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Subject: Re: everything thatís already in the world when youíre born is just normal ( 10 of 14 )
Posted by beeline

A large proportion of the changes in language are due to misunderstandings of meaning, structure and use. Just look at the way that its and it's are becoming interchangeable. Or alternate and alternative. In context, the meaning is usually clear, but subtle ambiguities are introduced as certain words lose their distinguishing power.

There's not many people who would discriminate between 'learned' and 'learnt' anymore (except for the purists) - the meaning's absolutely clear in context and they are more-or-less interchangeable in common/modern use. There is one clear distinction, though: adjectival vs verbal phrases:

"The edges are burnt." (an adjectival present tense phrase - the verb is 'to be' here)
"The edges have been burned." (a passive past tense verbal phrase - the verb is 'to burn' here)

... but even that distinction is disappearing too.

For a complete guide to all tenses (including the aorist), I can recommend this page from The Boston Christian Bible Study Resources. It's intended for greek translation, but most of the tense distinctions carry across to English. Enjoy!
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