Glossary: aspect

Explanation

Aspect is a grammatical notion, and refers to the way in which the unfolding of situations over time is encoded in language, typically through the use of grammatical patterns involving auxiliary verbs. For example, They are discussing it uses progressive aspect and presents the action as ongoing.

Some grammarians refer to the perfect construction as 'perfect aspect', as in They have discussed it, which indicates that the action occurred before the present, but has relevance in the present. Other grammarians refer to perfect constructions as 'perfect tense'. The National Curriculum refers to 'perfect tense' rather than 'perfect aspect', and it is reasonable for teachers to follow that usage.

Tense and aspect in fiction

In this activity we will examine some short extracts from novels. The idea is to look at the tense and aspect forms used, and think about how they are used to unfold the action of the story.

Tense and aspect in fiction: Activity

It was after supper, and I was reading and smoking at the table. Algie was playing patience and drumming a tattoo with his fingers, and Gus was outside checking on the dogs. Suddenly he burst in. 'Chaps! Outside, quick!'

Verb images

This lesson asks students to think about tense and aspect, what they mean, and how else we can communicate those meanings.

Goals

  • Identify verb tense and aspect. 
  • Explain the meaning of verb tense and aspect. 
  • Use multimodal literacy skills to present information from words as pictures. 

Lesson Plan

The teacher explains that today, we will be describing some pictures using language, and then drawing some pictures to describe language.

Verb images: Activity

The girls are rehearsing a song.

Several boys were playing football.

Sally has studied French for three years.

John has been studying French for one hour.

 

Writing with tense and aspect: Activity 2

Here is the outline sequence of events (don’t forget that you can add more):

Aspect and tense

Look at the highlighted verb phrase in each example, then decide which category of tense and aspect to place it in.

Perfect or progressive aspect?

Decide whether the highlighted verb phrase is perfect aspect or progressive aspect?

Expressing time

Grammar is important for expressing information about time. It helps us to locate situations in the past, present or future, and to describe how situations unfold over time.

This is typically done by using different forms of the verb. For example:

»

Englicious contains many resources for English language in schools, but the vast majority of them require you to register and log in first. For more information, see What is Englicious?

Englicious (C) Survey of English Usage, UCL, 2012-17 | Supported by the AHRC and EPSRC. | Cookies