UnknowableWiki:Verb Tense Policy

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Below is the policy on the Unknowable Wiki for the use of the past and present tenses of verbs in articles on the site.

General Rules

  • The present tense should be used for descriptions that have not changed and habitual actions. It should also be used when talking about events in literature and film.
  • The past tense should be used for descriptions that have changed as well as descriptions of the deceased. It should also be used to describe actions of people or characters, as well as for telling the histories of various subjects.

Potterverse

  • Character pages:
    • Character descriptions:
      • For characters who, as of the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, are alive, descriptions should be written in the present tense, e.g. "Hermione Granger has brown, bushy hair." An exception to this rule is descriptions that are no longer true, which should be written in the past tense, e.g. "Hermione had protruding front teeth until her fourth year."
      • For characters who, as of the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, are deceased, descriptions should be written in the past tense, e.g. "Lily Evans had red hair, often described as auburn."
    • Write all characters' actions in the past tense, e.g. "Harry purchased his wand from Ollivander's with Hagrid on his eleventh birthday."
    • When describing fanon, use the present tense.
  • Other pages:
    • Pages describing items, such as herbs and artifacts, should be written in the present tense, e.g. "A pensieve is a stone bowl used to hold thoughts and memories." Incidents in the Harry Potter books in which the items appear should also be written in the present tense, e.g. "Hermione uses a time-turner to enable her to take multiple classes at the same time."
    • Pages describing creatures should be written in the present tense, e.g. "An Acromantula is a very large spider." Incidents in the Harry Potter books in which the creatures appear should also be written in the present tense, e.g. "Hagrid creates Blast-Ended Skrewts in Harry's fourth year."
      • In the case of specific, named creatures (who may be considered characters), e.g. Buckbeak and Fawkes, the creatures' specific pages should be treated as character pages. General creature pages should follow the format specified above.
    • Pages describing places should be written in the present tense, unless the place has ceased to exist, e.g. "Hogwarts is a magical school located in Scotland." The history of the place, if relevant to the article, should be written in the past tense, e.g. "Hogwarts was founded by Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin"; however, incidents from the Harry Potter books which involve the place should be written in present tense, e.g. "Hogwarts students in third year and above often go to Hogsmeade on scheduled weekends."
    • Descriptions of special, one-time events (such as the Quidditch World Cup or the Yule Ball) should be written in the past tense, e.g. "The Yule Ball of 1994 was held in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, which was liberally decorated with festive items." Occurrences that took place within these events should be written in the present tense, e.g. "At the Yule Ball, Hermione and Viktor Krum dance together, causing Ron Weasley to lose his temper," or "After the Quidditch World Cup, several Death Eaters go on a rampage through the camps."

Real World

  • Book pages:
  • Movie pages:
    • Events which occur in the Harry Potter movies should be related in the present tense. Events surrounding the movies should be related in the past tense, e.g. "Many fans were upset over the omission of the explanation of the Marauders' identity in the movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
  • People pages:
    • Descriptions of people who are currently alive (e.g. J.K. Rowling, Roomies, Daniel Radcliffe) should be written in present tense, e.g. "J.K. Rowling lives in Edinburgh, in Scotland." The exception is when these descriptions are no longer true; e.g. "J.K. Rowling was a single mother."
    • Descriptions of people who are deceased (e.g. Richard Harris) should be written in past tense, e.g. "Richard Harris was a British actor."
    • When relating people's biographies and actions, use the past tense, e.g. "Daniel Radcliffe starred in Equus in London in 2006."
  • Fanfiction pages:
    • When describing terms used in fanfiction, use the present tense.
    • When describing fanon, use the present tense.
    • When describing fan sites, use the present tense. However, if relating the history of a site, write in the past tense.
    • When describing the Harry Potter fandom, use the present tense. However, events occurring in relation to the fandom and the history of the fandom should be related in the past tense.
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