Synthetic and Analytic Present and Past Verb Forms in English, German and Czech

  • Dagmar Masár Machová Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic
  • Petra Charvátová Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • Petra Bačuvčíková Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic


The paper compares three languages – English, German, and Czech in terms of the verbal subcategories that denote present and past states and actions. It shows that all three languages use precisely two tenses – present and preterite, and they can be expressed either synthetically (English, German) or analytically (Czech). Furthermore, the paper studies the issue of grammatical aspect, comparing English, which has perfect and progressive aspect, with German, which has perfect aspect, and Czech, which also expresses perfect aspect grammatically – this is frequently labelled as Slavic perfect. This structure in Czech is, however, not regarded as a purely grammaticalized category of aspect by many scholars, such as Karlík and Migdalski (2017).

Language and Linguistics: Results