What are tenses?

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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.

Basic tenses found in many languages include the past, present and future. Some languages have only two distinct tenses and there are also tenseless languages. In some contexts, however, their meaning may be relativized to a point in the past or future which is established in the discourse (the moment being spoken about). This is called relative (as opposed to absolute) tense.