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93

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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 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.


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

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

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 as 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, ...


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 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 ...


1

And though thou hadst means "although you have", and is read the same way today as two centuries ago. I am no scholar, but I don't think it the subjunctive, but merely the indicative. As you know, the subjunctive expresses a wish, a suggestion, a command, or a condition that is contrary to fact (today... and then?) Would I were sleep and peace, so ...


1

Does "And though thou hadst" here mean "And even if you had" or "And although you had"—or is it impossible to tell? I think it's impossible to tell: because although "hadst" is the subjective, it's also the indicative. If it is impossible to tell, were listeners and readers in Shakespearean/Jonsonian times accustomed to having to draw their own ...


1

I quote from The American Heritage Dictionary (Fifth Edition). The quote settles the question adequately. A traditional rule requires the use of were rather than was in a contrary-to-fact statement that follows 'wish': "I wish I were (not was) lighter on my feet." While many people do insist on upholding this rule, the indicative was in such clauses ...


1

Since E is not Elliott Smith (and never will be), it is appropriate to use the subjunctive mood ("were").



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