11. verb tenses

The verb tenses has already be presented in chapter 9. However in this chapter we only presented the pretérito perfeito simples, the most important tense of the past in Portuguese given that the pretérito perfeito composto has a very special meaning in Portuguese.

We have already seen that the verbal tenses in Portuguese differ a lot from the verbal tenses of all other languages. We can even say that the English verbal tenses, English has a present perfect continuous that resembles to the pretérito perfeito composto, resembles more to the Portuguese system than the verbal tenses of other roman languages, see 11.2.

Since the same verbe tense is used in Portuguese for accomplished actions, events and processes in an accomplished passed and for actions, events and processes that have an impact, objectively or subjectively, on the present of the speaker the pretérito perfeito simples is the most important tense of the past in Portuguese. In Spanish we have a distribution of more or less 50 / 50 between the use of the pretérito perfeito simples (Spanish: pasado indefinido) and the pretérito perfeito composto (Spanish: pretérito perfecto). 50 percent of the actions and events are accomplished in an accomplished past and 50 percent have an impact on the present. However if this distinction is not made any more, we have 100 percent of action and events described in the pretérito perfeito simples and the pretérito perfeito composto is only used in a very special context. From a lerner perspective this is not very pleasant, because the pretérito perfeito simples is very irregular.

No we will have a look at the tenses we have not seen until now, the imperfeito, mais-que-perfeito composto and the mais-que-perfeito simples. Concerning the last one it is enough to have seen it, because it is not used any more. However one should be able to recognize it passively, mostly in reading, because it appears in literature. (For instance in O Cortiço, a novel you can find in the section literature.)

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