A Tense Debate

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We recently conducted a survey of over 1000 writers and readers to find out which tenses people most enjoy to write and read, or a scale of 1 to 10. Some interesting findings.

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  • 3rd Person past tense is the preferred tense of both writers and readers overall.
  • 3rd Person present is the least liked overall, but writers like writing it a whole 20% less than readers like reading it.
  • Writers who self-identify as hobbyists are less likely to use both present tense and 1st person.
  • Readers who are also writers tend to like 3rd person present a lot less than those who are not. Bad experience, maybe? Who can say.
  • Hobbyist writers seem to hate 3rd person present, with less than 5% rating their comfort writing it at over a 3 out of 10.
  • Readers tend to like 3rd person, Past tense the best, with 90% rating it 6 or higher. 1st person past tense is a close second. This response reflects the distribution of these tenses in fiction books today.

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