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7. The verb as a part of speech and its main characteristic features. The category of mood. The category of tense and aspect.

Grammatically the verb is die most complex part ot speech. This is due to the central role il performs in die sentence: predicative function, establishing the connection between the situation named in the utterance and reality. Formally, the verb is changed according to die categories of person and number, u-n.se, aspect, voice and mood. Besides, each verb has a specific set of non-finite forms (the infinitive, die gerund, participles I and II) Formally, the verb is characterized by a set of specific word-building affixes, e.g.: to activate, to widen, to classify, to synchronize, to overestimate, toreread. On the upper level, all the verbs according to their semantic (nominative) value fall into two big sub-classes: the sub-class of notional verbs and the sub-class of functional and semi-functional verbs. Notional verbs have full nominative value and are independent in the expression of the process, e.g.: to work, to build, to lie, to love, etc.; these verbs comprise the bulk of the class and constitute an open group of words. Functional and semi-functional (or, semi-notional) verbs make a closed group of verbs of partial nominative value. They are dependent on other words in the denotation of the process, but through their forms the predicative semantics of the sentence is expressed (they function as predicators).

The category of mood

The category of mood expresses the character of connections between  the process denoted by the verb and actual reality, in other words, it shows whether the action is real or unreal. The category of mood is one of the most complicated categories of the English verb and Is approached from different viewpoints. The majority of linguists single out 3 types of mood: Indicative, Imperative, Subjunctive.


The use of the indicative mood shows that the speaker represents the action as real (in Present, Past or Future). The reality of the utterance may be relative and may not correspond with the reality, but the speaker represents it as a real fact.

If only she helped me! I am going away on business shortly.

THE IMPERATIVE MOOD differs from all other moods as

it has no person, number, tense and aspect distinctions

it is limited in its use to one type of sentences - only imperative ones.

The speaker expresses inducement: Go home!  Open the door!; Keep quiet, please.


expresses variousattitudes of the speaker: desire, consideration (supposition, suggestion, hypothesis), inducement (recommendation, request, command, order),

The problem is very complicated because:

1.            Together with old, synthetic (be, were) analytic fomts with the same meaning (should, would +Inf) are used;

2.            One and the same form may have different meanings, e.g knew;

3.            The usage of the forms of Subjunctive moods can be defined by the structure of the sentence where  they are used, I wish + Past Plural (were),

4.            To express unreal actions (hypothctical, desirable, possible) the forms, coinciding with the indicative mood.

I want you to open the door!


NB: time vs lense

Time is an unlimited duration in which things arc considered as happening In the past, present or future. Time stands for a concept with which all mankind is familiar. Time is independent of language. Tense, which derives from the Latin word tcmpus, stands for a verb form used lo express a time relation. Time is the same to all mankind while tenses vary in different languages. The category of tense expresses the relation between the time of the action denoted by the verb and the time of the utterance Events, taking place during the space of time , coinciding with the moment of speech relate to the Present; Events, taking place during the space of time, that precedes the moment of speech relate lo the Past; Events, taking place during the space of time , that follows the moment of speech relate lo the Future. Thus, the category of Tense is presented by three member opposition: Present: Past: Future. Some linguists think that there is no objective Future, because forms, built with the help of auxiliary shall/will have modal meaning.

The category of ASPECT in modern English

It expresses the character of the developing of the action it time

It is realized by the oppositions of Continuous: Non-continuous and Perfect: Non-porfcct

The first category is realized through the paradigmatic opposition of continuous (progressive) forms of the verb; this category can be called the category ot developmentThe marked member of the opposition, the continuous, is lomied by means of the auxiliary verb to be and participle I of the notional verb, e.g.: I am working. The meaning of the continuous is purely aspective - "action in progress, developing action". The weak member of the opposition, the indefinite, stresses the mere fact of the perfonnancc of the action. The second aspective category is formed by the opposition of perfect and the non-perfect forms of

Aspect – a gram.category which characterizes the way in which the action expressed by the verb is carries out.

In Russian – 2 aspects: imperfective (несов.), perfective (сов.)

Imperfective expresses an action or a state without indicating a limit beyond which this act/state can not continue - eq. я читал; Perfective denotes actions that have a limit beyond which this action can’t continue: eq. я прочитал книгу. In Russian aspect is a gram.cat. As each aspect has a certain meaning and form to express this meaning. There are certain markers of each aspect – eq. делать-сделать.

As the Eng.language grammarians of the past didn’t find aspective distinction of the v., instead they spoke about 4 groups of tenses: indefinite, continuous, perfect, perfect-continuous

The majority of grammarians believe the Eng.verb has aspect. They admit that this gram.category may be expressed:

•             lexically  aspect is expressed by the lex.character of the v. The verb falls into 2 groups:

1)            terminative: apply a limit beyond which the action can’t continue (to break, to open);

2)            non-terminative: the action may go on indefinitely (to love, to sit).

Most English verbs are polysemantic and may be terminative in one meaning and non-terminative in another. It’s never shown formally. There is no marker of belonging to this aspect. The meaning is clear from the context.

•             grammatically an opposition of corresponding forms (take – be taken)

1)            common – the form of the common aspect isn’t marked;

2)            continuous – is marked by the discont.morpheme be + ing .

The terms used to describe aspect are not stable (progressive - perfective; generic – temporally)

The difference bw the aspect forms isn’t temporal. The tense is the same with both forms.

The cont.aspect has a specific meaning – it’s used for incomplete actions that are in progress at the moment under consideration or at a certain period: eq He was studying at 5 o’clock.

The common aspect shows the action in a general way, may denote a complete/incomplete action but the form doesn’t state it.

Prof.Barhudarov: common aspect = non-continuous.

Common aspect may denote:

1)a momentary action (eq she dropped the plate)

2)a recurrent/repeated action (eq.I get up at 7 o’clock every day)

3)an action occupying a long period of time (eq.he lived in St.-Pb from 1940 to 1965)

4)an action of unlimited duration (eq.The Volga flows into the Caspian Sea)




30.06.2015; 20:01
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