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Tense and aspect

  1. 1. Tense and Aspect The Teacher’s Grammar of English – Ron Cown Prepared by: Rahma Kaffa Mostafa Omarakly Omar Taky-eddine
  2. 2. Outline: • 1- Basic concepts: Tense and aspect. • 2- The simple tenses. • 3- Expressing future time; progressive aspect. • 4- perfect aspect. • 5- Perfect and progressive aspects. • 6- Sequence of tense rules. • 7- exercise / activity. • 8- Problems that ESL/EFL students have with tense and aspect. • 9-Blank-filling exercise
  3. 3. Basic concepts: Tense and aspect • Tense in verbs expresses time. It is referenced to the moment of speaking. • Aspect expresses how the speaker views the action of the verb.
  4. 4. • Tense and aspect intersect in English.  Example: She is running right now. She was running an hour ago. She will be running in about an hour. • Sometimes more than one aspect may combine with tense/time.  example: She will have been working.  Same verb form doesn’t mean that we will have the same interpretation. Examples:  John has written only one novel since 1998  John has owned only one car since 1998
  5. 5. Lexical aspect .  Lexical aspect refers to semantic properties of verbs, for example, whether or not an action is characterized by a duration, an end point, or change.  Verbs fall into two four categories in terms of lexical aspect – stative verbs and three types of dynamic verbs.  Stative verbs describe states or situations rather than action. States are continuous and unchanging and can be emotional, physical, or cognitive.  E.g. she hates her boss.  Acitivity verbs express actions that go on for a potentially indefinite period of time. The actions are constant (e.g. run, swim, walk) or involve an inherent change (e.g., decline, develop, grow)  Atelic verbs; they lack an end point.  E.g. He is walking around the park.
  6. 6.  Achievement verbs describe an action that occurs instantaneously – either punctually (e.g., hit, kick, bounce) or as change of state (e.g., find). Examples:  He bounced the ball several times. Punctual  She crossed the finish line Change of state  Accomplishment verbs have a termination that is logical in terms of their action, as is the case, for example, with build (a house) or paint (a picture).  Example:  He wrote a book about language teaching.
  7. 7. Tenses in English language teaching
  8. 8. Simple present • The simple present is represented by the third person singular « s » inflection on verbs
  9. 9. Basic meanings of the simple present • States: some english verbs have stative meaning; they describe states rather than actions  John looks very tired.  Susan seems to be confused. • Habitual action: the simple present is used to express habitual or everyday activities  He always comes late to class.
  10. 10. • General statements of fact: the simple present is used to express what is referred as genearl statements of fact or scientific truths.  The world is round.  The sun rises in the east. • Future action: the simple present can also be used to express future time with some indications of the future time.  The museum opens at ten tomorrow morning.
  11. 11. Additional uses of the simple present • The Instantaneous present: the simple present occurs in the running commentary produced by a speaker to provide an ongoing account of what he / she is watching.  Smith passes the ball....He shoots.... • The conversational historical present : it is used to describe an action in the past.  He comes in and starts shouting at the hotel clerk. He is really angry. You know. So the monger calls the cops.
  12. 12. • The narrative present: the simple present narrates the plot of a movie, or novel that the speaker has seen or read, regardless of the time in which the plot is set.  The second act of Verdi’s opera Otello takes place in the castle, Lago urges Cassio to ask Desdemona to plead with her husband, Otello, to restore his rank, and watches him go in search of Desdemona.
  13. 13. • Stage and screenplay directions: It is used in directions for actors in plays.  They fight,Tybalt falls. o Directions about exiting or entering the stage usually begin with the verb (eg. , Enter the crowd, rather than the crowd enters). • With communication verbs (tell, say…)  He tells me that you are a talented student.
  14. 14. Simple past The simple past is represented by -ed inflection on regualr verbs and by other changes in the case of the irregular verbs.
  15. 15. Basic meanings • Express action prior to the time of speaking: It frequently occurs with expressions that indicate a specific point in time when the action was carried out such as yesterday, last week , a week ago… We started the master program three months ago.
  16. 16. Additional uses of the simple past o The simple past is used instead of the simple present in some contexts that requires a shift of tense:
  17. 17. • Reported speech: when speech is reported, the simple present is backshifted to the simple past:  A- John said, “Im a good student”. Quoted speech  B- John said that he was a good student”. reported speech • Unreal conditionals: The simple past expresses unreal conditionals :  If I were you, I would study very hard.
  18. 18. • Polite requests and questions: the simple past is often used instead of the simple present to express a more deferential,polite tone: A- I want to ask you a favor. B- I wanted to ask you a favor. More polite C- Do you want to see me now? D- Did you want to see me now? More polite
  19. 19. Exercise • Identify the meanings of the simple present or past tense in the following sentences: 1. A- what happened ? B- it was the same old story. She comes in and starts chewing me about the sale I lost. So I don’t like that, right ? So, I tell her that I don’t have to take that sort of talk from her. And you know what? She says I'm right. I don’t because I don’t work there anymore. I’m fired
  20. 20. 2.If I were John, I would accept her offer. 3. Did you want to pay for that now or later? 4. He listens to that program on NPR every Sunday night. 5. He seems to be perfectly healthy.
  21. 21. Answers 1. The conversational historical present 2. Unreal conditional 3. Polite request and question 4. Habitual action 5. State
  22. 22. Expressing future time Future can be expressed by: • Will + verb : (especailly to express probable actions)  According to the weather report, it will be cloudy tomorrow. • Be going to + verb : (especially to express planned actions)  I'm going to give another presentation this afternoon.
  23. 23. Expressing future time • Present progressive: Is used to express the actions planned for the near future which is indicated by adverbs and other expressions of time.  My wife has an appointement with a doctor. She is seeing him next Fridady • Be about to: Is used to express the actions that are going to occur in the very near future:  He is about to get into the car and leave for the airport.
  24. 24. Expressing future time • Be to + verb: is used to express actions in the future. This form is relatively rare and is limited largely to contexts like commands: You are to stay here until ten o’clock.
  25. 25. Activity: transformation • A sentence is transformed by being made negative or interrogative or through changes in the tense, mood, voice… • Directions, ask one student to give you a sentence in the simple present, then ask the other students to transform the sentence into: 1. The negative form. 2. The interrogative form. 3. The simple past. 4. The negative form of the simple past…
  26. 26. Progressive Aspect • The progressive aspect is formed with be and the present participle. • It combines with present, past and future for forms that express ongoing action at different times. • There are three forms: • Present progressive. • Past progressive. • Future progressive.
  27. 27. The present progressive • It’s formed with a present form of to be and present participle of the main verb It’s used to express ongoing action at the time of speaking. E.g.: I’m giving a presentation right now. She’s watching a Korean movie right now.
  28. 28. Additional meaning • In addition to expressing ongoing action, the present progressive can express a number of other meaning. • Expressing planned future events. • E.g.: She’s flying to Japan tomorrow. • I’m taking Korean language lessons this summer.
  29. 29. • Expressing habitual actions with adverbs such as always and forever in which the speaker expresses irritation and disapproval. • E.g.: • She’s always calling me up at night to complain about her husband • He’s always asking stupid questions.
  30. 30. • And with stative verbs ,which rarely appear in the progressive form , for a number of reasons: • Conveying emotional intensity: • E.g.: This is costing me a lot of money. • Focusing on change from the norm: • E.g.: You’re being very kind,what do you want? • Focusing on evolving change • E.g. : The master program is becoming challenging more and more every day.
  31. 31. • Providing an informal and polite tone: • E.g. : We’re hoping that Mrs Jennifer would be generous when she corrects Grammar midterm exams. • Hedging or softening a definitive opinion: • E.g. : I’m not doubting your word, but I heard a different story from Naima yesterday.
  32. 32. Past Progressive • The past progressive, or past continuous, is formed with past form of be and the present participle of the main verb. • It expresses an ongoing action in the past,including in relation to another action. In other words, often the action expressed with the past progressive at the time another action occurred. • E.g.: she accidentally cut her hand while she was chopping vegetables. • I was writing essays when the bell rung.
  33. 33. • It’s also used in situations in which two ongoing actions in the past were occurring simultaneously: • E.g.: I was working on grammar exam when my whole family was spending enjoyable time on the beach. what a pity • It’s also occurs with time expressions that indicates a point in time when the action was ongoing • E.g. : I was studying in the library at 16:00.
  34. 34. Future Progressive • It’s consists of will followed by be and the present participle of the main verb. • It’s used for an action that will be ongoing in the future. E.g.: We will be having grammar course at ten o’clock tomorrow. It’s also used to talk about an action that will continue in the future for a long time. E.g. : Moroccan government will be fighting against bribery and corruption for a long time.
  35. 35. Exercise • Indicate whether each of these sentences grammatical or ungrammatical, and explain why: • I’ll be discussing those issues with him at our meeting in Friday. • She was working on her paper since noon. • When a gas is heated, it is expanding. • He’s always complaining about the service everywhere we go. • Sasuke takes a statistics course next fall.
  36. 36. Correction • Grammatical. • Ungrammatical, because the past continuous doesn’t appear with adverb phrases that mark the point in time when the action begun: since. • Ungrammatical,beause we use simple present to describe scientific facts not the present progressive. • Grammatical. • Ungrammatical, because the simple present doesn’t describe a future event that is fixed and planned. But we use either present progressive or future.
  37. 37. Perfect Aspect • The perfect aspect formed with have and past participle of the main verb, which expresses ongoing action. • The three tenses formed by the combination of time and perfect aspect are the present, past and future perfect.
  38. 38. The present perfect • The present perfect is formed with a present form of have and a past participle of the main verb. It occurs with a time expression of duration, e.g. : for six years, since 1999 and so on. • It expresses a situation that started in the past and continues to the present • E.g.: I have taught English language for 5 years.
  39. 39. • It also expresses a recently completed action. • E.g.: Korean drama has become popular around the world recently. • Prof Tamer has just postponed Moodle assignments which makes me happy all the day. • It expresses an action that occurred at an unspecified time . • E.g. : He has read all Shakespeare's play.
  40. 40. Past perfect • The past perfect tense is formed with the past tense form of the verb have and past participle. • It’s used for an action completed prior to another event or time in the past. The past perfect often occurs in sentences with a main clause and a subordinate clause, where both clauses express the events in the past. • E.g. :he had already left when I arrived.
  41. 41. • It’s also used in counterfactual sentences. Which express speculations or regrets about unfulfilled events. • E.g. :if he had worked hard, he would have passed the exam. • If she had driven carefully, she wouldn’t have had an accident.
  42. 42. The future perfect • The future perfect is formed with will followed by have and the past participle of the main verb. • It’s generally used to express an action that will be completed prior to or by some specific future time. • E.g.: He will have read the tempest by 1O o’clock. • It can also express states that will have endured for a period of time as measured at some future date. • E.g.: They will have been married for 20 years this summer.
  43. 43. Perfect and progressive aspect • The perfect and progressive aspects can be used together,with present ,past and future time. • Present Perfect progressive: • It’s formed with has or have+been+p.participle. • It expresses ongoing past action that continues up to the present. It often occurs with time expressions such as for and since. • E.g.: I have been taking English courses in the American language centre for a year.
  44. 44. • Past perfect progressive: • It’s formed with had+been+p.participle. • It expresses an ongoing action in the past that is related to another past action, which is often expressed in the simple past tense. This other action frequently occurs in a subordinate clause,particulary with when. • E.g.: he has been working on the assignments for over two hours when his mother came home.
  45. 45. Future Perfect Progressive • It’s formed with will+have+been+p.participle. • It’s expresses an action that will continue into the future up to a specific time. The duration of the action is usually specified in a time expression with for. That time is frequently indicated in a subordinate clause beginning with when or by the time. • E.g.: I have been studying for two hours by the time you arrive.
  46. 46. Exercise • Indicate whether each sentence is grammatical or ungrammatical. If a sentence is ungrammatical, explain why and correct : • She has been studying for four hours when she decided to take a short nap. • I have been reading your article. it's very good, but there are a couple of points that need to be clarified. I’ve been studying since noon, so I think it’s time to stop and do something else. Mary has been working on that paper since January. He will be travelling for about 8 hours when in Sydney tomorrow.
  47. 47. Sequence of tense rules  Reported speech changes the tense in spoken speech by sequence of tense rules. Tense shifts normally occur by what is known as backshifting.  Simple present becomes simple past. e.g. Peter: "I work in the garden.“ Peter said that he worked in the garden.  present progressive becomes past progressive. e.g. Peter: "I'm working in the garden.“ Peter said that he was working in the garden. *these rules apply in sentences that have past tense reporting verbs.
  48. 48.  Certain modal auxiliaries are also backshifted: May for possibility becomes might, and may for permission becomes could. e.g. 1- Fred added, “I may go with her” -becomes: Fred added that he might go with her. 2- The secretary said, “you may go in” –becomes: the secretary said that we could go in. Can becomes could. e.g. Alice said “ I can do that too” -becomes: Alice said she could do that too
  49. 49.  Will becomes would. e.g. Peter: "I will work in the garden.“ Peter said that he would work in the garden.  Must becomes had to.  e.g. he told, “you must finish it today” He told her that she had to finish it today.  shall is changed to would when the meaning is future time. When it represents a suggestion, it is changed to should. e.g. The headwaiter said, “I shall speak to the chef about it.” future time. The headwaiter said that he would speak to the chef about is. e.g.“ Shall we include Bill in our plans? “ Alice asked. Suggestion Alice asked if we should include Bill in our plans.
  50. 50.  A shift is not necessary if.  The original statement is a general truth. e.g. Torrecelli concluded that the atmosphere (is, was) a sea of air pressing down on the surface of the earth.  The speaker is reporting something that is still true. e.g. Fred said he (drives, drove) a 1956 Belchfire Special.  The speaking is reporting something still possible for the future. e.g. The forecast a couple of days ago said we (will, would) be having the rain all weekend.  The speaker repeats something he or she just said. e.g. John: I like the opera. Bill: Sorry, I wasn’t listening. What did you say? John: I said I like opera.
  51. 51. Problems that EFL & Esl students have with tense and aspect • Reasearch indicated that students use the present perferct forms in contexts in which the simple past is obligatory:  When I was more young I have gone with my friend and his parents camping…  At this place we have met some people who were very sympathetic. o The most likely explanation for the errors is that in French the tense that would be used in a context like the one shown in the previous example is the passé composé, which in fomr, resembles the English present perfect. 1
  52. 52. • L1does not mark tense on verbs (Chinese): o An error that Chinese speakers make is to use bare infinitive forms rather than verbs inflected for the simple present and past. A- she go (to) Chicago every day. B- she go (to) Chicago yesterday. 2
  53. 53. • L1 has one tense corresponding to two tenses in English(German):  Er qrbeit jetze und nicht gestort zerden  He works now and may not disturbed become  He is working right now and can/may not be disturbed 3
  54. 54. Blank-filling exercise

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