(1) A category used in the grammatical description of verbs (along with aspect and mood), referring primarily to the way the grammar marks the time at which the action denoted by the verb took place. Traditionally, a distinction is made between past, present and future tenses, often with further divisions (perfect, pluperfect, etc.). In linguistics, the relationship between tense and time has been the subject of much study, and it is now plain that there is no easily stateable relationship between the two. Tense forms (i.e. variations in the morphological form of the verb) can be used to signal meanings other than temporal ones. In English, for example, the past-tense form (e.g. I knew) may signal a tentative meaning, and not past time, in some contexts (e.g. I wish I knew – that is, ‘know now’). Nor is there a simple one-to-one relationship between tense forms and time: the present tense in English may help to refer to future or past time, depending on context.

(2) See Tension.


1)对动词作语法描写的一个范畴(与体和语气一起),主要用来指动词表示的动作发生时间的语法标记。传统上“时”分为过去时、现在时、将来时,还常作其他区分(完成时,过去完成时等)。时与时间的关系一直是语言学着重研究的一个问题,但这种关系显然很难简单说清楚。时形式(即动词的形态变化形式)可用来表示时间以外的其他意义。例如英语的过去时形式(如I knew“我知道”)在某些语境里可表示临时的意思(如I wish I knew“但愿我知道”—即“现在知道”)。时形式与时间之间也不是一对一的关系:英语的现在时可用来指将来或过去,视语境而定。