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Linguistics - Moods vs. Tenses


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Gizmo -- Chat Operator
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« on: January 29, 2011, 04:55:42 PM »

A few days ago, I asked a question in the chat which prompted a short discussion. I asked about the naming of a verb form in Italian, because in some resources I had, it was called a tense, but in another I had, it said that was incorrect.

What exactly are tenses and moods in linguistics? We use the terms, but I've never heard them actually defined.

The discussion also seemed to suggest that a mood in one language might be a tense in another.
This might sound like a simple question to people that have been studying languages for a long time, but when you need to explain it to someone, there seems to be some debate over what is what. I've been working on grammars, and want to be able to explain things clearly.

Please help me out here.
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011, 05:06:12 PM »

Hey Aba,

Moods seem to be attached to the way the verb is acting, whereas tenses are straight linked to time. I think it's a good definition, isn't it?

According to Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_mood ), In linguistics, grammatical mood is a grammatical (and specifically, morphological) feature of verbs, used to signal modality. That is, it is the use of verbal inflections that allow speakers to express their attitude toward what they are saying (for example, whether it is intended as a statement of fact, of desire, of command, etc.)

Maybe there could be a better explanation if you tell us the verb form you were looking for a name. Hope it helps :)

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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2014, 07:41:40 PM »

Actually I was just reading about this and I don't understand the difference at all.  sorry
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2014, 06:42:34 PM »

Hi!

I might be able to help explain a little.  

Tense is time based.  Simplified, tenses are indicators of "when" (now, in the past, in the future).

Within the tenses, can exist "moods" which can explain more about the action than the tense.

Some examples of "mood":
indicative- for stating facts
Subjunctive- expresses hypothetical "what if," "I wish," "I would," "I could" type staements.
Imperative- for stating commands

Does that make sense?

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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2014, 09:17:06 PM »

Yeah that makes a lot more sense. Thanks for explaining!
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