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599. The present-system


The present-system, or system of forms coming from the present-stem, is composed (as was pointed out above) of a present indicative tense, together with a subjunctive (mostly lost in the classical language), an optative, an imperative, and a participle, and also a past tense, an augment-preterit, to which we give (by analogy with the Greek) the name of imperfect.

a. These forms often go in Sanskrit grammars by the name of "special tenses", while the other tense-systems are styled "general tenses" — as if the former were made from a special tense-stem or modified root, while the latter came, all alike, from the root itself. There is no reason why such a distinction and nomenclature should be retained; since, on the one hand, the "special tenses" come in one set of verbs directly from the root, and, on the other hand, the other tense-systems are mostly made from stems — and, in the case of the aorist, from stems having a variety of form comparable with that of present-stems.