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The grammatical category of tense. Forms and situations. Tense, time, temporality.

The category of tense shows the relation of the time of the action denoted by the verb to the moment of speech. The tense of a verb helps to indicate the time of an action or condition.

Time is a universal non-linguistic concept with three divisions: past, present, future. Time finds its expression in language. The time of an action or event can be expressed lexically with the help of: a) absolute names of time: yesterday, a year ago, in the past week, next week, now; b) factual expressions of time: at half past 7, in 2006; c) relative expressions of time: after that, before that. It can also be shown grammatically by means of the category of tense. Verbal forms denoting time relations are called tenses.

Lexically it is possible to name any definite moment or period of time: a century, a year, a day. The grammatical meaning of tense is an abstraction from only three particular tenses: the present, the past, the future. It is the common and traditional interpretation of grammatical temporality. The main point of all verbal actions is the present moment (the act of speech). Priority to this moment is expressed by the past tense. Anticipated events find expression in the future tense.

There is no identity between grammatical tense and time. Present and past tenses can be used to refer to all parts of the time line. A verb in the present tense may be used in a statement about the future: The bus leaves tomorrow at 7 a.m.

Some doubts have been expressed about the existence of the future tense: 1) The first objection concerns the meaning of the future tenses in general: the future tense differs from the past and the present tense the future describes a non-factive while the past and present tense describe a factive situation;2) The second objection concerns the expression of future meaning by the present tense. Reference to the future time can also be made by using the constructions to be about to and to be going to. Will and shall then is not the only means of referring to the future events; 3) Concerns the meaning peculiarities of will or shall : these auxiliaries have modal uses which do not necessarily have future time reference.

Some grammarians insist on the existence of two future tenses future and future in the past.

According to Rogovskaya, the future in the past forms are not tense forms. The difference between will come would come is not that of tense. They both share the meaning of future tense. Grammatical form represented by would come belong to the category of posteriorityshowing whether an action is posterior with regard to the moment of speech or to some moment in past. Correlation of time and tense is connected with the problem of the absolute and relative use of tenses.

Some tense is absolute if it shows the time of action in relation to present moment: He works/worked/will work at a factory.

But very often tense reflects the time of an action not with regard to the moment of speech but to some other moment in the past or in the future, indicated by the tense of another verb. In this case the use of the tense is relative.

The rule of the sequence of tensesis usually defined as follows. If the predicate verb of the principal clause is in the present or the future tense, the predicate verb of the subordinate clause may be used in any tense required by the sentence. If the predicate verb of the principal clause is in the past tense, the predicate verb of the subordinate clause must be used in past tense too.

5)The grammatical category of aspect. Aspectual meanings and their expression.

Aspect is a grammatical category which refers to the way how the time of the concrete situation is viewed (by the person who talks or writes about this). The grammatical aspect of a verb defines the presence of a temporal flow or lack of such in every given action, event or state and doing it from the point of view of the speaker.When the view is unitary and there is no internal temporal flow we say that we have perfective aspect and when the view is non-bounded and have temporal flow, we talk about imperfective aspect. Perfective aspect represents the action in its completeness, Imperfective aspect describes the action in progress (uncompleted action). In English there are four grammatical aspects:

1. Simple aspect

2. Perfect aspect

3. Progressive aspect

4. Perfect-progressive aspect

Simple Aspect:The first grammatical aspect in the English language is the simple aspect. This aspect describes an event which is permanent, complete, habitual or a simple fact. - The sun rises in the East (= all time).

- The little girl reads a book every morning (=habit).

- When Ive read the book, Ill lend it to you (=complete).

- This shop will close at 7.00 this evening (=a fact)

The simple aspect describes an action that is seen to be completed. The action is viewed as a whole unit. There is no internal temporal flow in it it is bounded and unitary.

Perfect Aspect:The second grammatical aspect in the English language is the perfect aspect. The perfect aspect allows speakers to express and emphasize the consequences of a previous action or state. It brings two ideas:

1. The action is completed before another time:

- Have you ever been to Russia? (=some time before now)

- When I awoke, the sun had already risen. (=some time before I awoke)

- I hope Ill have finished the theoretical part of the paper by 11.00. (=some time before 11.00)

2. The exact time of the verb action is not important. The perfect aspect refers to indefinite time:

- Have you seen my keys? I have put them anywhere (=before now, but not exactly when).

The exception to this is the Past Perfect, which can refer to definite time:

- I recognized the man immediately. I had seen him the previous day in the conference hall.

The perfect aspect of a verb is indicated by a combination of auxiliary (which has two present tense forms has and have, and one past form had) with the -ed participle of that verb.

Progressive (continuous) aspect:The third grammatical aspect in the English language is the progressive or also continuous aspect. The continuous aspect describes an event which is temporary, incomplete, or in progress. It focuses on the duration of an activity. We are aware of the passing of time between the beginning and the end of the activity. It is clear that activity is not permanent. - I m living with her until I find a suitable flat (=temporary)

- Dont phone at 8.00. I will be watching TV, a great match (= the action is in progress and the focus is on the temporal flow).

The continuous aspect combines a form of the auxiliary be with the ing participle. Because the expressed activity is seen in progress, it can be interrupted: - They were walking up the street when they were attacked by a dog.

The action of some verbs (like live, work, play), by definition, last a long time. The continuous gives these actions limited duration and makes them temporary. The action of some other verbs (like lose, cut, hit, crash) lasts a short time. In the continuous, the action of these verbs seems longer or habitual.

- She is living in London while she is learning English (=limited duration of long time verb).

- They are losing control (= the short verb is prolonged).

Perfect-progressive aspect:The fourth grammatical aspect in the English language is the perfect-progressive aspect. The perfect-progressive aspect allows speakers to express and emphasize the consequences of a previous ongoing or incomplete action or states. This is one example of the perfect-progressive aspect in the present tense:

- Ruth has been reading this book.

The present perfect-progressive is used in this sentence to show that Ruth started to read this book in the past and the reading continue into the present and may but not continue into the future. This aspect is indicated by the present tense form of the verb have plus the past participle of the verb be and the present participle of the main verb. The next sentence is an example of the past perfect-progressive aspect:

- He had been jogging when the storm hit.

It is expressed by the past tense form of the verb have, the past participle of the verb be and the -ing participle of the main verb. This aspect comes to express an action which had started in the past before other past moment and is done actively till this following moment and probably even after it.

6) The grammatical category of voice. Forms and meanings. The notion of the deep case in the English sentence.

The category of voice shows the relation between the action and its subject, namely, it indicates whether the action is performed by the subject or passes on to it. As a result, Voice is connected with the sentence structure more than other verbal categories. There are two voices in English: the Active Voice and the Passive Voice. The Active Voice shows that the action is performed by its subject, i.e. that the subject is the doer of the action. The Passive Voice shows that the subject is acted upon, that it is the recipient of the action, e.g.: James sent me a letter - A letter was sent to me by James.The active voice indicates that the action is directed from the subject or issues from the subject, thus the subject denotes the doer (agent) of the action:

We help our friends. - .

The passive voice indicates that the action is directed towards the subject. Here the subject expresses a person or non-person who or which is the receiver of the action. It does not act, but is acted upon and therefore affected by the action of the verb.

We were helped by our friends in our work.

The difference in the meaning of the forms helped - were helped, had asked - had been asked, saw - was seen illustrates the morphological contrast between the active and the passive voice. Of all the verb categories voice is most closely related to the syntax of the sentence.

A sentence containing a verb in the passive voice is called a passive construction, and a sentence containing a verb in the active voice is called an active construction, especially when opposed to the passive construction. The subject of an active construction denotes the agent (doer) of the action, which may be a living being, or any source of the action (a thing, a natural phenomenon, an abstract notion). The subject of a passive construction has the meaning of the receiver of the action, that is a person or non-person affected by the action. The object of an active construction denotes the receiver of the action, whereas the object of the passive construction is the agent of the action. The latter is introduced by the preposition by. If it is not the agent but the instrument, it is introduced by the preposition with.

The active voice has no special means of formation. It is recognized by contrast with the passive voice, which is composed of the auxiliary verb to be and participle II. Thus the passive verb forms are analytical, the tense of the auxiliary verb to be varies according to the sense. The notional verb (participle II) remains unchanged and provides the whole analytical form with its passive meaning. The category of voice applies to the whole system of English verb forms, both finite and non-finite.

The cup was broken by Jim.

It was broken with a hammer.

The active voice is widely used with all kinds of verbs, both transitive and intransitive. The meaning of the active voice depends on the type of verb and the syntactical pattern of the sentence.

1. The active voice of transitive verbs presents an action as directed from the subject and passing over to the object, that is from the doer (agent) of the action to its receiver.(John made a boat for his brother.)

2. The active voice of intransitive verbs shows that the action, directed from the subject, does not pass over to any object, and thus the verb only characterizes the subject as the doer of the action.(He came here yesterday.)

3. The form of the active voice of some transitive verbs, often accompanied by an adverbial modifier, does not indicate that the subject denotes the doer of the action. This specific use of the transitive verb is easily recognized from the meaning of the subject, which is a noun denoting a non-person, and by the absence of a direct object after a monotransitive, non-prepositional verb. In such cases the verb is used in the medial voice.(The bell rang.)

Restrictions to the use of the passive voice:

1. Though in many cases there is an evident correspondence of the active and the passive voice construction it is by no means a one-to-one correspondence. There is a certain group of monotransitive verbs which are never used in the passive voice at all, or in some of their meanings; they are: to have, to lack, to become, to fit, to suit, to resemble.There are semantic reasons for this constraint, as these verbs denote not an action or process, but a state or relation.

John resembles his father. (John looks like his father.)

2. No passive construction is possible, if the object is a that-clause, an infinitive or a gerund.

John said that everything was all right.

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