Update: 2016-09-20 12:00 AM -0400

TIL

English Grammar in Plain Language

ch02.htm

by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning).
Based on Barrons Educational Series, Grammar In Plain English, by Diamond, H. and Dutwin, P., Barrons Educational Series, Inc., Woodbury, New York. Copyright 1977. Not for sale. No copyright. Free for everyone. Prepared for students and staff of TIL Research Station, Yangon, MYANMAR : 
http://www.tuninst.net , www.romabama.blogspot.com

index.htm |Top
EGPE-indx.htm

Contents of this page

Understanding Time and Number: Performer and Action
01. Understanding Time : Tense
02. Understanding Number: Agreement
     Exercise 0201
03. Agreement
03.01. Agreement in present time
     Exercise 0301
03.02. Agreement in past time
     Exercise 0302
03.03. Agreement in present and past time
     Exercise 0303

UKT notes
aspect
English Grammar in conversation :
  When I offered to teach English without any grammar - or almost nil - I was laughed at
  by Burmese speakers in Yangon. It shows how much we have been indoctrinated by
  the Grammar-Translational Method   of teaching: thousands of years before
  written script had come on scene. -- UKT121128
mood
number grammatical {kain:}
tense

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Understanding Time and Number: Performer and Action

The time of action [ {a.hkyain}/ {ka-la.}/ {a.ma.ya.}] and the number {kain:} of performers are very important in English. However, such importance is not found in Bur-Myan. For example:

with reference to time of action, it is acceptable when we say in Bur-Myan:


{nga ma.n. ka. Z: wa: t} 

Note:  Personal pronoun {nga} is considered "rude" in the Bur-Myan dialect of the Irrawaddy valley. However, it is used commonly in the Inntha dialect.

in place of the more correct {nga ma.n. ka. Z: wa: hk. t}.

Or,

with reference to the number of subject,

{koan- n. u. ta.pr. Z: wa: t}

is quite acceptable in place of

{koan- n. u. ta.pr. to. Z: wa: kra. t}

However, the direct translations in English of the above:

<* I go the market yesterday> -- not acceptable
<I went to market yesterday> -- acceptable

Or,

<* a trader and his assistant goes to market> -- not acceptable
<a trader and his assistant go to market> -- acceptable

Though usually not emphasized in elementary grammar books, mood of a verb is more important than tense in many languages.

There are three important moods in English:

indicative mood aka indicative,
imperative mood
aka imperative,
subjunctive mood
aka subjunctive.

The closeness in spelling of subjective and subjunctive is a source of confusion for many students.

A beginner usually gets confused over two terms moods and cases. Remember: 

cases (for nouns and pronouns):
  - subjective case (subject case)
aka subjective,
  - objective case (object case)
aka objective
  - possessive case
aka possessive,

moods or modes (for verbs):
  - indicative mood
aka indicative,
  - imperative mood
aka imperative,
  - subjunctive mood
aka subjunctive,

The closeness in spelling of subjective and subjunctive is a source of confusion for many students.

From Lonsdale 1899 p.150: {na.ya.} -- The Burmanized form of this Pali word is {n:}
Generally speaking, there are in Bur-Myan only two finite moods or modes in which the action or state expressed by the verb is represented, namely, the indicative and the imperative. The subjunctive mood is merely the conditional form of the indicative commonly indicated by {lhying} [UKT: in colloquial Burmese it is {ring}]. E.g.,

{moG: rwa }
-- 'it rains' is unconditional

{moG: rwa lhying}
-- 'if it rains' expresses the same fact put in the form of a condition.

UKT: note the older form of spelling for 'rain' was {moG:}. It was spelled with a {Ga.t}. That form of spelling was in use when I was going to school as a child in the 1930s. However, the pronunciation was the same as it is now - {mo:}

Another property of a verb is its aspect. It tells primarily the relation of the action to the passage of time, especially in reference to completion, duration, or repetition.

The three properties of a verb Tense, Aspect and Mood is sometimes collectively known as TAM. See TIL Grammar Glossary on the terms Tense, Aspect, Mood and TAM for further information.

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01. Understanding Time

It is easy to determine the time of the action word < tense> in a single sentence. However, when sentences appear in paragraph form, the time of each action is more difficult to determine.

kaic~sa. tic-hku. n. pat-ak la ring/ hto kaic~sa ko m-u ka. loap-hsaung-t/ loap-hsaung-hkyak ka. Ba-l:/ B ton: ka. loap-ta-l: / a.sa. rhi. lo. hpau pra. ra. t// :da. mha. kra: t. u ka. pr.pr. son-son na: l t//

-a.teing:B: <sentence> hso ring a.Daip~p p. son hpo. loap-hsaung-u <performer or subject, S> ko prau: ra. m// po a.r:kri: ta ka. loap-hsaung-hkyak <predicate> ko hpau: pra. ra. t// <predicate> hso ring <verb, V> n. <object, O> pa ra. m/ a.n:hson: <verb, V> pa ra. m//

loap-hsaung-hkyak <verb, V> ka. B ka-la. <time, tense> ka. loap ta-l:// a. hku. la:/ hpric pri:pri la:/ hpric tau. mha la:// pr.pr son-son hpric mrauk r. la: hso ta tw ko hpau pra. ra. t// :th a.hka mha <verb, V> pon-sn praung: thwa: t//

<verb, V> pon-sn praung: pon ko <Chapter 01, Section 04. Action Words: Special Problems (ch01.htm)> l.la si-ka. tw. hk. pri: pri//

a.hkyain ka-la. <time> n. pat thak pri: <verb> praung: l ta ko <tense> lo. hkau t//

n~ga.laip sa.ka: n. ba.ma sa.ka: to. r. a.Di.ka. kwa:hkra: t. n-ra tic-hku. ha <tense> hpric t// mran-ma mha <tense> ha a.r: ma. kri: Bu;// n~ga.laip mha a.r:kri: t // U.pa-ma

mran-ma mha

1. nga ma.n.ka. Z: tho. thwa: th/

n.

2. nga ma.n.ka. Z: tho. thwa:hk. th/

to. ha a. tu tu B// n~ga.laip mha ma. tu Bu://

1. *<I go to market yesterday.> (* pra. hta: ring a.mha: lo. na: l pa//)
2. <I went to market yesterday.>

lwan-hk.t. ka-la. <past time, past tense> ka. hpric t. a.twak <verb, V> ha <go> mha. <went> tho. praung: thwa: t// th-lo a.praung: a.l: ko <tense change> tho.ma.hoat <change in time of action> lo. hkau t//

sa tic-kraung: si r: t. a.hka mha <tense> a.thon: ra. lw p m./ sa. tic.kraung: ma. ka. sa-peid a.n n. r: t. a.hka kya. tau. hkak hk: la t//

Though the time of action word <tense> may be wrong, as long as the syntax is right, the hearer (or reader) will still understand you. Remember, <syntax> is the most important. Do not be afraid of making mistakes in speaking - as long as your syntax is right you will still be understood.

sa.ka: prau: t. a.hka mha/ <tense> mha: thwa: ma. la: hso pri: sa.ka: ma.prau: r: B: ma. n pa n. // <syntax> mhan n tha. rw. kaic~sa. ma. rhi: Bu:// mi.Ba. Bo: Bwa: n~ga.laip ka. pauk hpwa: la pri: tic-thak lon: n~ga.laip sa.ka: prau:n t. thu tw taung <grammar> mha: prau: ta ko <Canada radio and TV> mha sa-r:thu <U Kyaw Tun> ko teing hka.Na. hka.Na. tw. ra. t//

<grammar> ko B n ra mha B lauk on: kra. t hso ta ko < Geoffrey Leach> ka. u.t-a.na. loap hta: t//

The time of all action words in a paragraph must be the same. The action word in the first sentence sets the time for the paragraph.

sa.peid tic.hku. ht: ka. <verb, V> tw ha. <tense> tu hpo. lo t// pa.hta.ma. sa-kraung: r. <tense> a.teing: nauk. la t. sa.kraung: tw r. <verb, V> tw r. <tense> ka. leik praung: ra. t//

sa.ka: a.prau: mha thon: t. <grammar> ha, tak~ka.thol mha thon: ta n. sa ring 1/8 lauk B: rhi. t// da.kraung. sa.ka: prau: t. a.hka <tense> mha: mha ko ma.krauk pa n.//

 

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02. Understanding Number

The performer in a sentence may be singular (one) or plural (more than one). A plural performer may be expressed in one word (girls) or in more than one word (Mary, Sue, and Jane). When we talk about a performer's number (number of S), we are talking about whether it is singular or plural. Similarly, the action (verb, V) must be expressed in singular or plural.


Note: S (computer) is singular; V (works) is singular.


Note: S (computers) is plural; V (work) is plural.

a.kram:hpi: mhat hpo.ka. <S> n. <V> mha/ tic-hku.hku. mha <-s> pa tat t//

A plural performer may be expressed in one word that ends in -s (girls) or one that does not end in -s (children). It can also be in a combination of words in which none ends in -s (an apple and an orange).

 

Agreement between the performer (subject) and the action-word (verb in predicate) in number is easier in the past time, than in the present time, because the verb in the predicate do not change form. Look at the following pairs of sentences where the subject changes in number, but the spelling of the verb remains the same. Notice that the action is in the past time.

I rode the bus.
We rode the bus.
Note: S (I) (we) -- change in number. V (rode) -- no change

David rode the subway.
David and Pam rode the subway.
Note: S (David) (David and Pam) -- change in number. V (rode) -- no change

 

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Exercise 0201

{m:hkwan:}: Are the following action-words (verbs) in underlined italics right (r) or wrong? If wrong, give the correct word. Remember the action-word in the first sentence sets the time for the paragraph.

auk. pa m:hkwan: tw mha <verb> tw ko myi:tha. pra. hta: t// <tense> tha.Bau: a.ra. :di. <verb> tw ha mhan ma.mhan ko hpau pra. pa// mhan ring <r> / mha: ring <w> lo. hpr pa// mha: ring a.mhan ko p: pa//

m:hkwan: tw ha zaat-lam: zaat-kwak tic.hku. ko hpau pra. hta: t// zaat-lam: zaat-kwak tw hpric t. a.twak mran-ma kraung: tha: mya: ha hto-hpric.rup tw hpic. n t. neing-ngan r. a.l. a.hta. tw ko thi. Bo. lo t// sa sa.ka: hso-ta <dictionary> pa sa-loan: tw r. <meaning> thi. roan n. ma.loan lauk Bu:/ a.hkra: a.hkak tw l: thi. Bo. lo t//

mran-ma kyaung:tha: mya: ha <grammar> ko <Eight parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, ...> n. B: hseing t lo. hting kra. t// ma. hoat Bu:/ ta.hkra: a.kraung: tw n. l: hseing th: t// thi.lo ring: www.tuninst.net pau mha <English section> ko kr. pa// <Vinh University, Vietnam> mha. <Nguyễn Thị Vn Lam> r:hta:t. sa.tam: mya: ko kr. pa// n-ga.laip sa.ka: ma.prau tat thu mya: n:ga.laip sa thing t. a.kha mha ht. thwing: si:sa: ra. m. a.hkyak mya: pa t//

Q1. Directions: Are the following underlined action words right (r) or wrong (w)? If right, leave the word as it is. If wrong, give the correct word or words. Remember the action word in the first sentence sets the time for the paragraph.

The crowd filed into the meeting room. the chairman raps1 his gavel. An angry murmur continued2 in the room. The chairman will rap3 his gavel a second time. Quiet finally settles4 over the room. The chairman began5 his report.

zaat-kwak//  // a.s:w: hkam:ma.// pa.ri.that wing la t/ thu.to. kr-nup mhu. ma. rhi. Bu:// Oak~ka.Hta. ka. thic-tha: n. loap hta: t. <gavel> lo. hkau t. tu-ng n. sa-pw: ko hkauk t// sait-hso: thn tw to: thwa: p m. rup ma. thwa: Bu:// Oak~ka.Hta. ka. <gavel> ko du.ti.ya. tic.hka hkauk pran t// ta.hkam:lon: ta.hp:hp: ngraim thwa: t// Oak~ka.Hta. ka. a.si-ring hkn sa ko sa. ting hpat pra. t//

Ans:

1. raps (w) rapped

2. continued (r)

3. will rap rapped

4. settles settled

5. began (r)

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03. Agreement

In a grammatically correct sentence, there must be agreement between subject (performer) and verb (action).

First, take note of the tense: present or past 
Second, see that there is agreement in number: singular or plural.

 

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03.01. Agreement in present time

First of all let's talk about the subject (S) and verb (V) in the present time. E.g.

A carpenter works. (S (carpenter) is singular; V (works) is singular. There is agreement.)
* A carpenter work. (S (carpenter) is singular; V (work) is plural. There is no agreement.)

A carpenter and a mason work. (<a carpenter and a mason> is plural; <work> is plural. There is agreement.)
* A carpenter and a mason works. (<a carpenter and a mason> is plural; <works> is singular. There is no agreement.)

Action taking place in present time usually ends in -s : comes, travels, stands, works, etc. These are singular verbs. The plural  verbs usually do not have -s in the end: come, travel, stand, work, etc.

loap-hsaung thu <performer, S> hso lo. thak-rhi. that~ta.wa lo. ma.hting pa n. // <sentence> tic.hku. mha nhic-peing: pa t// :da tw ko <performer = subject, S> n. loap-hsaung-hkyak <action = verb, V> lo. hkau t//

Grammatical terms: Subject and Predicate lo. tw. hk. ring, mhat tha: Bo. ka. <subject, S> hso ta loap-hsaung thu/ <predicate> hso ta <verb, V> n. <object, O> a.tw: ko hso lo ta hpric t//

loap-hsaung-thu <S> a.r-a.twak ka. tic-U: / tic-yauk/ tic-kaung ko <singular> lo. prau: t// a.r-a.twak ka. tic-hku. htak ma.ka. hpric ring <plural> lo. prau: ra. t//

Never say the plural describes "many": it describes "more than one".

<plural> ko a.mya: lo. ma. hkau n.// {tic-hku. htak ma.ka.} lo. hkau pa// tho.ma.hoat a.lwan mya:pra: t. a.r-a.twak lo. mha:ywing: swa tha.Bau: pauk laim. m// {tic-hku. htak ma.ka.} nhic-hku. ha l: <plural> hpric pa t //

Though 'number' is not important in Burmese, it is very important in English. Moreover, the number in <performer, S = noun> and the number in <action = verb, V> must agree. Let us elaborate.

First, let's us consider the noun in <performer, S>

<A girl> <Mary> -- singular
<Three girls> <Mary, Sue and Jane> -- plural

<singular> mha. <plural> tho. praung: thwa: ring <-s> ko nauk-tw: a.hpric ht. ta. mya: t//
<-s> ko a.mr:tam: ht. tha. la: hso-tau. ma.ht. Bu://

ta.hkyo. n ra tw mha sa-lon: paung: praung: thwa: ta ko tw.ra. t//
ta.hkyo. mha tau. sa-lon: paung: taung ma. praung: Bu://

<a girl> --> <three girls>
<a sheep> --> <three sheep>
<a man> --> <three men>

B lo <verb, V> tw mha praung: t / B lo praung: t / ma. praung: Bu: ko pra. tha. neing t. si:myi: ma. rhi. Bu:// a. lwat mhat hpo. B: rhi. t// sa-mya:mya; hpat ring a.lo-lo mhat mi. la laim. m//

Second, remember that the verb (V) must be described in either singular or plural. For example, the verb (goes) is singular, whereas (go) is plural.

<A girl goes to school.> hso t. <sentence> mha <singular to plural> <girl> mha. <girls> praung: ta n. ma.pri: Bu://
<verb> ko l: praung: p: ra. t// da-kraung. <go> mha. <goes> hpric thwa: t//

A girl goes to school.
  <A girl> - singular subject
  <goes> - singular verb
  Subject (S) and verb (V) agree in number. Therefore the sentence is correct.

* A girl go to school.
  <A girl> - singular subject
  <go> - plural verb
  Subject and verb do not agree in number. Therefore the sentence is grammatically wrong.

Three girls go to school.
  <Three girls> - plural subject
  <go> - singular verb
  Subject and verb agree in number. Therefore the sentence is grammatically correct.

*Three girls goes to school.
  <Three girls> - plural subject
  <goes> - singular verb
  Subject and verb do not agree in number. Therefore the sentence is grammatically not correct.

Remember, even when a sentence is grammatically wrong, as long as the syntax SVO is correct you will still be understood.

a.htak mha <grammar> mha: pa t hso t. <sentence> tw mha taung SVO syntax ma.prak lo. kra: t. thu ka. na: l th: t// kyaung:tha:mya: sw:sw: mhat hta: Bo. ka. <number> a.r: kri: ta-htak <syntax> ka. po lo. ping a.r: kri: pa t//

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Exercise 0301

Agreement in present time

The performer must agree in number with the action-word. Look at the following three sentences where there is agreement in number. Notice that the action is in present time.

1. Our relatives come to dinner every Sunday.
Note: S (relatives) is plural, and V (come) is plural.

2. Those cars travel at top speed.
Note: S (cars) is plural, and V (travel) is plural.

3. The house stands on a hill.
Note: S (house) is singular, and V (stands) is singular.

{m:hkwan:}:
In each of the sentences, find the performer or performers <subject, S = noun>. Indicate whether <S> is singular  or plural .
In each of the sentences, find the action (the verb V in the predicate. Indicate whether <V> is in singular-form (singular) or plural-form (plural).
Indicate whether there agreement between <S> and <V>.
  If there is no agreement and the sentence is wrong, correct it.

1. The women works well together.

Ans:
S (women) -- plural
V in predicate (works) -- singular
S-V do not agree and the sentence is grammatically wrong.
The correct sentence is:
   <The women work well together.>

2. Mr. Smith and his son address the Cub Scouts.

Ans:
S (Mr. Smith and his son) --  plural
V in predicate (address) -- plural
S-V agree and the sentence is correct

3. Flour, sugar, and milk complete this recipe.

Ans:
S (Flour, sugar, and milk) -- plural
V in predicate (complete) -- plural
S-V agree and the sentence is correct

4. Pat Martine understands community relations.

Ans:
S (Pat Martine) -- singular
V in predicate (understands) -- singular
S-V agree and the sentence is correct

5. Mr. Luchners grandchildren often visit him.

Ans:
S (grandchildren) -- plural
V in predicate (visit) -- plural
S-V agree and the sentence is correct

 

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03.02. Agreement in past time

Agreement between the performer (S) and the action-word (V in predicate) in number is easier in the past time, than in the present time, because the verb in the predicate do not change form. Look at the following pairs of sentences where <S> changes in number, but the spelling of the <V> remains the same. Notice that the action is in the past time.

<A girl went to school.>
<Three girls went to school.>

<Mary went to school.>
<Mary, Sue and Jane went to school.>

 

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Exercise 0302

Agreement in past time

Agreement between the performer (subject) and the action-word (verb in predicate) in number is easier in the past time, than in the present time, because the verb in the predicate do not change form. Look at the following pairs of sentences where the performer changes in number, but the action word remains the same.

{m:hkwan:}:
In each of the sentences, find the performer or performers <subject, S = noun>. Indicate whether <S> is singular  or plural .
In each of the sentences, find the action (the verb V in the predicate. Indicate whether <V> is in singular-form (singular) or plural-form (plural).
Indicate whether there agreement between <S> and <V>.
  If there is no agreement and the sentence is wrong, correct it.

1.a I rode the subway. - singular subject: < I >
1.b David and I rode the subway. - plural subject: <David and I>

Ans. a, b.:
S ( I ) -- singular
S (David, I) -- plural
V (rode) -- singular or plural
S-V agree and sentences are correct.

2.a Who rode the subway?. - singular subject: <Who> [note: <who> can also be plural.]
2.b They rode the subway. - plural subject: <they>

Ans. a, b:
S (who) -- can be both singular and plural
S (they) -- plural
V (rode) -- singular or plural
S-V agree and sentences are correct.

3.a Ellen rode the subway. - singular subject <Ellen>
3.b Ellen and Pam rode the subway. - plural subject <Ellen and Pam>

Ans. a, b:
S (Ellen) -- singular
S (they) -- plural
V (rode) -- singular or plural
S-V agree and sentences are correct.

 

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Exercise 0303

Agreement in present and past time

Are the following sentences correct?
from: www.better-english.com/grammar/sinplu.htm
Indicate the subject, and state whether it is singular or plural.
Indicate the verb in the predicate, and state whether it is singular or plural.
What is the time: present or past?
Is there agreement? If there is none, give the correct sentence or sentences. There can be more than one correct sentence.
- Remember, making a grammatical correction, usually change the meaning of the sentence.

When the verb is a "to be"-verb, you can get a clue from the object.

1. The police is still looking for him.

S (police) - plural
V in predicate: (is) - singular
tense: present
agreement: no
<The police are still looking for him.> - verb corrected
<A police man is still looking for him.> - subject corrected
<The police were still looking for him.> - time corrected

2. Athletics are my favourite sport.

S (Athletics) - singular
V in predicate (are) - plural
tense: present
agreement: no
<Athletics is my favourite sport.> - verb corrected
<Athletics was my favourite sport.> - time correction

Clue: <are> is a plural "to be"-verb, and the object  <sport> is singular. This is the clue that shows that the sentence was wrong.

3. Those is nice trousers.

S (Those) - plural
V in predicate: (is) - singular
tense: present
agreement: no
<Those are nice trousers.> - verb corrected
<Those were nice trousers.> - time corrected
<It is a pair of nice trousers.> - subject and object corrected
<It was a pair of nice trousers.> - subject, verb, object, and time corrected

Clue: <is> is a singular "to be"-verb, and the object <trousers> is plural. This is the clue that the sentence was wrong.

mran-ma mha Baung:Bi tic-ht ko <singular> lo. si:sa: p m. n~ga.laip ka. di-lo ma. si:sa: Bu:// Baung:Bi tic ht mha hkr nhic Bak pa lo. <plural> hpric.ra. m t.// yi-ky: mhu.hkying: ma.tu lo. si:sa: pon hkring: hpi-la hpric tat ta ko tha.ti. ma.m. pa n.// tho.thau <a pair of> hso t. sa.ka:su. ko ht.thwing: leik ring / a.mhan hpric thwa: tau. t// <subject> pa pring ra. laim. m//

4. Twenty pounds is a lot of money.

S (twenty) - singular
V in predicate: (is) - singular
time: present
agreement: yes

 

Twenty pounds is a lot of money.
The news is not very good.
Three years are a long time.
My glasses is broken.
My scissors is not cutting properly.
Economics are very difficult to understand.
Physics is a very important subject.
The police have arrested him.
Many people is worried about this.
The United States are very powerful.
Fish and chips is nice to eat.
One of my friends are coming to meet us here.
More than one person are unhappy with this.
A number of us is concerned.
There are a couple of points to make.
The rest of the staff are coming later.
Five hundred dollars are expensive. Have you nothing cheaper?

 

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UKT notes

aspect

Excerpt from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_aspect 080709

In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in the described event or state. For example, in English the difference between I swim and I am swimming is a difference of aspect.

Aspect, as discussed here, is a formal property of a language. Some languages distinguish a large number of formal aspects (see the list below), while others distinguish none at all. Even languages that do not mark aspect formally, however, can convey such distinctions by the use of adverbs, phrases, serial verb constructions or other means.

Grammatical aspect may have been first dealt with in the work of the Indian linguist Yaska (ca. 7th century BCE), who distinguishes actions that are processes (bhāva), from those where the action is considered as a completed whole (mūrta). This is of course the key distinction between the imperfective and perfective. Yaska applies the same distinction also for between a verb and an action nominal.

Aspect in English
According to one prevalent account, the English tense system has only two basic times, present and past. No primitive future tense exists in English; the futurity of an event is expressed through the use of the auxiliary verbs "will" and "shall", by use of a present form, as in "tomorrow we go to Newark", or by some other means. Present and past, in contrast, can be expressed using direct modifications of the verb, which may be modified further by the progressive aspect (also called the continuous aspect), the perfect aspect (also called the completed aspect), or both. Each tense is named according to its combination of aspects and time. These two aspects are also referred to as BE + ING (for the first) and as HAVE +EN (for the second). Although a little unwieldy, such tags allow us to avoid the suggestion that uses of the aspect BE + ING always have a "progressive" or "continuous" meaning, which they do not.

For the present tense:

Present Simple (not progressive/continuous, not perfect; simple): "I eat"
Present Progressive (progressive, not perfect): "I am eating"
Present Perfect (not progressive, perfect): "I have eaten"
Present Perfect Progressive (progressive, perfect): "I have been eating"

For the past tense:

Past Simple (not progressive/continuous, not perfect; simple): "I ate"
Past Progressive (progressive, not perfect): "I was eating"
Past Perfect (not progressive, perfect): "I had eaten"
Past Perfect Progressive (progressive, perfect): "I had been eating"

(Note that, while many elementary discussions of English grammar would classify the Present Perfect as a past tense, from the standpoint of strict linguistics and that elucidated here it is clearly a species of the present, as we cannot say of someone now deceased that he "has eaten" or "has been eating"; the present auxiliary implies that he is in some way present (alive), even if the action denoted is completed (perfect) or partially completed (progressive perfect).)

The uses of these two aspects are quite complex. They may refer to the viewpoint of the speaker:

I was walking down the road when I met Michael Jackson's lawyer. (Speaker viewpoint in middle of action)
I have travelled widely, but I have never been to Moscow. (Speaker viewpoint at end of action)

But they can have other meanings:

You are being stupid now. (You are doing it deliberately)
You are not having chocolate with your sausages! (I forbid it)
I am having lunch with Mike tomorrow. (It is decided)

Another aspect that does survive in English, but that is no longer productive, is the frequentative, which conveys the sense of continuously repeated action; while prominent in Latin, it is omitted from most discussions of English grammar, as it suggests itself only by Scandinavian suffixes no longer heard independently from the words to which they are affixed (e.g., "blabber" for "blab", "chatter" for "chat", "dribble" for "drip", "crackle" for "crack", etc.).

Note that the aspectual systems of certain dialects of English, such as Hawaiian Creole English and African-American Vernacular English, are quite different from standard English, and often distinguish aspect at the expense of tense.

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English Grammar in Conversation

by Geoffrey Leech,
Department of Linguistics and Modern English Language, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YT, UK
-- http://www.tu-chemnitz.de/phil/english/.../Conference1998/Papers/Leech/Leech.htm before 2004, 070708, 121128

We find many such striking differences of frequency between the conversational subcorpus and the three written subcorpora -- but these differences of frequency would not have made any sense, had we not also recognized that the same categories occur across the spoken-written divide. Conversation makes use of entities such as prepositions, modals, noun phrases and relative clauses, just as written language does. So -- assuming, as many would, that differences of frequency belong to the use of the grammar, rather than to the grammatical system itself -- it is quite natural to think in terms of one English grammar, whose use in conversational performance can be contrasted with its use in various kinds of writing. In other words, conversational grammar is seen to be just a rather special implementation of the common grammar of English: a discovery which does not necessarily in any way diminish the interest of studying the grammar (i.e. the grammatical use) of spoken language.

UKT: I have redrawn Figure 1 from the original which was in .gif format. I've indicated my estimate of the length of each cell.

UKT: More in the original article.

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mood

From Moods in Verbs,  by L. Kip Wheeler.  Last updated January 12, 2003. kip@hwaet.org http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/wheeler/index.html  http://www.gonzaga.edu/

Most Indo-European languages, in addition to verb tenses (which demonstrate time), have verb moods (which indicate a state of being or reality). For instance, the most common moods in English include the following:

The indicative (indicating a state of factuality and reality):

A cat sits on the stove.

Most sentences in English are in the indicative mood. It simply states a fact of some sort, or describes what happens, or gives details about reality.

The interrogative (indicating a state of questioning):

Will you leave me alone now?

One marker of the interrogative is that frequently the speaker inverts the subject-verb order by placing the helping verb first, before the subject:

Will you leave me alone?
   instead of
   *You will leave me alone.

Frequently the interrogative appears with requests for a course of action or requests for information.

The imperative (indicating a state of command):

Give me back my money.

One marker of the imperative is that frequently the subject does not appear in the sentence, but is only implied:

(You) Give me back my money.

The conditional (indicating a conditional state that will cause something else to happen):

The bomb might explode if I jiggle that switch.

Also,
The bomb could explode if you jiggle that switch. 

The conditional is marked by the words might, could, and would. Frequently, a phrase in the conditional appears closely linked to a phrase in the subjunctive (see below) preceded by a subordinate conjunction like if.

Another, rarer mood is the subjunctive mood (indicating a hypothetical state, a state contrary to reality, such as a wish, a desire, or an imaginary situation). It is harder to explain the subjunctive. Five hundred years ago, English had a highly developed subjunctive mood. However, after the fourteenth century, speakers of English used the subjunctive less frequently. Today, the mood has practically vanished; modern speakers tend to use the conditional forms of "could" and "would" to indicate statements contrary to reality. The subjunctive only survives in a few, fossilized examples, which can be confusing.

UKT: An example of subjunctive mood is "God save the Queen" which means that the speaker is praying to God to protect the Queen. Notice that there is no agreement in number.

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number {kain:}

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_number 121201

In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one", "two", or "three or more").[1] In many languages including English, the number categories are singular and plural. Some languages also have a dual number or other arrangements.

The count distinctions typically, but not always, correspond to the actual count of the referents of the marked noun or pronoun.

The word "number" is also used in linguistics to describe the distinction between certain grammatical aspects that indicate the number of times an event occurs, such as the semelfactive aspect, the iterative aspect, etc. For that use of the term, see "Grammatical aspect".

UKT: More in the Wikipedia article.

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tense

From LBH
tense
grammar The form of a verb that expresses the time of its action, usually indicated by the verb's inflection and by helping verbs.

The simple tenses are:
     the present
          I race /  you go  
     the past
          I raced / you went  
     the future, formed with the helping verb will
          I will race / you will go  

The perfect tenses, formed with the helping verbs have and had, indicate completed action. They are :
     the present perfect
          I have raced / you have gone  
     the past perfect
          I had raced / you had gone
     the future perfect
          I will have raced / you will have gone  

The progressive tenses, formed with the helping verb be plus the present participle, indicate continuing action. They include:
     the present progressive
          I am racing / you are going  
     the past progressive
          I was racing / you were going  
     the future progressive
          I will be racing / you will be going

See p. 319 for a list of tenses with examples.

From UseE
Tense
is used to show the relation between the action or state described by the verb and the time, which is reflected in the form of the verb. There are two basic tenses in English; the present tense and the past tense. The present is like the base form, although the third person singular adds -s. Regular verbs add -ed or -d  to show the past tense, while irregular verbs change in many different ways, or not at all in some cases.

From EC.com - English Grammar englishclub.com http://grammar.english.english.com
For past and present, there are 2 simple tenses + 6 complex tenses (using auxiliary verbs). To these, we can add 4 "modal tenses" for the future (using modal auxiliary verbs will/shall). This makes a total of 12 tenses in the active voice. Another 12 tenses are available in the passive voice. So now we have 24 tenses.

The use of tenses in English may be quite complicated, but the structure of English tenses is actually very simple. The basic structure for a positive sentence is:

subject + auxiliary verb + main verb

An auxiliary verb is used in all tenses. (In the simple present and simple past tenses, the auxiliary verb is usually suppressed for the affirmative, but it can and does exist for intensification.) The following table shows the 12 tenses for the verb to work in the active voice.

* Technically, there are no future tenses in English. The word will is a modal auxiliary verb and future tenses are sometimes called "modal tenses". The examples are included here for convenience and comparison.

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