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The English verb tense system by Mind Map: The English verb tense system
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The English verb tense system

A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), or a state of being (be, exist, stand). In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive. In many languages, verbs are inflected (modified in form) to encode tense, aspect, mood and voice. A verb may also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object. In languages where the verb is inflected, it often agrees with its primary argument (the subject) in person, number and/or gender. With the exception of the verb to be, English shows distinctive agreement only in the third person singular, present tense form of verbs, which is marked by adding "-s" (I walk, he walks) or "-es" (he fishes). The rest of the persons are not distinguished in the verb (I walk, you walk, they walk, etc.). Latin and the Romance languages inflect verbs for...


In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual (traditional) description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and to be, and so on are infinitives. As with many linguistic concepts, there is not a single definition of infinitive that applies to all languages. Many Native American languages and some languages in Africa and Aboriginal Australia simply do not have infinitives or verbal nouns. In their place they use finite verb forms used in ordinary clauses or special constructions. In languages that have infinitives, they generally have most of the following properties : However, it bears repeating that none of the above is a defining quality of the infinitive; infinitives do not have all these properties in every language, as it is shown below, and other verb forms may have one or more of them. For example, English gerunds and participles have most of...

Simple present

The simple present or present simple is one of the present tenses used in modern English, the others being the present continuous and the emphatic present. It is called "present" because it is often (but not exclusively) used in referring to the present time, and it is called "simple" because it consists of only a single word. In the third person singular of the simple present it is formed (with two exceptions) by adding s or es to the bare infinitive, as in "He sees you", while in all other person/number combinations the present simple is identical to the bare infinitive, as in "They see you" or "I see you". The two exceptions are "to have" and "to be": "to have" retains the bare infinitive form outside the third person singular, but in the third person singular it uses "has" as in he has a car; "to be" uses "am" in the first person singular, "is" in the third person singular, and "are" in all other person/number combinations, as in I am here, you are here, she is here. The simple...

Present continuous

The continuous and progressive aspects (abbreviated cont and prog) are grammatical aspects that express incomplete action in progress at a specific time: they are non-habitual, imperfective aspects. It is a verb category with two principal meaning components: (limited) duration and (possible) incompletion. Most languages treat continuous and progressive aspects as alike and use the two terms interchangeably, but there are languages that distinguish them. As with other grammatical categories, the precise semantics of the aspects vary from language to language, and from grammarian to grammarian. For example, some grammars of Turkish count the -iyor form as a present tense; some as a progressive tense; and some as both a continuous (nonhabitual imperfective) and a progressive (continuous non-stative) aspect. The progressive aspect expresses the dynamic quality of actions that are in progress while the continuous aspect expresses the state of the subject that is continuing the action....

Simple past

The simple past, sometimes called the preterite, is the past tense of Modern English. It is used to describe events in the past. It may combine with either or both of two aspects, the perfect and the progressive. When the simple past is employed in the subjunctive mood, it is called the subjunctive imperfect. If the base verb ends in /d/ or /t/, the regular past-tense ending -ed is pronounced /ɨd/; after all other unvoiced consonants it becomes /t/, and in all remaining cases (other voiced consonants and vowels) it is pronounced /d/. The simple past is formed by adding -ed to the end of an infinitive and then removing the to, for example:ecomes tried All the irregular verbs have different forms: to go becomes went, to buy becomes bought, to cut becomes cut, etc. One uses the simple past for actions or situations that one has completed in the past at a definite time. The time can be given in the sentence: I came home at 6 o'clock. The time is asked about: When did they get...


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Past continuous

Past continuous describes actions and states continued in the past period of time. The construction of a past continuous is similar to the present continuous tense, in that it has a past simple form of 'to be' instead of a present simple form preceding the present participle. An example of a past continuous inside a sentence is 'I was painting the house.' There's the past simple form of 'to be' in the finite position (was), with the present participle of 'to paint' (painting) following it.

The present perfect

The present perfect is a grammatical combination of the present tense and the perfect aspect, used to express a past event that has present consequences. An example is "I have eaten" (so I'm not hungry). Depending on the specific language, the events described by present perfects are not necessarily completed, as in "I have been eating" or "I have lived here for five years." The present perfect is a compound tense in English, as in many other languages, meaning that it is formed by combining an auxiliary verb with the main verb. For example, in modern English, it is formed by combining a present-tense form of the auxiliary verb "to have" with the past participle of the main verb. In the above example, "have" is the auxiliary verb, where as the past participle "eaten" is the main verb. The two verbs are sometimes labeled "V1" and "V2" in grammar instruction. In modern English, the auxiliary verb for forming the present perfect is always to have. In many other European languages, the...

The past perfect

The pluperfect (from Latin plus quam perfectum more than perfect), also called past perfect in English, is a grammatical combination of past tense with the perfect, itself a combination of tense and aspect, that exists in most Indo-European languages though there is not one in Irish. It is used to refer to an event that had continuing relevance to a past time. Comrie classifies the pluperfect as an absolute-relative tense because it absolutely (not by context) establishes a deixis (the past event) and places the action relative to the deixis (before it). In the sentence "A man who for years had thought he had reached the absolute limit of all possible suffering now found that suffering had no limits, and that he could suffer still more, and more intensely" (from Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning), "had thought" and "had reached" are examples of the pluperfect. They refer to an event (a man thinking he has reached the limit of his capacity to suffer), which takes place before...

The future tense

In grammar, a future tense (abbreviated fut) is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future (in an absolute tense system), or to happen subsequent to some other event, whether that is past, present, or future (in a relative tense system). The concept of the future, necessarily uncertain and at varying distances ahead, means that the speaker may express the future in terms of probability or intent ; the modality of intention is usually but not always present when a future construction is used. Whether future expression is realis or irrealis depends not on any objective, ontological notion of future reality, but rather on the speaker's conviction that the predicted event will at some future moment constitute reality. In many languages there is no morphological or syntactic indication of future tense. Future meaning is supplied by the context, with the use of temporal adverbs such as "later", or "next year",...