Sequence of tenses: Indirect speech →  June 18, 2012

In English, there is a clear distinction between direct and indirect speech. In direct speech, the original speaker’s exact words are reproduced, without any change whatsoever, as in John said yesterday, ‘I’ll send you the data tomorrow‘. Note in particular that in this example the pronoun / refers to the original speaker, i.e. John; the […]

Verb: Basic and secondary meanings of tenses →  June 18, 2012

It is acknowledged that a given grammatical category may have more than one meaning (for example, it is believed that the auxiliary will might have both temporal and modal meanings). In other words, a grammatical category may have a basic meaning and a number of peripheral meanings or uses. An analysis of tense often encounters […]

Verb: Paradoxical use of tenses →  June 18, 2012

Worthy of note, however, are utterances where the meaning of the past tense stands in contrast with the meaning of some adverbial phrase refer­ring the event to the present moment: Today again I spoke to Mr Jones. The seeming linguistic paradox of such cases consists in the fact that their two types of time indication, […]

Verb: Absolute, relative and absolute-relative tenses →  June 17, 2012

As it has been mentioned above, the notion “moment of speech” is ex­tremely important for the tense category because it provides a reference point with objective time. However, only Simple/Indefinite forms (Present, Past, and Future) use the moment of speech in this way. Forms that relate events with the speaking moment are called absolute. Use […]

Verb Time and Tense Correlation – Past →  June 17, 2012

Past  The meaning of the past tense is location in time prior to the present moment, and any further deductions about temporal location that are made on the basis of individual sentences in the past tense are the result of factors other than simply the choice of tense. On other words, the past tense sim­ply […]

Verb Time and Tense Correlation – Future →  June 17, 2012

Future In terms of the analysis of tense presented so far, it might seem straight­forward to define future tense as locating a situation at a time Subsequent to the present moment. One would then be able to elaborate on this, in particu­lar demonstrating that any deduction that the situation in question does not hold at […]

Verb Time and Tense Correlation – Present →  June 17, 2012

Given the present moment as deictic centre, it might seem trivial to de­fine the three basic tenses that have formed the backbone of much linguis­tic work on time reference in grammar, namely present, past and future, as follows: present tense means coincidence of the time of the situation and the present moment; past tense means […]

Tense category of verbs: Tense and Deixis →  June 16, 2012

Time itself does not provide any landmarks in terms of which one can lo­cate situations. Even if time had had a beginning, we do not know where that beginning was, so we cannot locate anything else relative to that beginning. In principle a number of logical possibilities for reference points are available, and for lexically […]

Tense category of verbs: Definition →  June 16, 2012

The idea of locating situations in time is a purely conceptual notion. All the events are referred to one of the three time dimensions – the present, the past, or the future. All human languages have ways of locating in time but they do, however, differ from one another on two parameters. The first dif­ference […]

Verb grammatical categories: Person and number →  June 16, 2012

Number and person distinctions are found in verbs in many languages. This was the case in Old English where the verb was characterized by a devel­oped paradigm. In Modern English, verb forms have lost the vast majority of formal markers. As a result, the range of the two categories is very limited. The categories of […]