So is Present perfect in English considered a Past tense or a present tense ? I like my tables to be neat and easy to understand though I don't know if this is possible.
I ask because I read that Passé composé in French can equal the Present perfect in English OR the Simple past....So I want to know if Present perfect should be in the Past column or in the Present column....
In all languages I speak, the present perfect is used to talk about the recent past. It's called "present" because the helping verb is conjugated in the present tense. The main verb is not conjugated in perfect tenses, you use the past participle.
In modern English you always use the verb 'to have' to make the perfect tenses; in Spanish you always use the verb 'haber'. I just figured out a way that French might help you here with German - in German (and it appears also in French) the perfect tenses can be formed with two helping verbs - haben/avoir (to have) for transitive verbs and sein/être (to be) for intransitive verbs.
To go (intransitive): I have gone; ich bin gegangen; je suis allée
To cook (transitive): I have cooked, ich habe gekocht, j'ai cuit
So that should help you; figuring out that transitive/intransitive thing is a pain for most English speakers. We used to also differentiate back in the time of Shakespeare; that's why we say "He is risen" on Easter; it comes from the King James, from Shakespeare's time - that would be "He has risen" in modern Engllsh - and it has been changed to that in contemporary translations. (To rise is an intransitive verb).
Along with 'to be' for intransitive perfect tenses, we also dropped 'thou' from the same time period. Thou was our informal 2nd person. If you have read a lot of Shakespeare and/or King James, you might be familiar with how 'thou' is conjugated, which is almost the same as 'du' (informal 2nd person in German).
ETA And I'm reading about English Imperfect - is that the same as Past continuous ? and Past progressive ?
No, not at all. Imperfect is just a simple past tense (as in, not compound). We only have one simple past in English. Called the past tense, also imperfect. Same exact thing. The progressive tenses are compound - to be + present participle.
Past (aka imperfect): I ran
Past progressive: I was running
There are no progressive tenses in German. They would use the simple present tenses wherever we'd use progressive.
I am reading the paper.
Ich lese die Zeitung.
In the past, German uses the present perfect a lot of times where we'd use the simple past.
I ran home yesterday.
Gestern bin ich nach Hause gerannt.
Edited by Matryoshka, 08 May 2017 - 09:53 AM.