Stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English

Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine

G.S. Skovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University

Institute of Postgraduate Education

Department of English Philology




1. Theoretical background of the research of stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms

1.1 Perspective of the research

1.2 The analysis of the stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English by foreign linguists

1.3 The analysis of the stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English by home linguists

2.The analysis of stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English

2.1 The types of transpositions of verbal forms as stylistic means in the category of tense

2.2 The types of transpositions of verbal forms as stylistic means in the category of aspect

3.Methodological recommendations for teaching of tense-aspect verbal forms in English language using their stylistic potential




More and more linguists and specialists in study of literature attract their attention to problems of Stylistics and Stylistics itself is divided into some special disciplines which tend to differentiate. But at the same time as well as in any other science we can observe the integration of the processes that is the intensification of different parts of knowledge and appearance of new modern synthetic sections. New problems have been involved in the sphere of stylistic researches, a lot of data and programs have been studied and new aspects of language factors and features have been discovered. Our interest in these points is the first reasonof the appearance of our paper.

From the point of our view English Grammar is the most difficult subject for study not only for students but everyone who wants to be a professional philologist. That why the second reasonfor writing of our paper is the complications of the descriptions of some difficult grammar areas especially «verb-section» in the frames of simplicity.

The verb as a party of speech is the most capacious grammar category. In verbal word with all variety of its denotations, meanings and stylistic potentials there are combinations with different grammar forms, organic connections and associations with tenses and aspect, which characterize all verbal system in the whole. So the third reasonof our paper is to analyze some verbal factors and features on the «brighter grammar» level with taking into our consideration some interrelations between grammar forms, their functional content and stylistic potential in contexts.

It will be very important to mark that General Morphology (non-stylistic) treats morphemes and grammatical meanings expressed by them in language in general, without regard to their stylistic value. Stylistic Morphology, on the contrary, is interested in grammatical forms and grammatical meanings in the stylistic sphere, explicitly or implicitly comparing them with the neutral forms common for all sublanguages.

The nature, the essence of stylistic phenomena is radically different in cases where morpheme, word, phrase themselves are analyzed as chosen out of the paradigm from the cases when we try to explain the effect produced by given patterns of the combining units in speech and text. When we use the form «aren't» instead of «have not or am / is / are not», the sentence «John here?» instead of «Is John here?», or one meaning instead of another all could also employ. This is what illustrates the paradigmatic branch of Stylistics.

In the utterances: I ask you / I pray you / I beseech you – we can observe the interrelation between the meanings that is «pray» is stronger than «ask»; «beseech» is the strongest of all three. They are the systematic branch of Stylistics.

Stylistic morphology, both paradigmatic and systematic, has not yet been given full attention, especially with regard to English language. It is the fourth reason for our paper.

Thus, in the paper we turn our attention to the stylistic meanings associated with tenses and aspect having already dealt with their grammar forms.

Topicalityof our problem includes some point. The role of some scholars in development of Stylistics is very high especially in Stylistic Grammar but in the whole, not specifically: Palmer, Hornby, Quirk, Yule, Skrebnev, Block and others. There are only a few monographs devoted to Stylistic Morphology as a specific researches. In our days the interest in this problem increases because we can see some questions and problems which are not studied enough, namely:

- connotations of tense-aspect verbal system conveyed by verbal forms in different contextual situations including transpositions and emotional expressiveness;

- lexico-grammatical categories in the peripheral field of aspect and expantion them in the light of stylistic potential;

- idiomatic constructions with different meanings in contexts;

- how to use morphological means of Stylistics and expend their stylistic potential;

- the deep work with tense-aspect verbal forms the main aim of which is to help students understand contexts of English authors more intensive and intensive.

These grammatical problems are very important, especially on the pedagogical level in the frames of student’s study, and they were presented by Rayevska N.M., Morokhovskiei A.N., Efimov L.P. and others.

Innovation. We present new types of tables, diagrams descriptions, illustrative material to reach the high level of students knowledge and to elicit their enthusiast in further investigations. New examples from the original literature quoted from Dickens, Collins, Austen and other authors not only confirm the grammatical investments of name scholars in solution of practical value of Stylistic grammar for real seminar studies. In our paper we actualize the topic problem by showing that the general research area-stylistic potential of English verb – is important, central, interesting, problematic.

Tense-aspect verbal form are used to express subtle stylistic nuances and impretions in spoken English, in distributions of light and shade of verbal paints; with the purposes to go over from one style to another.

The why the topic of our paper is determined as «stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English».

The object of our study is «The Tense-Aspect verbal form as many aspectual factor in Theoretical English Grammar».

The subject of our study is «Stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English».

Language Level: Tense-Aspect verbal forms as constructive grammar means for two types of transpositions and some expression from the peripheral field in the frames of Spoken English.

Language material: Original text, dictionaries, thesauruses, monographs, history sources, theoretical grammar textbooks by English, Ukrainian and Russian authors, some pieces of information from Internet, a lot of material from Foreign Philology Faculty of G.S. Scovoroda Kharkiv National Pedagogical University (lectures, books, English Language Encyclopedia), newspapers, journals.

Theoretical Value: The central interest in our paper is connected with very specifical but important for real understanding of spoken English problems in the frames of Theoretical English Grammar, connected with tense-aspect verbal forms, their features, constructions and behavior in specific environment. Analyzing tense-aspect verbal forms from these positions we have marked connotative aspect and emotional overtones as important semantic components of spoken English that is stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal form. All these ideas are based on principle which are related by Theoretical English Grammar on the university level.

Practical value: The discussion of the tense-aspect verbal forms and their stylistic potential in modern English has been made concrete by the use of illustrative examples in the practical part of our paper, quotations from the original literature, tables, diagrams, comparison with Ukrainian and Russian.

Main methods for researching of our topic problem:

Methods of scientific research used in our paper have been connected with the general trends in the science of language, namely:

– critical and contextological analysis of some original texts with the aim to present the samples and the cases of practice of stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English;

– the historical approach that is retrospective exposure of native and world experience;

– eliciting facts, samples and generalization them in borders of the positive and real practice;

– philological observations using especially two types of transpositions and principles of the peripheral field so that to expand the borders of the traditional Theoretical English Grammar and obtain some cases to wide students knowledge;

In the light of our philosophy and philological observations, critical and contextological analysis of some original contexts our results were obtained on the edge of some linguistic sciences: Stylistics (Decoding), Functional Grammar, Syntax, Functional and Communicative Linguistics, Theory of Interpretation of Text, Theory of Contextual Situation and other.

At the end our paper, there are some ideas for teachers to help them of exercises and activities for students.

Further Reading List has been given for teachers who wants to expand their language skills by the way of additional investigations.

1.Theoretical background of the research of stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms

1.1 Perspective of the research

Interest in our main problem, how it originated, how it works and develops, has existed in remote ages. Chronologically at once we pay our special attention to individuals, whose contribution to the subject – Stylistic Potential of Tense-Aspect Verbal Forms in Modern English – has been well-known. In Table 1 that we have completed for students we present some names of philologist, titles of their works, years who began to research this problem many years ago up to now. (38; 43; 47)

Our short overview we begin with William Lily (1468–1522) who wrote «A short Introduction of Grammar» and was the first between others in this sphere. Then in 1580 «A Treatise for Declining Verb» was written by Claudius Holyband (1580). After that William Bullokar (1530–1609) created the first grammar of English «Pamphlet for Grammar» in 1586, a short sketch based on Lily’s Lating Grammar.

Naturally in this years the struggle for national grammar and language began and John Wallis (1616–1703) wrote Gramatica Liguae Anglicanae (1649) for foreign students that was held in high esteem but has only produced since the eighteenth century. John Walker’s Ryming Dictionary of the English Language (1732–1807) is used in works on stylistic problems by our contemporary scholars. Next was Lindley Murray (1745–1826) who published his English Grammar, adapted to the different classes of learners, and became the best-known scholar with the nickname «Father of English Grammar».

In 1853 year Macel Claude Victor Andre (1793–1875) published his major work Language as a Means of Mental Culture and International Communication, written in English, where he showed his position that «impression» – stylistic background of grammar – should always precede «expression». Then a Grammar of Spoken English with a lot of stylistic features was presented by Palmer Harold (1923). His friend who became effectively Palmer’s «crown prince» – Hornby Albert (1898–1979) – developed ideas and projects in his pedagogical grammar Guide to Pattens and Usage in English (1954) where the author put the concept of «grammar time» on the first place: what type of grammar time we need to use for expressing of definite temporal relationship, positions and states.

In this time Eckersley C.E. (1893–1967) wrote Brighter Grammar (1953) were he tried to approach English grammar in the same «scientific» way and to show that it is not a collection of dull, dead words but a living thing.

A lot of works on Linguistics which are used by Russian and Ukrainian scholars were written by Ottor Jesprsen (1860–1943), especially his monumental Modern English Grammar (1909–1949); The Philosophy of Grammar (1924), Efficiency in Linguistic Change (1943) and others. Edward Sapir wrote in a Danish newspaper:

«Your (Jespersen’s) work has always seemed to me to be distinguished by its blend of exact knowledge, keenness of analysis, ease and lucidity of STYLE, and by an imaginative warmth that is certainly not common in scientific writing» (43; 95).

The reality can be seen in the three kilos of paper of A Comprehensive Grammar of English Language (1985) written by Randolph Quirk and his team. In our paper we will exploit Chapter 4 «The Semantics of the Verbal Phrase». We have completed Table 1 for those students who wish to continue their researches this problem in the historical frames.

Throughout of centuries English Scholar created the system of the Morphology Grammar where English verbal forms as the basis of Grammar have gradually been presented, studied and researched as a great stylistic potential. Being placed in unusual syntagmatic environmentwhich change their canonized grammatical characteristics and combinability, English Verbs acquire stylistic significant.

1.2 The analysis of the stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English by foreign linguists

The motivation for Gearge Yuri’s classic work Explaing English Grammar is to describe and explain the basic forms of the present and past tenses, perfect and progressive aspects and main structures of the English verb complex. Drawing on his experiment we want to add some interesting points from his ideas.

According to G. Yuri’s system (32; 54–84) in order to describe the different forms of a verb, we need to talk about tense, which often has to do with the location of a situation in time, and aspect, which characterizes the way in which that situation is perceived or experienced. The author affirms that English has two distinct tense forms, present and past tenses, and two distinct forms for aspect, perfect and progressive aspects, which are marked on the verb. Giving unusual table with the basic structure of English verb forms G. Yuri underlines that the sense of team «tense» in English is not based on simple distinctions in time.

e.g.    And today I woke with splitting headache.

Tomorrow I fly to London for a big meeting.

Yesterday the land tells me my rent's going up.

The present form here ties the situation described closely to the situation of utterance. The past tense form makes the situation described more remote from the situation of utterance. Situation in the future are treated differently they are inherently non-factual. The author means that the verb form that is traditionally called «future tense» is actually expressed vie a modal verb which indicates the relative possibility of the event.

If we look inside the situation we shall talk about aspect (32; 63–68). Aspect is divided by author into two parts:

1.Lexical aspect (stative and dynamic verbs);


progressive viewed from the inside in progress;

perfect viewed from outside in retrospect.

Tense is the location of a situation, aspect – the inside of a situation.    

In parts «Meaning in Contexts» (32; 68–72) Yuri G. shows how to use the stylistic potential of tense and aspect in the practical approach. There is a major qualitative difference between studying the components of English Verb and studying how to use them basically. When we construct a piece of connected speech or writing, whether in monologue or dialogue, we are constantly tapping the lexical and grammatical resources of English verb to find of making our composition and particular effect. More clearly Peter Verdonk marks in his «Stylistics», Oxford, 2002:

«Style involves a choice of form without a change of message.

It includes the motives for choice and its effect. If all differences in form are correlated with differences in meaning, then the style of a piece of writing is simply its meaning. The work may stand out because of its meaning, or the author may be exceptionally skilled in finding the right words for his meaning and we take pleasure in his art, but the wrong choice would have meant something less – they would not conveyed the meaning» (40; 7–8).

Describing how to use deferent styles in a magazine article, news reports, academic writing, narratives, spoken discuses and others Yuri G. gives some easy explanations:

– information that is treated as part of the «background» will tend to be expressed in the past tease;

– information that is current concern, in the «foreground» will be expressed in the present tense;

– background scene-stting, particularly in stories, is often expressed in the past progressive;

– ongoing current situations are described in the present progressive;

– viewing recent changes from the current situation is typically expressed by perfect aspect.

Following the description of basic verbal forms, Yuri G. conveys not only specific features of verbal forms and structures according to tenses and aspects, but includes a piece of information on how meanings of verbal forms can be shaped bf context and communicative purpose – stylistic potential of verbal forms.

Written in a clear style and natural, intelligible language (38; 41) «A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language» is presented by Randolph Quirk and his team in 1986. «In the fourth chapter we examine the semantics of the verb phrase, and in particular of the finite verb phrase», wrote Quirk R. (29; 175). Some points from this interesting material about time, tense and aspect will be very useful for discussion in our paper. The authors give us a lot of tables and diagrams, examples with the main aim to explain verbal system clearly and lucidly. Beginning from the present tense the authors line down that on the semantic level of interpretation «present» is the most general and unmarked category.

e.g.: John spends a lot of money. (true for past, present, future)

cf.: John spent a lot of money. (true for past only)

The authors prefer to follow those grammarians who have treated «tense» only as a category realized by verb inflection, and in their Grammar they do not talk about «future» (29; 176) as a formal category but they do say about expressing the semantic category of future time. We can add the same points of view given by T.A. Rastorguieva and L.S. Barkhudarov. (31; 28)

e.g.: Today is Monday, and tomorrow is Tuesday.

What are you doing tomorrow?

The semantic categories of past, present, future apply not so much to time, as to happenings which take place in time, and which are denoted by verbs.

e.g.: Mary hoped for success. (refers to «a past hope of Mary)

Peter knows a great deal. (refers to Peter’s present knowledge)

The home team will bedefeated, (refers to «a future defeat of the home»)

The authors shall distinguish different categories under the title of situation types that is they talk of dynamic (count) and stative (noncount) meaning rather then dynamic and stative verbs. This is because one verb may shift from one category to another, for example,

– the stative meaning of «have» is «possess»;

– the dynamic meaning of «have» is «eat».

e.g.: The chair has beautiful carved legs quite frequently. (has=possess, that is «having carved legs» is a state)

We have dinner at Maxim’s quite frequently.

(have dinner= eat, that is «having dinner» is an event)

All these verbs are divided into dynamic and stative verbs, which are presented in two tables. We mean, that these two tables are not convenient for teaching and studying and we have replaced and reconstructed them according to our require (Tables 2–3).

Meanings of the simple present tense with reference to presenttime can be divided into:

l. The state present, or so-called «eternal truths» or «timeless present»:

e.g.: Honestly is the best policy.

Two and three is five.

2. The instantaneous present implies that event has little or no duration and is completed approximately at the moment of speech:

– commentaries, demonstrations, special exclamatory sentences, performatives.

e.g.: Black passes the ball to Fernanders…

Here comes the winner!

3. Special non present uses of the present tense:

– the so-called historical present with stylistic effect, which conveys something of the dramatic immediacy of an eye-witness account. It is found with verbs of communication: say, tell, etc, and the result – the information communicated – is still operative.

e.g.: The Bible speaks…

Historical present describes the past as if it is happening now.

4. The simple present in fictional narrative: the events narrated by means of the historical present are real, but narrated by fictional «historical present» are imaginary. It is the stylistic effect.

e.g.: Millinson enters. The girls immediately pretend to be working hard… (we can present the event of the play before our eyes)

Meanings of the past tense with reference to past time (Table 3) combine two features:

a) the event / state must take place in the past with the gap between its completion and the present moment;

b) the speaker or writer must have in mind a definite time at which the event / state took place («last week, in 1932, several weeks ago, etc) but stylistically the past tense itself means the definite past time.

e.g.: Did you lock the front door? – an immediate situation.

Byron died in Grees. – historical statements.

Rome was not built in a day. – presupposing.

The habitual and state meanings can be paraphrased by means of «used to» (transference, transposition, transmission) used to live

e.g.: In those days we – in the counry.


Meanings of the past tense with reference to the present and future time:

– the phenomenon «backshift» (Did you say you have / had no money?)

– the attitudinal past (Do/Did you want to see me now?)

– the hypothetical past (if-clauses, expectations – «I wish I had a memory like yours».)

To adhere to the main point from «A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language» it is essential to exhibit some facts from chapter «Perfective and progressive ASPECT(29; 31). The term «aspect» refers to a grammatical category which reflects the way in which the verb action is regarded and experienced withrespecttot i m e. The two aspect constructions of English: perfective and the progressive, can be seen as realizing a basic contrast if aspect between the action viewed as complete(perfective), and the action viewed as incomplete,i.e. progressive. The morphological realization of tense and syntactic realization of aspect are very closely connected. Quirk R. marks that approximately 10% of finite verb phrases are only perfective.Perfective aspect indicates ANTERIOR TIME – time preceding whatever time orientation is signaled by tense or by other elements of the sentence or its context.

We may now focus on the difference between two constructions:

1. State leading up to the present:

e.g.: That house has been empty for ages. – the state continues at least up to the present.

cf.: That house was empty for ages.-but now it has been sold.

2. Identifinite events in a period leading up to the present:

e.g.: Have ever been to Florence? – the indefinite past.

cf.: Did you go to florence? – last summer! – we have to imagine the definite past.

3. Habit event (recurrent) in a period leading up to the present:

e.g.: Mr Terry has sung in this choir ever since he was boy. – the period identified must continue up to the present.

cf.: The journal was published every month from 1850 to 1888. – the definite past.

Progressive aspect stylistically more frequent in conversations than in scientific discourse. A count of a large number of verb constructions has indicated that less then 5% of verb phrases are progressive, whereas 95% are nonprogressive (32; 29).

The meaning of the progressive can be separated into 3 components:

1. The happening has duration: Joan is singing well.

2. The happening has limited duration: Joan was singing well.

3. Incompletion – thehappening is not necessary complete:

e.g.; Joan was reading the novel yesterday evening.

According to the chapter the progressive aspect can be divided into:

1. Stative progressive:

e.g.: We are living in the country. – temporal residence.

cf.: We live in the country.-permanent residence.

2. Event progressive:

e.g.: The referee is/was blowing of whistle. – repeated blowing.

cf.: The referee slows his whistle. – only one time!

3. Habit progressive:

e.g.: At that time she was having regular singing lessons.

Whenever Isee her, she’sworking in the garden.

The «temporal frame» of the present progressive is normally «now», recurrent or imaginary, inaccordance with the interpretation of the habitual, the historical, the fiction meanings.

The authors give a piece of information about the perfective progressive meaning that the features of the progressive and the perfective aspects are combined in the same phrase. This problem will be debated by Ukrainian and Russian scientists.

R. Quirk and his team give a lot of information about time, tense and aspect; the tables in which English verbs are divided into stative and dynamic types; difficult theme as «aspect» is presented in clear and lucid language. There are some problems which are debated up to now, for example, «the reality of the perfective progressive».

1.3 The analysis of the stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English by home linguists

N.N. Rayevska (3; 30)is awell-known Ukrainian (Kiev) scholar who specialized in the study of English language and wrote two monographs:

1. The Essays on Stylistic Grammar of Modern English (1976) (3)

2. Modern English Grammar(1976) (30)

These monographs introduce the results of N.N. Rayevska’s philological observations which convey theoretical grammar problems of verbal system and their stylistic possibilities and potentialities. All these features are very useful for insight into writer's context and understanding of their artists' intentions. In Modern English Grammar N.N. Rayevska accentuates:

«A major question in learning the grammar of the English verb is therefore to look for the difference of distribution various context, liguistic or situational, where each verb – form occurs» (30; 137). The result according to these points can be seen in Table 4–8.

The results according to the functional and semantic transpositions can be seen in Tables 9–10.

Some words about trabsposition itself.

Transposition is a divergense between the traditional usage of a neutral word and its situational (stylistic) usage.

Transposition of verbs is more varied than other parts of speech. It is explained by a greater number of grammatical categories the meanings of which may be transposed. One of peculiar features of English tense forms is their polysemantism: thesame form may realize various meanings in spoken English and other styles.

Deviation from the general meaning makes verbs stylistically coloured. Twotypes of transposition are presented in our table: functional and semantic – whereinherent resources and devices of – English verbs create and establish a lot of subtle meaningful nuances by means of Morphology.

N.N. Rayevska throws light upon the nature of the functional and semantic peripheral field of the verbal voice and marks off it in her diagram where paradigmatic verbal forms and language units of the other levels are unified and consolidated together in the functional-semantic field of the voices hip. As innovation we have completed Table 11 «TheStylistic Potential of Peripheral Elements of the Passive Voice in Modern Enflish» and mean that it will enrich the verbal system and help and stimulate students’ intensification of its usage in the frames of Theoretical English Grammar.

Presenting the functional-semantic field of the aspectual system of the English Verbthe author lines down the categores of the aspect and tense as organically correlated: theform of the aspect is the form of the tense (asin Quirk’s system) but she means there are two types of the aspect in English Grammar which are itroduced as the oppositions:

l. the common aspect (speaks, spoke, will speak);

2. the continuous aspect (is speaking, was speaking)

N.N. Rayevska puts forward several interesting and stimulating ideas for the further philological observations that according to her point of view are very productive and prospective:

1. Development of grammat co-ideomatical structures.

2. Morphological correlations of interlevel units and inclusion them in the peripheral field of verbal forms.

3. The Phrasiological System in its unity with garammatical functioning.

4. Paculiarities of lexical combinability and realization of tense-aspect forms in the community of their syntactical structures and others (a lot of ideas!)

The field arragement of tense-aspect: system for philological observations expands the frames of the traditional English Grammar and helps to reveal a lot. of stylistic colours and their shades.

In her turn the author of Stylistics of Modern English (Stylistic Decoding), I.V. Arnold writes:

«Stylistic potential is possibility to add an idiomatic power to the language and express various subtle distinctions of thoughts and meanings». (4, 124)

The author divides transposition into two types and distribute this material into two groups, Table 1.4 that have been complited by our team as visual material for studatns:

1. Transposition with emotional expressiveness.

2. Transposition with functional-stylistic character.

In our practical part-the second part of our paper – we give a lot of examples from original literature using this table and presenting some connotations of tense-aspect system conveyed by verbal forms:

– historical presence;

- continuous verbal forms;

– echo-questions;

– popular language;

– modal verbs, particles, idioms;

– repetitions of grammar forms;

– archaic verbal forms.

Two types of transposition (Table 1.4) described by I.V. Arnold are used in our practical part with the aim to expand the frames of their usage as obvious and visuial examples from English original literature.

Y.M. Skrebnev in his book Fundamentals of English Stylistics (lines down that «Stylistic Morphology, both paradigmatic and syntagmatic, has not yet been given full attention, especially with regard to English that has very few inflections, and most grammatical meanings are expressed analytically». (33; 84)The author puts in the forefront the problems of synonymy and transposition:

– variability of verbal forms;

– morphological difference between verbal forms;

– abolishing the morphlogical differentiations between Subjunctive II of the verb «to be» and the past indicative;

– «ungrammatical» usage of verbal forms;

– «praesens historicum» and others.

Y.M. Skrebnev represents Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Morphology as means of the sylistic stocks. The author treats practically all the essentials of stylistics, gives numerous samples of text analysis, teaches the students to interpret and find adequate verbal account for stylistic impressions.

Satisfactory results in the philological training of students can be achieved only on condition that students have firmly, mastered the basic principles if every linguistic disciplin, stylistics included.

In the next monograph «English Stylistics» written by A.N. Morokhovskei it is accentuated that Stylistics is a synthetico – linguisitic subject and the language is researched as the system with a lot of elements that united into:

1. Expression means on all linguistic levels.


3. Functional correlations with a society and environment.

In chapter «Stylistic usage of the verbal means» the author underlines that all stylistic possibilities of English verbs are very rich if we take into account a variety of verbal forms vebals and their range of meanings, tinges and nuances. The author considers that the tense-aspect forms can be presented in the contexts by the ways of making and creating their syntactic correlations (intercommunications) between forms, structures, constructions and grammar categories. And it is not disputed because the – verbal formations and» arragements are the main dynamic means and devices of stylistic expressions in literary, puplicistic and colloquial styles.

In this monograph these are a lot of interesting facts from different connotations in the grammatical, semantic and polysemantic realisations.

e.g. Douglas: Cris is doing all right, Basil.

Greff: Is that true? Are you doing all right, Cris?

In the question we can catch of feel either ironic or warm intonation but not duration expressed by the continuous tense. The forms of the present indefinite and present continuous are used for the transmission of facts, actions, events which have illsion of the Result but not duration as in following:

e.g.: Thanks for breakfast. I’m catching the train home. We can mart; that the modality of the obligation is shown by means of the continuous tense.

1. The categories of the English voice also can be in the role of stylistic means and devices:

e.g.: Since to love is better to be loved. It is the structure with antithesis.

2. e.g.: I did help him.

«did» is «still, nevertheless, however».

e.g.: They did go.

«did» is «the last, finally, in the end».

The emphatic «DO» is a strong stylistic feature that in its correlation with the verbal predicate creats the emphatic expression.

3. Implicit agent in scientific style is used in the introduction of the facts.

e.g.: It is understood / mentioned / assumed / believed / known…

For students we have completed two tables (13,14) with interesting facts and examples:

– how to use stylistic potential of the Imperetive mood;

– semantic and stylistic peculiarities expressed by the forms of the Subjunctive mood.

In monograph Stylistics of English Language the authors show that the diapason of stylistic devices is very high. We have marked only s some of them but very expressive categories of time, voice and mood. All these means can be used only in context. We consider that the subject «The Theory of Context» must be included in the syllabus for students from the foriegn language faculties. Our tables (13–14) which were completed for students as HOs on the Theoretical Grammar will help them to realise this garammatical material in practical frames.

In his very scientific monograph «Modification of Verbal Forms in Modern English» A.I. Dorodnyh analises a lot of works written by outstanding philologists, native and foreign, and gives his own system of English verb, as follows:

1. Category of time:     Past           Nonpast

worked                                              works

was working                                     is working

2. Category of temporary retrospectiveness:

Perfect                                             Nonperfect

has worked                                       works

had worked                                                worked

will have worked                             will work

has been working                             is working

3. Category of temporary perspectiveness:

Future                                                       Nonfuture

will work                                                  works

would work                                                        worked

will have worked                                                have/has worked

will be working                                         is working

The author’s verbal system is very individual and interesting for those students and teachers who wants to expand their scientific skills in Philological, sphere and continue to research some discussible problems, namely:

l. What is the main factor of the evolution in the verbal system that can be presented in the social community?

2. Is there the future category or future tense?

Can you as a teacher find more examples to argue your discoveries and explain them to students more popularly then in the monograph by A.I. Dorodnyh, and others.

M.Y. Blokh in his A Course in Theoretical English Grammar underlines:

«Language is means of forming and storing ideas as reflections of reality and exchanging them in the process of human intercourse. Language is social by nature: it is inseparably connected with the people who are its creators and users; it grows and develops together with development society».

Grammatical time, or tense, is one of the typical functions of the finite verb. The author describing the present tense as opposed to the past tense accentuates the stylistic features and peculiarities in the linguistic circumstances, specifically «the historic present»,

If we say, «Two plus two makes four», the linguistic implication of it is «always; at the moment of speech».

If we say, «I never take his advise», we mean «at the present time».

If we say «In our millennium social formations change quicker then in the previous periods of man's history’, the linguistic, temporal content of it is «in our millennium including the moment of speech»… Here worthy of note are utterances where the meaning of the past tense stands in contrast with the meaning of some adverbial phrase referring the event to the present moment.

The seeming linguistic paradox of such cases consists exactly in the fact that their two-type indications of time, one verbal-grammatical, and one adverbal-lexical, approach the same event from two opposite angles. It is the transpositional use of the present tense with the past adverbials, either included in the utterence as such, or expressed in its contectual environment. The stylistic purpose of this transposition, known under the name of the «historical present» is to create a vivid picture of the event reflected in the utterance.

e.g.: Then he turned the corner, and what do you think happens next? He faces nobody else than Mr. Greggs accompanied by his private secretary!

The «historical present» will be included in our practical part that is why we want to describe this subject in details.

The Historical Present

The English «historical present» is usually described as a way of making storytelling events more vivid.

e.g.: Last night Blackie (cat) comes with this huge dead rat in her mouth and drops it right at ray feet.

These utterence has an adverbial of time «last night» establishing the time of the event in the past, while the actions are described in the present tense. The actual time is remote from the time of utterence, but the actions described are presented as if they coincide with the time of the utterence.

e.g.: My parents worked in the field all day. And I work in the fields all day like them…

The so-called «historical present» is characteristic of popular narrative style (or fictional present or fictional narrative). In Older English, the simple present was used more widely with reference to a present event which would now be described by use of the present progressive (durative):

e.g.: I go = I’m going.

The «historical present» describes the past as if it is happening now; it conveys something of the dramatic immediacy of an eye-witness account.

e.g.: I couldn’t believe it! Just as we arrived, up comes Ben and slaps me on the back as if we’re life-long friends. «Come on, old pal», he says. Let me buy you a drink! I’m telling you, I nearly fainted on the spot».

A very different use of the present tense in reference to the past is that found with verbs of communication:

e.g.: The ten o’clock news says that there's to be storm. Such verbs include also verbs like understand,hear, learn which refer to the receptive end of the communication process.

e.g.: I hear that poor Mr. Simpson has gone into hospital.

These sentences would also be acceptable with the simple past or present perfective, but the implication of the present tense seems to be that although the communication event took place in the past, its result – the information communicated – is still operate.

e.g.: The Book of Genesis speaks of the terrible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Thus, although the Book of Genesis wsa written thousands years ago, it still «sreaks» to us at the present. The notion that the past can remain in the present also explains the optional use of the present tense in sentences reffering to writers, composers, artists, etc., and their extant works.

e.g. In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky draws/drew his characters from sources deep in the Russian soul.

It is something more than a figure of speech to suggest that author is still able to speak to us through his works.

The present tense can even be used, without respect to any patticular work, for general artistic characterization of the author, but biographical details of the artist's life must be normally reported through the past tense. Hence there is an interesting contrast between:

e.g.: Murasaki write/wrote of life in 11th century Japan.

cf: Murasaki wrote in 11th century Japan.

The simple present is usually used in Newspaper Headlines.



There is a close connection between the «historical present» of above, and the simple present as used in the «Fictional narrative». The only difference is that whereas the events narrated by means of the «historical present» are REAL, those narrated by the «fictional historical present» are IMAGINARY.

This is stylistically marked in contrast to the normal convention of the past tense for store-telling.

e.g.: The crowd swarms around the gateway, and seethes with delighted anticipation; excitement grows, as suddenly their hero makes his entrance…

A special exception in the use of the present tense in stage direction.

e.g.: Millinson enters. The girls immediately pretend to be working hard. William assures a businesslike air, picks up two folders, and makes for door.

Here the present tense is used by convention, as if to represent the idea that events of the play are being performed before our eyes as we read the script.

In his monography M.Y. Blokh debates a point how to use shall or will future and marks «The view that shall and will retain their modal meanings in all their uses was defended by such a recognized authority on English grammar of the older generation of the twentieth century linguists as O. Jespersen. In our times, quite a few scholars, among them the successors of Descriptive Linguistics, 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».

The modal nature of the «shall/will + Infinitive» combinations can be shown by means of equivalent substitutions.

e.g.: He who does not work neither shall he eat.

cf.: He who does not work must not eat.

As regards the second question-the aspect of the verb in modern English – M.Y. Blokh picks up two main variants: the continuous and the perfective.

l. The continuous forms are aspective because reflecting the inherent character of the process named by verb, they do not, and cannot, denote the timing of the process. The opposition constituting the corresponding category is effected between the continuous and non-continuous forms.

2. The true nature of the perfect is temporal aspect reflected in its own opposition, which cannot be reduced to any other oppositions. The categorial member opposed to the perfect will be named «imperfect or non-perfect».

The author underlines that the aspective meanings can be inbuilt in the semantic structure of the verb and, on the other hand, the aspective meanings can also be represented in variable grammatical forms and categories. At this point of our consideration, we should differ the categorial terminology and the definitions of categories.

A category, in normal use, cannot be represented twice in one and the same word-form. The integral verb-form cannot display at once more then one expression of each of recognized verbal categories, though it does give a representive expression to all the verbal categories taken together through the corresponding obligatory featuring. So in the verbal system of English there are two temporal categories:

the past tense as a direct retrospective evaluation of the time of the process;

the future tense – the timing of % he process in a prospective evaluation.

There are two aspective categories:

– the continuous aspect;

– the perfect aspect.

N.Y. Blokh describes the aspective categories backed on the works of H. Sweet and O. Jespersen. On the ground that aspective category is constituted by the opposition of the continuous forms of the verb to the non-continuous forms, they present some sentences with while-clauses:

1. While I was typing, Mary and Tom were chatting in the adjoining room.

2. While I typed, Mary and Tom were chatting in the adjoining room.

3. While I was typing, Wary and Tom chatted in the adjoining room.

4. While I typed, they chatted in the adjoining room.

We have to feel the difference in semantic connotations. The meaningful difference consists exactly in the categorial semantics of the indefinite and comtinuous: while the latter shows the action in the very process of its realization, the former points it out as a mere fact…The stylistic potential of the continuous aspect is in its possibility to create a number of actions going on simultaneously in descriptions of scenes implied by the narration.

e.g.: Standing on the chair, I could see in through the barred window into the hall of the Ayuntamiento and in there it was as it had been before. The priest was standing, and those who were left were kneeling in a half circle around him and they were all praying. Pablo was sitting on the big table in front of the Mayor's chair with his shotgun slung over his back.»

(E. Hemingway., p. 154)

In his A Course in Theoretical English Grammar M.Y. Blakh describes and explains the category of retrospective coordination (the perfect aspect) that has been interpreted in linguistic literature in four different ways. In Table 15 «The Perfect Aspect» (The History of the Problem) we present a piece of information about the authors, foreign and native), who presented the perfect aspect as a problem. We present 5 subdivisions according to the ways of the grammatical interpretations:

1. «The tense view».

2. «The aspect view».

3. «The tense-aspect blend view».

4. «The time correlation view».

5. «The strict categorial view» by M.Y. Blokh.

This table is very convenient for students who wants to get post-graduated education and continue their philological observations in the frames of Theoretical English Grammar.

Grammatical material from the textbook written by M.Y. Blokh is very visual and inportant for students. There is no doubt that its numerous particular propeties, as well as its fundamental qualities as a whole, will be further exposed, clarified in the course of continued linguistic research.

I.B. Khlebnikova in her book «Essentials of English Morphlogy» underlines that the items selected for study in this book represent the most debatable parts of English Morphology. It concerns, first of all, the grammatical categories of the verb. The author marks that «the verb is a two-face Janus»: when it is viewed as the carrier of some generalized, abstract grammatical meaning, it belongs to morphology; when it is viewed from the point of view of the position it occupies in relation to different word-classes, it belongs to syntax. Taking into account all these we can find a lot of reasons to present «the third face of our Janus-verb» – stylistic features that are included in our research. The author in chapter IV «The General Organization of Morphlogical Forms» presents «Structural1 Principles of Organization» – The Macrosystem of the English Verb», organized in the table (Table 16). Being guided by Ukrainian, Russian, American and European linguistic schools – A. Hill, B. Strangle, O. Jespersen, L. Barkhudarov, G. CURME, G.N. Vorontsova and others – I.B. Khlebnikova expoands the characteristic features of an analitical forms of English verb. They are nine. Between them we can find the descriptions of:

- an auxiliary as a verb which has no lexical meaning of its plus infinitive, participle I, II;

- a collocations as indivisible in grammatical sense, though its components are separate words; it is idiomatic in grammar sense;

- auxiliary verbs realized the «present-past» dichotomy:

have done – had done;

is speaking – was speaking;

shall do – should do;

- verb as the whole macrosystem and in the central – microsystem of tense-aspect;

- the abbreviation of the auxiliary component in colloquial speech:

I’ve done it, and etc.

The author presents the Microsystem and defines that the distinctive features of tense comes first since it is tense, and not aspect, that presents the frame of the system, though opinions may differ on this score (cf.: traditional Russian term «aspect-tense system of Russian verb»).

In her debates with O. Jespersen who denied the existence of future tense as a grammatical tense in English and it was repeated in more modern publications (By Barkhudarov, 1975) the author writes «the most exact approximation of the real, notional time will be the division into past, present and future, if the linguistic material admits such a differentiation».

The paradigm of tense-aspect in English, from the point of the author's view, is based upon temporal divisions (both proper and relative), forming a frame into which aspect differentiation is included within the range of different temporal points. Special attention was given to perfectnees.

Perfectness is the most enduring and essential category, acting in all microsystems (Table 17).

Describing stylistical features of the present, past and future tenses she marks that the present tense is widely used in narrations taking place within the sphere of the moment of speech, especially in plays and dialogues; «historical present»; permanent qualities, etc. The main sphere of the use of the past tense is the narration in the past, the representation of a chain of events which happened before the present' time. The complete parallelism of the future I and the future 11 and their purely grammatical meaning is exhibited an any contexts. The following sentences can be represented by both future tenses.

e.g.: Then I will drive this pilum through you.

(He said he would drive that pikum through him).

I shall not bother about them.

(He said he would not bother about them).

We would give the descriptions of some terms according to I.B. Khlebnikova:

transposition – the transference of some past actions into the range of the another axis of orientation – the present tense which is the initual point of temporal opposition.

neutralization – the future action is expressed by the present Indefinite or Continuous.

oppositions – represent an event on the plane of content of morphological forms which is reflected on the plane of expression.

e.g.: Mr. X arrives at London airport tomorrow.

I am taking the girl to London next week.


The author gives definitions of abstract grammatical categories which find expression in the tense-aspect microsystem (active). There are three in number: tense, temporal relativity (perfect-ness) and aspect (durative).

We agree with the author that «the items selected for study here represent the most debatable parts of morphology. It concerns, first of all, the grammatical categories of the verb». Before presenting some facts at lecture a teacher have to transfer them according to the student's understanding.

Stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms can be presented only in conditions of an utterance. An utterance is expressed by means of words and sentences. I.P. Verkhowskaya in her monograph «Tense-Aspect forms in English Complexs Sentence» conveys some results of her research work in the frames of the complex sentences (18290 examples). The author presents three tenses: Present, Past, Future Indefinite and shows how to use them according to the Sequences of Tenses. She pays her special attention to how to use the Present and Past Perfect and completes specific qualification in the frames of the complex sentence.

At the same time of discussion on a question about stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in Modern English we, the teachers, have to expand the students’ skill in the sphere of grammatical usage of these forms in utterances. In this case we can elicit a lot of examples given by I.P. Verkhovskaya in her monograph.

«Practical Stylistics of English» written by L.P. Efimov is an attempt to supply the student of English Stylistics with a practical appendix to the lecture and seminar course of stylystic study. The f purpose of this book is to aid the teaching process by which a student becomes aware of the richness and variety of English stylistic means of communication. The author writes that the central notion of Morphologicai Stylistics is the notion of transposition: a divergence between the traditional usage of a neutral word and its situational (stylistic) usage. Transposition of verb is even more varied than that of nouns. It is explained by a greater number of grammatical categories the meanings of which may be transposed. Mast expressive are tense forms, mood and voice forms. One of peculiar features of English tense forms is their polysemantism: the same form may realize various meanings in speech. Deviation from the general meaning makes verbs stylistically coloured.

e.g.: (Present continuous as future time.)

Pete is staring a new life tomorrow.

(The present continuous introduces the negative connotations of irritation, regret, sadness and others)

John is constantly grumbling.

There is a rule that verbs of sense perception and mental activity are not used in the continuous tense forms. This rule is often broken intentionally or subconsciously. In both cases verbal forms convey additional stylistic meanings of subjective modality:

e.g.: I an seeing you = I am not blind.

e.g.: I am understanding you = You need not go into further details.

I am feeling your touch = So tender you are, etc.

The author marks that «historical present» brightens the narration, raises its emotional tension, expresses intrigue, makes the continuity of events visual and graphic.

e.g.: It was yesterday and looked this way. The perpetrator comes to his victim, takes a long dagger out of his inner pocket and stabs the poor man right into. – his belly without saying a word…

Transposition is not the only way to make expressive. A good many verbal forms are expressive in themselves, for example, the imperative mood.

e.g.: Just come to me now – «may contextually imply love or hate, threat of warning, promise or desire.

The wide range of subjunctive mood forms offers a good stylistic choice of synonymous ways to verbalize one and the same idea.

e.g.: It is time for me to go (stylistically neutral)

It is time that I went (bookish and obsolescent)

In many contexts passive verbal forma are more expressive.

e.g.: A round table occupied the centre of the room,

cf: The centre of the room was occupied by a round table.

e.g.: They answered him nothing=He was answered nothing.

All these notes are very important for our paper: they give some additional features to our subject but it is not enough for leaning in the frames of stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms.

Thus, the pedagogical quest has long been to find ways of developing a student’s knowledge about grammar which are both enlivening and rewarding, and it continues to be an important goal of contemporary educational linguistics. The field of grammar is often divided into two domains: morphology and syntax. In our case we have examined some points from transformational relations that were involved in tense-aspect formations of the morphological level. Different kind of transformations depend on the purpose of communication and can be treated only in the contexts.

In this case we can say about stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms of modern English. Interactions between grammar and stylistics are of the essence of language and probably the most significant point to notice in studing of a language in general. A special interest attaches to the correlation between meanings expressed by grammatical forms and their stylistic meanings to which in our paper we repeatedly draw our attention.

2. The analysis of stylistic potential of tense-aspect verbal forms in modern English

The main aim of the second part is to research and pick out some interesting examples from original English literature according to two tables (4, 12) that is two types of grammatical transpositions and aspectuality in the frames of the peripheral field. Our purpose is to confirm the central principles included in these tables and to present a lot of samples to enrich the Theoretical Grammar with new visual and practical material that gives real jerk to teachers to complete students’ seminars on this subject more interesting and productive.

The main methords which have been used in our research paper are:

– philological observations;

– revealind some samples, examples, facts from original literature of English authors and generalization;

– contextolpgical analysis of some contexts; description some important fact in considerable details.

Our results were obtained on the edge of some liguistic sciences:

Sty1istics, Functional Grammar, Syntax, Functional and Communicative Linguistics, The Theory of Interpretation of Texts, The Theory of Contextual Situation and others.

The application of these methods makes it possible to establish the concrete system in the frames of this students can observe stylistic potential of verbal forms in real environment and circumstances. The given gu tations from different sources serve to show how the two types of transpositions and a