I was taught there was no present tense in Hebrew only completed and incomplete (past and future) and that the Pa'al verb conjugation was for the past or completed action, but in the notes are teaching it calls it "present tense." Can you clarify please?

September 19, 2016


I think you're thinking of Biblical Hebrew. Scholars often say that Biblical Hebrew had no tenses, only aspects: imperfect and perfect (meaning incomplete and complete). This is supposed to explain time discrepancies in the Bible if you were to translate the tenses literally as they are understood nowadays. (It's a little more complicated than this, because having a waw/vav - ו - before the verb changes it and often has the effect of reversing the tense you would expect.)

Our modern day "present tense" comes from their ongoing participle (like English -ing).

Thank you to both of you for your comments. Yes, I had taken a biblical Hebrew course and was taught there was only perfect and imperfect tenses; but everything you both have said makes perfect sense---pun intended! I am very much enjoying Duolingo and find it "complements" the biblical Hebrew.

There is a present tense in Hebrew.

However, it has a single form for both perfect and progressive. Maybe that's what they were trying to tell you.

Not perfect, simple and progressive.. Present perfect would be "I have done" which equates to past in Modern Hebrew (in the absence of any context); עשיתי.

Right. I'm here to learn English.

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