In conclusion, we would supply some examples in which the Perfectiveness or Terminativeness are expressed by means of different devices.
There are two sets of forms in the Modern English verb which are contrasted with each other on the principle of use or non - use of the pattern "be + first participle":
writes - is writing
wrote - was writing
will write - will be writing
has written - has been writing
These two sets of forms clearly belong to the same verb write and there is some grammatical difference between them. We will not here consider the question whether the relation between writes and is writing is exactly the same as that between wrote and was writing, etc. We will assume that it is the same relation.
What, then, is the basic difference between writes and is writing, or between wrote and was writing given in various grammar books, e shall find, with some variations of detail, that the basic characteristic of is writing is this: it denotes an action proceeding continuously at a define period of time, within certain time limits. On the other hand, writes denotes an action not thus limited but either occurring repeatedly or everlasting, without any notion of lasting duration repeatedly or everlasting, without any notion of lasting duration at a given moment. It should be noted here that many variations of this essential meaning may be due to the lexical meaning of the verb and of the other words in the sentence; thus there is some difference in this respect between the sentence the earth turns round the sun and the sentence the sun rises in the East; the action mentioned in the former sentence goes on without interruption, whereas that mentioned in the latter sentence is repeated every morning and does not take place at all in the evening, etc. But this is irrelevant for the meaning of the grammatical form as such and merely serves to illustrate its possible applications.
The basic difference between the two sets of forms, then, appears to e this: an action going on continuously during a given period of time, and an action not thus limited and not described by the very form of the verb as proceeding in such a manner.
Now, the question must be answered, how should this essential difference in meaning between the two sets of forms be described. The best way to describe it would seem to be this: it is a difference in the way the action is shown to proceed. Now this is the grammatical notion described as the category of aspect with reference to the Slavonic languages (Russian, Polish, Czech, etc.), and also to ancient Greek, in which this category is clearly expressed.
As is well known, not every verb is commonly used in the form "be + first principle". Verbs denoting abstract relations, such as belong , and those denoting sense perception or emotion, e. g. see, hear, hope, love, seldom appear in this form. It should be noted, however, that the impossibility of these verbs appearing in this form is sometimes exaggerated. Such categoric statements give the reader a wrong idea of the facts as they are not verified by actual modern usage. Thus, the verb see, hope, like, fear and others, though denoting perception or feelings (emotions), may be found in this form, e.g. It was as if she were seeing herself for the first time in a year. The form "be + first participle" is very appropriate here, as it does not admit of the action being interpreted as momentaneous (corresponding to the perfective aspect in Russian) and makes it absolutely clear that what is meant is a sense perception going on (involuntarily) for some time.
This use of the form is also well illustrated by the following bit of dialogue from a modern short story : "Miss Courtright - I want to see you," he said, quickly averting his eyes. "Will you let me - Miss Courtright - will you? "Of course, Merle," she said, smiling a little. "You're seeing me right now." It might probably have been possible to use here the present indefinite : "You see me right now," but the use of the continuous gives additional emphasis to the idea that the action, that is, the perception denoted by the verb see, is already taking place. Thus the descriptive possibilities of the continuous form are as effective here with the verb of perception as they are with any other verb.
A rather typical example of the use of the verb see in the continuous aspect is the following sentence: Her breath came more evenly now, and she gave a smile so wide and open, her great eyes taking in the entire room and a part of the mountains towards which she had half turned, that it was as though she were seeing the world for the first time and might clap her hands to see it dance about her.
Here are some more examples of continuous forms of verbs which are generally believed not favour these forms: Both were visibly hearing every word of the conversation and ignoring it,