The present paper is a linguistic analysis of the simple past tense (sādhāraņ atīt) according to the traditional nomenclature) in Bengali. The study of tense forms in traditional Bengali grammar has mainly been confined to the morphological level. The semantic significance of different tense forms has never been studied in a systematic way. There is a great discrepancy in the tense system as has been defined in traditional Bengali grammar and as it functions in real life. We have chosen one tense form viz. simple past (sādhāraņ atīt) to highlight this discrepancy. In this study we have illustrated various uses of this tense form which have been completely ignored by traditional grammarians. Having demonstrated the different past and non-past use of this verb form, we have established that the unifying factor is the aspectual nature of this tense form. We have highlighted the importance of aspect of verb, the study of which had not been taken up by the traditional grammar.
Key Words: Traditional grammar, Past tense, Past use, Non-past use, Aspect.