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The present is a moment in time discernible as intermediate between past and future. A day panorama - digital art.jpg
The present is a moment in time discernible as intermediate between past and future.

The present (or here and now) is the time that is associated with the events perceived directly and in the first time, [1] not as a recollection (perceived more than once) or a speculation (predicted, hypothesis, uncertain). It is a period of time between the past and the future, and can vary in meaning from being an instant to a day or longer. In radiocarbon dating, the "present" is defined as AD 1950.

Time dimension in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future

Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past, through the present, to the future. Time is a component quantity of various measurements used to sequence events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to quantify rates of change of quantities in material reality or in the conscious experience. Time is often referred to as a fourth dimension, along with three spatial dimensions.

Perception Organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment

Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment.

Past historic time - subdivision of time

The past is the set of all events that occurred before a given point in time. The past is contrasted with and defined by the present and the future. The concept of the past is derived from the linear fashion in which human observers experience time, and is accessed through memory and recollection. In addition, human beings have recorded the past since the advent of written language. The first known use of the word "past" was in the fourteenth century; it developed as the past participle of the middle english verb passen meaning "to pass."


It is sometimes represented as a hyperplane in space-time, [2] typically called "now", although modern physics demonstrates that such a hyperplane cannot be defined uniquely for observers in relative motion. The present may also be viewed as a duration (see specious present ). [3] [4]

Hyperplane geometric object

In geometry, a hyperplane is a subspace whose dimension is one less than that of its ambient space. If a space is 3-dimensional then its hyperplanes are the 2-dimensional planes, while if the space is 2-dimensional, its hyperplanes are the 1-dimensional lines. This notion can be used in any general space in which the concept of the dimension of a subspace is defined. In machine learning, hyperplanes are a key tool to create support vector machines for such tasks as computer vision and natural language processing.

The specious present is the time duration wherein one's perceptions are considered to be in the present. Time perception studies the sense of time, which differs from other senses since time cannot be directly perceived but must be reconstructed by the brain.


Contemporary history describes the historical timeframe that is immediately relevant to the present time and is a certain perspective of modern history.

Contemporary history, in English-language historiography, is a subset of modern history which describes the historical period from approximately 1945 to the present. The term "contemporary history" has been in use at least since the early 19th century.

Modern history Era from ca. 1500 until present

Modern history, the modern period or the modern era, is the linear, global, historiographical approach to the time frame after post-classical history. Modern history can be further broken down into periods:

Philosophy and religion


You shouldn't chase after the past or place expectations on the future. What is past is left behind. The future is as yet unreached. Whatever quality is present you clearly see right there, right there.

Buddha, Bhaddekaratta Sutta [5]

What we perceive as present is the vivid fringe of memory tinged with anticipation.

Alfred North Whitehead, The Concept of Nature [6]

Philosophy of time

"The present" raises the question: "How is it that all sentient beings experience now at the same time?" [7] There is no logical reason why this should be the case and no easy answer to the question.[ citation needed ]

In Buddhism

Buddhism and many of its associated paradigms emphasize the importance of living in the present moment — being fully aware of what is happening, and not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. [8] This does not mean that they encourage hedonism, but merely that constant focus on one's current position in space and time (rather than future considerations, or past reminiscence) will aid one in relieving suffering. They teach that those who live in the present moment are the happiest. [9] A number of meditative techniques aim to help the practiser live in the present moment.

Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.

In science and philosophy, a paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field.

Future Time which has yet to occur

The future is the time after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics. Due to the apparent nature of reality and the unavoidability of the future, everything that currently exists and will exist can be categorized as either permanent, meaning that it will exist forever, or temporary, meaning that it will end. In the Occidental view, which uses a linear conception of time, the future is the portion of the projected timeline that is anticipated to occur. In special relativity, the future is considered absolute future, or the future light cone.

Christianity and eternity

Christianity views God as being outside of time and, from the divine perspective past, present and future are actualized in the now of eternity. This trans-temporal conception of God has been proposed as a solution to the problem of divine foreknowledge (i.e. how can God know what we will do in the future without us being determined to do it) since at least Boethius. [10] Thomas Aquinas offers the metaphor of a watchman, representing God, standing on a height looking down on a valley to a road where past present and future, represented by the individuals and their actions strung out along its length, are all visible simultaneously to God. [11] Therefore, God's knowledge is not tied to any particular date. [12]

God the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith in monotheism

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".

Eternity endless time, an infinite duration

Eternity in common parlance is an infinitely long period of time. In classical philosophy, however, eternity is defined as what exists outside time while sempiternity is the concept that corresponds to the colloquial definition of eternity.

Boethius philosopher of the early 6th century

Saint Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius, was a Roman senator, consul, magister officiorum, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born about a year after Odoacer deposed the last Roman Emperor and declared himself King of Italy. Boethius entered public service under Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great, who later imprisoned and executed him in 524 on charges of conspiracy to overthrow him. While jailed, Boethius composed his Consolation of Philosophy, a philosophical treatise on fortune, death, and other issues, which became one of the most popular and influential works of the Middle Ages. As the author of numerous handbooks and translator of Aristotle, he became the main intermediary between Classical antiquity and following centuries.

Physical science

Special relativity

A visualisation of the present (dark blue plane) and past and future light cones in 2D space. World line.svg
A visualisation of the present (dark blue plane) and past and future light cones in 2D space.

The original intent of the diagram on the right was to portray a 3-dimensional object having access to the past, present, and future in the present moment (4th dimension).[ clarification needed ]

It follows from Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity that there is no such thing as absolute simultaneity. When care is taken to operationalise "the present", it follows that the events that can be labeled as "simultaneous" with a given event, can not be in direct cause-effect relationship. Such collections of events are perceived differently by different observers. Instead, when focusing on "now" as the events perceived directly, not as a recollection or a speculation, for a given observer "now" takes the form of the observer's past light cone. The light cone of a given event is objectively defined as the collection of events in causal relationship to that event, but each event has a different associated light cone. One has to conclude that in relativistic models of physics there is no place for "the present" as an absolute element of reality. Einstein phrased this as: "People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion". [13] [14]


In physical cosmology, the present time in the chronology of the universe is estimated at 13.8 billion years after the singularity determining the arrow of time. In terms of the metric expansion of space, it is in the dark-energy-dominated era, after the universe's matter content has become diluted enough for metric expansion to be dominated by vacuum energy (dark energy). It is also in the universe's Stelliferous Era, after enough time for superclusters to have formed (at about 5 billion years), but before the accelerating expansion of the universe has removed the local supercluster beyond the cosmological horizon (at about 150 billion years). [15]


In Grammar, actions are classified according to one of the following twelve verb tenses: past (past, past continuous, past perfect, or past perfect continuous), present (present, present continuous, present perfect, or present perfect continuous), or future (future, future continuous, future perfect, or future perfect continuous). [16] The present tense refers to things that are currently happening or are always the case. [17] For example, in the sentence, "she walks home everyday," the verb "walks" is in the present tense because it refers to an action that is regularly occurring in the present circumstances.

Verbs in the present continuous tense indicate actions that are currently happening and will continue for a period of time. [18] In the sentence, "she is walking home," the verb phrase "is walking" is in the present continuous tense because it refers to a current action that will continue until a certain endpoint (when "she" reaches home). Verbs in the present perfect tense indicate actions that started in the past and is completed at the time of speaking. [19] For example, in the sentence, "She has walked home," the verb phrase "has walked" is in the present perfect tense because it describes an action that began in the past and is finished as of the current reference to the action. Finally, verbs in the present perfect continuous tense refer to actions that have been continuing up until the current time, thus combining the characteristics of both the continuous and perfect tenses. [20] An example of a present perfect continuous verb phrase can be found in the sentence, "she has been walking this route for a week now," where "has been walking" indicates an action that was happening continuously in the past and continues to happen continuously in the present.

See also

Related Research Articles

In grammar, tense is a category that expresses time reference with reference to the moment of speaking. Tenses are usually manifested by the use of specific forms of verbs, particularly in their conjugation patterns.

Aspect is a grammatical category that expresses how an action, event, or state, denoted by a verb, extends over time. Perfective aspect is used in referring to an event conceived as bounded and unitary, without reference to any flow of time during. Imperfective aspect is used for situations conceived as existing continuously or repetitively as time flows.

A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action, an occurrence, or a state of being. In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive. In many languages, verbs are inflected to encode tense, aspect, mood, and voice. A verb may also agree with the person, gender or number of some of its arguments, such as its subject, or object. Verbs have tenses: present, to indicate that an action is being carried out; past, to indicate that an action has been done; future, to indicate that an action will be done.

In grammar, a future tense is a verb form that generally marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future. An example of a future tense form is the French aimera, meaning "will love", derived from the verb aimer ("love"). English does not have a future tense formed by verb inflection in this way, although it has a number of ways to express the future, particularly the construction with the auxiliary verb will or shall or is/am/are going to and grammarians differ in whether they describe such constructions as representing a future tense in English.

English verbs verbs in the English language

Verbs constitute one of the main parts of speech in the English language. Like other types of words in the language, English verbs are not heavily inflected. Most combinations of tense, aspect, mood and voice are expressed periphrastically, using constructions with auxiliary verbs.

The present tense is a grammatical tense whose principal function is to locate a situation or event in the present time. The present tense is used for actions in a time which are happening now. In order to explain and understand present tense, it is useful to imagine time as a line on which the past tense, the present and the future tense are positioned. The term present tense is usually used in descriptions of specific languages to refer to a particular grammatical form or set of forms; these may have a variety of uses, not all of which will necessarily refer to present time. For example, in the English sentence "My train leaves tomorrow morning", the verb form leaves is said to be in the present tense, even though in this particular context it refers to an event in future time. Similarly, in the historical present, the present tense is used to narrate events that occurred in the past.

The past tense is a grammatical tense whose principal function is to place an action or situation in past time. In languages which have a past tense, it thus provides a grammatical means of indicating that the event being referred to took place in the past. Examples of verbs in the past tense include the English verbs sang, went and was.

Spanish verbs verb in the Spanish language

Spanish verbs form one of the more complex areas of Spanish grammar. Spanish is a relatively synthetic language with a moderate to high degree of inflection, which shows up mostly in Spanish conjugation.

The perfect tense or aspect is a verb form that indicates that an action or circumstance occurred earlier than the time under consideration, often focusing attention on the resulting state rather than on the occurrence itself. An example of a perfect construction is I have made dinner: although this gives information about a prior action, the focus is likely to be on the present consequences of that action. The word perfect in this sense means "completed".

The perfective aspect, sometimes called the aoristic aspect is a grammatical aspect that describes an action viewed as a simple whole, i.e. a unit without interior composition. The perfective aspect is distinguished from the imperfective aspect, which presents an event as having internal structure. The term perfective should be distinguished from perfect.

Sequence of tenses is a set of grammatical rules of a particular language, governing the agreement between the tenses of verbs in related clauses or sentences.

Philosophical presentism is the view that neither the future nor the past exist. In some versions of presentism, this view is extended to timeless objects or ideas. According to presentism, events and entities that are wholly past or wholly future do not exist at all. Presentism contrasts with eternalism and the growing block theory of time which hold that past events, like the Battle of Waterloo, and past entities, like Alexander the Great's warhorse Bucephalus, really do exist, although not in the present. Eternalism extends to future events as well.

Present perfect grammatical combination of the present tense and the perfect aspect

The present perfect is a grammatical combination of the present tense and perfect aspect that is used to express a past event that has present consequences. The term is used particularly in the context of English grammar to refer to forms like "I have left".

Simple present verb form

The simple present, present simple or present indefinite is one of the verb forms associated with the present tense in modern English. It is commonly referred to as a tense, although it also encodes certain information about aspect in addition to present time. The simple present is the most commonly used verb form in English, accounting for more than half of verbs in spoken English.

The present continuous, also called the present progressive, is a verb form used in modern English that combines the present tense with the continuous aspect. It can be employed in both the indicative and subjunctive moods. Approximately 5% of verbs in spoken English are in the present continuous form.

Tense–aspect–mood or tense–modality–aspect is a group of grammatical categories that covers the expression of tense, aspect, and mood or modality. Some authors extend this term as tense–aspect–mood–evidentiality. In some languages, evidentiality and mirativity (surprise) may also be included.

Uses of English verb forms simple sentences for english learning

This article describes the uses of various verb forms in modern standard English language. This includes:

English clause syntax Clauses in English grammar

This article describes the syntax of clauses in the English language, that is, the ways of combining and ordering constituents such as verbs and noun phrases to form a clause.


Citations and notes

  1. Hegeler, E. C., & Carus, P. (1890). The Monist. La Salle, Ill. [etc.]: Published by Open Court for the Hegeler Institute. page 443.
  2. Sattig, T. (2006). The language and reality of time. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Page 37.
  3. James, W. (1893). The principles of psychology. New York: H. Holt and Company. Page 609.
  4. Hodder, A. (1901). The adversaries of the sceptic; or, The specious present, a new inquiry into human knowledge. Chapter II, The Specious Present. London: S. Sonnenschein &. Pages 36 - 56.
  5. MN 131: Bhaddekaratta Sutta
  6. Whitehead, Alfred North. The Concept of Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1930), p. 73
  7. McInerney, Peter K. (1992). Time and Experience. Temple University Press. p. 44. ISBN   978-1-56639-010-1.
  8. Hạnh, Thích Nhất (1990). Our appointment with life: the Buddha's teaching on living in the present. Parallax Press. p. 53. ISBN   978-0-938077-36-7.
  9. Rahula, Walpola (1974). What the Buddha Taught. Grove Press. p. 72. ISBN   9780802130310 . Retrieved 2010-04-28.
  10. Consolatio Philosophae, Bk. 4
  11. Cline, Austin. God is Eternal – Timeless vs. Everlasting.
  12. Irwin, William; White, Mark D. (2009). Watchmen and Philosophy: A Rorschach Test. John Wiley and Sons. p. 128.
  13. Letter from Einstein to the family of his lifelong friend Michele Besso, after learning of his death, (March 1955) as quoted in Science and the Search for God: Disturbing the Universe (1979) by Freeman Dyson, Ch. 17, "A Distant Mirror",
  14. Tippett, Krista. "Einstein's God (NPR)". Speaking of Faith . American Public Media. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  15. Krauss, Lawrence M.; Starkman, Glenn D. (2000). "Life, the Universe, and Nothing: Life and Death in an Ever-expanding Universe". Astrophysical Journal. 531 (1): 22–30. arXiv: astro-ph/9902189 . Bibcode:2000ApJ...531...22K. doi:10.1086/308434.
  16. (no author). "Verb tenses". English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  17. (no author). "Verb tenses". English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  18. (no author). "Verb tenses". English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  19. Merriam-Webster (n.d.). "Present Perfect" (Web). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  20. (no author). "Verb tenses". English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 25 June 2018.

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