Past to Present 1977-1990
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The past is the set of all
events Event may refer to: Gatherings of people * Ceremony, an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion * Convention (meeting), a gathering of individuals engaged in some common interest * Event management, the organization of even ...
that occurred before a given point in time. The past is contrasted with and defined by the
present The present (or here and now) is the time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the f ...
and the
future The future is the time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a co ...
. The concept of the past is derived from the linear fashion in which human observers experience
time Time is the continued sequence In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are conta ...
, and is accessed through
memory Memory is the faculty of the brain A brain is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exis ...
and
recollection Recall in memory Memory is the faculty of the brain A brain is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many ...
. In addition, human beings have recorded the past since the advent of written language. The first known use of the word "past" was in the fourteenth century; it developed as the
past participle In linguistics, a participle () (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to s ...
of the
middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
verb ''passen'' meaning "to pass."


Grammar

In
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
, actions are classified according to one of the following twelve verb tenses: past (past, past continuous,
past perfect The pluperfect (shortening of plusquamperfect), usually called past perfect in English, is a type of verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence ...
, or past perfect continuous), present (
present The present (or here and now) is the time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the f ...
,
present continuous The present continuous, also called the present progressive or present imperfect, is a verb form used in modern English that combines the present tense The present tense (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') ...
,
present perfect The present perfect is a grammatical combination of the present tense The present tense (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group ...
, or
present perfect continuous This article describes the uses of various verb forms in modern standard English language. This includes: * Finite verb forms such as ''go'', ''goes'' and ''went'' * non-finite verb, Nonfinite forms such as ''(to) go'', ''going'' and ''gone'' * Co ...
), or future (
future The future is the time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a co ...
,
future continuous This article describes the uses of various verb forms in modern standard English language. This includes: * Finite verb forms such as ''go'', ''goes'' and ''went'' * non-finite verb, Nonfinite forms such as ''(to) go'', ''going'' and ''gone'' * Co ...
,
future perfect The future perfect is a verb form or construction used to describe an event that is expected or planned to happen before a time of reference in the future, such as ''will have finished'' in the English sentence "I will have finished by tomorrow." I ...
, or future perfect continuous). The past tense refers to actions that have already happened. For example, "she is walking" refers to a girl who is currently walking (present tense), while "she walked" refers to a girl who was walking before now (past tense). The past continuous tense refers to actions that continued for a period of time, as in the sentence "she was walking," which describes an action that was still happening in a prior window of time to which a speaker is presently referring. The past perfect tense is used to describe actions that were already completed by a specific point in the past. For example, "she had walked" describes an action that took place in the past and was also completed in the past. The past perfects continuous tense refers to an action that was happening up until a particular point in the past but was completed. It is different from the past perfect tense because the emphasis of past perfect continuous verbs is not on the action having been completed by the present moment, but rather on its having taken place actively over a time period before another moment in the past. The verb tense used in the sentence "She had been walking in the park regularly before I met her" is past perfect continuous because it describes an action ("walking") that was actively happening before a time when something else in the past was happening (when "I met her"). Depending on its usage in a sentence, "past" can be described using a variety of terms.
Synonyms A synonym is a word, morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful lexical item in a language. A morpheme is not a word. The difference between a morpheme and a word is that a morpheme bound and free morphemes, sometimes does not stand alone ...
for "past" as an
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
include, "former," "bygone," "earlier," "preceding," and "previous." Synonyms for "past" as a
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...
include, "history, "background," "life story," and "biography." Synonyms of "past" as a
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
include, "in front of," "beyond," "by," and "in excess of."


Other uses

The word "past" can also be used to describe the offices of those who have previously served in an organization, group, or event such as, "past president," or, "past champions." "Past" can also refer to something or someone being at or in a position that is further than a particular point. For instance, in the sentence, "I live on Fielding Road, just past the train station," the word "past" is used to describe a location (the speaker's residence) beyond a certain point (the train station). Alternatively, the sentence, "He ran past us at full speed," utilizes the concept of the past to describe the position of someone ("He") that is further than the speaker. The "past" is also used to define a time that is a certain number of
minute The minute is a unit Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT Unit may refer to: Arts and entertainment * UNIT, a fictional military organization in the science fiction television series ''Doctor Who'' * Unit of action, a discrete piec ...
s before or after a particular
hour An hour (symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an , , or . Symbols allow people to go beyond what is n or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different s and s. All ...
, as in "We left the party at half-past twelve." People also use "past" to refer to being beyond a particular
biological age Biomarkers of aging are biomarkers that could predict functional capacity at some later age better than chronological age. Stated another way, biomarkers of ageing, aging would give the true "biological age", which may be different from the chronol ...
or phase of being, as in, "The boy was past the age of needing a babysitter," or, "I'm past caring about that problem." The "past" is commonly used to refer to history, either generally or with regards to specific time periods or events, as in, "Past monarchs had absolute power to determine the law in contrast to many European Kings and Queens of today." Nineteenth-century British author
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian e ...
created one of the best-known fictional
personifications Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an ...
of the "past" in his short book, "
A Christmas Carol ''A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas'', commonly known as ''A Christmas Carol'', is a novella A novella is a narrative prose fiction whose length is shorter than that of most novel A novel is a relatively l ...
." In the story, the
Ghost of Christmas Past The Ghost of Christmas Past is a fictional character in Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional char ...
is an apparition that shows the main character, a cold-hearted and tight-fisted man named
Ebenezer Scrooge Ebenezer Scrooge () is the protagonist of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella ''A Christmas Carol''. At the beginning of the novella, Scrooge is a cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas. The tale of his Redemption (theology), redemption by three ...
, vignettes from his childhood and early adult life to teach him that joy does not necessarily come from wealth.


Fields of study

The past is the object of study within such fields as
time Time is the continued sequence In mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are conta ...
,
history History (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
,
archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complexity, complex topic or Substance theory, substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better underst ...
,
archaeoastronomy Archaeoastronomy (also spelled archeoastronomy) is the interdisciplinary Interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary studies involves the combination of two or more academic disciplines into one activity (e.g., a research project). It draws ...
,
chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of th ...
,
geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...
, historical geology,
historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including s ...
,
ontology Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Phil ...
,
paleontology Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch In geochronology, ...
,
paleobotany Paleobotany, which is also spelled as palaeobotany, is the branch of botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist ...
,
paleoethnobotany Paleoethnobotany (sometimes spelled palaeoethnobotany), or archaeobotany, is the study of past human-plant interactions through the recovery and analysis of ancient plant remains. Both terms are synonymous, though paleoethnobotany (from the Greek w ...
,
palaeogeography Palaeogeography area during the Middle Devonian period. Image:Pangea animation 03.gif, upright=1.4, Animation of the break-up of the supercontinent Pangaea and the subsequent drift of its constituents, from the Early Triassic to recent (250 ...
,
paleoclimatology Paleoclimatology (British spelling Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in English orthography, the two most notab ...
,
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identi ...
and
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
.


See also

*
Antiquarian An antiquarian or antiquary (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Thro ...
*
Archaism In language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally s ...
* Artifact *
Cultural heritage Cultural heritage is the legacy of tangible and intangible heritage assetA heritage asset is an item that has value because of its contribution to a nation’s society, knowledge and/or culture. They are usually physical assets, but some countries ...
* Flashback * Historic preservation *
Memory Memory is the faculty of the brain A brain is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exis ...
*
Museum A museum ( ; plural museums or, rarely, musea) is a building or institution that cares for and displays a collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable department * Collec ...
*
Nostalgia Nostalgia is a sentimentality Sentimentality originally indicated the reliance on feelings as a guide to truth, but in current usage the term commonly connotes a reliance on shallow, uncomplicated emotions at the expense of reason. Sentime ...
*
Past tense The past tense is a grammatical tense In grammar, tense is a grammatical category, category that expresses time reference. Tenses are usually manifested by the use of specific forms of verbs, particularly in their grammatical conjugation, co ...
*
Recollection Recall in memory Memory is the faculty of the brain A brain is an organ Organ may refer to: Biology * Organ (anatomy) An organ is a group of Tissue (biology), tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many ...
*
Retro style Retro style is a style that is imitative or consciously derivative of lifestyles, trends, or art forms from the historical past, including in music, modes, fashions, or attitudes. In popular culture Popular culture (also called mass culture ...


References

{{Authority control Philosophy of time Time