i love english language

1.6 Verbs

6. Verbs

Dynamic Verbs, Stative Verbs, Infinitive, Past Participle, Present Participle, Modal Verb, Lexical Verb, Auxiliary Verb, Past/Present tense, Perfective Aspect, Progressive Aspect

Starting with the most basic sentence:

I walk to the shop. I open the door. I look at the man behind the counter. I nod.

            …can we change the tense? – Into the past?

I walked to the shop. I opened the door. I looked at the man behind the counter. I nodded.

How does this read differently?

If we add the auxiliary verb “have” to the lexical verb “walked” to make the verb phrase the aspect changes – the perfective aspect:

I have walked to the shop. I have opened the door. I have looked at the man behind the counter. I have nodded.

…which describes an action which is continuing up to and including the present

…or the past perfective

I had walked to the shop. I had opened the door. I had looked at the man behind the counter. I had nodded.

…which describes an action which is continuing up to and including any time in the past

Using the auxiliary verb “be” and the –ing ending we can change to the progressive aspect or the continuous aspect:

I am walking to the shop. I am opening the door. I am looking at the man behind the counter. I am nodding.

            …which describes an action which is still happening and has not as yet come to an end.

I was walking to the shop. I was opening the door. I was looking at the man behind the counter. I was nodding.

…the progressive aspect in the past tense… which describes an action which was happening over a period and had not come to an end at some point in the past.

When a verb phrase is identified in a text and then commented on, you must precisely label it – i.e. what tense it is in and what if any aspect it is in.

Analytical Sentence = Analysis + Quotation + Technical Term

 

The progressive aspect “was walking” is used by the author in order to get across the sense that the narrator was walking over an extended period of time, thus stressing the effort he went in order to reach his goal.

Present tense, past tense, perfective and progressive aspects are all to do with the order in which things happen – when, for how long, up until and whether they’re finished or not. The best way to learn their uses and effects is to use them in your own writing and note how they affect the reader in the writing of others.

To form the future tense the modal verb “will” is used:

I will be walking to the shop. I will be opening the door. I will be looking at the man behind the counter. I will be nodding.

 

Other modal verbs such as would, could, should, might, must, etc. Are used to create other meanings.

Also, many verbs can be said to be either stative or dynamic – such that stative verbs such as “is”, “seems” etc. are concerned with describing what is that case or the state, whilst other verbs such as “kill” and “jump” are said to be dynamic, describing things actually happening, things moving, things that are dynamic.

Task:

A diary is a good example of a text which will have a good mixture of all verb tenses and aspects, so that it can deal with what happened to the author in the distant past as well as in the more recent past, what is happening (how she feels as she writes) now as well as what might, will or could happen in the future.

Write the diary entry of the young lady who has been imprisoned in a tower by her evil uncle and who dreams of a handsome knight coming to her rescue.

 

Other terms:

 

Infinitive – the base form of the verb – e.g. to kill, to be, to sit, to murder

 

Past Participle – the -ed form of the verb – killed, drugged, skinned

 

Present Participle – the -ing form of the verb – killing, drugging, skinning

 

One Response

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  1. Caroline Bottomley said, on July 20, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    what a lovely blog🙂


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