In business writing, if you make mistakes with your tenses, there are two possible outcomes:
Outcome 1: The mistake is small and does not affect understanding.
Wrong: Last week, the manager meet the client.
The word “meet” is in the wrong tense, as this is a past event.
Correct: Last week, the manager met the client.
This can be considered a small mistake, as the words “Last week” make it clear that the event is now over.
However, it makes the writer look careless and irresponsible.
Outcome 2: The reader will have no idea what you are saying. In other words, your message is a mystery.
Wrong: The technician interview inform Peter that the part not in stock.
Understanding is impossible here, as the writer has disregarded the use of tense forms.
Here are some possible interpretations of this sentence:
- The technician interviewed informed Peter that the part had not been in stock.
- The technician interviewed informed Peter that the part was not in stock.
- The technician interviewed informed Peter that the part would not be in stock.
- The interview of the technician confirmed for Peter that the part was not in stock.
If a message can be interpreted in so many ways, it is a weak message. (Shockingly, this was extracted from a report.)
Use grammar correctly in your writing. Pay attention to the time reference of occurrences, and use tense forms accordingly to describe them.
Don’t be a mystery to your reader!