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  1. #1
    Delphine is offline Newbie
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    Question Tense and aspect

    "Tense" and "aspect" are often mixed up by learners of ESL. What are the difficulties involved? Are there any examples of such common errors?

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Tense and aspect

    Tense and aspect are often mixed up by coursebooks. There isn't really much agreement on the issue- many coursebooks treat aspect as tense. I think things are a lot simpler and clearer if we think of English as having two tenses and two aspects, but books still keep coming out giving a different picture of language. The difficulties in this area, where the terminology isn't even standard (progressive vs continuous) so it is little wonder that students get tense and aspect mixed up. With a general consensus on how many tenses there are, etc, I think that the rather messy view of the verb will continue. This is one area where not having a body like the Academie Francaise to decide on such issues is a disadvantage in my opinion.

  3. #3
    Delphine is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Tense and aspect

    Thank you!

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Tense and aspect

    You're welcome, even though I wasn't much help.

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    Default Re: Tense and aspect

    I think the issue is that coursebook writers choose to ignore the distinction on the basis that it will be 'simpler' for their audience - students and teachers alike. I don't feel there is a major problem with the difference itself. I disagree with the view that not explaining aspects makes learning English easier. Having said that, I do accept that the explanation is best left until intermediate level. However, I wish that coursebook writers would be more careful with their use of the word 'tense'. I have found that a clear explanation reinforced with examples can actually clear up some of the things that confuse students. It is also very helpful to be able to show my Russian students that all perfect 'tenses' have something in common. This is especially so because Russian has no equivalent to perfect. A short and simple definition of progressive/perfect can be found in the Longman Dictionary of Language Teaching & Applied linguistics.

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    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Tense and aspect

    I think that feel that they are offering a tense model familiar to many, especially European language speakers, though this is a flawed view.

  7. #7
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    trans is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Tense and aspect

    This is especially so because Russian has no equivalent to perfect.
    It depends on the aspect .
    Tense System of Russian Verb (In breif)
    Forms and their Meaning
    Imperfective Verbs // Perfective Verbs
    Infinitive: to do/be doing // to have done
    Past:
    (he) did/was doing // (he) has/had done
    Present:
    (he) does/is doing // - *
    Future: (he) will do/be doing** // (he) will have done*
    ___
    *Present forms of perfective verbs mean action in future.
    **Finite form of copular verb + Infinitive of imperfective verb

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