Platinum is the heaviest metal. The sun rises in the east The monkey is a mammal.
In the neutral time-sphere some indefinite point may be assumed to which an action or state is either anterior or posterior. Thus in When the steed has been stolen, the stable-door is locked, the stealing of the steed is represented as anterior to some indefinite point of time, to which the locking of the stable-door is posterior. Compare Paul, Prinz.3, § 190; Deutschbein, Sprachpsychologische Studiën, I.
3. The dividing-point which separates the past from the future, i. e. the present moment in the strictest sense of the word, may be called primary, the others, respectively, secondary and tertiary.
A succession of events may be described with no other than the primary dividing-point being observed, i. e. without their order of succession being expressed by different tenses. Thus in Towards evening it left off raining, and we took a walk. Observing a secondary dividing-point the same succession of events would be described as follows: Towards evening it had left off raining, and we took a walk. See also 139.
4. The form of the verb which is used in describing an action or state belonging to the present time-sphere is called the present (tense), that which is used in describing an action or state prior to the primary dividing-point is called the preterite (tense), while the verb-group which is used in describing an action or state subsequent to the primary dividing-point is called the future (tense).
The word-groups which are employed in describing an action or state prior or subsequent to a secondary dividing-point either of the past or the future may be, respectively, called the ante-preterite, post-preterite, ante-future, post-future (tenses).
The present tense is also used in describing an action or state which belongs to no particular time-sphere (2, e). This may be called the neutral present.
The present, preterite and future tenses may be called primary tenses, the others secondary tenses. Compare Sweet N. E. Gr, § 279.
5. Obs. I. When the predicate is attended by an adverbial adjunct or clause denoting a particular point or space of time, there is, strictly speaking, no need for a special tense-form to indicate the time-sphere to which the action or state belongs. Thus such adjuncts as now, at the present moment, etc.; yesterday, years ago, during the Thirty Years? War, etc; to-morrow, next week, soon, etc, denote