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Tense & Time

In Dutch we translate tense as "tijd (van het werkwoord)"
and time also as "tijd"

We even call a tense past or present or future

This may be confusing. Therefore it is important to remember:

  1. a TENSE is a NAME in grammar for a certain form of a verb
  2. TIME is part of our reality, it is WHEN something happens
    (now - before - later)
  3. but: the NAME of a tense does not say WHEN something happens
    the link between tense & time is much more complex

Look at these examples of three present tenses:
are they just about the present time?

present continuous:
     Mary is speaking Spanish (that's really happening now)
simple present:
     Mildred speaks French (not now, but before, and often, and maybe even in the future)
present perfect:
     Mandy has spoken German for years (she learned in the past, and she can still do it)