Re Future Tenses

From: Andrew Larsen <>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 11:18:27 -0600

> FWIW the lack of tenses means diddly-squat to conventional
> thought as one well-known language has an almost complete
> lack of future tenses for its verbs (the _single_ exception
> is the verb "to exist"). Apparently the future tenses
> dropped out of existence sometime around the 1500s and the
> speakers have to indicate future events by clumsy tense
> participles. The unfortunate speakers are not aware of their
> loss and delude themselves into thinking their language has
> a future tense because traditionally they have been taught
> that all civilized languages have three tenses: past, present
> and future.
> The name of this language? English.

    Actually, English has never had a proper future tense. Even in early Old English, the only tenses are the Present and the Simple Past. It's an old joke that there's no future in old English.

Andrew E. Larsen

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