Traditionally, both perfect and progressive aspects are described at part of the tense system. However, presently, tense is limited to the time (past–present) and aspect to the duration.
- nonprogressive / noncontinuous / "simple" — I go, I went, I will go
- progressive / continuous — I am going, I was going, I will be going
- perfect — I have gone, I had gone, I will have gone
(Combinations: present perfect progressive I have been going; past perfect progressive I had been going; future perfect progressive I will have been going)
- perfect (perfective) — an event occurring in the past but linked to a later time, usually the present [has, have, had + participle]
- progressive (continuous) — an event that takes place during a limited time period [(be) + verb-ing] )
perfective – I helped him. [a bounded time, unitary] [HAVE+EN]
imperfective – I was helping him. [an unbound time – continuous or repetitive; temporary]
Aspect relates to "the flow of time"
- indefinite aspect "simple tense"— I went, I go, I will go
- completed aspect — I had gone, I have gone, I will have gone
- continuing aspect — I was going, I am going, I will be going
Source for "indefinite aspect" unknown.
"The general term tense applies to a system where the basic or characteristic meaning of the terms is to locate the situation, or part of it, at some point or period of time."
"The term aspect applies to a system where the basic meanings have to do with the internal temporal constituency of the situation." (Huddleston 117)
The difference is a matter of how the speaker views the situation:
- internal – viewing it as something ongoing, in progress
- external – viewing it without reference to temporal flow(instantaneous or having duration)
While begin is a lexical aspectual verb focusing on the initial phase of the situation, finish focuses on the final phrase.
3.2.1-3 Classification of Situations
- States [static – atelic]
- Occurrences [dynamic]
- Achievements [punctual – occurring at a point in time]
- Processes [durative – having duration]
- Activities [atelic – having no temporal bounds or limits, indefinite
- Accomplishments [telic – having an inherent terminal point]
- states – He seems tired. He knows you. The cloth is red.[atelic]
- achievements – I finished the book. He announced the closure.[telic]
- processes – He plays golf. [atelic] / He plays a game of golf. [telic]
- activities – I am reading. I wrote them. [atelic]
- accomplishments – He is washing his hands. He wrote the book. [telic]
telic – having an inherent terminal point He's reading a book.
atelic – having no bounds, the activity can go on indefinitely He reads.
Singulary vs. multiple situations
- singulary – He quit his job. He died.
- multiple – He married a few times. He usually gives up. He gives up. He was dating a new girl.
(Huddleston 3 §3.1)
aspect. A feature of a verb marked by an auxiliary form, changes in an internal vowel, or the addition or subtraction of an affix to express the duration and type of activity that a verb denotes.
aorist aspect. A verb aspect that expresses past action as having occurred at some indefinite time without implication of continuance or repetition.
frequentative aspect. A verb aspect expressing frequent recurrence or intensity of an action, state, or situation.
imperfective aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as (1) incomplete (or having no reference to completion, (2) continuing, or (3) repetitive.
iterative aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as being repeated several times.
momentaneous aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as having been begun and terminated in an instant. "punctual"
perfective aspect. A verb aspect that expresses action as complete— or implies that it is so.
Progressive aspect. A verb aspect formed with a be-verb plus the main verb's present participle showing that an action or state —past, present, or future— was, is or will be unfinished at the time referred to.
Tense relates primarily to past and present time orientation.
Aspect relates to considerations such as the completion or lack of completion of events or states described by a verb.
Perfect aspect – designates events or states taking place during a period leading up to the specified time. [HAVE + ED]
Progressive aspect – designates an event or state of affairs which is in progress, or continuing, as the time indicated by the rest of the verb phrase [BE + ING] Particular verbs, activities and physical events occur more commonly in the progressive (188.8.131.52)