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§ 7. As has already been mentioned, the verb has the grammatical categories of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, and mood.

In Modern English there are but few forms indicating person and number in the synthetic forms of the verb. These are:

1.The third person singular Present Indefinite Indicative– he speaks.

2. The Future Indefinite tense:

I shall speak We shall speak

He will speak They will speak

The verb to be has suppletive forms for different persons (singular and plural).

I am, was We 

He is, was You  are, were

They 

§ 8. The category of tense is very clearly expressed in the forms of the English verb. This category denotes the relation of the action either to the moment of speaking or to some definite moment in the past or future. The category of tense and the category of aspect are intermingled.

The category of aspect shows the way in which the action develops, whether it is in progress or completed, etc. In Russian the category of aspect predominates, and the category of tense is subordinated to it. In English contrariwise the category of tense predominates and aspect is subordinated to it. Some of the English tenses denote time relations, others denote both time and aspect relations. There are four groups of tenses: Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous. The Indefinite form has no aspect characteristics whatever, the Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous forms denote both time and aspect relations. Each of these forms includes four tenses: Present, Past, Future and Future in the Past, i.e. future from the point of view of the past. Thus there are 16 tenses in English.

§ 9. Voice is the category of the verb, which indicates the relation of the predicate to the subject and the object.

There are three voices in English: the active voice, the passive voice and the neuter-reflexive voice.

The active voice shows that the person or thing denoted by the subject is the doer of the action expressed by the predicate.

The passive voice shows that the person or thing denoted by the subject is acted upon.

The neuter-reflexive voice shows that the action expressed by the predicate passes on to the subject. This voice is formed by means of a reflexive pronoun.

Helen lifted herself up and looked towards nurse. (Gaskell)

The truth was, Mary was dressing herself. (Gaskell)

§10. Mood is a grammatical category, which indicates the attitude of the speaker towards the action expressed by the verb from the point of view of its reality.

We distinguish the Indicative mood, the Imperative mood, and the Subjunctive mood.

Tenses in the Active Voice.

The Indefinite form merely shows that the action takes place in the present, past or future. The form of the verb gives no indication as to its duration or completion.

The Present Indefinite.

§ 1. The use of the Present Indefinite.

The Present Indefinite is used to denote:

1. Customary, repeated actions. This is its most characteristic use.

I usually go away at weekends.

The repeated character of the action is often shown by adverbials such as every day, often, usually, etc.

2. Permanent actions or states (continuing for a long time), characterizing the subject.

She sings and plays the piano beautifully.

He is so lazy. He doesn’t do anything to help me.

Barry works in a shop.

The license runs for a year.

3. Universal truths, something that is eternally true.

Magnet attracts iron.

The earth rotates round its axis.

4. Actions going on at the present moment:

a) with verbs not used in the Continuous form.

I see George in the street. Tell him to come in.

I hear somebody knock. Go and open the door.

I quite understand what you mean.

b) When the fact of the action is important, not the process. The speaker just names the action as such:

You leave me no choice.

I swear to it.

I refuse to answer.

Why don’t you answer?

5. A future action:

a) In adverbial clauses of time and condition after the conjunctions when, till, until, before, after, as soon as, as long as, if, unless, on condition that, provided.

Robert, will you mend me a pen or two before you go? (Ch.Bronte)

I promise not to try to see Robert again till he asks for me. (Ch.Bronte)

Note. – It should be borne in mind that this use of the Present Indefinite occurs only in adverbial clauses of time and condition. In object and attributive clauses introduced by when the Future Indefinite is used.

I wonder when he will give us an answer.

We are impatiently awaiting the day when our friends will return.

b) with verbs of motion, such as to go, to come, to leave and aspect verbs such as to begin, to finish etc. to speak about fixed future events (timetables, calendar):

The train leaves at 10 to-morrow.

The World Cup begins in two weeks.

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