tense

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tense

Grammatical tense refers to the conjugation of a verb to reflect its place in time—that is, when the action occurred.
There are technically only two grammatical tenses in English: the past and the present. Verbs in their basic form inherently describe the present time, and they can be conjugated into a unique form that describes the past. We can then use auxiliary verbs and verb participles to create different aspects of the past and present tenses, which describe if an action is or was continuous, or if it began at an earlier point in the past.
However, verbs do not have a specific conjugated form to reflect the future, and, for this reason, English is considered not to have a true future tense.
Nevertheless, although English has no future tense in the strict sense, we commonly refer to several structures that are used for future meaning as belonging to the “future tense.” The most common of these structures begin with will or be going to.
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tense

[O.Fr., from Lat.,=time], in the grammargrammar,
description of the structure of a language, consisting of the sounds (see phonology); the meaningful combinations of these sounds into words or parts of words, called morphemes; and the arrangement of the morphemes into phrases and sentences, called syntax.
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 of many languages, a category of time distinctions expressed by any conjugated form of a verb. In Latin inflectioninflection,
in grammar. In many languages, words or parts of words are arranged in formally similar sets consisting of a root, or base, and various affixes. Thus walking, walks, walker have in common the root walk and the affixes -ing, -s, and -er.
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 the tense of a verb is indicated by a suffix that also indicates the verb's voicevoice,
grammatical category according to which an action is referred to as done by the subject (active, e.g., men shoot bears) or to the subject (passive, e.g., bears are shot by men). In Latin, voice is a category of inflection like mood or tense.
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, moodmood
or mode,
in verb inflection, the forms of a verb that indicate its manner of doing or being. In English the forms are called indicative (for direct statement or question or to express an uncertain condition, e.g.
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, person, and number. Tense specifies whether the verb refers to action in the past, present, or future. A tenselike distinction found in many languages (e.g., Russian and Hebrew) is that of aspect, by which verbs specify whether or not the action has been completed; thus, he is risen might be translated by a verb in the perfective aspect, and he is rising by the same verb in the imperfective aspect. Aspect also refers to the distinction that a verb can make between repeated or ongoing action (he ran daily) and an event represented as occurring at a single point in time (he ran that race). Some terms borrowed from Greek grammar into English suggest aspectlike differences of meaning; these are imperfect (I was reading when …), perfect (I've read the book), and aorist (I read it last year). English tenses can also be classified as simple (e.g., look and looked) or compound (e.g., have looked, am looking, and will look). Any conjugated form of a verb that indicates tense is said to be finite; the infinitive is a special verb form that lacks all tense (as well as mood, person, and number), although it may indicate the active (to read) or passive (to be read) voice.

tense

Of programs, very clever and efficient. A tense piece of code often got that way because it was highly bummed, but sometimes it was just based on a great idea. A comment in a clever routine by Mike Kazar, once a grad-student hacker at CMU: "This routine is so tense it will bring tears to your eyes." A tense programmer is one who produces tense code.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Fortissimo Padded Tensing Ring Ligature secures a reed to a mouthpiece with minimal contact.
After the snail has learned, "the same light then gives you a different response" in the form of foot tensing, explains Crow.
Spasticity is a symptom of several neurological disorders, including multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke and cerebral palsy, and leads to involuntary tensing, stiffening and contracting of muscles.
Progressive relaxation (mentally "putting to sleep" each part of the body through tensing and then relaxing muscles).