I tolquea, neterquea, ar yuquain minya ré Súlimeo *maisinwe nar mí Mayar *auronótie. Nante i ré Sándor (Alexander), József (Joseph), ar Benedek (Benedictus), ar Mayaron úme tensi istar i yára *lienolwea eques "Sándor, József, Benedek, zsákban hozzák a meleget": Sándor, József, Benedek kolir áre pokosse, ya tea i epe hríve koirea áre senyave entule i arinye auressen Súlimeo (*amnúra naite nése nó i ilúvea laukatáre).
The Quenya past tense is, like in most languages, used to refer to events occurring in the past: i nér mante, manten “the man ate, I ate”. Of all the Quenya tenses, the past is the most complex in its formation.
Origins of the Past Tense: The Quenya past tense originated from two competing ancient patterns: (1) nasal infixion (mat- → mantē) and (2) the past tense suffix -nē (kar- → karnē). Tolkien described these ancient past forms in numerous places:
When Quenya adjectives qualify plural nouns, they are pluralized by the well-known pattern (a > e, e OR C > i); but when an adjective is the predicate of the clause (with the copula either present or not), the attested examples may suggest their plural forms follow those of nouns.
I have found three examples of adjectives ending in a:
*Lafastaite ná ké íre lutila i earesse uile fasta mo talu, mal kelvaron úmin *undunenye laimar anvalde nár. Tane *undunenye salquenóri antar kauma yo már lingwin, *nappoin, ar exe kuimain, ar imya lusse nutir *hyulma, potai ienta aþya mahtale ilúvea *laukatáreo. Ananta undunenye salquenori amna aqua vanwe i falassie nenillor Angaldóreo, rie quaista lemya, i lemba nankarinwa *vahtalénen, *kiryampainen, ar ampaniénen hopassion. *Minaþurindor sí merir envinyataitat - okómiente uileron ar eárine salqueron erdi yai reruvante i hópasse Dale ara i falas mi Wales.
Common Eldarin had another competing syntax for indicating continuous action, a “frequentative” form made by reduplicating the initial part of the verb stem; I use the term frequentative for this formation based on the gloss of the verb sisíla- “shine (frequentative)” (MC/223).
The present tense is used to describe ongoing actions occurring in the present moment: “the man is eating, I am eating”, i nér máta, mátan. Anything occurring in the present moment is generally an ongoing action, and the Quenya present tense can be more accurately labeled the present continuous or the present imperfect. As Tolkien described it Quendian & Common Eldarin Verbal Structure (EVS1) from the late 1940s and Common Eldarin: Verb Structure (EVS2) from the early 1950s:
How do you guys analyze mestanyatse "suffixion"? Is it a verb *mestanya- "to add to the end, extend" with an abstract suffix, or is it somehow a compound of metta/mesta "end" and *yatse "joining" from YAT? Or something entirely else?
The function of the aorist tense in Quenya most closely resembles the simple present form in English: “the man eats, I eat”, i nér mate, matin. It is not, strictly speaking, tied to the present moment, however. More accurately the Quenya aorist is not tied to any particular time at all. Although it is often used to refer to the present, it is also used for habitual actions or other statements which are true independent of time. As Tolkien described it Quendian & Common Eldarin Verbal Structure (EVS1) from the late 1940s:
The basic verbal noun in Quenya is the gerund, formed from the verb stem using the suffix -ie, roughly equivalent to English “-ing”. This English suffix is also used to form the active participle, but Quenya has a different suffix for that. Compare “eating is good” matie mára (ná) [gerund] vs. “the eating man” i matila nér [active participle].