DEFINATION OF TENSE
- "English . . . has only one inflectional form to express time: the past tense marker (typically -ed), as in walked, jumped, and saw. There is therefore a two-way tense contrast in English: I walk vs.I walked--present tense vs past tense. English has no future tense ending, but uses a wide range of other techniques to express future time (such as will/shall, be going to, be about to, and future adverbs). The linguistic facts are uncontroversial. However, people find it extremely difficult to drop the notion of 'future tense' (and related notions, such as imperfect, future perfect, and pluperfect tenses) from their mental vocabulary, and to look for other ways of talking about the grammatical realities of the English verb."
(David Crystal, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003)
- "Some grammarians define a tense as an inflection of the verb--a change of meaning you achieve by altering the form of the verb. So the past tense of win is won. In this sense, English has only two tenses, present and past. But for everyday use--especially for those who are studying foreign languages--this strict definition of tense is not very helpful. There is a broader use of the word [tense]: a form of the verb phrase which gives information about aspect and time."
Many languages have grammatical means to indicate the time when an action or event occurs, or when a state or process holds. This phenomenon is called tense. In English, for example, adding the morpheme -ed to the verb walk, to form walked, indicates that the event denoted by the verb occurred before the present time.