Language has much reference to time. When we read, talk, or write, we usually think if the language matter is about things, people, or other objects of thought that — are, were, or will be. This means we use grammar for the Present, Past, or Future.
However, we cannot touch time. We cannot see or hear time. Clocks can show values only as we set them, and grammatical time is not the same thing as the hour.
How can we learn the grammatical time, then? To an extent, we may think about time together with place.
Let us reason on language use. The way we people use language can show a bit of that human and intellectual skill to manage own speech faculty.
In natural languages, human minds have a flexible habit to connect time and place. For a simple example, we can use words as after or before to speak about time, as well as place. We could say before that turn, for a place, and before ten, for a time.
“Before ten” says
“before the time”.
“Before the turn” says
“before the place”.
People have evolved grammars along with perception for three-dimensional space. This perception works with grammar also today; it can help keep things simple where we do not need complexity.
We could think about three fields we name the PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE. To learn the grammatical time, we learn to manage as in fields of time.
Let us try to envision our fields. It is not only in grammar, it is in our day-to-day living too, that our views depend on our knowledge. We may associate knowledge with light, to think about day and fields of time.
Knowledge needs memory. PAST things happen to go into oblivion, as the learning matter we do not review or work with. For our PAST field of time, we can envision the light as with afternoon sky: it is not too late to get back with the matter.
We do not have memories of the FUTURE, but we can plan our learning. For our FUTURE field, the shine can be as with sunrise.
It is our PRESENT we have the most potential to shape. In our PRESENT field, the sun is high and daylight broad.
Let us picture a word that matters a lot in grammar as well as in life, the verb to be, in the field we name the PRESENT.
This is the verb to be in all our fields for grammatical time, the PRESENT, PAST, and FUTURE.
There are other verbs to matter much in grammar and life, as to have and to do. We can view them in fields of time, if we use the website ■→FREE VISUALS.
We may know that some grammar books for English have forms as Future in the Past or Unreal Past. We can hold on to our three fields: we always refer to the past, present, or future, also when we talk figuratively.
In ■→PART TWO, we build a view to forms as Future in the Past or Unreal Past, with our fields of time.
What do we do, to put words in fields of time? We join our thinking about the grammatical time and the grammatical person.
“Grammatical persons” are words that tell about human beings, or things, events, or other objects of thought. They also can refer to fictional characters or objects, as people in stories do not have to be real, either.
Pronouns are words that can stand for grammatical persons. The words I, you, we, they, he, she, and it are personal pronouns. For a start, we can think about –s as the feature for the pronouns he, she, and it in our PRESENT field of time.
We could say that he is someone, he has something, or he does something.
Similarly, we could say that she is someone, she has something, or she does something.
The feature –s holds only for the grammatical singular, that is, single persons, creatures, things, events, or phenomena — in short, objects of thought — in the grammatical PRESENT.
How important are our three words, be, have, and do? They can be our core grammar words. We can use them to map the grammatical time in language.
When the mapping becomes our habit and nature, we get more real time to think what we want to say. We do not need very much time to think how to put words in shape, to speak or write. Feel welcome to ■→THE FIELDS OF TIME, BASIC PRACTICE.
The world may never have seen her original handwriting, if her skill was taken for supernatural. Feel welcome to Poems by Emily Dickinson prepared for print by Teresa Pelka: thematic stanzas, notes on the Greek and Latin inspiration, the correlative with Webster 1828, and the Aristotelian motif, Things perpetual — these are not in time, but in eternity.
Internet Archive, the free text and image repository
Feel welcome to shop the civics posters online.