Past tense when I didn't do the action

grandcanyonaz

Member
English - USA
Δεν πήγα στην αστυνομία. I didn't went to the police in English we say Δεν πηγαίνω στην αστυνομία. I didn't go to the police.

Δεν έκανα αυτό ή Δεν κάνω αυτό. I didn't do this.

So in Greek since the action already happened you use past tense even if you didn't do the action?
 
  • dmtrs

    Senior Member
    Greek
    I didn't go to the police.
    There's no difference between the two languages. When you say "I didn't go" you use past tense in the negative form ("Δεν πήγα").
    The present tense in the negative form would be "I don't go". Therefore your problem lies in English grammar. ;)

    Δεν έκανα αυτό ή Δεν κάνω αυτό.
    I didn't do this. (past) / I don't do this. (present)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    So in Greek since the action already happened you use past tense even if you didn't do the action?
    Just as dmtrs says.

    In an English negative sentence, it's the auxiliary verb "do/did" that shows us whether the action happened in the present or in the past (English "simple past" tense). In Greek, the aorist gives the same meaning and doesn't need any auxiliary (helping) verb to do the work of showing past tense - since the verb itself changes from πηγαίνω > πήγα... κάνω > έκανα, etc.


    I've bolded the English finite verbs in black. The infinitives are in blue. (It's the English "present infinitive"):
    Present: I do it. Το κάνω .
    Past: I did it. (I did
    do it.) Το έκανα

    Present: I don't do it. Δεν το κάνω.
    Past: I didn't do it. Δεν το έκανα


    Present: I go to the police. Πηγαίνω στην αστυνομία.
    Past: I went to the police. (I did go to the police). Πήγα στην αστυνομία.

    Present: I don't go to the police. Δεν πηγαίνω στην αστυνομία.
    Past: I didn't go to the police. Δεν πήγα στην αστυνομία.
     
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