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Lecture 11 Tense and Aspect (I). the simple present the simple past the present progressive the past progressive. 11.1 Uses of Simple Present. Definition:.

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lecture 11 tense and aspect i
Lecture 11 Tense and Aspect (I)

the simple present

the simple past

the present progressive

the past progressive

11 1 uses of simple present
11.1 Uses of Simple Present


The simple present is the present tense form which is not accompanied by the category of aspect, that is which is not marked for the progressive or the perfective aspect.



1) Timeless present

2) Habitual present

3) Momentary and instantaneous present

4) Referring to the future

5) Referring to the past


1 timeless present
1. Timeless Present

Honesty is the best policy.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

London stands on the River Thames.

This use of the simple present mostly applies to Stative Verbs


2. Habitual Present

Expressions for"Frequency"

simple present - used when mentioning:

  • habits
  • skills
  • customs

indicates permanence

I usuallywork 9 to 5.He oftenplays golf on Saturday.We alwayseat dinner together.Frequently, we have lunch out.We nevereat breakfast together.

implied time:

always (habits)

"as long as I can remember" (customs)


3 momentary and instantaneous present
3. Momentary and Instantaneous Present

A. Momentary present (现时状态)

What’s the matter with you? You look pale.

What do you think, Jane?

A momentary phenomenon that exists at the time of speaking.

  • has some duration
  • associated with stative verbs

B. Instantaneous Present (现在瞬间动作):

the event takes place singly and once-for-all within the moment of speaking.

  • has little or no duration
  • Always dynamic

Used in certain speech situations such as:

a. Commentaries of fast-moving sports:

Harper passes the ball to Jennings; Jennings shoots and the goalkeeper leaps for it but – yes, it’s a goal.


b. The running commentary

(Conjuror:) Look, I take this card from the pack and place it under the handkerchief-so.

(Demonstrator:) Now I put the cake mixture into this bowl and adda drop of vanilla essence.

c. Some formal declarations:

I declare the meeting open.

4 referring to the future





4) Referring to the Future

future events conceived of as “certain”

Three sub clauses:

  • I hope…I bet…

I hope you have a good time.= I hope you will have a good time.

  • see to it…make sure…make certain…

I’ll make sure you don’t get lost.

=…you won’t get lost.

If it is fine tomorrow, we will go to the countryside

  • if / when…


If it willbe fine tomorrow, …

5 simple present referring to the past
5) Simple Present Referring to the Past

tell, say, hear, learn,write

a. Communication Verbs

to express the present effect of information received in the past

Alice tells me you’re entering college next year.

I hear poor old Mrs. Smith has lost her son.

b. Historic Present:

as a device of story-telling and news reporting

to add vividness to the description

I was just dozing off in front of the television when my wife rushes in shouting that the kitchen is on fire.