Basic qualities of the perfect forms — страница 2

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and future. There is no real difficulty here. We need only recollect that there are in Modern English the forms 1 present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect. That present, past, and future are tense categories, is firmly established and has never been doubted by anyone. Now, if the perfect were also a tense category, the present perfect would be a union of two different tenses (the present and the perfect), the past perfect would likewise be a union of two different tenses (the past and the perfect) and the future perfect, too, would be a union of two different tenses (the future and the perfect). This is clearly impossible. If a form already belongs to a tense category (say, the present) it cannot simultaneously belong to another tense category, since two tense categories

in one form would, as it were, collide and destroy each other. Hence it follows that the category of perfect cannot be a tense category. We need not consider here various views expressed by those who thought that the perfect was a tense, since their views, whatever the details may be, are shown to be untenable by the above consideration. So the view that the perfect is a special tense category has been disproved. In order to find out whether the perfect can be an aspect category, we must consider its relations to the aspects already established, 1 We use here the non-committal term "form" to avoid any pre-judgement concerning the essence of the category in question. We will use the term in similar contexts elsewhere. 92 The Verb: The Perfect viz. the common and the

continuous aspects. 1 This problem does not present any particular difficulty, either. We need only recollect that there are in Modern English such pairs as is writing — has been writing, was writing — had been writing, will be writing — will have been writing, i. e. present continuous and present perfect continuous, past continuous and past perfect continuous, future continuous and future perfect continuous. All of these forms belong to the continuous aspect, so the difference between them cannot possibly be based on any aspect category. For example, since both was writing and had been writing belong to the continuous aspect (as distinct from wrote and had written), they cannot be said to differ from each other on an aspect line; otherwise they would at the same time

belong to one aspect and to different aspects, which is obviously impossible. Hence the conclusion is unavoidable that the perfect is not an aspect. The views of those who consider the perfect to be an aspect need not therefore be discussed here in detail. Since the perfect is neither a tense nor an aspect, it is bound to be some special grammatical category, different both from tense and from aspect. This view, though not quite explicitly stated, was first put forward by Prof. A. Smirnitsky in a posthumous article.2 It is in complete harmony with the principle of distributive analysis, though Prof. Smirnitsky did not, at the time, use the term "distributive analysis". The essence of the grammatical category expressed by the perfect, and differing both from tense and

from aspect, is hard to define and to find a name for. Prof. Smirnitsky proposed to call it "the category of time relation", which is not a very happy term, because it seems to bring us back to the old view that the perfect is a special kind of tense — a view which Prof. Smirnitsky quite rightly combated. Later it was proposed to replace his term of "time relation" by that of "correlation" (соотнесенность), which has the advantage of eliminating the undesirable term "time". This is decidedly the term to be preferred. As to the opposition in such pairs as writes — has written, wrote — had written, will write — will have written, is writing — has been writing, was writing — had been writing, will be writing — will

have been writing, Prof. Smirnitsky proposed to denote it by the correlative terms "non-perfect" and "perfect". While this 1 We are proceeding here on the assumption that the existence of these two aspects, and, indeed, of aspect as a category of the English verb has been recognised. If its existence is denied the problem presents itself in a different light (see p. 81). 2 See А. И. Смирницкий, Перфект и категория временной отнесённости. Иностранные языки в школе, 1955, № 2. See also А. И. Смирницкий, Морфология английского языка, 1959, стр. 274—316. Compare И. II. Иванова, Вид и время в современном