Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #21

One thing to be mindful of when writing your lyrics is (trying) to keep everything within the same tense… either being the past, present, or future tense.

Of course, you can switch between these with every verse, such as if one verse is in past tense, the next one is in present tense, and finally the last verse is in future). However, having different tenses within the same verse section can sound really awkward and ununiform.

So, here are simple ways on modifying verbs to match the correct tense you are going after:

  • Past: has, had, -ed
  • Present: is -ing, -s
  • Future: will

Another thing you can do is “neutralize” the tense. This is by strictly using the -ing form of the verbs, the to form of the verb, or avoiding all verbs completely. This will accurately make sure everything is in the correct tense, but the audience will have a harder time telling if you are in the past, present, or future.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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