Progressive aspect in generalThe progressive (or ‘continuous’) focuses on the situation as being in progress at a particular time.In consequence it may imply that the situation has limited duration, and that it is not necessarily complete.
Progressive aspect in general(a) Generally, verbs with stative senses do not occur in the progressive, since there is no conception of progression in state of affairs:(1) *I am liking your sister.(2) *He was knowing English.When verbs that are ordinarily stative occur in the progressive, they adopt dynamic meanings. They may indicate a type of behaviour with limited duration:(3) You are being obstinate.(4) He was being silly.
Progressive aspect in generalVerbs expressing emotion or attitude, which are ordinarily stative, indicate tentativeness when they occur in the progressive:(5) I’m hoping to take my exam soon.(6) I was wondering whether you could help me.
Progressive aspect in general(b) The EVENT PROGRESSIVE is used with dynamic verb senses to refer to an event that has duration and is not completed:(7) I was reading an economics book last night.(8) One of the boys was drowning, but I dived in and saved him.In (8), the simple past drowned could not replace the past progressive was drowning, because it would not be compatible with the report that the boy was saved.The present progressive is more commonly used than the simple present for events in present time, because present events are usually regarded as having some duration:(9) What are you doing? –I’m writing a letter.
Progressive aspect in general(c) The HABITUAL PROGRESSIVE is used with dynamic verb senses to refer to events that repeatedly occur, with the implication that they take place over a limited period of time.(10) She’s writing some short stories.(11) He’s teaching in a comprehensive school.Contrast the nonprogressive:(12) She writes short stories.(13) He teaches in a comprehensive school.The progressive implies temporariness (=privremenost), and the nonprogressive implies permanence (“She is a short-story writer”, “He is a teacher in a comprehensive school”).
Progressive aspect in generalThe normally stative verb have in (14) carries the implication of temporariness, and the initial time adverbial reinforces that notion:(14) At the time she was having singing lessons.
Special uses of the progressive(I) To refer to events anticipated in the future, or to events anticipated in the past (future in the past) (see Lecture 7 and 8):(15) The train is leaving at nine tomorrow.(16) They were getting married the following spring. (“Trebali su se vjenčati narednog proljeća”)(II) After will or shall to imply that the situation will take place ‘as a matter of course’ in the future (see Lecture 8, SLIDE 24):(17) I’ll be seeing you next week.
Verbs denoting states of bodilysensationThese verbs may be used almost interchangeably in the progressive and nonprogressive when referring to a temporary state:(18) My foot hurts/is hurting.(19) My back aches/is aching.(20) I feel /am feeling cold.
More on the habitual progressiveThe habitual progressive is not used to refer to sporadic events; the nonprogressive is used for this purpose:(21) *She’s sometimes walking to the office.(22) She sometimes walks to the office.However, in combination with indefinite frequency adverbs such as always or continually, the habitual progressive loses its temporary meaning. In this case, it often conveys disapproval on the part of the speaker:(23) Bill is always working late in the office.The pejorative sense may also be expressed with the simple present or past in combination with these adverbs.
Time-sequence and time-inclusionThe relationship between two simple forms is normally one of TIME-SEQUENCE (see also Ispravak midterm, SLIDE 19):(24) When we arrived, John made some fresh coffee. (The arrival came before the coffee-making.)The relationship between progressive and a simple form is normally one of TIME-INCLUSION:(25) When we arrived, John was making some fresh coffee. (The arrival took place during the coffee making.)
Verb senses and theprogressive Classes of verbs that typically occur with stative and dynamic senses. Stance verbs are intermediate between stative and dynamic verbs: (I) STATIVE (a) states of ‘being’ or ‘having’: be, contain, depend, have, resemble. (b) intellectual states: believe, know, realize, think, understand. (c) states of emotion or attitude: disagree, dislike, like, want, wish. (d) states of perception: feel, hear, see, smell, taste. (e) states of bodily sensation: ache, feel sick, hurt, itch, tickle.
Verb senses and theprogressive (II) STANCE: lie, live, sit, stand. (III) DYNAMIC DURATIVE (taking place over a period of time) (a) activities performed by inanimate forces: (wind) blow, (engine) run, rain, (watch) work. (b) activities performed by animate agents: dance, eat, play, sing, work. (c) processes (denoting change of state taking place over a period): change, deteriorate, grow, ripen, widen. (d) accomplishments (action or activity that has a goal or endpoint): finish (the book), knit (a sweater), read (the paper). write (an essay).
Verb senses and theprogressive(IV) DYNAMIC PUNCTUAL (with little or no duration):(a) momentary events and acts: bang, jump, knock, nod, tap. In the progressive, these verbs indicate the repetition of the event (iterative sense):(26) He was banging on the door.(b) transitional events and acts: arrive, die, drown, land, leave, stop. In the progressive, they refer to a period leading up to the change of state:(27) The train is now arriving at Platform 4.
Stance verbsStance verbs may be used with either the progressive or the nonprogressive, often with little or no meaning difference.However, sometimes they seem to be used with the nonprogressive to express a permanent state and with the progressive to express a temporary state:(28) James lives in Copenhagen. [permanent residence](29) James is living in Copenhagen. [temporary residence]
Non-progressive verbs (Palmer,The English Verb, 1974)As we have seen from the previous slides, there are some verbs that are not commonly used in the progressive form at all, even when they seem to indicate duration:(30) I forget his name.(31) I see my brother over there.(32) It contains sugar.(33) They own a lot of property.These verbs – different from the other verbs of English in that they usually, even in the present tense, occur with non-progressive.
Non-progressive verbs (Palmer,The English Verb, 1974)The non-progressive is the norm.Progressive forms of these verbs are used only where there is specific reference to duration or one of the special features indicated by the progressive.
Non-progressive verbs (Palmer,The English Verb, 1974) – aspecial group of verbsThere are some verbs such as read, sleep, work that refer to non-momentary actions and sometimes occur in the non-progressive with adverbials that indicate duration. These are, perhaps, marginally non-progressive verbs and deserve a separate mention, but they occur quite commonly in the progressive form, and for this reason are not treated as non-progressive verbs.(34) I was reading all morning. vs. I read all morning.(35) He’s been working for a long time. vs. He worked for a long time.(36) He was sleeping all night. vs. He slept all night.
Non-progressive verbs (Palmer,The English Verb, 1974) – aspecial group of verbsThe progressive form is thus not directly related to the actual duration of the activity but rather to the indication of that duration.The non-progressive form merely reports the action as if we were replying to the question What did he do?, whereas the progressive specifically indicates its duration, as if it were a reply to How did he spend his time?The use of non-progressive does not deny duration, it simply does not indicate it.
Non-progressive verbs (Palmer,The English Verb, 1974)The non-progressive verbs fall into two subclasses: verbs of state and private verbs.The reason why these do not normally occur with the progressive is different for each subclass.
Private verbs Private verbs – those that refer to states or activities that the speaker alone is aware of. These verbs are of two kinds: verbs that refer to mental activities, verbs that refer to sensations. Both commonly occur with non- progressive forms. Verbs referring to mental activities: THINK: It think that’s mine. IMAGINE: I imagine he’ll be there. HOPE: I hope it’s true. PLAN: I plan to go to London tomorrow. FORGET: I forget what you said. BELIEVE: I believe that it’s true.
Private verbsIn all the examples from the previous slide the subject is I. However, it does not necessarily have to be so:(37) You think you’re clever!(38) Do you remember what he said?Verbs refereeing to sensations:SEE: I see my brother over there.SMELL: I smell something burning.HEAR: I hear music.TASTE: I taste salt.FEEL: I feel the softness of this fabric.
Private verbsAgain, the verbs from the previous slide are most common with the first person singular, but they may occur with other subjects:(39) He smells something burning.(40) Do you see that tree over there?These verbs very commonly occur with the modal verb can with no apparent difference in meaning:(41) I can see my brother over there.(42) I can smell something burning.
Private verbsJust as the radio commentator uses the non-progressive because his main aim is merely to report, so too the person who reports on his own mental activities or sensations is simply reporting and so uses the non- progressive form.With most verbs we seldom need simply to report in the present. If we refer to a present activity it is only with reference to its duration, for there is no need to report what can be perceived by the hearer as well as the speaker.But the private verbs have the special characteristic that they refer to activities available for perception by the speaker only. He alone can report them and in so doing uses the appropriate form – the non-progressive.
Private verbsThese verbs, as we have already seen, can be used with the second or third person subjects, but only to ask about the activity, or to report it at second hand or by inference.Do you think… is looking for the answer I think…, while He thinks… is either a report of I think… or merely a guess. But in all these cases we are merely concerned with a bare statement – duration is not at issue.
Private verbsThe characteristics of the non-progressive verbs apply to them as a class – a class that is formally definable in terms of regular occurrence in the non-progressive. A verb that does not belong to this class will not occur in the non-progressive even if it is reporting a sensation. The verb suffer, for example, does not belong to the class of the non-progressives at all – manly because sufferings are so often observable by both speaker and hearer. Even when a purely private sensation is being reported, the progressive form is used:(43) I’m suffering from a headache.
Private verbsThere are some other verbs which occur with little or no difference of meaning with progressive or non-progressive forms. These are regarded as optional members of the class, e.g. ache, itch:(44) My foot itches/is itching.(45) My arm aches/is aching.
Verbs of state These verbs refer to a state or condition. The sense of duration is an integral part of the lexical meaning of the verb, and there is for this reason no need for a progressive form to indicate duration: CONTAIN: It contains sugar. BELONG: It belongs to me. MATTER: It doesn’t matter. DESERVE: He deserves something better than that. CONSIST: It consists of little but water and colouring. PLEASE: It pleases me no end. DEPEND: It depends on what you mean. OWN: I own this house.
Verbs of stateA special subgroup – verbs that indicate the quality of creating sensations, those that may be treated as the intransitive forms of the verbs of sensations. They are sometimes called copular verbs: (46) It smells sweet.(47) It tastes nice.(48) It feels soft.The verbs of sensation see and hear have no similar intransitive forms.
Use of the non-progressiveverbs in progressiveThese verbs are used in certain circumstances with progressive forms:(49) I’m forgetting names nowadays.(50) I’m seeing things.The private verbs are used with the progressive where there is simply emphasis upon duration:(51) I’m actually hearing his voice!(52) She’s hoping all the time that he’ll come back.
Use of the non-progressiveverbs in progressiveA more common use is to indicate habitual activity over a limited period:(53) I’m feeling the cold these days.(54) He’s forgetting names nowadays.(55) I’m thinking now that we ought perhaps to go.The progressive is also used for repetition with the sense of disapproval on the part of the speaker:(56) I’m continually forgetting names.(57) He’s always feeling ill.(58) You are always imagining you’ll win a prize.
Use of the non-progressiveverbs in progressiveIn other words, the private verbs function in the same way as the other verbs, with the sole exception that they are commonly used merely to report and in reporting occur in the non-progressive.But wherever there is specific indication of one of the features associated with the progressive, they too occur with progressive forms.
Use of the non-progressiveverbs in progressiveThe verbs of state are a little different in that respect. With them there is never emphasis on the duration and they cannot normally be said to have a habitual sense at all since they refer to permanent or semi-permanent states.Yet they are used with progressive forms where there is reference to limited duration, but it is not the limited duration of habitual activity:(59) He’s looking better since his operation.(60) I’m feeling all right now.(61) We’re living in London at the moment.
Use of the non-progressiveverbs in progressiveThere are also examples indicating increasing or decreasing activity:(62) He’s looking more and more like his father.(63) It’s mattering less and less now.(64) It’s tasting nastier and nastier.
HomonymyWe have already seen that the verbs smell, feel and taste have two different uses, the one transitive with the sense of having the sensation, the other intransitive with the sense of having the quality to produce the sensation. The verbs are non- progressive in both their senses, but in one sense they belong to the private verbs and in the other to the verbs of state.There is yet a third use = “to act to achieve the sensation”. In this sense the verbs are not non- progressive.
Homonymy(65) I smell flowers./The flowers smell lovely./ I’m smelling the flowers.(66) I taste salt in the soup./The soup tastes salty./The cook is tasting the soup.(67) I feel something rough./The cloth feels rough./I’m feeling the cloth.The verbs see and hear are not similarly used in three senses. In comparable senses different verbs are used:(68) I see my brother./He looks well./I’m looking at my brother.(69) I hear music./It sounds beautiful./I’m listening to music.
Homonymy(1) (2) (3)smell smell smelltaste taste tastefeel feel feelsee look look athear sound listen to (1) = a private verb with the sense of “acquire the sensation” (2) = a verbs of state with the sense of “produce the sensation” (3) = not a non-progressive verb with the sense of “act to acquire the sensation”
HomonymyThere are many contrasts of progressive and non- progressive forms in which there is clearly a difference of durational aspect, but this is not the only difference of meaning. With these we have again cases of homonymy: (70) I imagine he’ll come. (“think”) (71) You’re imagining things. (“having hallucinations”) (72) I plan to go tomorrow. (“intend”) (73) I’m planning my holidays. (“making arrangements”) (74) I think he’ll come. (“believe”) (75) I’m thinking about it. (“pondering”)
Homonymy It is difficult in some cases to decide whether to treat the differences of progressive and non-progressive in terms of verbs classes (the non- progressive vs. the rest) or to handle them purely in terms of the uses of the progressive/non-progressive category: (76) Now I’m remembering. 2 interpretations of the verb remember from (76): (1) progressive form is used because it emphasizes the duration, or perhaps indicates limited duration. (2) remember here has the meaning of “make a conscious effort to remember” and with this meaning it is not a non-progressive verb at all.
The perfect progressivePresent perfect progressive, past perfect progressive, ‘future perfect progressive’When the perfect and progressive aspects are combined in the same verb phrase, the features of meaning associated with each aspect are combined to refer to a TEMPORARY SITUATION LEADING UP TO THE PRESENT when the perfect auxiliary is present tense has or have.The combination conveys the sense of a situation in progress with limited duration:(77) I’ve been writing a letter to my nephew.(78) It’s been snowing again.
The perfect progressive If the perfect progressive sense is combined with accomplishment predications or process predications, then the VP conveys the possibility of incompleteness: (79) I’ve been cleaning the windows. (The job may not be finished) (80) The weather has been getting warmer. (It may get warmer still) The present perfect progressive may be used with the dynamic verbs senses to refer to a TEMPORARY HABIT UP TO THE PRESENT. The events occur repeatedly up to the present and possibly into the future:(81) Martin has been scoring plenty of goals (this season).(82) I’ve been working on the night shift for several weeks.
The perfect progressiveThe perfect progressive may combine with the past tense of have (past perfect) and with modals (‘future perfect’)(83) The fire had been raging for over a week.(84) By Friday, we’ll have been living here for ten years.