Questions tagged [aspect]

Aspect is the grammatical category which describes the manner in which an utterance presents an event unfolding over time.

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17
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2answers
8k views

Can you use “understand” in progressive constructions?

In an answer to a question asked today on EL&U (Antonyms of “lesser” and “greater”), I read the following sentence : "If I am understanding your question accurately" To my knowledge, the verb ...
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8answers
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What is the difference between “being” and “having been” in this context?

Being a teacher, she likes children. AND Having been a teacher, she likes children. What is the difference between these two?
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4answers
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How do I decide which of two past events took place first?

The people had taken shelter under a tree until the rain stopped. took shelter will be the 1st action The people took shelter under a tree until the rain had stopped. rain stop will be the 1st ...
6
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1answer
534 views

May I use the simple present for a series of actions within a limited time period?

It’s well-known that the present simple is used to describe an action which happens regularly and occurs during an infinite period of time (or a finite but quite long one). He sells cars. I go to ...
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1answer
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Using bare infinitive with verbs such as “see”, “watch”, etc.: Present tense or Past Tense?

I know using the bare infinitive after verbs such as hear, see, watch, etc. conveys a different meaning from using the present participle (verb+ing): I watched him climbing over the fence ( ...
5
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2answers
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How can I use “do you be”?

Example with a context (audio): Yeah, when you don't know somebody very well and they just unload all this information on you, you don't really know how to deal with that situation. Do you be ...
5
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1answer
13k views

Differences between “has started taking”, “has been taking”, “has taken” and “took”

Can anybody explain the meaning of these sentences? He has started taking antidepressants. He has been taking antidepressants. He has taken antidepressants. He took antidepressants.
4
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4answers
862 views

be picking up the phone

I'd like to know what "be picking up the phone" means in the following. Does it mean a person is holding the phone, or is about to pick up the phone? John is picking up the phone.
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3answers
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Win, Wins, or Won?

Is this grammar correct? "Why condition1 and condition2 wins over condition3." Example: "Why teamwork and ideas wins over smarts". I'm not sure the proper way to form the tense/aspect for "...
4
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1answer
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Ben {planned / was planning} to go, but now . . . simple past or past progressive?

There was a question in my text book like this: Ben ____ to go to his high school class reunion tomorrow, but now he is not sure if he can. (A) plans (B) will plan (C) has planned (D) was ...
4
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1answer
661 views

Why do we KEEP changing our minds? [closed]

why do we say someone 'keeps changing their mind'? when keeping an opinion or decision is not happening. I know it means to repeatedly change one's mind but why 'keep'? I've been wondering this for ...
4
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1answer
169 views

What are the viewpoint and lexical aspects of the following two “stand”?

What are the viewpoint and lexical aspects of the following two stand? You stand to make a lot from this deal. They stand accused of crimes against humanity. Would it be possible to use the ...
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3answers
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I had a bullet going through my arm x I had a bullet go through my arm

I already know the main use of have when it's is used as a command: I had the security kick him out. I also know its use in sentences of cause, for example: His jokes were so funny that they ...
4
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1answer
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“By now” with the present perfect continuous

Recently one of my students has come across a sentence in "Advanced Language Practice" by M.Vince that caused some confusion. The sentence is: "Nothing much has been happening by now / so far" ...
4
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1answer
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sat or were sitting

Please have a look at this I stood in front of the living room, watching the movie unfold on the tv screen while my mom and sister - whose idea it was to watch the film in the first place - sat ...
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5answers
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Is it true that the preposition “for” can not be used in present and past continuous tenses?

Previously, I asked the question about words of place where one was born but not raised. In the question, I wrote: I know a girl who was born in Melbourne but she was raised in Japan. Then she ...
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2answers
855 views

Perfect vs past simple when relating to personal experience

It seems to me that if somebody were to ask me: Yeah, how do you know what war is like? The most fitting response would be: Because, you see, I have fought in a war. But if someone would ask ...
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3answers
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A: I have a fever; B: Do you take anything for it? (B is using tenses unsuitably right?)

A: I have a fever I would think B needs to response B: Have you taken anything (medicine) for it? (an action happened in the past but we don't know when it happened) or B: Did you take ...
3
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1answer
638 views

The electricity has been going off/ has been off

For example: It's 9:00 p.m and at 7 p.m the electricity went off. Which tense is correct and what is the difference in meaning between these tenses? The electricity has been going off for 2 hours....
3
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1answer
286 views

Can “be borrowing” mean “have borrowed but haven't returned”?

My dictionaries have a few example sentences that contain the verb borrow in the progressive aspect: By then, she was borrowing more money just to service her debts. Today Continental European ...
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1answer
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Some questions about the verb - “keep”

I would like to ask you: 1) Is it OK to use "KEEP" in the PRESENT PERFECT I have kept knocking on the door for 3 minutes now. 2) Is it OK to use "KEEP" in the PRESENT SIMPLE in this context Two ...
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1answer
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Can progressive aspects express the ongoing effect of an activity?

"The Sorting Ceremony will take place in a few minutes in front of the rest of the school. I suggest you all smarten yourselves up as much as you can while you are waiting." Her eyes ...
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2answers
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“For” and “in” with present perfect tense

Consider: a. I have learned English for 6 months. b. I have learned English in 6 months. Are the two sentences above grammatically correct? Do they carry the same meaning?
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1answer
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Imperfective and perfective aspects of verb “glow”

The following six examples are taken from Google Books: Now that they were up close, it was clear that one section of the wall was glowing a much deeper green than the rest. Jack moved next to ...
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1answer
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Multiple transformations of one sentence?

Given a sentence A: Despite the heavy rain, rescue workers continued to work. Now, I was supposed to transform this sentence into another sentence, which began with Even, without changing the ...
3
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1answer
421 views

present simple vs. present perfect

I am a little bit confused by this sentence: After annexing Crimea and with troops massed on the border of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will not stop trying to expand Russia until he has “conquered” ...
3
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2answers
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Start vs Start Up

I have a question about the difference between verb "start" and verb phrase "start up". According to these definitions for "start" and "start up" in this dictionary, these sentences: 1a. The ...
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1answer
94 views

Should I use past simple or past perfect

Before I made a second order that did well, I had thought my first order had not gone through.But when I received the confirmation for both orders, I knew the first order had also succeeded. I ...
3
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2answers
119 views

“While” and “As” conveying a continuous aspect

I have noticed that "While" and "As" trigger a continuous meaning of the verb which, however, is used in the default form, so to speak. For example, I am thinking of my work as/...
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2answers
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What tense is this? 'Despite their already having paid the money…'

I was reading a piece of writing recently and I came across a very strangely phrased sentence that took me a while to understand. Can anyone identify the sentence's tense or really just what makes it ...
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4answers
926 views

Why use the past perfect tense (perfect aspect) instead of the simple past tense (simple aspect)?

Usage example in a BBC News story: What of the late politician's love life? Even admirers used the epithet "womaniser" in regard to him. However, the Ukrainian model less than half his age (he ...
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2answers
818 views

The use of “how would you be knowing that?”

I ran into "how would you be knowing that?" when reading a novel. I did a search in Google Books. It seems to be a fairly productive use: “And how would you be knowing that?” “Billy's your brother ...
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3answers
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What's the difference between “to get used to something” and “to be used to something”?

to get used to something to be used to something These two expressions seem to be the same. Please tell me what the difference is and in what situations i can use each of them. I only know that ...
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2answers
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“Was in labour for 3 hours” versus “had been in labour for 3 hours”

As a continuation to this question and AlicjaZ's beautifully explained answer, I would like to ask whether there is any difference in meaning between the following sentences? She was in labour for 3 ...
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4answers
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Past Habits = Simple Past (vs. 'used to' and 'would')

I have some sentences. Do they mean repetitive actions in the past? a) When I go to your home everyday and see your door was locked. ​  (Meaning I had gone to my friends home 3 times but it ...
2
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3answers
498 views

“Know”, meaning “recognize”

Here the word of know has the meaning of "recognize": I couldn't see who was speaking, but I knew the voice. She knows a bargain when she sees one. But I think the bold know here is static ...
2
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1answer
54 views

Tense agreement and sentence construction

So, she called me yesterday; we talked about a lot of stuff, and then she kind of slipped it out that it wouldn't be all that bad if I asked her out today. I found myself wondering how it'd go, and ...
2
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1answer
194 views

“Would” with the perfective and progressive aspects

Consider: A.1. The guests will have arrived last night. I could hear voices in the next room before I went to bed. A.2. The guests would have arrived last night. I could hear voices in the next room ...
2
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1answer
62 views

Present Perfect Continuous - effect

Take the following sentence: I have been learning for two hours. Can this imply that I am not learning now? I'm tired and I want this sentence to show the effect that learning has on me. Or it is ...
2
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1answer
7k views

Difference: 'leave somebody wondering' vs. 'make somebody wonder'?

Is there a difference between (a) 'leave somebody wondering' and (b) 'make somebody wonder'? If so, what difference? Is there some difference in aspect? For example, does 'leave somebody wondering' ...
2
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2answers
380 views

Tense and aspect in 'since' clause

Consider: I have not heard from him since he lived here. (Activity) How long is it since you were in London? (State) John is now with his parents in New York city, it is already three years since ...
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1answer
246 views

Use of “I'm loving”

The couple screenshots are taken from Riddick 2013: The two characters use "I'm loving", which I think is very informal. Does the present progressive tense convey any subtle nuances which the simple ...
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1answer
98 views

shouldn't the order of sentence describing participle clause be changed here?

OP: Whistling to himself, he walked down the road. = He whistled to himself as he walked down the road. Shouldn't it be like this? He walked down the road as he whistled to himself? I saw a ...
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1answer
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is it the first time you {came / come / have come} to France?

Can a Frenchman say: "Is it the first time you came to France?" to English people on holiday in France? I think it is possible because the action of coming to France is finished: they are in France ...
2
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1answer
43 views

certainty values and tense - difference in the use of 'may' modals

what is the difference between the following in terms of meaning (potentiality/permission) may go may be going may have gone is it valid to say that 'may go' has greater certainty than 'may have ...
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2answers
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Verbs describing a state or situation: passive form

"English Grammar Today" book says that "We don't usually use the passive with some verbs that describe a state or situation." If this is an actual rule, why, for example, have I found a lot of ...
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2answers
613 views

Verbs modified by the adverb “never”

Some verbs follow the adverb "never" must not take the form of present tense, and others don't have to. I mean: "It never exists" sounds strange, yet "It never existed" is natural But "It never ...
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1answer
609 views

Verbs which do not admit of progressive action

she stands/ is standing in the shade of a tree. (is standing is correct.) The temple stands/ is standing in the heart of the city. (stands is correct). As per grammar rules there are some ...
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2answers
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be to be verb-ing

Will English speakers use 'be to be verb-ing' to form a sentence? See the examples below: a) You are to be presenting your group project during the next lesson. b) I am to be studying in school from ...
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1answer
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What would be the difference if I use “never once” with perfect aspect sentences?

Suppose: I have never treated her like that. I know I can put more emphasis by saying I never once treated her like that. I am thinking of this sentence in perfect aspect. I am wondering what ...