I am confused about verbs. Have seen the following categorisation:

Past Simple
Past Perfect
Past Continuous
Past Perfect Continuous
Past Subjunctive

I understand that Past is a Tense. But what about the second categorisation ? Is it Mood, or something else.

  • 1
    You seem to have posted the same question on Linguistics linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/47586/…. (And apparently on English Language & Usage too. You should decide which question you want to keep, and which one should be deleted.
    – James K
    Sep 25 at 19:19
  • 1
    Hello @Bhimas. I note that you posted exactly the same question as Raksh on English Language & Usage (under the name "Prego". I suspect you and Raksh are the same human. If so please merge your account. Note that using separate accounts to interact with your own questions like this is considered "sock puppetry" and not allowed.
    – James K
    Sep 25 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


Some categorise the perfect forms (present perfect, past perfect) and the continuous forms (present continuous, past continuous) as aspects. Aspects describe how an event or state expressed by a verb extends over time.

By this analysis there are two tenses present and past (aka preterite), and four aspects: simple (or neutral), perfect, continuous (or progressive), and perfect continuous. These could be arranged as follows

Aspect present past
simple I eat I ate
perfect I have eaten I had eaten
continuous I am eating I was eating
perfect continous I have been eating I had been eating

English, you will note, expresses aspects by the use of auxiliary verbs with a participle in a subordinate position.

But while English separates the aspects from tenses, the meaning of the aspects overlaps with tenses. So, for example, in many situations the same idea can be expressed with past tense or with present perfect.

Subjunctive doesn't exist as a verb form in English, it is a type of clause.

  • Glad to see others giving serious answers.
    – Bhimas
    Sep 25 at 20:02
  • @Bhimas Hi! I upvoted that good answer! I also upvoted the question! That good question was downvoted. James K gives the best answers on this site! He is the best! Sep 26 at 7:29

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