John sings the hymn.
John sang the hymn.

John sang the hymn.
The hymn was sung by John.

It is important that John is at the meeting.
(This presupposes that he is and says that is important.)
It is important that John be at the meeting.
(This is normative, prescribing what ought to be.)

So verbs have tenses (present and past in this example), voices (active and passive in this example), moods (indicative and imperative? Or would this be called something else?).

These are three different BLANKs.

With which common noun does one fill in this blank? Or is there none? And are there more things besides these three that belong in this list?

  • Do you want a popular but inaccurate single-word filler, or a technical NP that describes what those things are?
    – user6726
    Jul 11, 2017 at 19:34
  • Oh and also, do you mean something identifying just those three things, or at least those three?
    – user6726
    Jul 11, 2017 at 20:52
  • 1
    Note that "Tense, voice, mood" isn't a universal or inevitable set of classifications: it's simply the set that grammarians came up with in describing Latin. It fits reasonably well for Latin, particularly since all its distinctions are expressed by inflections; but it fails to recognise, for example, that the (Latin) perfect and imperfect are both past tenses that differn in aspect. When you try to apply it to other languages the fit may be very poor. Biblical Hebrew, for example, arguably did not have tenses, but only aspects. Other languages have other properties marked on the verb.
    – Colin Fine
    Jul 11, 2017 at 22:29

2 Answers 2


With which common noun does one fill in this blank?

There's no hyperonym covering the above terms, voice, tense, aspect, and mood|modality.

However, there is an informal term TAM which stands for "Tense–Aspect–Mood", also known as TMA (Tense–Modality–Aspect).

Also, you may find the term of "verbal categories" in some works.

And are there more things besides these three that belong in this list?

Yes, they are usually called aspects, as well.

  • 4
    Sometimes evidentiality is added, giving TAME. Jul 11, 2017 at 22:29
  • 4
    And/or polarity (TAMP).
    – TKR
    Jul 12, 2017 at 0:34
  • @GastonÜmlaut : By "evidentiality" do you mean what they do in languages like Quechua? Jul 12, 2017 at 3:09
  • It doesn't fit the jargon, but 'aspect' (looking from different sides) could be used for any of these features. Preterit[e] (tense), perfect and progressive (and inchoative?) each need one bit of information. Mood uses one bit (for hypothetical), but more for the different modals. Primitive Polarity uses one bit, but is in fact weighted (+ or -, and zero is a good way to denote a question). Evidentiality (optional in English) requires that we remember the sources of our knowledge (by tracking who 'you' be, and apparently retaining that list and its correlations).
    – amI
    Jul 12, 2017 at 22:01
  • Yes Quechua has evidentiality. See here for more information. Jul 12, 2017 at 23:53

I am not sure of what we are talking about.

In many languages, verbs are inflected in tense and mood, and in person and number. Tense is usually mixed with aspect (in a not much consistent system), so it is usual to refer to "tense/aspect". In many languages, including many that inflect verbs according to tense/aspect, mood, person, and number, verbs do not inflect according to "voice" (which is more commonly indicated by syntax).

So, morphologically, there is no "tenses, voices and moods", but - for most Western languages, at least - "tense/aspect, mood, person, and number". And I am not sure that those are legitimate semantic cathegories (voice for instance seems to me to be clearly not semantic - "John sang the hymn" is synonim to "The hymn was sung by John", which is not the case regarding tenses, moods, etc).

Are you asking for what features are grammaticalised in verbal morphology, or are you asking for what semantic categories are covered by verbs?

Morphologically, I suppose that verbs can be inflected according to many other semantic categories - evidentiality, as pointed in other answers and comments, gender, intensity, for instance. Or even to mark sentences as affirmative/negative/interrogative.

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