Tense in non-indicative moods

From: Kenneth Litwak (kenneth@sybase.com)
Date: Thu Nov 30 1995 - 21:08:02 EST

   Porter in his Idioms book makes the case that tense is irrelevant
to the meaning of the non-indicative moods. Present negated imperatives
do not mean "Stop doing x" and aorist negated imperatives don't mean
"don't do x". They have no clear distinction that I can tell from
what I've read so far. This both trashes everything I learned about
the non-indicative moods and much that I have read in commentaries,
leaving me wondering if I understand Greek at all if he's right and
wondering what to make of tenses and moods since he seems to be
reducing them all into one pot of "verbs" with no meaningful
distinctions that I can see in understanding them, execept
whether something is complete or not. Is this understanding of the
non-indicative moods generally accepted by modern grammarians and if so,
what of all the works that revolve around such distinctions? Does that
mean that there aren't any rules left for distingushing tenses or moods
in verbs, such that futures and pluperfects are the same? I'm not
trying to use hyperbole. Poerter argued against any tense having any
time relation, so that leaves one wondering what good six tenses

Ken Litwak
Bezerkley, CA

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