

I doubt that I will be able to change any policies given how established this site is, and I am here to help, not to interfere, so any editing I do I will do according to policy to the best of my ability. This wiki is new to me and I don't have much experience with code, so I'm sure I will be a long time in catching up as far as making this infrastructure work for me.

If anybody wishes to suggest pages that are in particular need of grammatical or stylistic help, I welcome suggestions. Otherwise, I will probably just dig in as I read whatever I happen to be reading, correcting as I go. I intend to avoid correcting plot-points since my experience is limited to five books and eight movies, unless I am sure that something has clearly been misrepresented or muddled.

At your service,

Xrysostom 17:43, June 14, 2012 (UTC)

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