Glossary: aspectual auxiliary

Explanation

An auxiliary verb that is used to mark aspect. The verb be is an aspectual auxiliary, e.g. in They were watching TV.

Some grammarians say that the perfect construction represents aspect as well. In that case, have is an aspectual auxiliary, e.g. in He has sold his car. The National Curriculum calls the perfect construction a tense rather than an aspect. It is reasonable for teachers to follow the National Curriculum in this case.

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!'

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