Grammatical tense

Grammatical tense expresses location in time of events described in sentence relative to the moment of speaking and affects form of verbs and participles. In this article only verbs will be discussed.

While traditional studies of English language name 12 tenses, in modern science only 3 basic tenses are distinguished (past, present and future) and others are considered various aspects of verbs (indefinite, continuous/progressive, perfect, perfect continuous). The same is applied to other languages (like Latin) with more than 3 tenses. Older classifications were based on using single suffix to express tense, aspect, mood and/or voice at once or on shifting the meaning of specific tense (like Perfekt/Imperfekt in German) during it's history. Moreover, some scientists do not consider future as proper tense, but as mood.

In Nûrlâm

Nûrlâm distinguishes only 3 tenses: Past, Present and Future used exactly as their names suggest. So the closest examples from real world are Slavic languages. Hurrian language, by which Black Speech probably was inspired, also is similar in tenses (however it's verb grammar is far more complex and not fully deciphered yet). Various forms of English tenses are expressed by aspect in Nûrlâm, however Present Perfect is always translated as Past tense and Present Perfect Continuous can be translated either as Present or Past tense. Sometimes English Present tense expresses future action, e.g. after prepositions and adverbs like “when”, “until”, “whenever”; all of these should be translated into Nûrlâm's Future tense if the action didn't happened yet. When translating back from Black Speech into English, please keep mind that aspect indicators are optional specially when additional time markers are provided in adverbial. So past form of verb without suffix of aspect can be either simple, perfect or continuous (see example in table below). In analytic version of colloquial language there is special form of future tense exists, formed by the verb “to be” in future tense (kub) plus main predicate in infinitive, which is similar to Slavic languages and generally corresponds to English future continuous tense (Takub ukhut = He will be walking). All verbs have the same suffixes expressing one time except the verb "kul" (to be). So there are no distinction between “weak” and “strong” verbs, all verbs belong to one conjugation class.

Suffix table

Suffix table for verbs conjugation in tense is:

Tense Verb suffix Example Translation
Past -uz gimbuz found / have found / had found / had been finding
Present -∅ (zero-ending) gimb find / is finding / has been finding
Future -ub gimbub will find / will be finding / will have found / will have been finding

Verb's tense suffixes are added just right after the root before any other suffixes.

Suffix -ulg of Subjunctive mood may be treated as special Future-in-the-past tense. Gerundives may carry functions of future passive tense.


Participles have only two tenses: Present and Past (Perfect), but also have voice. See corresponding article about them. But Gerundive may be treated as future participle when translating into languages which have such participles.

See also

grammar_tense.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/07 00:59 (external edit)