- For Teachers
I came across this Language Log entry and I thought it contained a number of excellent points regarding language. One, the main focus is something that students often raise, "Does English have a future tense?"
The title is also intriguing considering traditional grammar's prohibition against using 'which' with people.
THE LORD WHICH WAS AND IS
Language Log: The Lord which was and is
English has only two tenses: the simple present and past.
All the others are really compound tenses.
‘So what?’ I hear!
Well, it makes a big difference: let’s not forget that it is in these two tenses when using their negative and interrogative forms that we have to use the auxiliary verb do.
All the other tenses (and I include the present and past continuous tenses) just need a not after the auxiliary verb and an inversion of the usual order of pronoun and auxiliary verb for the negative and interrogative forms respectively.
I understand – I do not understand – do I understand?
I understood – I did not understand – did I understand?
I have understood – I have not understood – have I understood?
I will understand – I will not understand – will I understand?
As for 'the Lord which,' Biblical English (KJV) does not recognise today’s distinction between who for people and which for things.