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Grammatical tense

Grammatical tense

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A tense is a grammatical
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

 category that locates a situation in time, to indicate when the situation takes place.Bernard Comrie, Aspect, 1976:6:

the semantic concept of time reference (absolute or relative), ... may be grammaticalised in a language, i.e. a language may have a grammatical category that expresses time reference, in which case we say that the language has tenses. Many languages lack tense, i.e. do not have grammatical time reference, though probably all languages can lexicalise time reference, i.e. have temporal adverbials that locate situations in time
Some typical tenses are present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

, past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

, and future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

.

Tense can make finer distinctions than simple past-present-future; past tenses for example can cover general past, immediate past, or distant past, with the only difference between them being the distance on the timeline between the temporal reference points. Such distinctions are not precise: an event may be described in the remote past because it feels remote to the speaker, not because a set number of days have passed since it happened; it may also be remote because it is being contrasted with another, more recent, past event. This is similar to other forms of deixis
Deixis
In linguistics, deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place...

 such as this and that.

In absolute tense, as in English, tense indicates when the time of assertion, time of completion, or time of evaluation occurs relative to the utterance itself (time of utterance). In relative tense, on the other hand, tense is relative to some given event.

The number of tenses in a language may be disputed, because the term tense is often used to represent any combination of tense proper, aspect
Grammatical aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

, and mood
Grammatical mood
In linguistics, grammatical mood is a grammatical feature of verbs, used to signal modality. That is, it is the use of verbal inflections that allow speakers to express their attitude toward what they are saying...

. In many texts the term "tense" may erroneously indicate qualities of uncertainty, frequency, completion, duration, possibility, or whether information derives from experience or hearsay (evidentiality
Evidentiality
In linguistics, evidentiality is, broadly, the indication of the nature of evidence for a given statement; that is, whether evidence exists for the statement and/or what kind of evidence exists. An evidential is the particular grammatical element that indicates evidentiality...

). Tense differs from aspect, which encodes how a situation or action occurs in time rather than when. In many languages, there are grammatical forms which express several of these meanings (see tense–aspect–mood).

In languages which have tenses, they are normally usually indicated by a verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

 or modal verb
Modal verb
A modal verb is a type of auxiliary verb that is used to indicate modality -- that is, likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation...

. Some languages only have grammatical expression of time through aspect; others have neither tense nor aspect. Some East Asian isolating language
Isolating language
An isolating language is a type of language with a low morpheme-per-word ratio — in the extreme case of an isolating language words are composed of a single morpheme...

s such as Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

 express time with temporal adverbs, but these are not required, and the verbs are not inflected for tense. In Slavic languages such as Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 a verb may be inflected for both tense and aspect together.

Etymology


Tense comes from Old French tens "time", from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

  "time", a translation of Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

  "time". "Tense" as an adjective is unrelated, since it comes from the perfect passive participle of the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 verb tendere "stretch".

Latin and Ancient Greek


The word "tense" is used in the grammar of Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 as a morphological category of verbs. Latin is said to have six tenses:
  • Present
  • Imperfect
  • Future
  • Perfect
  • Pluperfect
  • Future perfect


The tenses of Ancient Greek are similar, with an additional tense called the aorist. The study of modern languages like English has been greatly influenced
History of English grammars
The history of English grammars begins late in the sixteenth century with the Pamphlet for Grammar by William Bullokar. In the early works, the structure and rules of English grammar were contrasted with those of Latin...

 by the grammar of these languages, and their terminology is sometimes used to describe modern languages. This leads to sentences like "He had walked" in English being labelled as "pluperfect". Another example is that six tenses in German have been identified which correspond to the six Latin tenses above.

English



English has two true tenses, past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

 and present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

 (sometimes analysed as non-past). These are distinguished by the inflection of the verb, by either ablaut or a suffix
Suffix
In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs...

 -ed (walks ~ walked, sings ~ sang). The future is expressed with a modal
Modal verb
A modal verb is a type of auxiliary verb that is used to indicate modality -- that is, likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation...

 construction, which is not a true tense, and does not always appear (it is optional in subordinate constructions such as I hope you (will) go tomorrow, and is prohibited with other modals as in I can go tomorrow, but past tense cannot be similarly omitted: *I hope you go yesterday, *I can go yesterday). English also has so-called "compound tenses", such as the past perfect and present progressive, which use modals to combine tense with other grammatical categories such as aspect.
Tense, aspect, and modals in English
Tense | Modal | Aspect
Perfect Progressive
-Ø (nonpast)
-ed (past)
Ø (none)
will (future)
Ø (none)
have -en (perfect)
Ø (none)
be -ing (progressive)
go, goes
went
will go have gone be going


Traditional grammars often considered will to be a future marker and described English as having two non-inflected tenses, a future marked by will and a future-in-past marked by would.

Other languages


Indo-European languages
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 inflect verbs for a variety of tenses, aspects, and moods, as well as combining them with verbal auxiliaries
Auxiliary verb
In linguistics, an auxiliary verb is a verb that gives further semantic or syntactic information about a main or full verb. In English, the extra meaning provided by an auxiliary verb alters the basic meaning of the main verb to make it have one or more of the following functions: passive voice,...

, the most common of which are "be", "have", and modal auxiliaries such as English will, Danish vil . Romance and Germanic languages often add "hold", "stand", "go", or "come" as auxiliary verbs. For example, Spanish and Portuguese use estar ("to be") with the present gerund to indicate the present continuous aspect. Portuguese uses ter ("to have") with the past participle for the perfect. Swedish uses kommer att ("come to") for the simple future. Portuguese/Spanish ir and French aller ("to go") have the same sense of simple future. These compound verb
Compound verb
In linguistics, a compound verb or complex predicate is a multi-word compound that acts as a single verb. One component of the compound is a light verb or vector, which carries any inflections, indicating tense, mood, or aspect, but provides only fine shades of meaning...

 constructions are often known as "complex tenses" or "compound tenses", despite involving more than tense.

Examples of tense and aspect in some Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 and Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 verbs for "to go" are shown in the table below.
Tense/aspect Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

: English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

:
to go
Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

: German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

:
gehen
Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

: Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

:
gaan
Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

: Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

:
at gå
Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

: Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

:
att gå(walk)
Celtic
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

: Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

:
téigh
Romance
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

: Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

:
andare
Romance
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

: Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

:
ir
Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

: Bulgarian
Bulgarian language
Bulgarian is an Indo-European language, a member of the Slavic linguistic group.Bulgarian, along with the closely related Macedonian language, demonstrates several linguistic characteristics that set it apart from all other Slavic languages such as the elimination of case declension, the...

:
отивам/отида1
Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

: Macedonian
Macedonian language
Macedonian is a South Slavic language spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia but also in the Macedonian diaspora...

:
оди
Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

: Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

:
mennä
Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

: Latin:
ire/vadere
Romance
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

: French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

:
aller
Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

: Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

:
gitmek
Non-durational (simple) Aspects in Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

I go. Ich gehe. Ik ga. Jeg går. Jag går. Téim. (Io) vado. (Eu) vou. (Аз) отивам.
(Аз да) отида.
Јас одам (Minä) menen. (Ego) eo/vado. Je vais. Giderim.
In most languages this is used for most present indicative uses. In English, it is used mainly to express habit or ability (I play the guitar).
Non-durational (simple) Aspects in Past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

I went. Ich ging. Ik ging. Jeg gik. Jag gick. Chuaigh mé. (Io) andai. (Eu) fui. (Аз) отидох.
(Аз) отивах.
Јас отидов. (Minä) menin. J'allais/je suis allé Gittim.
Implies that the action took place in the past and that it is not taking place now.
Non-durational (simple) Aspects in Future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

I will go. Ich werde gehen. Ik zal gaan. Jeg vil gå.3 Jag ska gå.3 Rachaidh mé. (Io) andrò. (Eu) irei. (Аз) ще отида.
(Аз) ще отивам.
Јас ќе одам. (Minä) tulen menemään.4 (Ego) ibo/vadam. J'irai Gideceğim.
Can express intention, prediction, and other senses.
Durational (progressive/continuous) Aspects in Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

I am going. Ich bin am gehen.5 Ik ben aan het gaan. / Ik ben gaande. Jeg er gående. "Jag är gåendes" Tá mé ag dul. (Io) sto andando. (Eu) estou indo. (Аз) отивам. (Minä) olen menossa. (Ego) eo/vado.

((Ego) iens/vadens sum.)
Je suis en train d'aller. Gidiyorum.
This form is prevalent in English to express current action. Durational aspects are most common in languages in which the Aktionsart
Aktionsart
The lexical aspect or aktionsart of a verb is a part of the way in which that verb is structured in relation to time. Any event, state, process, or action which a verb expresses—collectively, any eventuality—may also be said to have the same lexical aspect...

 of the verb is not a heavily governing factor in determining grammatical structure. Durational aspects use a structural form of the utterance to override the otherwise non-durational Aktionsart of content verbs.
Durational (progressive/continuous) Aspects in Past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

I was going. Ich war am gehen.5 Ik was aan het gaan. / Ik was gaande. Jeg var gående. / Jeg skulle til at gå2. Jag var på väg att gå2 Bhí mé ag dul. (Io) stavo andando. (Eu) estava indo/ia. (Аз) отивах. (Minä) olin menossa. (Ego) ibam/vadebam.

((Ego) fui iens/vadens sum)
Gidiyordum.
Durational (progressive/continuous) Aspects in Future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

I will be going. Ich werde am gehen sein.5 Ik zal aan het gaan zijn. / Ik zal gaande zijn. Jeg skal til at gå. Beidh me ag dul. (Eu) estarei indo. (Аз) щях да отида Gidiyor olacağım.
Perfected Non-durational (simple) Aspects in Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

I have gone. Ich bin gegangen. Ik ben gegaan. Jeg har gået. Jag har gått. Tá me i ndiaidh dul. (Io) sono andato. (Eu) fui/tenho ido. Аз съм отишъл.
Аз съм отивал.
Јас имам отидено. (Minä) olen mennyt. (Ego) ii/vasi. Je suis allé.
Refers to a verb that is completed as of the present (as of the Time of Utterance).
Perfected Non-durational (simple) Aspects in Past I had gone. Ich war gegangen. Ik was gegaan. Jeg havde gået. Jag hade gått. Bhí mé i ndiaidh dul. (Io) ero andato / (Io) fui andato. (Eu) fora/havia (tinha) ido. (Аз) бях отишъл.
(Аз) бях отивал.
Јас имав отидено (Minä) olin mennyt. (Ego) ieram/vaseram J'étais allé. Gitmiştim
Refers to a verb that is completed as of a time in the past (before the Time of Utterance).
Perfected Non-durational (simple) Aspects in Future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

I shall have gone. Ich werde gegangen sein. Ik zal gegaan zijn. Jeg vil have gået. Jag kommer att ha gått. Beidh mé i ndiaidh dul. (Io) sarò andato. (Eu) terei ido. (Аз) ще съм отишъл.
(Аз) ще съм отивал.
Јас ќе имам отидено. (Minä) olen tullut menemään (Ego) iero/vasero. Je serai allé. Gitmiş olacağım.
Refers to a verb that is completed as of a time in the future (after the Time of Utterance).
Perfected Durational (progressive/continuous) Aspects in Present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

I have been going. Ich bin am gehen gewesen.5 Ik ben aan het gaan geweest. (Eu) estive indo.
Expresses the completed duration of an event or habit started at some time prior to the TUTT and continues up to the TCOM which coincides with TUTT and may continue beyond that TCOM, but whose duration is only measurable up to TCOM.
Perfected Durational (progressive/continuous) Aspects in Past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

I had been going. Ich war am gehen gewesen.5 Ik was aan het gaan geweest. (Eu) estara indo/tinha estado indo.
Expresses the completed duration of an event or habit started at some time prior to the Time of Utterance and continues up to the TCOM which is also prior to TUTT and which may continue beyond that TCOM, but whose duration is only measurable up to TCOM.
Perfected Durational (progressive/continuous) Aspects in Future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

I shall have been going. Ik zal aan het gaan geweest zijn. / Ik zal gaande geweest zijn. Eu terei estado indo (Аз) щях да съм отишъл.
Expresses the completed duration of an event or habit started at some time before, after, or concurrent with the Time of Utterance and continues up to the TCOM which is after TUTT and which may continue beyond that TCOM, but whose duration is only measurable up to TCOM.

1 Oтивам and отида are two different verbs meaning "to go", which do not differ semantically, but grammatically. Their aspect
Grammatical aspect
In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

 is different, the first one is an incompletive verb and the second one is a completive verb.

2 This only works with adverbs, as in "I was going when someone suddenly stopped me"; not just "I was going to their house". Otherwise, the corresponding simple tense is used.

3 This is not a true future tense, but a going-to future
Going-to future
Going-to future is a term used to describe an English sentence structure referring to the future, making use of the verb phrase to be going to...

, as its exact meaning is I am going to go.

4 The use of the verb tulla "to come" to express a future tense is a sveticism
Sveticism
A sveticism is a loanword or calque originating from the Swedish language.Sveticisms are particularly found in the Finnish language, because the governing bureaucracy was mostly Swedish-speaking until the 20th century. The use of Swedish grammar constructions in official speech is a particularly...

 and is recommended against by the language regulator
Research Institute for the Languages of Finland
The Research Institute for the Languages of Finland is a governmental linguistic research institute of Finland geared at studies of Finnish, Swedish , the Sami languages, Romani language, and the Finnish Sign Language....

. Official Finnish has no future tense, and even the use of this tulen-construction is uncommon in unofficial contexts. Thus, the present tense is used. However, a telic
Telicity
In linguistics, telicity is the property of a verb or verb phrase that presents an action or event as being complete in some sense...

 object may implicitly communicate the time, which has no direct equivalent in English.

5 Used only in colloquial language in the Rhineland area.

Classification


Tenses are broadly classified as present
Present tense
The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

, past
Past tense
The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

, or future
Future tense
In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

. In absolute-tense systems, these indicate the temporal distance from the time of utterance
TUTT (Linguistics)
In linguistics, TUTT is an abbreviation for the time of utterance, the primary temporal reference in establishing tense....

. In relative-tense systems, they indicate temporal distance from a point of time established in the discourse. There are also absolute-relative tenses, which are two degrees removed from the temporal reference point, such as future-in-future (at some time in the future, event will still be in the future) and future-in-past (at some time in the past, event was in the future).

Many languages do not grammaticalize
Grammaticalisation
In linguistics, grammaticalization is a process by which words representing objects and actions transform through sound change and language migration to become grammatical objects...

 all three categories. For instance, English has past and non-past
Nonpast tense
A nonpast tense is a grammatical tense that distinguishes a verbal action as taking place in times present or future, as opposed to past tense...

 ("present"); other languages may have future and non-future
Nonfuture tense
A nonfuture tense is a grammatical tense that distinguishes a verbal action as having taken place in times past or times present, as opposed to future tense.http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsNonfutureTense.htm The tense is found in the Rukai, a language of Taiwan....

. In some languages, there is not a single past or future tense, but finer divisions of time, such as proximal vs. distant future, experienced vs. ancestral past, or past and present today vs. before and after today.

Some attested tenses:
  • Future tense
    Future tense
    In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future , or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future .-Expressions of future tense:The concept of the future,...

    s.
    • Immediate future: right now
    • Near future: soon
    • Hodiernal future
      Hodiernal tense
      A hodiernal tense is a grammatical tense for the current day .Hodiernal tenses refer to events of today or of the day under consideration ....

      : later today
    • Vespertine future: this evening
    • Post-hodiernal: after today
    • Crastinal
      Crastinal tense
      A crastinal tense is a future tense applied to a following or subsequent day. Crastinal tense refers to an event which will occur tomorrow or the following day . A post-crastinal tense indicates some time after tomorrow or the following day....

      : tomorrow
    • Remote future, distant future
    • Posterior tense (relative future tense)
  • Nonfuture tense
    Nonfuture tense
    A nonfuture tense is a grammatical tense that distinguishes a verbal action as having taken place in times past or times present, as opposed to future tense.http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsNonfutureTense.htm The tense is found in the Rukai, a language of Taiwan....

    : refers to either the present or the past, but does not clearly specify which. Contrasts with future.
  • Present tense
    Present tense
    The present tense is a grammatical tense that locates a situation or event in present time. This linguistic definition refers to a concept that indicates a feature of the meaning of a verb...

    • Still tense: indicates a situation held to be the case, at or immediately before the utterance
  • Nonpast tense
    Nonpast tense
    A nonpast tense is a grammatical tense that distinguishes a verbal action as taking place in times present or future, as opposed to past tense...

    : refers to either the present or the future, but does not clearly specify which. Contrasts with past.
  • Past tense
    Past tense
    The past tense is a grammatical tense that places an action or situation in the past of the current moment , or prior to some specified time that may be in the speaker's past, present, or future...

    s. Some languages have different past tenses to indicate how far into the past we are talking about.
    • Immediate past: very recent past, just now
    • Recent past: in the last few days/weeks/months (conception varies)
      • Nonrecent past: contrasts with recent past
    • Hodiernal past
      Hodiernal tense
      A hodiernal tense is a grammatical tense for the current day .Hodiernal tenses refer to events of today or of the day under consideration ....

      : earlier today
    • Matutinal past: this morning
    • Prehodiernal: before today
    • Hesternal
      Hesternal tense
      A hesternal tense is a past tense for the previous day. Hesternal tense refers to an event which occurred yesterday or on the preceding day . A pre-hesternal tense refers to an event which occurred prior to yesterday or the previous day....

      : yesterday or early, but not remote
    • Prehesternal: before yesterday
    • Remote past: more than a few days/weeks/months ago (conception varies)
      • Nonremote past: contrasts with remote past
    • Ancestral past, legendary past
    • General past: the entire past conceived as a whole
    • Anterior tense (relative past tense)

See also

  • Sequence of tenses
    Sequence of tenses
    In grammar, the sequence of tenses is a rule of a particular language governing the relationship between the grammatical tenses of verbs in related clauses or sentences to show the temporal relationship of the events to...

  • Grammatical conjugation
    Grammatical conjugation
    In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection . Conjugation may be affected by person, number, gender, tense, aspect, mood, voice, or other grammatical categories...

  • Grammatical mood
    Grammatical mood
    In linguistics, grammatical mood is a grammatical feature of verbs, used to signal modality. That is, it is the use of verbal inflections that allow speakers to express their attitude toward what they are saying...

  • Grammatical aspect
    Grammatical aspect
    In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb is a grammatical category that defines the temporal flow in a given action, event, or state, from the point of view of the speaker...

  • Nominal TAM
    Nominal TAM
    Nominal TAM is the indication of tense–aspect–mood by inflecting a noun, rather than a verb. In clausal nominal TAM, the noun indicates TAM information about the clause....

  • Tense–aspect–mood
  • Verb
    Verb
    A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...


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