Selasa, 03 Mei 2011

Tense, Aspect, and Moods

* Tense, aspect, & mood - English has a comparatively huge number of tense-aspect-mood forms with some subtle differences, such as the difference between the simple past "I ate" & the present ideal "I have eaten." Progressive & ideal progressive forms add complexity. (See English verbs.)
 * Functions of auxiliaries - Learners of English tend to struggle to manipulate the various ways in which English makes use of auxiliary verbs. These include negation (e.g. They has not been drinking.), inversion with the subject to form a query (e.g. Has they been drinking?), short answers (e.g. Yes, they has.) & tag questions (has they?). An additional complication is that the dummy auxiliary verb do /does /did is added to fulfil these functions in the simple present & simple past, but not for the verb to be.
 * Modal verbs - English also has a significant number of modal auxiliary verbs which each have lots of makes use of. For example, the opposite of "You must be here at 8" (obligation) is usually "You don't must be here at 8" (lack of obligation, choice), while "must" in "You must not drink the water" (prohibition) has a different meaning from "must" in "You must not be a native speaker" (deduction). This complexity takes considerable work for most English language learners to master.
 * Idiomatic usage - English is reputed to have a comparatively high degree of idiomatic usage. For example, the use of different main verb forms in such apparently parallel constructions as "try to learn", "help learn", & "avoid learning" pose difficulty for learners. Another example is the idiomatic distinction between "make" & "do": "make a mistake", not "do a mistake"; & "do a favor", not "make a favor".
 * Articles - English has an appreciable number of articles, including the "the" positive article & the "a, an" indefinite article. Sometimes English nouns can or indeed must be used without an article; this is called the zero article. A quantity of the differences between positive, indefinite & zero article are simple to learn, but others are not, since a learner's native language may lack articles or use them in different ways than English does. Although the information conveyed by articles is never essential for communication, English makes use of them often (several times in the average sentence), so that they need some work from the learner.

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