When were all the English tenses brought to life? Old English used to have roughly 5 functional tenses (anyway, the number was closer to the modern German's number of tenses). Modern English has,depending on who counts, 12-13 functional/syntactic tenses(drawing itself nearer to Latin, or modern French or Spanish). I wonder if anybody here can give an approximate time(like a century) when English started multiplying its' tenses.
Jun 30, 2015 2:35 PM
Answers · 4
You'll find that most of the tense combinations in English also exist in German. The only additional "pure" tense is English is the present continuous, and the addition of that allows for additional tense combinations (e.g. "I was doing", "I will be doing" etc.). This paper addresses the origin of the continuous tense:
June 30, 2015
I meant exactly those combinations. If I meant the "pure" tenses, I wouldn't have used the wording "functional" and have said two. You have past/present/future(3) x 4 aspects(simple, continuous, perfect and perfect continuous) = 12. Long ago, there weren't as many used tenses in English as we have today. It's the essence of the question.
June 30, 2015
Can you give examples of new tenses that English has? English really only has the present simple, past simple, present perfect and continuous (as well as future if you consider that a tense). All other tenses are just combinations of those tenses.
June 30, 2015
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