When we speak, read, watch television, or listen to radio shows, there occur regularities, in everyone’s talk. We could not communicate without these patterns.
We can extract general patterns. Here, we have the Progressive and the Perfect, extracted from the picture above.
To use a Progressive or Perfect pattern, we adapt the be and the have for the PRESENT, PAST, or FUTURE. We also mind the grammatical person.
The River of Time has one more pattern, the Simple. How could we extract it?
Let us try the verb to learn. It is a regular verb, in American English. We can try the River of Time, beginning with the PAST.
Let us try the PRESENT field. The singular has the feature (―E)S. We say he, she, or it is, has, or does. Therefore,
I learn, you learn,
we, and they learn,
he, she, or it learns.
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.
We are on the other side of the River of Time (!)
The Simple pattern does not use the words to be or to have as the Progressive or Perfect patterns do. Grammars name the be and the have as in the Progressive or Perfect 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.
What is it that auxiliaries assist? We can say they keep company to head verbs. Our head verbs are words to tell activities or faculties, as to learn, to read, or to write.
Auxiliaries help tell where we are in our thoughts about time, when we use grammatical patterns. Naturally, there is no single or specific brain area for human thoughts. Own language activity is the most potent factor to unify the working of the entire brain (!)
Let us try the Perfect pattern. It takes the third form. The third form takes on the ending –ED for regular verbs. For irregular verbs, the ending can be –EN.
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.
However, the Simple pattern can use the verbs to be and to have as well. Let us look to the syntax. Language syntax is the way we can string words together. This order is not always strictly fixed. It can be as water drops on grass stems, but it has a few principles.
Verbs to be and to have can work as head verbs as well as auxiliaries.
We can say,
“I am a learner” (Present Simple);
“I am learning.” (Present Progressive)
We also can say,
“I have a grammar book” (Present Simple);
“I have learned grammar” (Present Perfect).
To avoid confusion, we can use an invented verb. Virtual words can be fun. Kids use invented words regularly. This is not only because children would have fun and play. Kids follow own natural intuitions, and invent words to work out language in an easier way.
Our invented or virtual verb can be “bimo”. We can use it as a regular verb, with the forms and in the places for regular verbs. This can help us focus on syntax and form. See also the color code.
Let us put our invented bimo in our Field for the PRESENT.
Our bimo is regular, just as the verb to learn. We add ―ED to make the 2ND form and the 3RD form. Let us compare the forms.
The “bimoed” in the Simple Past pattern is the second form. In the Perfect Present pattern, it is the third form. Syntax and the context are going to matter, telling the forms.
(Now irregular verbs could be more pleasant to see. It is easy to tell wrote from written, in phrases as I wrote and I have written.)
The Simple pattern can work without auxiliaries. It is the head verb to map the grammatical time, in the Simple pattern. Let us see our mapping underlined.
This means it can be any verb, to map 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.
In natural language, we most often think about the character of activity or faculty, when we think about its time. In grammar, we call this character the Aspect. The Simple, Progressive, and Perfect grammatically are Aspects.
What is an activity of the Simple Aspect like? The name of this Aspect comes from its form. The form is “simple”, because it may work without an auxiliary. 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. For example, an activity or faculty may be not simple at all, and we might use the Simple Aspect still,
I love grammar.
What is an activity of the Progressive Aspect like? It is something in progress. Progress may be a changing condition, state, or activity. It can mean betterment, but it not always does.
What is an activity of the Perfect Aspect like? It is something regarded to a point in time. The name “perfect” comes from Latin. For the tenses, it has nothing to do with faults, flaws, or their absence. It tells about effects to a time.
If we combine our characters for activity or faculty and thought about time, we get nine grammatical tenses in three Aspects. If we make out these combinations, we may fare in language independently.
There is one more pattern. Grammars name it the Perfect Progressive. We can get to know it better in further journey. Appendix 4 has patterns for all the four Aspects.
Some grammars use the label “Continuous” for the “Progressive”. They mean the same Character or Aspect, that is, they make the same reference to activity or faculty and time.
Feel welcome to further journey.
3.2. Aspects and personal pronouns