Re: aspect of present tense

Don Wilkins (
Thu, 12 Dec 1996 06:25:20 -0500 (EST)

At 6:53 PM 12/12/96, KULIKOVSKY, Andrew wrote:
>Fellow Greeks,
>Just had a sudden thought about verbal aspect and the present indicative.
>The present tense indicative mood can also have past time reference and
>future time reference. Remember that time is a complete dimension and
>can't be simply pinned down. Let me demonstrate:
>"I am a software engineer" uses a present tense indicative verb but
>this statement not only refers to my current state, it also refers
>to my past state - I was a software engineer yesterday as well -
>and my future state - I will be a software engineer tommorrow (Lord
>willing) - although I'd like to be a Greek Prof one day!
>This statement is also true when I started saying it and when I
>finished saying it.
>Taking a Biblical example, when Jesus said "I am" it means "I am" and
>"I was" and "I will be".

Technically I think not, Andrew; those are reasonable inferences we make.
However, I do think that the present is the most flexible time period, and
the most difficult one pin down as to its beginning and end. Carl and other
eminent scholars on the list have a wealth of valuable comments to offer
about this, and I believe they have done so in the past. BTW, I am a Greek
prof today, and I think I might prefer to be a software engineer one day
but would be too old and underqualified! If only I could get paid for doing

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside