chapter  14
Uses of the tenses
Pages 14

The grammatical category of tense involves the indication of time through special forms of the verb (see 12.1.1b). This chapter deals with the uses of the tenses of the indicative mood (i.e. not the subjunctive) in German:

• General notes on the German tenses (section 14.1) • The present tense (section 14.2) • The uses of the past and the perfect tenses (section 14.3) • The future tenses (section 14.4) • The pluperfect tense (14.5) • German equivalents for the English progressive tenses (section 14.6)

The conjugation (i.e. the forms) of the tenses in German is explained in Chapter 12 and shown in full in the following tables:

• Table 12.2: the simple tenses of regular verbs • Table 12.3: the simple tenses of the irregular verbs haben, sein and werden • Table 12.4: the simple tenses of the modal auxiliary verbs and wissen • Table 12.5: the compound tenses

14.1 The German tenses: general 14.1.1 There are six tenses in German These are illustrated for the verb kaufen ‘buy’ in Table 14.1 (see also section 12.1.1b). There are, exactly as in English:

• two simple tenses, with a single word: the present tense and the past tense • four compound tenses, formed with the auxiliary verbs haben, sein and werden: the perfect

tense, the pluperfect tense, the future tense, and the future perfect tense.