tense and the Hebrew verb system

English and many other languages inflect verbs to express the time of the action in different ways. Hebrew does not use tense but can express time with different inflected forms - "perfect" or "completed" and "imperfect" or "incomplete". A "completed" action is usually in the past, while an "incomplete" action is often future.

Continuing or present actions are expressed in Hebrew by using a participle or an infinitive. These are both uninflected forms so are often used with a pronoun to indicate the person performing the action, if the subject is otherwise unexpressed.


This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,

© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.