Thursday, March 12, 2009

Aspect and Tense in the Simple Verb Phrase in English

Well I am sorting through some graduate school notes and ran across this handwritten deal. Plus some articles illuminating (?) it. So I suppose I will preserve it for all times on the Intertubes. Make of it what you will.

1. takes Present
2. took Past
3. is taking Present Progressive
4. was taking Past Progressive
5. has taken Present Perfect
6. had taken Past Perfect
7. has been taking Present Perfect Progressive
8. had been taking Past Perfect Progressive

Present: 1, 3, 5, 7 tense
Past: 2, 4, 6, 8

Aux2 (?) Progressive 3, 4, 7, 8 (?) usually combined into category 'aspect'
(?) Non-progressive 1, 2, 5, 6

Aux1 (?) Perfect 5, 6, 7, 8 (?) usually combined into category 'aspect'
(?) Non-perfect 1, 2, 3, 4

tense: present tense is used for any period of time, short, long or eternal that includes or explicitly concerns the present moment. Past tense excludes the present moment.

progressivity: progressive indicates activity continuing through a period of time - activity with duration. Non-progressivity merely reports activity, without indicating it has duration (but NOT indicating that the activity does not have duration.)

perfection: perfect indicates a period of time that began before, but continued right up to a point of time (either past or present).

well back in the day I was deeply involved with issues of English grammar and their relations with such things as the Sapir/Whorf theory of language. I am not sure where the 'Aux1' and 'Aux2' came from but all of this seemed important enough at the time (late 80's) to have me keep my notes. So rather than keep them on paper here they are.

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