If we take the patterns of the River of Time separately, they become quite many. If we focus on their regularities, they are just a few patterns. Let us return to the picture of the River of Time.
We can isolate two patterns easily. Grammar books name them the Progressive and the Perfect.
What do the names, Progressive or Perfect, tell in grammar? We most often think about the character of activity or faculty, when we think about its time. Grammars call this character the Aspect. The Progressive and Perfect grammatically are Aspects.
An activity in the Progressive Aspect is something in progress. Progress may be a changing condition, state, or activity. It may mean betterment, but it not always does.
An activity in the Perfect Aspect is something regarded to a point in time. The name “perfect” comes from Latin. For grammar, it has nothing to do with faults, flaws, or their absence. It tells about effects to a time.
To use a Progressive or Perfect pattern, we adapt the be or the have for the PRESENT, PAST, or FUTURE. The verbs to be or to have are then auxiliary verbs, or auxiliaries, in short.
The word “auxiliary” comes from Latin. It meant “helping”, “accompanying”. The be and the have as in the Progressive or Perfect help build the patterns. They keep company to head verbs. Our head verbs are words to tell faculties or activities, as to learn, to read, or to write.
Together, the auxiliary and the head verb make the verb phrase. Auxiliaries help tell “where” we are in our thoughts about time, when we use grammatical patterns. The “where” is a figure of speech.
There is no single or specific brain area for thoughts. Own language activity is the strongest single factor to unite the working of the human brain entire (!)
Let us try the Perfect pattern. It takes the third form. The third form has the ending –ED, for regular verbs. For irregular verbs, the ending can be –EN.
The River of Time has one more pattern, the Simple. It can work without auxiliaries.
What does the name Simple tell, in grammar? An activity or faculty in the Simple Aspect does not take on boundaries, as to tell to what time we regard a matter, or whether we have it for something in progress.
The name of this Aspect comes from the Latin word simplus. The form is “simple”, because it may work without an auxiliary.
An activity or faculty may be not simple at all, and we might use the Simple Aspect, still:
I love grammar
(though it is not an easy feeling).
We capitalize, that is, use big letters, to write Aspect names. We use the words “simple”, “progressive”, or “perfect” as parts of noun phrases where the noun ― Aspect ― is a proper noun.
We do not use the words Simple, Progressive, Perfect, or Aspect in any sense other than grammatical.
To perceive the Simple Aspect, let us try the verb to learn. In American English, it is a regular verb. We can begin with the PAST.
Regular verbs take the ending ―ED, in the Simple Aspect.
I, you, we, they, he, she, it
within the the run of the River through the PRESENT field.
The singular has the feature (―E)S.
he, she, or it
is, has, or does.
I, you, we, they
He, she, it
CHAPTER 2 shows the verb will can map on the FUTURE already in its PRESENT form.
It does not take the feature S. We can say it does not belong with the PRESENT field only.
I, you, we, they, he, she, it
Well, we do not know all the way yet, but we are on the other side of the River of Time (!)
The verb to learn is regular. Both to read and to write are irregular verbs. Appendixes 2 and 3 have irregular verbs listed with regard to their speech sound patterns.
It can be any verb, to map the grammatical time in the Simple. We can present the Simple with the infinity symbol.
The symbol is to mean that something cannot be exactly calculated, similarly to the Pi, π. It is impossible to calculate natural languages mathematically.
We can present extracts for the Progressive, Perfect, as well as the Simple.
Where is the verb phrase, in the Simple pattern? We might think it takes at least two words, to make a phrase. Phrases yet can work well, if we have them as room we make in our language. Verb phrases are the room for grammatical time.
In the Simple Aspect, a single verb may do for this room in the PRESENT or the PAST, if we affirm on something. For the FUTURE, the Simple Aspect takes the auxiliary will. CHAPTER 5 shows the Simple for questions and negatives.
When the Simple pattern works without auxiliaries, it is the head verb to map the grammatical time. Let us see our mapping underlined, for all the Aspects so far.
Some grammars use the label “Continuous” for the “Progressive”. They mean the same Aspect, that is, they make the same reference for the character of activity or faculty, and time.
There is one more pattern. Grammars name it the Perfect Progressive. We can get to know it better in our further journey. Feel welcome.
3.2. THE PERSON “YOU”