‘Tense’ refers to the time of the reported event in relation to the speech time and reference time(Givon,1993; Liu,2015). To be precise, the reported event may be in the past (prior to the event time), in the future (after the even time), in the present (right at the event time), or habitual (always, timeless)(Liu,2015), and may also be in the relative past(prior to the reference time in the past or prior to the reference time in the future) or relative future(after the reference time in the past or after the reference time in the future)(Li, 2002).
1. Giv6n, Talmy. 1993. English Grammar: A Function-Based Introduction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
2. Liu, Meichun. 2015. Tense and aspect in Mandarin Chinese. In The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Linguistics, chapter 21, eds. by William S-Y. Wang and Chaofen Sun, 274-289. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
3. 李铁根. 2002.“了”、“着”、“过”与汉语时制的表达[J]. 语言研究.