Page:Latin for beginners (1911).djvu/178

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154 SEQUENCE OF TENSES


. The imperfect subjunctive of the irregular verb sum is in- flected as follows : I. es'sem T. esse'mus . es'ses PlurJ 2. esse'tis - es'set . es'sent Sing. . The three great distinctions of time 2X^ present^ past, 3x16. future. All tenses referring to present or future time are called primary tenses, and those referring to past time are called secondary tenses. Now it is a very common law of language that in a complex sentence the tense in the de- pendent clause should be. of the same kind as the tense in the principal clause. In the sentence He says that he is coming, the principal verb, says, is present, that is, is in a primary tense ; and is coming, in the dependent clause, is naturally also primary. If I change he says to he said, — in other words, if I make the principal verb secondary in character, — I feel it natural to change the verb in the dependent clause also, and I say, He said that he was coming. This following of a tense by another of the same kind is called tense sequence, from sequi, " to follow." In Latin the law of tense sequence is obeyed with considerable regularity, especially when an indicative in the principal clause is followed by a subjunctive in the dependent clause. Then a primary tense of the indicative is followed by a primary tense of the subjunc- tive, and a secondary tense of the indicative is followed by a second- ary tense of the subjunctive. Learn the following table : . Table for Sequence of Tenses > I > z

eg Principal Verb in the Indicative Dependent Verbs in the Subjunctive Incomplete or Con- timimg Action Completed Action Present Future Future perfect Present Perfect Imperfect Perfect Pluperfect Imperfect Pluperfect