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In grammar, an inflected form of a verb indicating the time of a narrated event in relation to the time at which the narrator is speaking. Time is often perceived as a continuum with three main divisions, past, present, and future, defined in relation to the time when the event is described. Other categories, including mood and aspect, may further specify the action as definite or indefinite, completed or not completed, lasting or nonlasting, and recurring or occurring once.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tense, visit Britannica.com.