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it appears, that each of them has its distinct and peculiar. province; and that though some of them may sometimes be used promiscuously, or substituted one for another, in cases where great accuracy is not required, yet there is a real and essential difference in their meaning. It is also evident, that the English language contains the six tenses which we have enumerated, Grammarians who limit the number to two or three, do not reflect that the English verb is mostly composed of principal and auxiliary; and that these several parts constitute one verb. Either the English language has no future tense, (a position too absurd to need refutation,) or that future tense is composed of the auxiliary and the principal verb. If the latter be true, as it indisputably is, then auxiliary and principal united, constitute a'tense, in one instance; and, from reason and analogy, may doubtless do so, in others, in which minuter divisions of time are necessary, or useful. What reason can be assigned for not considering this case, as other cases, in which a whole is regarded as composed of several parts, or of principal and adjuncts? There is nothing heterogeneous in the parts : and precedent, analogy, utility, and even neces. sity, authorise the union.
In support of this opinion, we have the authority of eminent grammarians; in particular, that of Dr. Beattie. “ Some writers," says the doctor, “ will not allow any thing to be a tense, but what, in one inflected word, expresses an affirmation with time ; for that those parts of the verb are not properly called tenses, which assume that appearance, by means of auxihary words. At this rate, we should have, in English, two tenses only, the present and the past in the active verb, and in the passive no tenses at all. But this is a needless nicety ; and, if adopted, would introduce confusion into the grammatical art.
If amaveram be a tense, why should not amatus fueram? If I heard be a tense, I did hear, I have heard, and I shall bear, must be equally intitled to that appellation.
The proper form of a tense, in the Greek and Latin tongues, is certainly that which it has in the grammars of thuse languages. But in the Greek and Latin grammars, we uniformly find, that some of the tenses are formed by variations of the principal verb; and others, by the addition it helping verbs. It is, therefore, indisputable, that the principle verb or the participle, and an auxiliary, constitute a regular tense in the Greek and Latin languages. This point being established, we may, doubtless, apply it to English verbs; and extend the principle as far as convenience, and the idiom of our language require.
If it should be said, that, on the same ground that 2 participle and auxiliary are allowed to form a tense, and the verb conjugated accordingly, the English noun ought to be declined with articles and prepositions ; we must object to the inference. Such a mode of declension cannot apply to our language. This we think has already been proved.* It is also confessedly inapplicable to the learned languages. Where then is the grammatical inconsistency, or the want of conformity to the principles of analogy, in making some tenses of the English verb to consist of prin. cipal and auxiliary; and all the cases of English nouns, in their termination? The argument from analogy, instead of militating against us, appears to confirm and establish our position. See the subject further discussed in the ninth section of this chapter.
We shall close these remarks on the tenses, with a few -observations extracted from the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITAN
They are worth the student's attention, as a part. of them applies, not only to our explanation of the tenses, but to many other parts of the work. “ Harris has enumerated no fewer than twelve tenses. Of this enumeration - we can by no means approve : for, without entering into a minute examination of it, nothing can be more obvious, than that his inceptive present, “ I am going to write," is a future tense ; and his completive present, “ I have written,' a past tense. But, as was before observed of the classifi. cation of words, we cannot help being of opinion, that, to take the tenses as they are commonly received, and endeavour to ascertain their nature and their differences, is a much more useful exercise, as well as more proper for a work of this kind, than to raise, as might easily be raised, new theories on this subject." SECTION 6.—The Conjugation of the auxiliary verbs
TO HAVE and TO BE. The Conjugation of a verb, is the regular.combination and arrangement of its several numbers, persons, moods, and tenses.
* See page 46.
The Conjugation of an active verb is styled the ACTIVE voice; and that of a passive verb, the PASA
The auxiliary and active verb To Have, is conjugated in the following manner.
Plural. 1. Pers. I'have.
1. We have. 2. Pers. Thou hast. 2. Ye or you have:* 3. Pers. He, she, or it hath or has. *
3. They have.
Plural. 1. I had,
1. We had. 2. Thou hadst.
2. Ye or you had. 3. He, &c. had,
3. They had.
Plural. 1. I have had.
1. We have had. 2. Thou hast had.
2. Ye or you have had. 3. He has had.
3. They have bad.
Singular. 1. I had had.
1. We had had.
3. They had had.
Plural. 1. I shall or will have. 1. We shall or will have. 2. Thou shalt or wilt have. 2. Ye or you shallor will have. 3. He shall or will have. 3. They shall or will have.
* Hath is now used only in poetry, and on very serious subjects. Ye is nearly obsolete.
† Some Grammarians distinguish the three past tenses, by the names of the first preterit, the second preterit, the third preterit; and the first and second future tenses, by the terms, for ture imperfect, and future perfect.
Second Future Tense.
Singular. 1. I shall or will have had. l. We shall or will have had. 2. Thou shalt or wilt lave 2. Ye or you shall or will had.
have had. -3. He shall or will have had. 3. They shallor will have had.
Singular. 1. Let me have.
1. Let us have. 2, Have, or have thou, or 2. Have, or have ye, or do do thou have,
ye or you have. 3. Let him have.
3. Let them have.
The imperative mood is not strictly entitled to three per
The command is always addressed to the second person, not to the first and third.
For when we say, “ Let me have,” “Let him, or let them have,” the meaning and construction are, do thou, or do ye, let me, him, or them have. In philosophical strictness, both number and person might be entirely excluded from every verb. They are, in fact, the properties of substantives, not a part of the essence of a verb. Even the name of the imperative mood, does not always correspond to its nature : for it sometimes petitions as well as commands. But with respect to all these points, the practice of our grammarians is so uniformly fixed, and so analagous to the languages, ancient and modern, which our youth have to study, that it would be an unwarrantable degree of innovation, to deviate from the established terms and arrangements. See the advertisement at the end of the Introduction, page 7; and the quotation from the Encyclopædia Britannica, pages 73, 74,
Plural. 1. I may or can have. 1. We
may or can have. 2. Thou maystor canst have. 2. Ye or you may or can have. 3. He may or can have. 3. They may or can have.
Imperfect Tense. Singular. 1. I might, could, would, or 1. We might, could, would, should have,
or should have.
Singular. 2. Thou mightst, couldst, 2. Ye or you might, could,
wouldst,or shouldst have, would or should have. 3. He might, could, would, 3. They might, could, would, or should have.
or should have.
Perfect Tense. Singular. 1. I may or can have had. 1.: We may or can have had. 2. Thou maystor canst 2. Ye or you may or can have have had.
had. 3. He may or can have had. 3: They may or can have had.
Pluperfect Tense. Singular 1. I might, could, would, 1. We might, could, would, or should have had.
or should have had. 2. Thou mightst, couldst, 2. Ye or you might, could,
wouldst, or shouldst have would, or should have had.
had. 3. He might, could, would, 3. They might, could, would, or should have had.
have had, *
Plural. 1. If I have.
1. If we have. 2. If thou have.
2. If ye or you have. 3. If he have.
3. If they have. The remaining tenses of the subjunctive mood are, in every respect, similar to the correspondent tenses of the indicative mood; with the addition to the verb, of a conjunction, expressed or implied, denoting a condition, motive, wish, supposition, &c. It will be proper to direct the learner to repeat all the tenses of this mood, with a conjunction prefixed to each of them. See, on this subject, the observations at page 88 ; and the not :s on ti:c ninea teenth rule of Syntax.
* Shall and will, when they denote inclinativi, reselitiar, promise, may be considered, as well as their relations shoul and would, as belonging to the potential nood. But as they generally signify futurity, they have been appropriated, as iep ing verbs, to the formation of the future tenses of the indica tive and subjunctive moods.