The Present Tense Verb

The Kind of Action of the Present Tense:

The present tense primarily expresses linear action; however, depending on context can focus on a point in time.  With the Greek verb the time is secondary to the type of action; therefore, the present tense is not restricted to only expressing action going on in the present time. The time element is expressed by the mode more than the tense; however, the progressive force of the present tense needs to be considered regardless of what mode it is used with, especially the Subjunctive and Optative modes.

The Aoristic Present

Denotes point-in-time action in the present time; taking place at the moment of speaking or writing without reference to its progress.

And Peter said to him, “Aenea, Jesus the Christ heals you, stand up furnish for yourself and he immediately rose. Acts 9:34

The Gnomic Present

Represents that which is assumed to be true at all times; simply affirming that something does happen under given circumstances.

The Historical Present

Portrays a past action as though it were going on at the moment it was written. It expresses vividness in dramatic narration where the writer can still picture the events in his mind as though they were still happening and he is still involved in them.

The next day John seeing Jesus coming towards him and said, “Look with discernment, the Lamb of God, the One taking away the sin of the world. John 1:29

The Futuristic Present

Pictures a future event, which is so certain to the writer that he writes of it as though it was already taking place.

The Descriptive Present

Represents an action now in progress; it is going on now. This is the most frequent use of the present tense and is the closest to the root idea.

The Progressive Present

The action or state began in the past and is still in progress at the present. Usually has an adverb of time.

This is nearest to the root idea of the present tense, indicating persistent progress or state in the present.

The weak one answered Him, “Sir, I do not have a man in order that when the water is troubled to cast me into the pool, but in which while I am coming another before me goes down.”, John 5:7

The Iterative Present

The action is repeated at successive intervals or in consecutive periods.

The Customary Present

The action habitually occurs, or it may be reasonably expected to occur; it is something that usually occurs.

The Periphrastic Present

This use adds emphasis to the linear aspect of the present tense by means of a present participle.

The Tendential Present

The action is purposed or attempted, but is not actually taking place. It may or may not have been attempted, but it tends towards an attempt.

The Conative Present

The action has begun or been attempted, but it is not now in progress, having been interrupted.

The Inchoative Present

The action is just beginning at the present time, without any emphasis on the progress of the action. The emphasis is on the beginning of the action.

The Perfective Present

This use refers to a fact which has come to be in the past emphasizing the continuation of the existing results as a present reality. The results are seen as going through the present time.

© 2017 Luther Walker | All Rights Reserved | ISBN-10: 0-9993211-0-2, ISBN-13: 978-0-9993211-0-2 | This book or any potion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.