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21. The tenses are divided into primary tenses, which denote present or future time, and secondary or historical tenses, which denote past time. This distinction applies properly only to the tenses of the indicative; but it may be extended to any forms of the dependent moods which have the same distinction of time as the tenses of the indicative.

The primary tenses of the indicative are the present (in its ordinary uses), perfect, future, and future perfect. The secondary tenses are the imperfect, pluperfect, and aorist (in its ordinary uses).

This distinction will be more fully explained at the end of this chapter (165-191). It must be noted that the historic present (33) is a secondary tense, and the gnomic aorist (154) is a primary tense.

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