Tense present [DRAFT - under construction]

Glossary

Present is a verb tense-form which a speaker uses to describe an action as imperfective (either continuous or incomplete), and is often used to depict an action as being in process (e.g., I am running, she is reading, they are sleeping).

The present tense in the indicative mood is the only way to describe an action that is taking place at the time the speaker is speaking. When the present tense is indicating an event occurring at the present time, it may be indicating continuing and ongoing action, but may be simply indicating an event taking place at the time the speaker is speaking.

The present tense may also be used for dramatic effect to bring the hearer into the time the action was occurred.

Example: Table VTP-1 Present Tense Verb

VTP-1 Verb Present Tense John 15:27
ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς μετ’ ἐμοῦ ἐστε
ap’ archēs met’ emou este
from beginning with me you are

you are with me from the beginning.

[Note] In this example, the present tense in the indicative mood indicates both present time and continuous action. The continuous aspect of the present tense is supported by the phrase “from the beginning.”

[Delete the following] Present is a verb tense-form which a speaker uses to describe an action as imperfective, and is often used to depict an action is being in process (e.g., I am running, she is reading, they are sleeping).

Article

Overview

The Tense of a verb is used to indicate the speaker’s perspective or viewpoint of:

1. Aspect - the kind of action of the verb. The kind of action may be continuous (also described as imperfective), completed (or simple) , or completed with an ongoing effect.

  • Present tense- Aspect is used primarily to indicate the kind of action as (continuous or incomplete) in moods other than the indicative. It may indicate the action as continuous or incomplete in the present time depending on the context of the verb. The continuous aspect may also refer to an event that occurs on an iterative basis, or an event that generally occurs (or may be reasonably expected to occur).
  1. Time - the time of action (only in the indicative mood).
  • Present tense -Time - The use of the Present tense in the indicative mood is the only way to indicate action occurring at the time the speaker is speaking. Therefore, the time of the action takes on a primary role when used with the indicative mood. The Present indicative may describe simply 1) an event occurring in the present (simple action with no indication of continuity) or 2) an ongoing event occurring in the present.
  • Dramatice Effect - An event that has occurred in the past or that will occur in the future may be portrayed in the present indicative for dramatic effect.

Form:

The basic form for a verb in the present tense indicative is given in Tables 4 - Primary and Secondary Endings of Verbs , and Table 5 - Master Verb Tense Chart - Present and Imperfect Tenses of the Master Verb paradigms .

See also:

The Paradigms also contain forms of verbs in the present tense for the Subjunctive Mood , Imperative Mood , Participles , and Infinitives .

Verbs in the Optative Mood are so rare a paradigm table was not created for them. There are only 70 occurrences of the optative mood in the New Testament.

In this section we will describe the formation of Verbs with a theme vowel in:

  • The Present Active Indicative
  • Present Middle/passive Indicative, and
  • The Present Tense of εἴμι (I am) because of its frequency in the New Testament

Form - Present Active Indicative for Thematic Verbs

The present Active Indicative for a verb is formed by using:

Table VTP-2
Formation of
Present Active Indicative
for Thematic Verbs
Present Tense
Stem
+ Connecting
Vowel
+ Primary
Active
Personal Ending
λυ + ο + μεν -> λύομεν
We are loosing.

Form - Present Middle/passive indicative verb is formed by using:

Table VTP-3
Formation of
Present Middle/Passive Indicative
for Thematic Verbs
Present Tense Stem + Connecting Vowel + Primary
Middle/Passive
Personal Ending
λυ + ο + μαι -> λύομαι
We are being loosed

The connecting vowel (omicron, or epsilon) and the primary personal endings for the present indicative are shown in the left two quadrants of the Verb Master chart Table 4 under the column labeled as Primary endings:

  • The present tense stem for a verb may be determined by deleting the connecting vowel and personal ending from a verb. If a verb has a prefix or an augment such as in the aorist or perfect tenses, the prefix or augment must also be deleted.
  • The Primary Active personal endings are shown the chart below and in the upper left quadrant (Quadrant 1) of the Verb Master Chart Table 4.
  • The Primary middle/passive personal endings are shown the chart below and the lower left quadrant (Quadrant 3) of Verb Master Chart Table 4.

Table VTP-4 Primary and Secondary Endings of Verbs

Table VTP-4
Quadrants 1 and 3 of
Master Verb Chart 4
Quadrant 1
Active
Connecting
Vowel
Primary
Personal
Ending
Alternative
Personal
Ending
1 singular λύω ο - μι
2 singular λύεις ε ς
3 singular λύει ε ι σι(ν)
1 plural λύομεν ο μεν
2 plural λύετε ε τε
3 plural λύουσι(ν) ο νσι(ν) ασι(ν)
Quadrant 3
Middle/
Passive
1 singular λύομαι ο μαι
2 singular λύῃ ε σαι
3 singular λύεται ε ται ασι(ν)
1 plural λυόμεθα ο μεθα
2 plural λύεσθε ε σθε
3 plural λύονται ο νται

[Note]

  • The “-” indicates there is no personal ending.
  • The omega (ω) at the end of the first person singular verb is the lengthened connecting vowel “ο” which lengthens to an “ω”.
  • Third person plural ending - the “ν” drops out because it is followed by a sigma and the connecting vowel “o” lengthens to compensate for the missing “v”. Therefore, λυ + ο + νσι becomes λυ + ου + σι -> λύουσι

Table VTP-5- εἴμι Present Indicative

Table VTP-5
εἴμι
Present Tense
Indicative Mood
1 singular εἴμι
2 singular εἶ
3 singular ἐστί(ν)
1 plural ἐσμέν
2 plural ἐστέ
3 plural εἰσι(ν)

Present tense – Aspect

Aspect refers to the type of Action.
  • Action can be viewed as simple (also referred to as “punctiliar” or “undefined”). When viewed as “simple” no comment is being made regarding if the action is continuous or a process. It simply states that the event occurred. (Simple Action is generally associated with the Aorist tense, and Future tense, but can also occur in the present indicative .)
  • Action can be viewed as continuous (or imperfective). Continuous action is action that is viewed as ongoing, continuous, or as a process from the speaker’s point of view. (Continuous Action is generally associated with the Present and Imperfect tense.)
  • Action can be portrayed or viewed as perfective or as an event that occurred at some point of time in the past, but with an ongoing effect. ( Perfective action is generally associated with the Perfect and Pluperfect tense)

The present tense is used to express the continuous aspect in all moods other that the indicative mood. In the indicative mood, the Aspect may be simple or continuous.

In the present time:

Simple Present (in the present time)

  • Simple-Present describes action in the present time. The “Simple Present” could be described as viewing an action as occurring instantaneous or viewing a single event (which may have occured quickly or over a period of time) as a whole.
Table VTP-6 Simple Present
Acts 25:11  
Καίσαρα ἐπικαλοῦμαι
Kaisara epikaloumai
to Caesar I appeal

I appeal to Caesar.

Progressive Present

Continuous action may be in the form of:

  1. a short period of continuous action in the present time – (something that is now occurring),
  2. describe ongoing continuous action over a longer period of time, or
  3. action that occurs on an iterative basis (or repeatedly occurs).
  1. Continuous action over a short period of time in the present time.
Table VTP-7 Continuous Action over a short period of time
Mark 1:37    
πάντες ζητοῦσίν σε
pantes zētousin se
all they are seeking you

Everyone is seeking you.

  1. Continuous action over a longer period of time.
Table VTP-8 Continuous action over a long period of time John 3:36
πιστεύων εἰς τὸν Υἱὸν ἔχει ζωὴν αἰώνιον
ho pisteuōn eis ton Huion echei zōēn aiōnion
the one who believes in the Son he has life eternal

The one who believes in the Son has eternal life

[Note:] In this example both the present tense participle πιστεύων and the verb ἔχει are in the present tense and indicate continuous action over a period of time.

  1. Iterative Present – action that happens repeatedly or an event that reoccurs at intervals.

The following two examples from the same verse are examples of the Iterative Present.

  • The first example ἐθίητε is an example of the Iterative Present tense in the subjunctive mood.
  • The second example καταγγέλλω is an example of the present tense in the indicative mood.
Table VTP-9a Iterative Present Tense 1 Cor. 11:26a
ὁσάκις γὰρ ἐὰν ἐσθίητε τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον
hosakis gar ean esthiēte ton arton touton
as often as for whenever you eat the bread this

For as often as you eat this bread

Table VTP-9b Iterative Present Tense 1 Cor. 11:26c
θάνατον τοῦ Κυρίου καταγγέλλετε
thanaton tou Kyriou katangellete
death of the Lord you are proclaiming

you proclaim the death of the Lord or [it could be translated you are proclaiming the death of the Lord.]

Customary (or General) Present

The Customary Present is used to describe events that regularly occur or may be reasonably expected to occur.

The time element is remote or removed because the action described is something that occurs regularly without respect to time. It may occur continuously or regularly on an iterative basis.

Iterative basis example:

Table VTP-10a Customary Present (Iterative) Matt. 7:17
πᾶν δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς καλοὺς ποιεῖ
pan dendron agathon karpous kalous poiei
every tree good fruit good it makes

every good tree produces good fruit

continuous example:

Table VTP-10b Customary Present (Continuous) 2 Cor. 9:7
ἱλαρὸν γὰρ δότην ἀγαπᾷ Θεός.
hilaron gar dotēn agapa ho Theos.
Cheerful for giver he loves the God

for God loves a cheerful giver.

Dramatic Effect

For dramatic effect the present tense may be used to portray:
  • Historical Present - an event that occured in the past, but is portrayed as occuring in the present
  • Future Present - and event that will occur in the future, but is portrayed as occuring in the present.

Historic Present

Simple Action that occurred in the past but is portrayed with the present tense (instead of the expected aorist or imperfect tense). This has the dramatic effect of moving the reader into the time that the event occurred. It portrays the event as now occurring. Frequently the Historic Present is used with the verb λέγω. Most English versions will translate Historic Present verbs with a verb in the past tense.

The following example is from the story of when a person with leprosy came to Jesus to ask for healing. The narative reads as though we were right there watching the scene.

VTP-11a Mark 1:40
καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς αὐτὸν λεπρὸς καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ
kai erchetai pros auton lepros kai legei autō
and he is coming to him leper and he is saying to him

And a leper comes to him … and says to him

Then Jesus moved with compassion responds to the leper.

VTP-11b Mark 1:41
καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ
kai legei autō
and he is saying to him

and says to him

Future Present

The Future Present is used to describe Simple Action that will occur in the future. This use of the present tense views the probability of a future event as so certain that it portrays the event as already occurring in the present time. As such it adds an emphasis on the certainty of the event portrayed.

Example: Jesus speaking of His return:

VTP-12 Rev. 22:20
ναί ἔρχομαι ταχύ
nai erchomai tachy
yes I am coming quickly

Yes! I am coming quickly

Examples of Present tense in non-indicative moods

The following are examples of the Present tense being used with the continuous aspect in moods other than the indicative.

Present tense imperative mood

VTP-13 Present Imperative Matt 7:7
αἰτεῖτε καὶ δοθήσεται ὑμῖν; ζητεῖτε καὶ εὑρήσετε
aiteite kai dothēsetai hymin zēteite kai heurēsete
you ask and it will be given to you you seek and you will find

Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find

[This could be translated “Ask (and keep on asking) and it will be give to you. Seek (and keep on seeking) and you will find.]

Present tense - participle

VTP-14 Present Participle 1 Jn 3:7
ποιῶν τὴν δικαιοσύνην δίκαιός ἐστιν
ho poiōn tēn dikaiosynēn dikaios estin
the one who is doing the righteousness righteous he is

The one who does righteousness is righteous

[This could be translated “The one who does righteousness (and keeps on doing righteousness) is righteous.]