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Definition 2021


past_tense

past tense

See also: past-tense

English

Noun

past tense (plural past tenses)

  1. (grammar) The form of language used to refer to an event, transaction, or occurrence that did happen or has happened, or an object that existed, at a point in time before now. Compare with present tense, which refers to an event, transaction or occurrence which is happening now (or at the present time), or an object that currently exists; or with future tense, which refers to an event, transaction or occurrence that has not yet happened, is expected to happen in the future, or might never happen.
    "Has the #5 bus arrived?" "Yeah, you missed it." (past tense)
    "The bus is too far away. I can’t make it." (present tense)
    "I saw the #5 bus across the street. I won’t make it." (future tense)
  2. (grammar) A form of language used to refer to remote possibility
    "I speak Japanese." (present tense)
    "I spoke Japanese to the waiter." (past tense, past action)
    "If I spoke Japanese I would be happy to visit Japan." (past tense, remote possibility)

Translations

See also