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Time and tense

While learning foreign languages we are taught the grammar. Of course, we all know that. However, it happens that some rules are explained differently according to our level. For example, beginner will hear that with some verbs we use the -ing form only. There is just one tiny omission…there are state verbs (think, see, remember) that can be used both in simple or continuous form depending on the meaning.

But actually I wanted to write about something completely different. The distinction between time and tense. The first, describe the way we perceive the reality. In simple words, whether something happens: in the present, in the past or in the future. Tense is a grammatical category that help us to describe the events in time. I do not know whether it will be a surprise to you, but….in reality we distinguish only 2 tenses in English: present and past. So future, is not actually a one. It is only used as such to help foreigners to learn more easily. Of course, one will not hear that, except at the advanced level…Or maybe if is curious enough, will find out on his own.

And why 2 instead of 3? Only in present and past tense the verbs are being inflected. So to say, change their form (eg. begins, happened, walked). What we call a future tense use in fact modal verbs (will) or auxiliaries.

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