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Dr.Can OET Medical
Professional Teacher
Using the correct tense to write about ‘today’s visit’- Medical English with Dr. Can
Dear all,

I am Dr. Can, and I am one of the new professional teachers here in the iTalki Platform.
I will be providing small daily tips to improve your skills in Medical English.

When discussing ‘today’s visit’, you are reporting on a completed past event. However, you may not necessarily report all details from the visit using the past tense.
While this may sound confusing there are some tips you can follow to help.
  1. Past tense
For details such as test results or vital signs, which were accurate at the time of the visit, the past tense is appropriate.
  • On examination, the abdomen was tender on palpation.
  1. Present tense
For details such as lifestyle choices, the present tense is appropriate
  • Despite previous advice, Mr Hoskings is still smoking 20 cigarettes a day.
  1. Present perfect
For details which describe unresolved situations such as improvement or deterioration in the patient’s condition, the present perfect tense is appropriate.
  • Since her last visit, Mrs Baxter’s pain levels have reduced from an 8 to a 4.

It is fine to use more than one tense within the paragraph describing the visit. But always make sure you use the correct tense for the meaning you intend so as not to confuse the reader.

Do not hesitate to contact for other questions. You are also always invited to book a trial lesson with me for us to know each other and practice together.

I wish you all the best with your studies!
Dr. Can

Apr 27, 2020 10:00 AM
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Dr.Can OET Medical
Language Skills
English, German, Turkish
Learning Language
English, German