We also find the verb look used in a continuous form where it means "have the air", not "cast a look": Mr March was looking absent and sombre again. This is appropriate here, as it expresses a temporary state of things coming after an interruption (this is seen from the adverb again)and lasting for some time at least. Compare also the verb hope: You're rather hoping he does know, aren't you? If we compare this sentence and a possible variant with the present indefinite: You rather hope he does know, don't you? We shall see that the original text serves to make the idea of hope more emphatic and so the form of the continuous aspect does here serve a useful purpose. But I'm hoping she'll come round soon… Let us again compare the text with a variant: But I hope she'll come round soon… The difference in this case is certainly much less marked than in the preceding example: there is no process going on anyway, and it is clear from the context (especially the adverbial modifier soon) that the feeling spoken of only refers to a very limited space of time. So the extra shade of meaning brought by the continuous form appears to be only that of emphasis.
Our next example is of the link verb be in the continuous aspect form: There were a few laughs which showed however that the sale, on the whole, was being a success. With the non - continuous form substituted: There were a few laughs which showed however that the sale, on the whole, was a success. In this instance, once more, the difference would appear to be essential. In the text as it stands, it is certain that the laughs mentioned were heard while the sale was still going on, whereas in the second variant this left to conjecture: they might as well have been heard after the sale was concluded, when some people were discussing its results. So the continuous form of the link verb has an important function in the sentence. Compare also the following: You are being presumptuous in a way you wouldn't be with anyone else, and I don't like it. Compare also the following: you are being presumptuous in a way you wouldn't be with anyone else, and I don't like it. Compare also: " I think you are being just," Charles said… Here the continuous is perhaps more necessary still, as it clearly means that the person's behaviour in a certain concrete situation is meant, not his general characteristic, which would be expressed by saying, " I think you are just". Compare also: Perhaps I'm being selfish… The link verb be is also use in the continuous aspect in the following passage: What I think is, you're supposed to leave somebody alone if he's at least being interesting and he's getting all excited about something. He is being interesting obviously means here, "he is behaving in an interesting way", or "he is trying to be interesting", and it implies a certain amount of conscious effort, whereas he is interesting would merely mean that he has this quality as a permanent characteristic, without reference to any effort of will and without limitation to any period of time. Compare also: Now you are being rude.
Each of the two aspects must be given some name which should of course be as adequate as possible to the basic meaning of the aspect. It seems easier to find a name for he type is writing than for the type writes. The term continuous aspect has now been in use for some time already and indeed it seems very appropriate to the phenomenon which it is used to describe. As to the type writes, a term is rather more difficult to find, as the uses of this form are much more varied and its intrinsic meaning, accordingly, less definite. This state of things may be best of all described by the term common aspect, which is indefinite enough to allow room for the various uses. It also has merit of being parallel with the term common case, which has been discussed above and which seems the best to denote the phenomenon if a case system in English nouns is recognized at all. Thus we will use the terms continuous aspect and common aspect to denote the two aspects of the Modern English verb.
However, the problem of aspect and their uses is by no means exhausted. First of all we must now mention the uses of the continuous aspect which do not easily fit into the definition given above. Forms of this aspect are occasionally used with the adverbs always, continually, etc., when the action is meant to be unlimited by time.
Aspect and character of the verb
The problem of aspect is intimately connected with a lexico -logical problem, which we shall therefore have to touch upon here. It may