I am supposed to present the famous Gregor Mendel's 1865 genetics paper. So what tense I am supposed to present it in? Whether I must use present tense or past tense? A general advise regarding presentation viewpoint would be helpful.

  • What context are you being asked to present it in? Are you being asked to present it, or are you being asked to present your understanding of its content (possibly drawing in other sources)? – Lyndon White Aug 10 '14 at 7:35
  • @Oxinabox : The Professor asked the students just to present some classic papers which he gave. – dexterdev Aug 10 '14 at 7:58

It depends on your sentence construction. Use the past tense when talking about what Mendel did, since he did it 150 years ago; use the present tense when talking about what the paper says, since the paper still says that now. For example, "Mendel did experiments on pea plants. His paper describes the results."

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    @dexterdev In general, it's a good idea to wait a little while before accepting an answer. Maybe everyone else will think my answer is terrible and down-vote it, or maybe somebody else will provide a better answer. – David Richerby Aug 10 '14 at 8:04
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    +1 for both your suggestion to wait to accept an answer, but also for your answer itself. I agree with your policy. Past tense for the research actions themselves, but the paper is always "talking" to us now, in the present tense. – Nicholas Aug 10 '14 at 8:30
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    Not only is the paper talking to us now, but the things it describes (Mendelian inheritance) is happening now just as it happened in Mendel's time (well, not quite, since I've heard that he fudged the experimental results, but the ideas are broadly correct). – Max Aug 10 '14 at 14:03
  • @DavidRicherby : I will take that advise. But now since there are no other answers, its OK right. – dexterdev Aug 11 '14 at 9:06
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    @dexterdev No problem. Just something to bear in mind next time. (In any case, I think you can change your mind about which answer is accepted, if something awesome comes up later.) – David Richerby Aug 11 '14 at 9:08

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