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The immediate expression of grammatical time, or "tense" (Lat. tempus), is one of the typical functions of the finite verb. the meaning of process, inherently embedded in the verbal lexeme, is realized if presented in certain time conditions. That is why the expression or non-expression of grammatical time, together with the expression or non-expression of grammatical mood in person-form presentation, constitutes the basis of the verbal category of finitude, i.e. the basis of the division of all the forms of the verb into finite and non-finite.

Must strictly distinguish between the general notion of time, the lexical denotation of time, and the grammatical time proper, or grammatical temporality.

the "moment of speech", serves as the demarcation line between the past and the future. All the lexical expressions of time are divided into "present-oriented", or "absolutive" expressions of time, and "non-present-oriented", "non-absolutive" expressions of time

The absolutive time denotation distributes the intellective perception of time among three spheres: the sphere of the present, with the present moment included within its framework; the sphere of the past, which precedes the sphere of the present by way of retrospect; the sphere of the future, which follows the sphere of the present by way of prospect.( now, last week, in our century, in the past, in the years to come, very soo,) a temporal characteristic in reference to the present moment= absolutive names of time.

The non-absolutive time denotation does not characterise an event in terms of orientation towards the present. This kind of denotation may be either "relative" or "factual".

The relative expression of time correlates two or more events showing some of them either as preceding the others, or following the others, or happening at one and the same time with them.( after that, at an interval of a day or two, at different times, etc).

The factual expression of time either directly states the astronomical time of an event, or else conveys this meaning in terms of historical landmarks.(in the year 1066, during the time of the First World War, at the early period of civilisation, etc.)

the grammatical expression of verbal time, i.e. tense, is effected in two correlated stages. At the first stage “primary time”, the process receives an absolutive time characteristic by means of opposing the past tense to the present tense. The marked member is the past form. At the second stage” prospective time”, the process receives a non-absolutive relative time characteristic by means of opposing the forms of the future tense to the forms of no future marking. (the first stage is absolutive, the second stage, is relative), There are two temporal categories. Both of them answer the question: "What is the timing of the process?" But the first category, having the past tense as its strong member, expresses a direct retrospective evaluation of the time of the process, fixing the process either in the past or not in the past; the second category, whose strong member is the future tense, gives the timing of the process a prospective evaluation, fixing it either in the future (i.e. in the prospective posterior).

<The verbal primary time denotes the absolutive timing of the process, i.e. its timing in reference to the moment of speech. The category of prospect expresses the timing of the process from the point of view of its relation to the plane of posteriority>

The formal sign of the opposition constituting first category is, with regular verbs, the dental suffix -(e)d [-d, -t, -id], and with irregular verbs, phonemic interchanges of more or less individual specifications.

The specific feature of the category of primary time is, that it divides all the tense forms of the English verb into two temporal planes: the plane of the present and the plane of the past, which affects also the future forms.

The fact that the present tense is the unmarked member of the opposition explains a wide range of its meanings : literally the moment of speaking, the zero-point of all subjective estimation of time made by the speaker(at this very moment, or this instant, or exactly now) But an utterance like "now while I am speaking" breaks the notion of the zero time proper: but a durative event.plus vast periods of time as this month, this year;general truths as, "The sun is a star", the idea of time as such is almost suppressed, the implication of constancy, unchangeability of the truth at all times being made prominent.

the analysed meaning of the verbal present arises as a result of its immediate contrast with the past form. Due to the marked character of the past verbal form, the said quality of its meaning does not require special demonstration.

Today again I spoke to Mr. Jones on the matter, and again he failed to see the urgency of it. ->The linguistic paradox consists exactly in the fact that their two-type indications of time, one verbal-grammatical, and one adverbial-lexical, the verb-form shows the process as past and gone; the adverbial modifier presents the past event as a particular happening, belonging to a more general time situation

Opposite, He faces nobody else than Mr. Greggs accompanied by his private secretary!"=historic present" (Lat. praesens historicum) is to create a vivid picture of the event reflected in the utterance.

The view that shall and willretain their modal meanings in all their uses was defended by O. Jespersen. In our times, quite a few scholars consider these verbs as part of the general set of modal verbs, "modal auxiliaries", expressing the meanings of capability, probability, permission, obligation, and the like.

A well-grounded objection against the inclusion of the construction shall/will + Infinitive in the tense system of the verb on the same basis as the forms of the present and past has been advanced by L. S. Barkhudarov. Reason- the combinations in question can express at once both the future time and the past time (the form "future-in-the-past"), which hardly makes any sense in terms of a grammatical category(gr cat must be mutually exclusive)

The category of prospect is also temporal. But the semantic basis of the category of prospect is different in principle from that of the category of primary time: the prospective time is purely relative; it means that the future form of the verb only shows that the denoted process is prospected as an after-action relative to some other action or state or event, the timing of which marks the zero-level for it. As a result, first is the present time-plane of the verb, the other is the past time-plane of the verb.

The oppositional content of the exemplified cases of finite verb-forms will, in the chosen order of sequence, be presented as follows: the past non-future continuous non-perfect non-passive (1); the past future continuous non-perfect non-passive (2) the past future non-continuous non-perfect non-passive (3); the past non-future non-continuous perfect non-passive (4); the past future non-continuous perfect non-passive (5); the past non-future continuous non-perfect passive (6); the past future continuous non-perfect passive (7) — the latter form not in practical use.

the future tenses reject the do-forms of the indefinite aspect, which are confined to the expression of the present and past verbal times only. This fact serves as a supplementary ground for the identification of the expression of prospect as a separate grammatical category.

In analysing the English future tenses, the modal factor, naturally, should be thoroughly taken into consideration( especially in the verbal form of the first person.)

the English categorial future differs distinctly from the modal constructions with the same predicator verbs. "All right, Mr. Crackenthorpe, you shall try it"(mod construc)

Observing combinations with will in stylistically neutral collocations. The environmental expressions, as well as implications, of future time do testify that from this point of view there is no difference between will and shall, both of them equally conveying the idea of the future action expressed by the adjoining infinitive.

the first person will-future expresses an action which is to be performed by the speaker for choice, of his own accord.. In keeping with this, the form of the will-futurein question may be tentatively called the "voluntary future". the first person shall= "non-voluntary

transformational analysis.

When the construction of the voluntary will-futureis expanded, the auxiliary will is automatically replaced by shall. In particular, the expanding elements convey the meaning of supposition or Uncertainty. Cf.:

I will do it. → What I shall do with Barbara.

this category may tentatively be called the "category of futurity option".

The future in the second and third persons, formed by the indiscriminate auxiliary will, does not express this category

The combination of the predicator be goingwith the infinitive. (the idea of an “immediate future” action )

the direct meaning is in contradiction(противоречие) with its environment = I did not know how I was going to get out of the room.

is frequently used with non-human subjects and even in impersonal sentences. There's going to be a contest over Ezra Grolley's estate

The oppositional basis of the category of prospective time is neutralised in certain uses, in keeping with the general regularities of oppositional reductions.

One of the typical cases of the neutralisation in question consists in using a non-future temporal form to express a future planned action.=The government meets in emergency session today = The government will meet in emergency session.

Another type of neutralisation of the prospective time opposition is observed in modal verbs and modal word combinations. =There's no saying what may happen next.

The next type of neutralisation is syntactically conditioned. In point of fact, the neutralisation consists here in the primary tenses shifting from the sphere of absolutive time into the sphere of relative time, since they become dependent not on their immediate orientation towards the moment of speech, but on the relation to another time level, namely, the time level presented in the governing clause of the corresponding complex sentence.

It doesn't follow from this that the rule of sequence of tenses in English complex sentences formulated by traditional grammar should be rejected as false. Sequence of tenses is an important feature of all narration, for, depending on the continual consecutive course of actual events in reality, they are presented in the text in definite successions ordered against a common general background. However, what should be stressed here, is that the tense-shift involved in the translation of the present-plane direct information into the past-plane reported information is not a formal, but essentially a meaningful procedure.


The verbal category of voice shows the direction of the process as regards the participants of the situation reflected in the syntactic construction.

The voice of the English verb is expressed by the opposition of the passive form of the verb to the active form of the verb. The passive form is the combination of the auxiliary be(get, become ) with the past participle of the conjugated verb.The passive form as the strong member of the opposition expresses reception of the action by the subject of the syntactic construction (i.e. the "passive" subject, denoting the object of the action); the active form as the weak member of the opposition leaves this meaning unspecified, i.e. it expresses "non-passivity".

in English not only transitive, but also intransitive objective verbs including prepositional ones can be used in the passive . Besides, verbs taking not one, but two objects, as a rule, can feature both of them in the position of the passive subject. E.g.:

He was said to have been very wild in his youth. The dresshas never been tried on.

Still, not all the verbs capable of taking an object are actually used in the passive. In particular, the passive form is alien to many verbs of the statal subclass (displaying a weak dynamic force), such as have (direct possessive meaning), belong, cost, resemble, fail, misgive, etc. Thus, in accord with their relation to the passive voice, all the verbs can be divided into two large sets: the set of passivisedverbs and the set of non-passivisedverbs.

Considerations of both form and function tend to interpret voice rather as a full-representative category, the same as person, number, tense, and aspect. Three reasons:

First, the integral categorial presentation of non-passivised verbs fully coincides with that of passivised verbs used in the active voice (cf. takes — goes, is taking — is going, has taken — has gone, etc.).

Second, the active voice as the weak member of the categorial opposition is characterised in general not by the "active" meaning as such (i.e. necessarily featuring the subject as the doer of the action), but by the extensive non-passive meaning of a very wide range of actual significations, some of them approaching by their process-direction characteristics those of non-passivised verbs (cf. The door opens inside the room; The magazine doesn't sell well).

Third, the demarcation line between the passivised and non-passivised sets is by no means rigid, and the verbs of the non-passivised order may migrate into the passivised order in various contextual conditions (cf. The bed has not been slept in; The house seems not to have been lived in for a long time).

Thus, the category of voice should be interpreted as being reflected in the whole system of verbs, the non-passivised verbs presenting the active voice form if not directly, then indirectly.

As a regular categorial form of the verb, the passive voice is combined in the same lexeme with other oppositionally strong forms of the verbal categories of the tense-aspect system, i.e. the past, the future, the continuous, the perfect. But it has a neutralising effect on the category of development in the forms where the auxiliary be must be doubly employed as a verbid. As a result, the future continuous active has as its regular counterpart by the voice opposition the future indefinite passive; the perfect continuous active in all the tense-forms has as its regular counterpart the perfect indefinite passive

Each of others categories does disclose some actual property of the process denoted by the verb, adding more and more particulars to the depicted processual situation. BUT the situation reflected by the passive construction does not differ in the least from the situation reflected by the active The change is the subjective appraisal of the situation by the speaker, the plane of his presentation of it. =The guards dispersed the crowd in front of the Presidential Palace. → The crowd in front of the Presidential Palace was dispersed by the guards. Namely, the first sentence, by its functional destination, features the act of the guards, whereas the second sentence, in accord with its meaningful purpose, features the experience of the crowd.

The said fundamental meaningful difference between the two forms of the verb and the corresponding constructions that are built around them goes with all the concrete connotations specifically expressed by the active and passive presentation of the same event in various situational contexts.(sytax itself)

All the functional distinctions of the passive, both categorial and contextual-connotative, are sustained in its use with verbids.

For instance, in the following passive infinitive phrase the categorial object-experience-featuring is accompanied by the logical accent of the process characterising the quality of its situational object (expressed by the subject of the passive construction): This is an event never to be forgotten.

Cf. the corresponding sentence-transform: This event will never be forgotten.

The gerundial phrase that is given below, conveying the principal categorial meaning of the passive, suppresses the exposition of the indefinite subject of the process: After being wrongly delivered, the letter found its addressee at last.

Cf. the time-clause transformational equivalent of the gerundial phrase: After the letter had been wrongly delivered, it found its addressee at last.

The following passive participial construction in an absolutive position accentuates the resultative process: The enemy batteries having been put out of action, our troops continued to push on the offensive.

Cf. the clausal equivalent of the construction: When the enemy batteries had been put out of action, our troops continued to push on the offensive.

The past participle of the objective verb is passive in meaning, and phrases built up by it display all the cited characteristics. E. g.: Seen from the valley, the castle on the cliff presented a fantastic sight.

Cf. the clausal equivalent of the past participial phrase: When it was seen from the valley, the castle on the cliff presented a fantastic sight.

§ 3. The big problem in connection with the voice identification in English is the problem of "medial" voices, i.e. the functioning of the voice forms in other than the passive or active meanings.

I will shave and wash, and be ready for breakfast in half an hour. I'm afraid Mary hasn't dressed up yet.

The real voice meaning rendered by the verb-entries is not active, since these actions are confined to the subject.This kind of verbal meaning of the action performed by the subject upon itself is classed as "reflexive".

Nellie and Christopher divorced two years after their magnificent marriage.

The action expressed by the verbs in the above sentence is also confined to the subject,as different from the first sentences, these actions are performed by the subject constituents reciprocally: Nellie divorced Christopher, but Christopher, in his turn, divorced Nellie. This verbal meaning of the action performed by the subjects in the subject group on one another is called "reciprocal".

The cited reflexive and reciprocal uses of verbs are open to consideration as special grammatical voices, called, respectively, "reflexive" and "reciprocal". The reflexive and reciprocal pronouns within the framework of the hypothetical voice identification of the uses in question should be looked upon as the voice auxiliaries.

The inference is that the forms are not grammatical-categorial; they are phrasal-derivative, though grammatically relevant.

The verbs in reflexive and reciprocal uses in combination with the reflexive and reciprocal pronouns may be called, respectively, "reflexivised" and "reciprocalised".

The professor was arguing with himself,as usual.

To distinguish between the two cases of the considered phrasal-derivative process, the former can be classed as "organic", the latter as "inorganic" reflexivisation and reciprocalisation.

Alongside of the considered two, there is still a third use of the verb in English directly connected with the grammatical voice distinctions. This use can be shown on the following examples:

The new paper-backs are selling excellently. The suggested procedure will hardly apply to all the instances. Large native cigarettes smoked easily and coolly. Perhaps the loin chop will eat better than it looks.

The actions expressed by the otherwise transitive verbs in the cited examples are confined to the subject, though not in a way of active self-transitive subject performance, but as if going on of their own accord. The presentation of the verbal action of this type comes under the heading of the "middle" voice.

However, the "middle" voice uses verbs as cases of neutralising reduction of the voice opposition.

Problem posed by the category of voice and connected with neutralisations concerns the relation between the morphological form of the passive voice and syntactical form of the corresponding complex nominal predicate with the pure link be. As a matter of fact, the outer structure of the two combinations is much the same. Cf.:

You may consider me a coward, but there you are mistaken.(nominal predicate) They were all seised in their homes.(pass voice)=if the construction expresses an action=> the passive voice form; if it is a state=> a nominal predicate.

BUTI was often mistaken for my friend Otto,(passive!! Context is important).


The door was closed by the butler as softly as could be(passive of action). The door on the left was closed(passive of state).

Thus, with the construction in question the context may have both voice-suppressing, "statalising" effect, and voice-stimulating, "processualising" effect. It is very interesting to note that the role of processualising stimulators of the passive can be performed, alongside of action-modifying adverbials, also by some categorial forms of the verb itself, namely, by the future, the continuous, and the perfect — i.e. by the forms of the time-aspect order other than the indefinite imperfect past and present. The said contextual stimulators are especially important for limitive verbs, since their past participles combine the semantics of processual passive with that of resultative perfect. Cf.: The fence is painted. — The fence is painted light green. — The fence is to be painted. — The fence will be painted. _ The fence has just been painted. —The fence is just being painted.

The fact that the indefinite imperfect past and present are left indifferent to this gradation of dynamism in passive constructions bears one more evidence that the past and present of the English verb constitute a separate grammatical category distinctly different from the expression of the future.



The category of mood, undoubtedly, is the most controversial category of the verb.

The category of mood expresses the character of connection between the process denoted by the verb and the actual reality,either presenting the process as a fact that really happened, happens or will happen, or treating it as an imaginary phenomenon, i.e. the subject of a hypothesis, speculation, desire.

The category of mood expresses the outer interpretation of the action as a whole, namely, the speaker's introduction of it as actual or imaginary.

The subjunctive, the integral mood of unreality, presents the two sets of forms according to the structural division of verbal tenses into the present and the past. These form-sets constitute the two corresponding functional subsystems of the subjunctive, namely, the spective, the mood of attitudes, and the conditional, the mood of appraising causal-conditional relations of processes. Each of these, in its turn, falls into two systemic sub-sets: the pure spective, the modal spective, the stipulative conditional, the consective conditional.

Semantical observation of the constructions like "Be it as you wish", Whatever they should say shows that within the general meaning of desired or hypothetical action, it signifies different attitudes towards the process denoted by the verb and the situation denoted by the construction built up around it, namely, besides desire, also supposition, speculation, suggestion, recommendation, inducement of various degrees of insistence including commands.

Thus, the analysed form-type presents the mood of attitudes. Traditionally it is called "subjunctive", or in more modern terminological nomination, "subjunctive one". Taking into account the semantics of the form-type in question, we suggest that it should be named the "spective" mood. So, what we are describing now, is the spective form of the subjunctive mood, or, simply the spective mood.

The imperative verbal forms may be looked upon as a variety of the spective, i.e. its particular manifestation.

There exists a number of construction types rendering the same semantics as is expressed by the spective mood forms demonstrated above. These generalised expressions of attitudes are called modal spective mood and may be classed into three groups:

The first construction type of attitude series is formed by the combination may/might + Infinitive. It is used to express wish, desire, hope in the contextual syntactic conditions similar to those of the morphemic spective forms.

May it be as you wish! May it all happen as you desire! May success attend you.

The second construction type of attitude series is formed by the combination should + Infinitive. It is used in various subordinate predicative units to express supposition, speculation, suggestion, recommendation and degrees of intensity.

Whatever they should say of the project, it must be considered seriously.

The third construction type of the same series is formed by the combination let + Objective Substantive+Infinitive. It is used to express inducement (i.e. an appeal to commit an action - побуждение) in relation to all the persons, but preferably to the first person plural (Мы) and third person both numbers (Он, они).

Let's agree to end this. Let him repeat the accusation in Tim's presence.

Very important for confirming the categorial nature of the modal spective forms is the way they express the timing of the process. As to the actual expression of time, it is rendered relatively: the imperfect denotes the relative present (simultaneity and posteriority), while the perfect denotes the relative past (priority in the present and the past).

As the next step of the investigation, we are to consider the forms of the subjunctive referring to the past order of the verb. The approach based on the purely morphemic principles leads us here also to the identification of the specific form of the conjugated be as the only native manifestation of the categorial expression of unreal process. E.g.:

Oh, that he were together with us now!

Unfortunately, the cited case types practically exhaust the native past subjunctive distinctions of be, since with the past subjunctive, unlike the present, it is only the first and third persons singular that have the suppletive marking feature were. The rest of the forms coincide with the past indicative.

Thus, from here on we have to go beyond the morphemic principle of analysis and look for other discriminative marks of the subjunctive elsewhere. These marks we find in correlation of the aspective forms of retrospective coordination. These are clearly taken to signify the time of the imaginary process, namely, imperfect for the absolute and relative present, perfect for the absolute and relative past. Together with the past verbal forms the perfect-imperfect retrospective coordination system is made to distinguish the past subjunctive from the past and present indicative.

I'm sure if she tried, she would manage to master riding not later than by the autumn. (simultaneity — posteriority in the present)

I was sure if she tried, she would manage it by the next autumn (simultaneity — posteriority in the past.

As for the functional side of it, not yet looked into with the past subjunctive, it evidently differs considerably from that which we have seen in the system of the present subjunctive. The present subjunctive is a system of verbal forms expressing a hypothetical action appraised in various attitudes, namely, as an object of desire, wish, consideration, etc. As different from this, the past subjunctive is not a mood of attitudes. Rather, it is a mood of reasoning by the rule of contraries, the contraries being situations of reality opposed to the corresponding situations of unreality, i.e. opposed to the reflections of the same situations placed by an effort of thinking in different, imaginary connections with one another.

The most characteristic construction in which the two form-types occur in such a way that one constitutes the environment of the other is the complex sentence with a clause of unreal condition. The subjunctive form-type used in the conditional clause is the past unposterior; the subjunctive form-type used in the principal clause is the past posterior. By referring the verbal forms to the past, as well as to the posterior, we don't imply any actual significations effected by the forms either of the past, or of the posterior: the terms are purely technical, describing the outer structure.

The subjunctive past unposterior is called by some grammarians "subjunctive two".

We have already stated that the most typical use of the past unposterior subjunctive is connected with the expression of unreal actions in conditional clauses. Further observations of texts show that , in all the other cases of its use the idea of unreal condition is, if not directly expressed, then implied by way of "subtext".

Even if he had been a commanding officer himself, he wouldn't have received a more solemn welcome in the mess.

She was talking to Bennie as if he were a grown person.

The inherent condition is exposed by re-constructing the logic of the imaginary situation: → She was talking to Bennie as she would be talking to him if he were a grown person.

The wish-subjunctive in independent sentences has the same implication:

Oh, that the distress signals had only been heard when we could be in time to rescue the crew! *→ Our hearing the distress signals was a condition for the possibility of our being in time to rescue the crew. We are in despair that it was not so.

As is indicated in grammars, modal verbs used in similar constructions display the functional features of the subjunctive, including the verb would which implies some effort of wilful activity. Cf.:

I wish he could have come. — The implication is that, un-fortunately, he had no such possibility. I wish he would have cornel — The implication is that he had not come of his own free will.

The appropriate explanatory term for this form of the subjunctive would be "stipulative" (условный). Thus, the subjunctive form-type which is referred to on the structural basis as the past unposterior, on the functional basis will be referred to as stipulative.

Now let us consider the form-type of the subjunctive which structurally presents the past posterior. As we have stated before, its most characteristic use is connected with the principal clause of the complex sentence expressing a situation of unreal condition: the principal clause conveys the idea of its imaginary consequence, thereby also relating to unreal state of events.

If the peace-keeping force had not been on the alert, the civil war in that area would have resumed anew.

As we see, the subjunctive form-type in question in the bulk of its uses essentially expresses an unreal consequential action dependent on an unreal stipulating action. In grammars which accept the idea of this form being a variety of the verbal mood of unreality, it is commonly called "conditional". In keeping with the demonstrated functional nature of the analysed verbal form it would be appropriate, relying on the Latin etymology, to name it "consective". "Consective" in function, "past posterior" in structure — the two names will go together similar to the previously advanced pair "stipulative" — "past unposterior" for the related form of the subjunctive. This allows us to unite both analysed form-types under one heading, opposed not only structurally, but also functionally to the heading of the spective mood. And the appropriate term for this united system of the past-tense subjunctive will be "conditional".


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