The Tense Code
This page should be read in conjunction with The 5 Basic Programs.
Our account of the tense code of English is the first complete account in the 400 years that English Grammar has been studied. That fact came as a surprise to us, for the account is simple and succinct. In a nutshell:
Tense is Time
Aboriginal forms, whether of verbs or modals, always encode presentness with respect to the point of speech. Transported forms, whether of verbs or modals, always encode pastness with respect to the point of speech.
And that’s it.