Tense

When talking about language, tense refers to verb tense. Many languages distinguish between the past, present and future tenses, while others make different distinctions. Chinese, for example, has no tense whatsoever, and communicates information about time and sequence through other means, such as adverbial phrases. In academic discussions on linguistics, tense has a very specific meaning, but in general usage the word “tense” covers combinations of aspect and mood as well. English has three ways of expressing the future tense, forming it with “will” (“I will leave tomorrow”), “be + going to” (“I am going to leave tomorrow”) or the present tense (“I leave”/”I’m leaving tomorrow”). It also has continuous forms of the past and present tenses (“I am working”/“I have been working”, “I was working”/“I had been working”).

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