Unlike many Western languages, Tagalog verbs have “aspects” rather than tenses.
What this means, in a nutshell, is that, while in most languages tenses are concerned with time (past, present and future) and with when a certain action happened, Tagalog verbal aspects only tell you if an action has been completed or not.
For example kumain ako means that I have completed the action of eating but it gives you no clues about when this happened, whether it happened one second ago or 1000 years ago.
Tagalog has 3 aspects being:
- Completed like kumain ako
- Incompleted like kumakain ako (action in progress)
- Contemplated like kakain ako (I am contemplating the idea of eating but I am not communicating if I will eat 2 seconds from now or one million years from now)