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94

What is a tense? In linguistic terminology, "tense" is a part of verbal paradigm that refers specifically to the time of an utterance. It is impossible for any language to have more than three tenses in this sense, since any action is either past, present, or future. In English, we do the basic tenses this way: Present: I walk to the store. Past: I ...


34

"I am not" means "what I am doing now is not." Example: Alice: "Please don't drink and drive" Bob: "Oh, I don't" (Bob never drinks and drives) Ellen: "Please don't drink and drive" Frank: "Oh, I'm not" (Frank is not currently driving while drunk. [He could be currently drinking but stating his intention not to drive home])


31

I’m Drew Ward, the linguist who wrote the linked to pages on the CALLE site. This debate over the use of the word tense has been something that’s been coming up quite a bit lately and perhaps reflects a change in recent years among university professors in what they are and are not teaching students. A few years ago the challenge with the term tense was that ...


17

The appropriate answer to this question depends a little on your purpose, and in any case there's no single, consensually agreed upon answer. If you don't mean "tense" to have a very strict theoretical interpretation, and just want "a list of the combinations of auxiliaries/verb forms", then pretty much all logical combinations that you can make from ...


16

It has to do with the difference between these two present tenses. "I'm not mocking you" is clearer as it refers only to what is taking place at the moment when it is said. "I don't mock you" is a little ambiguous, as it could mean that the speaker never mocks the other person. I think that the alteration does improve it as it removes this ambiguity.


16

Almost all grammarians recognize only two tenses in English, present and past. That is because only they require a change in the finite form of the verb. Constructions such as the present progressive or past perfect are analysed in terms of aspect, although the present and past tenses express aspect too. For example, regular verbs have four forms. In the ...


12

Once upon a time I found a nice map of English tenses. See also this variation.


10

English has present and past tense. Forms of the verb be, in either tense, can be used with an -ing verb. This is the progressive aspect. I [see / saw / am seeing / was seeing] that. The verb have can be combined with any of those. This is the perfect. I [have seen / had seen / have been seeing / had been seeing] that. And any of those eight ...


8

As you might expect, the answer to this question really depends on your definition of "tense". If you take a very strict definition of tense as being something like the "grammaticalisation of location in time", then you generally end up concluding that English has two tenses, which you might call "past" vs "non-past" (or "past" vs "present" or... well, it ...


6

It may be either. I quote from grammaticalfeatures.net: Punctual and durative - these refer to situations which are not conceived of as lasting in time (punctual), versus situations which are conceived of as lasting for a certain period of time, however short it may be (durative). Inherently punctual situations can be further interpreted as semelfactive ...


6

There are 16, I believe: Past, Present, Future, and Future-in-the-Past, and each of those can be Indefinite (called Simple now), Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous. 4x4 = 16 different combinations.


6

There are only two tenses in English, past and present. jump, jumped. sing, sang. go, went. The "number of grammatical tenses" you refer to are compound-tenses and modals, not tenses in their own right.


5

I'm not a native english speaker, but If I say "Do not mock me" to someone, it implies that I'm thinking that one is mocking me, or going to mock me. So I think the answer might be "I'm not" or also "I won't", depending on the context. PS: Answering with "I don't mock people" also sounds right to me.


4

It depends on the context. If someone asked you how old your third cousin is (whom, for example, you rarely see), you could respond with 'He should be seventeen'. Or, if a young lady asked you the appropriate age for a young man to date, you could respond the same. The way you're phrasing it, the statement sounds like a response to a question. You could ...


4

I attempted for nearly five minutes to perceive it as a punctual verb but finally gave up.


4

"I don't mock you" is what you don't do in general. "I'm not mocking you" is specifically what you are (currently) not doing. Replacing what you don't do with with what you're not doing is the key.


4

You can find a list of tenses at http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/tenses. This page seems to cover everything except the imperative mood. If you need practice in actual tense use, try http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar/tenses.


2

It may help to consider the converse. In conversation, a person might say "I'm mocking you." While she also could say "I mock you," the phrasing seems arch or archaic at best. Since the affirmative statement would likely use the participle form, the negation using that form seems best. I also like JamesHH explanation of the tense implications.


2

As @Kaiser Octavius says, "used" isn't wrong, as you can tell by replacing this verb with another in the following sentence: "Would you mind if I came to your party?" This implies that I'll come to your party, or use your mobile, at some point in the future. "Use" is also fine. Applying the same switch above, you'd get: "Would you mind if I come?" This form ...


2

This example is Present Simple Passive.


2

Regarding 1) This is colloquial, i.e. what native speakers would say. Use this one. The commenter's suggestion "before it were too late" isn't necessary. Regarding 2) I can't imagine a scenario where that sentence would be appropriate. Adding 'would' turns the sentence into a conditional, but the first half ("Mary decided to get pregnant") is awkward ...


1

The way I hear most people say it is " before it's/it is too late." I must admit that I don't often hear people say the two you have down there.


1

Would have given is not just ‘more appropriate’. It’s the only possible construction in this context. One of the uses of the modal verb would is to express what is called ‘unreal meaning’. It is not the case that he actually did give anything. The speaker is imagining a situation in which ‘giving anything’ might be possible.


1

Both tenses of the verb are correct and either can be used. There's a subtle difference in meaning, though. Would you mind if I use your mobile? -- May I use your mobile? (asking prior permission) vs. Would you mind if I used your mobile? -- What would you think if you find that I had used your mobile? (Using it on the presumption you would not ...



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