Recently I was doing some english quiz and was totally knocked out with the folowing phrase: "Would you like a glass of water?" In that quiz I had to determine the tense of this phrase. And was completely lost between Present Simple and Past simple. So what tense is it?

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    A present simple. It's a polite way of asking if you like to have a glass of water. – Man_From_India Jun 25 '15 at 15:42
  • @Man_From_India Although you're right, you should really post an answer instead of an answer as a comment. I'm only saying this because as a new user, I'm seeing a lot of questions answered by short or even extensive comments. The answer box is for answers :) Also, although the meaning might be simple to you, having understanding of it, remember you're talking to someone who doesn't understand it. – user20827 Jun 25 '15 at 15:45
  • Thank you @TechnikEmpire. I cant write in answer only what I wrote in comment. I need to elaborate the idea, for the OP. But right now I don't have anything to add. I will again come back later. But I am sure by then you will find better answers here :-) (oh the comments here are as helpful as answers. I learned a lot from them too) – Man_From_India Jun 25 '15 at 15:57

It is present tense. If the question had said "Would you have liked a glass of water?" then it would be past.


"Would you like" is neither a present nor a past tense, it is conditional (mood), here not for irreality, but for polite questions as in Would you help me, please?

No one would have any problems if English conjugation tables were in this form:

Pr I do

Pt I did

F1 I will do

C1 I would do

For the sake of simplicity I have given only the I-form.

Pr present tense

Pt past tense

F1 future 1 ( simple tense)

C1 conditional 1 ( simple mood)

But English grammars have conjugation tables only with present/past/future tense. Conditional, which is rather frequent, is hidden somewhere, either in the chapter mood or in the chapter modals.

The perfect tenses should be

Pf I have done (done is v3, the verb form 3 of the base forms)

PP I had done

F2 I will have done ( have done is infinitive perfect)

C2 I would have done

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