Tense vs Aspect

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					         Tense and Aspect I

Mulder          1             IFC Session 2
    What is Tense? What is Aspect?
               Tense                                  Aspect
•   There are really only two           •   The following are
    true tenses in English : Past           considered aspects in
    and Present                             English: simple, progressive,
•   Indicates when the time of              perfect, perfect progressive
    evaluation occurs                   •   Indicates how the speaker
•   “future” is technically not a           views the situation
    tense because there is no           •   Provides information about
    the verb is not marked                  duration completion and
•   The “temporally when”                   frequency
                                        •   The “temporally how”

       Mulder                       2                          IFC Session 2
        Simple vs Progressive Form
           Simple Form                    Progressive Form
•   Habit: I usually wash my       • For an action that is in
    hair on Sundays.                 progress: Is he still
•   Completed actions: I             complaining about his
    bought a new car yesterday.      girlfriend?
•   General statements: Water      • For a temporary situation:
    boils at 100°C                   Schlake is losing!
•   Descriptions of a series of    • For an incomplete action: I
    events (fictional present):      was just finishing off the
    He comes in and sees her in      cake when my mum came
    front of the stove. He takes     in.
    a knife

      Mulder                   3                        IFC Session 2
                  Signal Words
       Simple Form                   Progressive Form
• Normally used with            • Normally used with
  adverbs that suggest            adverbs of temporary
  habit and frequency:            duration: always (with
  always, sometimes,              irritation), at present, at
  never, normally,                the moment, currently,
  occasionally, often,            this week, just (when
  rarely, seldom, usually         referring to the present

    Mulder                  4                       IFC Session 2
              Stative vs Dynamic
       Stative Verbs                 Dynamic Verbs
• These describe a state       • These describe an
  and are normally used          action or event that can
  ONLY in the Simple             be used in both Simple
  Form: I believe in life on     and Progressive Forms:
  Mars. (not I am              My cat bites my hand
  believing)                     everyday.
                               My cat is biting my hand!!

     Mulder                5                     IFC Session 2
                    Stative Verbs
Stative verbs fall into the following categories:
• 1)States of being and having: be, apply, belong, have
   concern, cost, depend, resemble, contain, lack, own,
   possess, weigh
• 2)Intellectual states: assume, believe, doubt, expect,
    forget, hope, imagine, know, notice, realize, remember,
   suppose, think (be of the opinion), understand, wonder
• 3)Emotional states: agree, consider, hate, intend, like, love,
    need, pity, prefer, regard, trust, want, wish
• 4)States of perception: feel, hear, see, smell taste, appear,
• 5) States of physical sensation: ache, hurt, itch, tickle

     Mulder                   6                        IFC Session 2
Stative Verbs used in the Progressive I
• As with any language “rule” there are
  exceptions. When a stative verb is used to
  describe an action of limited duration it can
  be used in the progressive
“This class has 17 students”
“My dog is having a senior moment”
Can you think of other examples?
    Mulder             7                  IFC Session 2
Stative Verbs used in the Progressive II
• “to be” can also be used in the Progressive if it
  has the meaning of a temporary state (as in
  the sense of “to act” or “to behave”):
“Stop being such an idiot!”
“You’re being stubborn”
Why would you use one of the above
  statements instead of using the verb in the
  Simple form?

    Mulder             8                   IFC Session 2
Stative Verbs used in the Progressive III
• Verbs of perception can also be used in the
  Progressive – again if they have the sense of
  an activity
“My little brother has been smelling funny
“My little brother smells”

    Mulder             9                  IFC Session 2
 Stative Verbs used in the Progressive
• Verbs of physical sensation are often an
  exception, in that they can be used in the
  Simple and Progressive Forms for a temporary
Which of these questions do you prefer? Does
  it depend on the situation?
“Does your back ache?”
“Is your back aching?”

    Mulder           10                IFC Session 2
• I _____(think) Bush is an idiot.
• A: You look happy. What’s up?
• B: I ______(think) about Ms. Mulder’s fascinating
• I __________ (consider) Bob to be a good friend
  of mine.
• Dortmund is so boring. I __________ (consider)
  moving to Berlin.
• That French cheese _______ (smell) like a
• Why are you ______(smell) it then, to see if it has
  gone off?
    Mulder              11                   IFC Session 2