Most grammar 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 would be to class them while speaking.
Objectively, do English verbs belong with categories as above? — To believe might mean to shut our eyes to literature as inclusive of poetry: which verbs here are the “long term general truth”, which “instantaneous”, and which “habitual”?
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.
The above is a verbal picture by a poet. Different poets make different pictures, and the same poet most often comes up with more than one idea to perceive the world: please compare Emily Dickinson’s Beclouded, for the sky.
Much of the time, everyday language is 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.
Importantly and seriously, we never learn in order to narrow our intellectual horizons, to say to ourselves, *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.
Merriam-Webster would uphold the Aspect without reference to 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. We may decide on the place in time we accept.
Feel welcome to read:
The idea of travel in grammar.
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 say where we had lived before we say where we moved in. We can decide to add that after.
Classic grammar guidance makes many students feel the context is decided by someone else. Verbs would be classed by other people too, according to the recommendation above. Then, the learner becomes focused on cues rather than own thought.
Let us think about our real, everyday lives. 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 grant cognitive extents to thought and emotion as well (only it gets to be described under other labels).
All grammar books agree that English has 4 grammatical Aspects. As there happen to be differences on particular labels, we can agree they are the Simple, the Progressive, the Perfect, and the Perfect Progressive.
The Simple would tell what we generally see that existed, exists, or we think will exist on a cognitive ground 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 of a cognitive map.
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.
If we use the Aspects as cognitive variables (we decide on own regard or “looking”), we don’t need to divide verbs into categories, whether we mean literal or figurative language use. There is much less formal grammar to think about, when we speak or write. Feel welcome to see more over the Grammar Weblog,
Chapter 4. Time rambles different with different people
Chapter 7. Time in the mind and heart
For the Greek idea of a category and use in grammar, feel welcome to the USA Charters of Freedom: the Constitution is a “syntax bonanza”, an exceptionally rich resource. We cannot have language forms that are hundreds of years aged for modern grammar, but we can update the language form:
USA Charters of Freedom.