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Chapter VIENGLISH VERB-FORMS AND THEIR PATTERN-VALUE

Time-distinctions find their expression in verb-forms. English grammatical terminology has a special word tense to indicate time at which an action or state is viewed as happening or existing.

The speaker's subjective use of distinctions of Time drawn in accordance with the conventions of the language is naturally primary in importance.

The system of the English verb offers its own difficulties for a foreign student to master. The most troublesome problems are concentrated in the area of the finite verb, and include, in particular, tense, aspect, and modal auxiliary usage.

The components of grammatical meanings in actual verb-forms are often not so separable as it might be suggested. Tense, mood and aspect appear to be closely entwined. The terms tense-aspect or, say, tense-mood seem therefore fully justified. We can hardly say that there are pure tenses, pure moods or pure aspects; two or three of these kinds of meaning are always inseparably present in any given verb form. This will be made clear if we identify the tense-forms by specifying their characteristic sentence-functions and look at the contrasting patterns rather than contrasting forms.

A major question in learning the grammar of the English verb is therefore to look for the difference of distribution in various contexts, linguistic or situational, where each verb-form occurs.

Distinction must be made between paradigmatic (primary) and syntagmatical (secondary) meanings of grammatical forms, in other words, between its denotative and connotative meanings.

In the power of connotation of grammatical forms lies the reserve force of language. Grammatical imagery plays such a considerable role in the formal arrangement of units of speech as to deserve our particular attention.

The study of verb-forms must reasonably include their functional transpositions where we distinguish: a) formal conventional transpositions in fixed patterns of grammatical usage and b) expressive transpositions for stylistic purposes.

The former are stylistically unmarked and emotionally neutral; the latter are marked and have a stylistic value.

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Источник: N. M. RAYEVSKA. MODERN ENGLISH GRAMMAR. 1976

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