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to retain their rank, do not appear to contain such strong marks of discrimination from the Indicative, as are found in the Potential Mood.
There are other writers on this subject, who exclude the Potential Mood from their division, because it is formed, not by varying the principal verb, but by means of the auxiliary verbs may, can, might, could, would, &c. : but if We recollect, that moods are used “ to signify various in. tentions of the mind, and various modifications'and circum. stances of action,” we shall perceive that those auxiliaries, far from interfering with this design, do, in the clearest manner, support and exemplify it. On the reason alleged by these writers, the greater part of the Indicative Mood must also be excluded ; as but a small part of it is conju. gated without auxiliaries. The Subjunctive too will fare no better ; since it so nearly resembles the Indicative, and is formed by means of conjunctions, expressed or under stood, which do not more effectually show the varied intentions of the mind, than the auxiliaries do which are Used to form the Potential Mood. ,
Sonde writers have given our moods a much greater ex. tent than we have assigned to them. They assert that the English language may be said, without any great impro. priety, to have as many moods as it has auxiliary verbs and they allege, in support of their opinion, that the compound expressions which they help to form, point out those various dispositions and actions, which, in other languages, are expressed by moods. This would be to multiply the moods without advantage. It is, however, certain, that the conjugation or variation of verbs, in the English language, is effected, almost entirely, by the means of auxilia
We must, therefore, accommodate ourselves to this circumstance; and do that by their assistance, which has been done in the learned languages, (a few instances to the contrary excepted,) in another manner, namely, by varying the form of the verb itself. At the same time it is necessary to set proper bounds to this business, so as not to occasion obscurity and perplexity, when we mean to be simple and perspicuous. Instead, therefore, of making a separate mood for every auxiliary verb, and introducing moods Interrogative, Opiative, Promissive, Horative, Precative, &c. we have exhibited such only as are obviously distinct; and which, whilst they are calculated to unfold and display the
subject intelligibly to the learner, seem to be sufficient, and not more than sufficient, to answer all the purposes for which moods were introduced.
From Grammarians who form their ideas, and make their decisions, respecting this part of English Grammar, on the principles and construction of languages, which, in these points, do not suit the peculiar nature of our own, but differ considerably from it, we may very naturally expect grammatical schemes that are neither perspicuous nor consistent, and which will tend more to perplex than inform the learner. See pages 73, 74.
SECTION 5.-Of the Tenses. "Tense, being the distinction of time, might seem to admit only of the present, past, and future ; but to mark it more accurately, it is made to consist of six variations, viz. the PRESENT, the IMPERFECT, the PERFECT, the PLUPERFECT, and the FIRST and seCOND FUTURE TENSES
/The Present Tense represents an action or event as passing at the time in which it is mentioned pas, " I rule ; I am ruled; I think ; I fear.”
The present tense likewise expresses a character, quality, &c. at present existing : as, “ He is an able man;"." She is an amiable woman.” It is also used in speaking of accions continued, with occasional intermissions, to the present time : as, “ He frequently rides ;" “ He walks out every morning;" " He goes into the country every sum
We sometimes apply this tense even to persons long since dead : as, “ Seneca reasons and moralizes well;"> * Job speaks feelingly of his afflictions."
The present tense, preceded by the words, when, before, after, as soon as, &c. is sometimes used to point out the relative time of a future action : as, “When he arrives he will hear the news ; " “ He will hear the news before he arrives, or as soon as he arrives, or, at farthest, soon after he arrives ;” “ The more she improves, the more amiable - she will be."
In animated historical narrations, this tense is sometimes substituted for the imperfect tense : as, “ He eaters the ter
ritory of the peaceable inhabitants; he fights and conquers, takes an immense booty, which he divides amongst his soldiers, and returns home to enjoy an empty triumph.”
The Imperfect Tense represents the action or event, either as past and finished, or as remaining unfinished at a certain time pasty as, “ I loved her for her modesty and virtue ;" “ They were travelling post when he met them.”
The Perfect Tense not only refers to what is past, but also conveys an allusion to the present times, as, os I have finished my letter ;? “I have seen the person that was recommended to me."
In the former example, it is signified that the finishing of the letter, though past, was at a period immediately, or very nearly, preceding the present time. In the latter instance, it is uncertain whether the person mentioned was seen by the speaker a long or short time before. The meaning is, “ I have seen him some time in the course of a pea riod, which includes, or comes to, the present time. “When the particular time of any occurrence is specified, as prior to the present time, this tense is not used: for it would be improper to say, "I have seen him yesterday;" or, “I have finished my worklast week.” In these cases the imperfect is necessary : as,
"I saw him yesterday;" “ I finished my work last week." But when we speak indefinitely of any thing past, as happening or not happening in the day, year, or age, in which we mention it, the perfect must be employed : as, “I have been there this morning;” “I have travelled much this year:" " We have escaped many dangers through life,” In referring, however, to such a divis sion of the day as is past before the time of our speaking, we use the imperfect: as, They came home this morn
“ He was with them this afternoon.' The perfect tense, and the imperfect tense, both denote a thing that is past; but the former denotes it in such a manner, that there is still actually remaining some part of the time to slide away, wherein we declare the thing has been done ; whereas the imperfect
. denotes the thing or action past in such a manner, that nothing remains of that time
We may say:
in which it was done. If we speak of the present eentury, we say, “ Philosophers have made great discoveries in the present century :" but if we speak of the last century, we say, “ Philosophers made great discoveries in the last cen-tury."
"' « He has been much afflicted this year;" “ I have this week read the king's proclamation ;* “ I have heard great news this morning :" in these instances, “ He has been,'
" " I have read," and ss heard,” denote things that are past : but they occurred in this year, in this week, and today; and still there remains a part of this year, week, and day whereof I speak.
In general, the perfect tense may be applied wherever the action is connected with the present time, by the actual existence, either of the author, or of the work, though it may have been performed many centuries ago ; but if neither the author nor the work now remains, it cannot be used.
“ Cicero has written orations ;" but we can. not say, “ Cicero has written poems;" because the orations are in being, but the poems are lost. Speaking of priests in general, we may say, “ They have in all ages claimed great powers ;” because the general order of the prieste kood still exists; but if we speak of the Druids, or any par. ticular order of priests, which does not now exist, we can. Aot use this tense. We cannot say, “ The Druid priests have claimed great powers ;” but must say, 66 The Druid priests claimed great powers,” because that order is now totally extinct. See PICKBOURN on the English verb.
(The Pluperfect Tense represents a thing, not only as past, but also as prior to some other point of time specified in the sentence as, “I had finished my letter before he arrived."
The first Future Tense represents the action as yet to come, either with or without respect to the precise time aš, “The sun will rise to-morrow;" “I shell see them again."
/The Second Future intimates that the action will be fully accomplished, at or before the time of annther future action or event as, “ I shall have dined af one o'clock ".4 The two houses will have finished
their business, when the king comes to prorogue them."
It is to be observed, that in the subjunctive mood, the event being spoken of under a condition or supposition, or in the form of a wish, and therefore as doubtful and contingent, the verb itself in the present, and the auxiliary both of the present and past imperfect times, often carry with them somewhat of a future tense : as, “ If he come to-morrow, I may speak to him ;" “ If he should, or would come to-morrow, I might, would, could, or should speak to him.”. Observe also, that the auxiliaries should and would, in the imperfect times, are used to express the present and future as well as the past : as, “ It is my desire, that he should, or would, come now, or to-morrow;" as well as, “ It was my desire, that he should or would come yesterday.” So that in this mood the precise time of the verb is very much determined by the nature and drift of the sentence.
The present, past, and future tenses, may be used either definitely or indefinitely, both with respect to time and action. When they denote customs or habits, and not individual acts, they are applied indefinitely : as, “ Virtue promotes happiness ;" “ The old Romans governed by benefits more than by fear;" “ I shall hereafter employ my time more usefully." In these examples, the words, promotes, governed, and shall employ, are used indefinitely, both in regard to action and time ; for they are not confined to individual actions, nor to any precise points of present, past, or fu. ture time. When they are applied to signify particular actions, and to ascertain the precise points of time to which they are confined, they are used definitely; as in the fol. lowing instances. • My brother is writing ;"? " He built the house last summer, but did not inhubit it till yesterday," - He will write another letter to-morrow."
The different tenses also represent an action as complete or perfect, or as incomplete or imperfect. In the phrases, “ I am writing," " I was writing,” “ I shall be writing,” imperfect, unfinished actions are signified. But the following examples, “I wrote,” “I have written," “ I had written," " I shall have written;" all denote complete perfect action.
From the preceding representation of the different tenses,