# Thread: How many tenses are there in English language?

1. ## How many tenses are there in English language?

I would like to know how many tenses are there in English?. I don't know why but for me it's very difficult to understand about the tenses and all the changes I have to make in order to have a good structure of sentences when speaking. I believe that speaking isn't my real problem, the thing is that when I have to get into the grammar stuff I got confuse very easy. Many times, when talking or reading I notice that there is something wrong but I cannot explain what is it, to me sounds wrong, but how can I say what's wrong?... I would like to know about how many tenses are there in English?.

2. I'd say there are basically three tenses: past, present, and future. Then if you throw in the perfect tenses you get three more. Then if you throw in the progressive tenses you get three more. That is a total of nine. Then there are the conditionals. If you figure there are three conditonals then that gives you twelve tenses. That should be enough for anybody, right?

:)

3. You could also take a look at our poll on this topic: http://www.usingenglish.com/poll/ind...d=26&l_page=96

4. Originally Posted by RonBee
I'd say there are basically three tenses: past, present, and future. Then if you throw in the perfect tenses you get three more. Then if you throw in the progressive tenses you get three more. That is a total of nine. Then there are the conditionals. If you figure there are three conditonals then that gives you twelve tenses. That should be enough for anybody, right?

:)
Theoretically, there are two tenses (temporal axis points): Present and Past. Perfect is an aspect (points on the axis that diverge from it), and the consensus is still not in yet on future and continuous, but they, too, are generally viewed as aspectual in function. As for what grammar text(book)s use, it's "tense", a misnomer in origin, though, perpetuated by a lack of a better term.

:D

:D

5. Originally Posted by Red5
You could also take a look at our poll on this topic: http://www.usingenglish.com/poll/ind...d=26&l_page=96
Cas says there are only two tenses (as does Tdol), so I guess I had better vote that way.

:wink:

6. Originally Posted by RonBee
Originally Posted by Red5
You could also take a look at our poll on this topic: http://www.usingenglish.com/poll/ind...d=26&l_page=96
Cas says there are only two tenses (as does Tdol), so I guess I had better vote that way.

:wink:
Hang on there! There are only two inflected tenses has somehow turned into there are only two tenses. I simply don't buy that.

There are differences of opinions about the perfect and progressive tenses. I tend to draw the line bewteen them. The perfect tenses involve time and are correctly called tenses in my opinion. The progrssive forms are about process and conditionals are about structures.

For me, there are 6 tenses.

7. Hm. Mike says there are six tenses. That would include:
• simple past
simple present
simple future
past perfect
present perfect
future perfect

Do I have that right?

:)

8. Originally Posted by RonBee
Hm. Mike says there are six tenses. That would include:
• simple past
simple present
simple future
past perfect
present perfect
future perfect

Do I have that right?

:)
That's a fact, Jack!

9. Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Originally Posted by RonBee
Hm. Mike says there are six tenses. That would include:
• simple past
simple present
simple future
past perfect
present perfect
future perfect

Do I have that right?

:)
That's a fact, Jack!
There are six basic tenses, but only two of those are marked by verbs:

She goes (Present)
She went (Past)

In all, there are close to thirty tenses, in English, marked by auxiliaries.

:D

10. Originally Posted by Casiopea
Originally Posted by MikeNewYork
Originally Posted by RonBee
Hm. Mike says there are six tenses. That would include:
• simple past
simple present
simple future
past perfect
present perfect
future perfect

Do I have that right?

:)
That's a fact, Jack!
There are six basic tenses, but only two of those are marked by verbs:

She goes (Present)
She went (Past)

In all, there are close to thirty tenses, in English, marked by auxiliaries.

:D
I agree that only two tenses are marked by verb inflection (and that is not all verbs and not much of the present tense). I have never heard of the close to thirty. In addition to the standard (for some) 6, I know of progessive, and some people say conditional, and a few hold out for emphatic, but what are the rest?

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