What Is the Aspect of a Verb? (with Examples)

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What Is the Aspect of a Verb? (with Examples)

The aspect of a verb is determined by whether the action is on going or completed.

The four aspects are:

Examples of Aspect

Here are some examples of the aspects in sentences:
  • He took the photos.
  • (simple aspect - no emphasis of completed or on-going action)
  • He had taken the photos by the time the owner arrived.
  • (perfect aspect - action completed)

  • He was taking the photos when the owner arrived.
  • (progressive aspect - action on going)

  • He had been taking the photos before the owner arrived.
  • (perfect progressive aspect - action on going but then finished)
These sentences are all in the past tense, but they all have a different aspect. Remember, we need aspect to tell us whether the action was on going or completed.

Aspect applies equally to the present tense and the future tense.

Aspects in Past, Present, and Future Tenses

Here is a table showing how the different aspects are formed in the past, future, and future tenses:

The Simple Aspect (Indefinite Aspect)Example
simple past tense I went
simple present tense I go
simple future tense I will go
The Perfect Aspect (Completed Aspect)Example
past perfect tense I had gone
present perfect tense I have gone
future perfect tense I will have gone
The Progressive Aspect (Continuing Aspect)Example
past progressive tenseI was going
present progressive tenseI am going
future progressive tenseI will be going
The Perfect Progressive AspectExample
past perfect progressive tenseI had been going
present perfect progressive tenseI have been going
future perfect progressive tense I will have been going
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