Most guidance will tell the Aspect is about the nature of the verb. Merriam-Webster explains the grammatical Aspect is the nature of the action of a verb as to its beginning, duration, completion, or repetition and without reference to its position in time. The BBC video above tells the Aspect is “all about the character of the verb“. The picture below is to guide on the verb types to use with the Simple.
There are thousands of verbs in English; the learner is to class them for speaking.
Objectively, do English verbs belong with categories as above? — We might believe it only to shut our eyes to literature as inclusive of poetry.
The brain is wider than the sky,
For, put them side by side…
… hold them, blue to blue,
… lift them, pound for pound,
And they will differ, if they do,
As syllable from sound.
(Feel welcome to Larry Selinker’s interlanguage.)
Everyday language is much of the time figurative as well, so we’d better keep our eyes open.
People say “sky is the limit” when walking on Earth; flying naturally takes broader perspectives.
Absolutely seriously, we never learn in order to narrow our intellectual horizons, to say, *quality language is off limits. Such motivation is impossible. Let us think about a possible motivation for grammatical Aspects.
In earthly reality, time and place occur together without exception. There is no time without place, or place without time. Computer virtual dimensions might isolate the two, but human grammars have not evolved in virtual realities. The name aspect comes from the Latin aspectus that meant a seeing, a looking at.
The looking depends on the place in time the beholder accepts. Merriam-Webster would hold the Aspect without reference to its position in time (above). The thought most probably is that we do not decide on the objective past, present, or future. The truth is we cannot change the flow of time, but much language we make is about how we view this flow. It is us to do the looking.
Grammar cannot decide if we want to say that we live somewhere, we have lived, we are living, or have been living somewhere. There is no grammar logically to require that we never mention where we had lived before we moved.
Classic guidance makes many students feel the context is decided by someone else, and what the people learn at school does not work for them in real life. It is very important to learn to decide independently.
Let us think about real life. We people live on Earth, we give at least psychological borders to areas in which we are, and we learn as well as remember ways to places. We happen to be at landmarks, too. We can use the words on, in, to, and at for place as well as for time, in English.
All people map cognitively. It is cognitive mapping to help us get to a place, in the shortest length of space as well as time, on our routes to school, work, or another location. We can learn to grant cognitive extents to thought and emotion as well (or, this is what in reality mostly happens, only it gets to be described under other labels).
All grammar books agree that English has 4 grammatical Aspects. We can agree they are the Simple, the Progressive, the Perfect, and the Perfect Progressive, as there happen to be differences on particular labels.
The Simple would tell what we generally see that existed, exists, or we think will exist on a cognitive map or extent.
The Progressive would help say that something was, is, or will be in progress, in its course. To visualize this Aspect, we could picture activity or faculties in an area.
The Perfect: We can use it to say what had taken place, has taken place, or will have taken place to a moment in time. The moment does not have to mark the end of the state, activity, or faculty work. We may view the course or occurrence of the activity as a way to a place.
The Perfect Progressive can work as a merger of the Perfect and Progressive, with the marker at.
We cannot depend on geographic whereabouts for grammar. We may think about an abstract cognitive extent that would work for us wherever we are.
IMAGE: 4 ASPECT MAPPING VALUES WITH GRAMMATICAL TENSE PATTERNS
We can use the Aspects as cognitive variables (we decide on own regard or “looking”), without dividing verbs into categories, whether we mean literal or figurative language use. Feel welcome to see more over the Grammar Web Log,
Chapter 4. Time rambles different with different people
Chapter 7. Time in the mind and heart