Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

102

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 ...


62

Because you have been taught an oversimplification. Most English speakers would have no idea what you were talking about if you mentioned the "interrogative mood". People put a question mark on the end if it feels like a question. Conversely, a polite order like Would you sit down. or a less polite one like Will you sit down! are often ...


46

There are two ways of using those sentences. One is the literal imperative, but the other is an informal form of the question "Can you guess....". The latter version is, in fact, often spoken with a rising inflection at the end, and is understood as an invitation/query rather than a command. I'd say that the question mark is, in fact, an indication that the ...


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

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 ...


14

Because if a sentence starts with guess, it's often followed by an interrogative adverb (who, what, why, when, where, how, how much, ...), which starts a question. Guess what? Guess who came? If you can construct a sentence that starts with guess but is not followed by an interrogative adverb, chances are you don't need to end with a questionmark. Guess ...


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 ...


8

The word mood in this sense is a grammatical term which refers to the form of the verb: it is not a property of the sentence. One of the traditional moods is called subjunctive: it is moribund in English, and not used at all by some people. One of its uses is to mark irrealis conditionals, that is to say "if" clauses where the speaker is not suggesting ...


8

This is not an issue of grammar as the question supposes, it's an issue of orthography, or the methodology of writing a language. It includes rules of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation. Because orthography is inherently conventional, and the point of orthography is to encode in writing the original ...


7

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.


7

The question is whether the subjunctive carries forward into subordinate clauses that are governed by a completely different subordinate conjunction.. In English, it generally does not. Let's take your initial fragment: And, that's if he could get elected after 35% of Americans turned out in opposition to both parties and a new popular movement was ...


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.


6

Because "Guess who is coming?" is usually actually a lazy "(Can you) guess who is coming?"


6

It's phrased as a question which anticipates an answer. In American lingo the sentence would be asked with a distinct elevation in pitch similar to any other question. Certain regions of the US have a tendency to make all spoken statements sound like questions, a phenomenon known as "up-speak." More women than men use that vocal technique.


6

What happened? is a question. Guess what happened! Is not strictly a question. But it is an idiomatic expression that is really an informal way of asking "Do you know what happened?" The usual responses are "in the form, "I don't know, what happened?" or "I know! I already saw the new iPhone and it's an ugly monster!" As an editor, I would not consider a ...


6

You are taking a prescriptive approach to the rules of language. Many of us do not. If you said "Guess who's coming to town" you would expect an answer. Therefore you have posed a question. Take the linguistic world as it is and disregard the preconceived ideas about how it ought to be. In this view of the world the rules mentioned do not matter. One ...


6

Yes. All these sentences are definitely in Imperative Mood. But don't draw any semantic conclusions from the rather solemn sound of the grammatical term.


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.


3

I would say it is none of them. In such cases as this (often found in poetry), English has the ability to use the base form of a verb without implying any specific morphological form whatsoever. This is similar to the injunctive found in Vedic Sanskrit and (more limited) Ancient Greek. Basically, it's a verb form that says nothing real about mood, aspect, ...


3

This is about as silly an argument as I have ever encountered in Shakespearean scholarship — even sillier than the celebrated Impediment of Adipose. Jonson's compliment is a fairly pretty one: “Despite your lack of a Classical Education (like Mine), your work commands the admiration of the Classical Masters.” But the reading Ingleby urges makes no sense at ...


2

Given that could refers to a hypothetical situation, how can that situation be expressed? Could is a modal auxiliary verb. It is one of the four "Diamond" modal auxiliaries: can, could, may, might Diamond modals all express the logical modal Possible. The other five modal auxiliaries (called "Square" modals) all express the logical modal ...


1

You're correct. Guess is usually an imperative verb and a sentence using it that way should not end with a question mark. The publications that do have an editor who's asleep and didn't catch the error.


1

Depression: it's a lack of emotion, no desire, no feeling. Also update thy verb conjugation, for ’tis the twenty-first century already.


1

You have two levels of uncertainty here (technically, "moods"): Certain I will eat rice I have eaten rice I had eaten rice Uncertain I would eat rice I would have eaten rice I should eat rice I should have eaten rice I may eat rice I may have eaten rice I might eat rice I might have eaten rice Essentially with ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible