If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Introduction to verb aspect

If verb tense allows you to control the past, the present, and the future, then aspect gives you even finer control over time.  David, Khan Academy's resident grammarian, explains. Created by David Rheinstrom.

Want to join the conversation?

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians. So I've talked the idea of verb tense, which is the ability to situate words in time, but today I'd like to talk about verb aspect, which is kind of like tense, but more so. Let me explain what that means, so with basic verb tense, we can distinguish between the present, the future, and the past, right, so now, later, then, right, past, present, and future, so I could say, simply, "I walk", "I will walk", and "I walked", so this is the past, this is the present, and this is the future, so that's verb tense, but what's really cool about verb aspect is it's this tool that really allows us to expand all the possible ways of expressing something in time, so you could just say "I walk", true, but you could also say "I am walking" or "I'm walking", or you could say "I have walked" or "I have been walking". All of these things are different aspects. They're different versions of the verb to walk, in the present tense, and we'll explain all of the those. They'll each get their own video, but I just wanted to impress upon you the idea that within every tense, past, present, and future, that there are also four mini tenses, or baby tenses, and this is what we call aspect, and we'll get to the names of those later. Don't worry about that now. I just wanted to just plant the seed. You can learn anything. David out.