Easy Learning

Aspect - Easy Learning Grammar

When we use a verb, we often need to be able to refer to more than the time at which an event took place. We sometimes need to be able to refer to actions and states as completed or not completed. Aspect describes the way we think of verbal actions.The continuous aspect is formed by using the appropriate form of the auxiliary be together with the -ing form (present participle) of the main verb.We use continuous aspect to show that an action:
  • is going on at the time of speaking.
  • I’m having dinner at the moment. Can I call you back?
  • I know what you are doing!
  • Look! Someone’s walking around in our garden!
  • was going on throughout the time that you are referring to.
  • I was having dinner when he called.
  • I was waiting for her when she came out of the classroom.
  • We were driving home when we saw the accident.
  • will be going on at the time that you are referring to.
  • We’re going to Turkey for a holiday next year.
  • They’re coming to us for Christmas this year.
The perfect aspect is formed by using the appropriate form of the auxiliary have together with the -ed form (past participle) of the main verb.We use perfect aspect to show that an action:
  • is complete at the time of speaking.
  • I’ve finished the book. It was brilliant.
  • We’ve enjoyed having you all to stay.
  • Jo has borrowed the book, so I can’t check now, I’m afraid.
  • was complete at the time you are referring to.
  • Oh dear; I had forgotten my promise to Aunt Jane.
  • Sharon had lost her key, so she had to wait outside.
  • Sue had seen the film three times already, but she didn’t mind.
It is possible to have a compound tense that shows both aspects, continuous and perfect.
  • Peter has been talking about you a lot recently.

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