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    #1

    tenses

    I know 'Would you like tea?' is used for offering and it's about the time being. And 'Do you like tea' is used to ask some one's habit and it is simple present.
    My question is what the tense is in 'Would you like tea?'
    Simple present is used for always, present continuous is used for the time being (right now), and 'Would you like tea?' is about now but it is not present continuous.
    Last edited by atabitaraf; 10-Sep-2012 at 10:43.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: tenses

    Context will tell you everything.

    If someone is standing in front of you carrying a steaming teapot and an empty cup and says "Would you like tea?" then they are offering it to you right now.

    If someone says at 2pm "Would you like tea at 4pm?" then they are asking you to make a decision now about something you can have two hours later. Of course, it's possible that by 4pm, you won't want tea any more but you're being asked to decide now.

    If someone says "Would you like tea if it were delivered by Brad Pitt naked?" then the suggestion would be that normally you don't like tea but the person thinks you might change your mind in different circumstances. Here, it's a hypothetical.

    With the question "Would you like tea?" referring to right now, it means "Do you want tea?" I think you probably know exactly what tense that question is, don't you?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: tenses

    Yes, my question is that don't we have only 12 tenses in English?
    2. Simple present as a tense refers to the action that happens always. So 'Would you like tea' cannot be simple present.
    Sentences should be classified according to their structure (not context)
    Would you please tell me if you say 'Would you like tea' is simple present so why it is not about always?
    2. And why the structure is not the same as ordinary sentences in simple present?

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    Yes, my question is, that don't we have only 12 tenses in English?
    There is not complete agreement on the number of tenses there are in English. I feel that there are only two, the so-called present and past (simple) tenses.
    Simple present as a tense refers to the action that happens always.
    That is one of many uses of the present simple.
    Sentences should be classified according to their structure (not context)
    Would ... like is not a tense-form in English, though it's equivalent in some other languages is a tense-form. It is a modal construction made up of the past-marked modal would and the bare infinitive of the verb.
    Last edited by 5jj; 11-Sep-2012 at 09:46. Reason: format

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    #5

    Re: tenses

    Because based on the material of our grammar book, we classified tenses into 12; so if a student asks me what the tense is in 'Would you like tea?' I should answer, 'It's simple present.' Yes?
    But it looks weird to me.

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    #6

    Re: tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    Because based on the material of our grammar book, we classified tenses into 12; so if a student asks me what the tense is in 'Would you like tea?' I should answer, 'It's simple present.' Yes?
    But it looks weird to me.
    I suggest you read 5jj's excellent reply to your students if they ask!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: tenses

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    Because based on the material of our grammar book, we classified tenses into 12; so if a student asks me what the tense is in 'Would you like tea?' I should answer, 'It's simple present.' Yes?
    But it looks weird to me.
    It is NOT simple present. You can fit the modals into a 12-tense system only if you say that can, may, must, shall and will are present-tense forms and could, might, should and would are past-tense forms.

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    #8

    Re: tenses

    Many traditional grammarians would classify this as the CONDITIONAL PRESENT, i.e. the present tense of the conditional mood (as contrasted with the 'conditional perfect', would have liked, etc.).

    Although commonly accepted as a label, strictly speaking it should be termed the conditional IMPERFECT (it is not truly present in form, since its finite component, 'would' is an etymological past tense), but the popular label has stuck primarily because it refers to the (hypothetical) present.

    "Would you like...?" originates as the apodosis of an elliptical second conditional ("Would you like it IF you could have it?")

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