• Walang Nahanap Na Mga Resulta

The functional load of English tense-aspect modifications


Academic year: 2023

Share "The functional load of English tense-aspect modifications"


Buong text



Macario B. Ruiz

The concept of social utility as a principle in general curriculum theory has two basic assumptions which are complementary. The first assumption states th at lan­

guage activities which the child as a learner in a given social group needs most to prepare him for effective liv­

ing should have precedence over those which are not so useful. This assumption necessarily implies th at the gen­

eral objectives of the language program should be deter­

mined. To illustrate the point, a hierarchy of importance must be given for such desirable goals as (a) ability to speak in conversation, (b) ability to write correctly, (c) ability to read, (d) ability to write friendly letters, (e) ability to write letters of complaints, (f) ability to write letters of application, and other social situations in which letter-writing is one normal necessary activity. The sec­

ond assumption states that the materials of instruction must be properly sequenced and adapted to suit the needs of students according to their ages and grade placement.

The more socially useful specifics of language should be given preference over those which are less useful. Re­

garding the criterion of social utility, Lyman says:

. . . The need for particularized objectives—

“specifies” — of language instruction can best be met by activity analyses and investigations of errors such as the studies reported. . . . First, the socially useful language specifics and the rhetor­

ical minimums indispensable for the daily com­

munications of the average man and woman must be discovered; second, the types of expres­

sions used naturally and normally by children of advancing ages must be ascertained. (9 :39)

(Italics supplied)


He goes on to say:

...T h e criterion of “social utility” for the va­

rious activities comprising the English curricu­

lum is assuming prominence. The best curriculum researches attem pt to ascertain the language needs of practical life. (9:69)

The same principle of social utility applies to the teaching of foreign languages. Huse has this to say:

. . . The beginning language text or method should present units of expression. . . in the appropriate order of their importance as mea­

sured by a frequency count. (6:24) (Italics sup­


Similarly. Thompson says:

...Likewise, the material must be presented in an ordered sequence based on two major points:

the importance of the items within the system of E n glish and its difficulty for Thai speakers

(13:18) (Italics supplied)

George explains the rationale for an extensive verb- frequency count in the following w ords:

. . . the verb-frequency count stems from the idea that, speaking generally, use indicates useful­

ness. We are finding out the actual use English people make of the verb-forms in the language

(5:45) (Italics supplied)

This is the rationale underlying this particular p art of the present investigation. While it is true that, as a form class, the verb is very important in English, it has its own modifications which must be analyzed for their usefulness as shown in a frequency count of these modi­


Statement of the problem. This phase of the investigation deals with the following problems:

1. What are the most useful English tense-aspect modifications? That is, which ones have the highest func­

tional load?


R uiz

F u n c t i o n a l L o a d o f E n g l i s h T e n s e - A s p e c t M o d if ic a tio n s

2. What are the most common sentence patterns in which these modifications occur?

3. What are the more common transform ations by which the source strings get embedded into the resultant transform s as clauses?

Limitation of the problem. It was not the purpose of this phase of the investigation to establish a distinction between the type of English used in technical or non­

technical materials by means of a comparison of the kinds of tense-aspect modifications used. Neither were the tense- aspect modifications which are used exclusively in conver­

sation or in writing identified. If comparisons were made, the purpose was to show the trend in the use of the tense- aspect modifications which were analyzed for functional load.

Definition of terms. Im portant and critical term s which have been used in this investigation are defined herein.

(1) Tense-aspect modifications. Tense refers to the time described by the verb in reference to a given prime point or moment of speaking (2:5) whether it is a p art action or whether it is a non-past one. It is to be noted as stated above th at an English verb is inflected for two tenses only. The fact that a continuous action in the present time may be expressed in English gram m ar by pres-be + V + -ing ‘is eating’ does not mean that this is another tense of the verb. Presentness is carried by the auxiliary is and continuity by -ing. In a similar manner, the combination pres-have + V + -en ‘has eaten’ and past-have + V + -en

‘had eaten’ are not additional tenses of the English verb.

They belong to a category called aspect.

Aspect in a general sense refers to a description of the nature of the action carried by the expanded form, apart from tense.

(2) Primary modifications. The different inflected forms of the verb without auxiliaries as in eats and ate, the aspectual inflected forms involving the use of the two English auxiliaries have and be as in is eating, have eaten, or was eaten, as well as other combinations like is being


eaten, has been eaten, or was being eaten, are called pri­

mary modifications. There are sixteen such prim ary mo­

difications in Twaddell’s analysis, which has been adopted for purposes of this investigation. (14:2).

(3) Secondary modifications. When an expanded form of a verb occurs with can (could), may (m ight), will (w ould), shall (should) or must, the term secondary mod­

ification is applied. These are called the modals in Eng­

lish. The term modal modification is synonymous with the term secondary modification. It is to be noted th at modals do not inflect for -s as in *cans1 or *shalls unlike the aux­

iliaries have and be but they do inflect for pastness as in can — » could, shall —» should, will —» would, and may

— » might. Must is a defective modal in the sense that it is not inflected for pastness. Some examples of second­

ary modifications are can + V ‘can go’ and could + have + V + -en ‘could have eaten’.

(4) Special modifications. There are a number of as­

pectual modifications which carry special meanings. For example, the modification pres-have + to + V 'has to eat’

has a special meaning different from the meaning carried by pres-have + V + -en ‘has eaten’. Another example is the modification pres-be + going + to + V ‘is/am are go­

ing to eat’ which carries the proposed or future action.

These are classified under special modifications.

(5) Functional Load. Functional load refers to the usefulness of a given modification as determined from a frequency count of its occurrences in a given corpus. If, for example, Modification a has been used 1,000 times in a given corpus and Modification b, 100 times, the form er has a higher functional load than the latter.

(6) Native language (NL) refers to the first lan­

guage of the learner.

Survey of the literature of the subject. Several tense fre­

quency counts in modern languages have been made. One 1 Asterisks (*) before any word or phrase means that the cons­

truction is not permitted in English or Hiligaynon.


Ruiz Functional Loadof English

Tense-Aspect Modifications

of the first was made by Arnold (1:234-35). Using about 22,000 running words from five Spanish plays and five Spanish novels, he found that the present indicative rank­

ed first in both sources; the infinitive, second; the pre­

terite indicative, th ir d ; the imperfective indicative, fourth, and the present subjunctive, fifth. The author did not sug­

gest any conclusions regarding theory except to present the facts as he found them.

Sudran made a syntax count of the French verb using four contemporary novels and found that the past descrip­

tive ranked first; the present tense, second; the perfect tenses, six th ; and the future perfect ranked last in twenty- three categories of verb syntactical phenomena. (12.164).

Arnold extended his 1929 study (6) into three lan­

guages, French, Italian, and Spanish. In these three lan­

guages he found the present indicative ranking first. The author pointed out a great difference between the drama and the novel in each of these languages. The past tenses made up 45.2%, 44.6%, and 51.1% of the total number of tense occurrences in French, Spanish and Italian novels respectively; while they made up 17.2%, 16.2%, and 18.2%

of the total in the drama. He then concluded:

. . . The present, future, imperative, and perhaps the conditional. . . are prim arily conversational tenses. (4:153)

Lake studied the syntactical frequency of tense phe­

nomena in three school French texts for students of French as a foreign language and found th at 24.3% were in the past descriptive, 14.0% in the compound tenses and the indicative, and 2.1% in infinitive forms. (4:161).

Brennard and Coleman undertook a project in French syntax and found in all available sources th at 25.57 % were in the past tense, descriptive; 14.88% were in reflexive forms; 7.13% were in the compound tenses; 1.42% were in the future tense; and 5.25% were in the present tense.

They found a rather high correspondence with the studies of Lake and Sudran with special reference to the past des­


criptive, reflexive, and infinitives without prepositions.

They concluded:

. . . . Where the chief aim of the course is the de­

velopment of the ability to speak or write the language with some facility and in accordance with current usage, the material here presented is pertinent to the extent th at such speaking and w riting knowledge will be in conformity with usage in standard French. (3:291)

Keniston made a syntax count of contemporary Span­

ish for the purpose of providing an authoritative state­

ment of the relative importance of the most common Span­

ish constructions as a guide for textbook makers and teachers of Spanish. He found the same frequency of the present indicative tenses that Arnold had found and stated :

. . . It is probable th a t a range of sixty units will be sufficient to establish the relative range and frequency of all constructions which are of suf­

ficient importance to w arrant a place in the ba­

sic materials presented in a course in Spanish.

(4: 352)

Bonifacio in a study of the most common tense in Eng­

lish material found the present and past tenses to be the most frequent in expository and non-expository material.


Olshtain found that 35% of 462 occurrences in non­

technical materials were in the present tense, 52% were in the past tense, and the rest in other modifications. In technical materials 49% out of 437 occurrences were in the present tense and 28% were in the past tense. While only 2% were in the present passive in non-technical ma­

terials, 11.5% in the same modifications were found in technical materials. (10).

A comprehensive and significant eight-year study was conducted by Stormzand in an effort to determine what present-day usage of the most important grammatical cat­

egories should be given priority in a program of English teaching. He analyzed a large mass of contemporary, classical, and non-classical writing, letters w ritten by adults, compositions of students from Grade VI through


Ruiz Functional Load of English

Tense-Aspect Modification : College. One of the most significant statements, which per­

haps influenced course-of-study construction after the pub­

lication of the report, is as follows:

... We cannot judge on the basis of frequency of the different parts of speech which should receive the chief emphasis or what relative importance should be given to each in constructing a course in grammar. Complexity of form, variation in in­

flection, and the chances of error in each case must all be taken into consideration. (9:25).

George made a preliminary report of an extensive count on the frequency of verb forms in English. The count covered all verb forms, whether they appeared as finite or non-finite constructions. The author says th at “by the time this article appears, three groups of trainees at the Central Institute of English will have been counting fre­

quencies in various types of English, of verb-forms in all kinds of phrases, clauses, and sentence constructions. They will have noted some 80,000 successive occurrences, each of which will have been assigned to one of 180 sections of a schedule.” (5:45-53).

The materials used were two novels, two plays, three books of a popular, factual nature, an issue of an English newspaper, and the conversational section of MacCarthy’s English Conversational Reader. Every occurrence of a verb in the material was noted, except that in the case of the Chamber’s Encylopedia, of which four volumes were sampled, all occurrences on every fifth page were counted.

Preliminary findings in this study are:

Plain stem (V) 36.7%

to stem ... 9.6%

Stem + -ed ... 41.5%

Stem + -ing ... 12.2%

Total — 100.0% (50,901 occurrences) George makes this statement, which explains the ra ­ tionale of the study:

...T h e re are two kinds of priority in teaching:

one determines the sequence of teaching points;


the other the amount of work the teachers and learners direct to each of the teaching points.

(5 :4 5 ).


1. Rationale of procedure. It was mentioned at the beginning of this chapter th at the concept of social utility is a basic criterion for the selection and arrangem ent of grammatical categories to be taught to second-language learners or to be included in a course of study in English.

This concept was the main reason why the frequency of oc­

currence of the tense-aspect modifications in English had to be counted. However, in the preparation of teaching ma­

terials for the teaching of second language, the basic units which should be sequenced are sentence patterns, not the tense-aspect modifications as such. (8:92-94). It is for this reason that two other problems were included in this frequency count. The first of these problems is the tabu­

lation of the common basic sentence patterns where these modifications were found. The second problem is the tab­

ulation of the common transform ations in English which involve the use of the tense-aspect modifications. Know­

ledge of the basic sentence patterns where the tense-aspect modifications found and of the two-string transformations has a two-fold value: (a) it helps in making the sequenc­

ing of the materials realistic, and (b) it enables the teach­

er to prepare the teaching materials such th at they are oriented to the more common and more useful two-string transformations.

2. Procedure proper. The procedure in this phase of the investigation involved the following steps: (a) choice of approach to the problem; (b) selection of the sources from which to make the frequency count; (c) choice of description of English tense-aspect modifications; (d) trial tabulation; and (e) preparation of the final data sheets.

a. Choice of approach to the problem. There were two possible approaches to the problem of what to tabu­

late: (1) a functions approach, in which the uses of the different modifications were counted. For instance, in the



Functional Loadof English

Tense-Aspect Modifications

present tense, the so-called uses, such as ‘habitual action’,

‘present fact’, ‘permanent condition’, ‘historical present’, might be the things to tabulate. In the case of the so-called

‘present perfect’, such uses as ‘action continuing from a given time in the past to the present’, or ‘indefinite past time’, or ‘action ju st completed’ might be counted. This approach, it was thought, had the following disadvantages:

(a) There is a great deal of confusion in saying th at the present tense may be used to express the historical pre­

sent for past events, or to describe past events in headlines as President Kennedy Meets MacMillan. (b) There is just as much confusion in figuring out whether the verbs in such sentences as The w all paints easily and The meat cooks quickly are passive or active, if by active is meant that the subject is the doer of the action. (c) There is no way of telling whether He reads French is habitual or pre­

sent fact or even potential. (d) The functions approach would have involved too much subjectivity and personal equation in the choice of which functions or uses the wri­

ter of the sources of materials had in mind, and this would have reduced the validity of the study. (2) The other pos­

sible approach was the forms approach, in which the struc­

tural forms of the modifications are to be tabulated, ir­

respective of functions intended. This approach is free from personal equation, subjectivity, and by its nature, it avoids the ‘confusions’ mentioned above. The tense-aspect modifications as such carry their own functions or seman­

tic content.

In this connection, George says:

. . . Two kinds of attribution are involved, for­

mal and notional. The validity of the formal at­

tribution must be high, as only recognition is in­

volved. The notional attribution must be of more doubtful validity, as personal judgments are in­

volved and the language itself does not always recognize the compartments into which we try to accommodate it. (5:48)

Twaddell gives another reason:

...Much of the difficulty and confusion in des-


cribing the signalling function of English verb construction has arisen from attempts to assign a meaning to the lack of one or more of the prim ary modifications. Thus, it has been a common error to assign some meaning like “present, non-past”

to a construction which lacks the past modifica­

tion, or a meaning like “active” to a construction without be + participle. (14:3).

Therefore, the second approach, which involves the tab­

ulation of the forms of the modifications, was adopted in this study.

b. Selection of sources from which to count modifi­

cation occurrences. The frequency counts of Thorndike, Thorndike and Lorge, the semantic count of the West, the study of Stormzanad, and th at of George, all of which were cited at the beginning of this chapter, were based on a variety of sources such as textbooks, encylopedias, novels, dramas, and newspapers. Bonifacio used expository and non-expository materials; (2) Olshtain drew her materials from technical and non-technical w riting (10).

The choice of sources is at best dependent upon the purpose of the count. If the purpose of the count is to make a comparison of the syntactical phenomena of tense- aspect modifications in novels and plays, the materials should be novels and plays. Similarly, if the purpose is to make a comparison of such syntactical phenomena in tech­

nical and non-technical material, the sources of materials should precisely be those.

The purpose of this study was to make a count of the occurrences of the tense-aspect modifications in Eng­

lish. In the trial tabulation, it was noted that normally the tenses or aspect of verbs seemed to be dependent upon the nature of the articles. For instance, professional a rt­

icles of an expository nature were observed to nave been w ritten in the present tense, with variations of other tenses or aspects as contexts demanded, and narrative ma­

terials showed a tendency towards the use of the past tense, also with variations depending on contexts, which required obligatory use of other tense-aspect modifica­

tions. Since the purpose of this study was to determine



Functional Load of English

Tense-Aspect Modifications

the most commonly used English tense-aspect modifica­

tions, the only way to get a fair sampling was to include as wide a variety of sources as possible. Conversational materials were included in much greater number than any other single source so as to give spoken English good re­

presentation in the sample. The final sources included the following:

I. Technical material No. of usages A. Children’s Encylopedia ... 1,000 B. Professional magazine (Journal of

Higher Education) 1,000

C. Textbook in English, F irst Language

(Roberts, Understanding English) .. 1,000 D. Textbook in English, Second Language

(Fries American English Series for the Study of English as a Second

Language, Book VI) .... 1,000 II. Non-technical material

A. Newspaper (Los Angeles Times) ... 1,000 B. Popular magazine (Life Magazine) .. 1,000 C. Contemporary novel (Drieser, Sister

Carrie) ~~ 1,000

D. Letters (business and friendly) ... 1,000 E. Sentences gathered from students .. 1,000 III. Recorded conversations, including TV

programs of unrehearsed nature and

radio interviews, actual conversation .. 3,000 Total ... 12,000 c. Selection of a description of English tense-aspect modifications. There are a number of descriptions of verbs in English with reference to tense-aspect, as well as the modals and special modifications (14:7; 17; 11; 39; 25).

Twaddell’s classification (14) was chosen because of its trichotomy of (a) prim ary modifications, (b) secondary


modifications, and (c) special modifications. The presenta­

tion of these modifications is clear and concise, and this made for easy tabulation. Besides, it was necessary to use the same modifications which were used in the ta ­ bulation of errors in the use of tense-aspect modifications.

d. Trial tabulation. In order to make sure th a t no tense-aspect modification would be missed in the final data sheet, a trial tabulation of about 600 to 700 verb usages from all the samples was first made. E xtra holes for any rare form th at might have appeared in the corpus during the tabulation were provided on the data sheet. The trial forms were not included in the final tabulation of the data.

e. Preparation of the final data sheets. The data sheets were so prepared th at it would be possible to indi­

cate the (a) sentence patterns in which the modifications were found, (b) types of transformations in which the source strings get embedded into the resultant tranform s as clauses, and (c) type of tense-aspect modifications en­


(1) Sentence patterns. The basic sentence patterns used in the tabulation of errors in the students’ composi­

tions were also used in this phase of the investigation.

(2) Two-string wh-transformations. There are two- string transform ations in English in which the source strings as embedded in the resulting transform ations in­

volve tense-aspect modifications because they are clauses.

There are also others in which the sources are embedded in the resultant transform s without verbs. The following examples illustrate what is meant.

Consumer: The boy is here.

Source: The boy is good.

Result: — » The good boy is here.


Consumer: The boy is here.

Source: The boy has a hat.

Result: —» The boy with a hat is here.

On the other hand:



Functional Loadof E NGLish

Tense-Aspect Modifications

Consumer: The boy is here.

Source: The boy has a hat.

R esult: —» The boy w ho has a hat is here.

Who has a hat is just one type of clause that is em­

bedded in the result. There are a number of transform a­

tions where the clause is introduced by who, when, what, or that, all identified by the label wh-transformations, but they are different from one another. The reason for classi­

fying these under different categories is explained in the succeeding sub-sections.

(a) Wh-1 transformation. The following sentence types were classified under this category because in all

of them a noun or pronoun in the source string is re­

placed by who, that, which, or whom, and because the clauses occur in adjective positions.

1) Consumer: The man went home.

Source: The man was sitting here.

R esult: — » The man who was sitting here went home.

2) Consumer: The remarks hurt my feelings.

Source: The remarks came from her.

Result: — The remarks which came from her hurt my feelings.

3) Consumer: The man is my cousin.

Source: The man saw you.

R esult: — » The man who saw you is my cousin.

4) Consumer: The man bought the house.

Source: The house was beautiful.

R esult: — » The man bought the house which was beautiful.

5) Consumer: The man is my cousin.

Source: You saw the man.

Result: —» The man (whom) you saw is my cousin.


(b ) Wh-2 tra n sfo rm a tio n . The follow ing sentence types w ere classified u n d er th is categ o ry because th e source strin g s become relativ e clauses and because th e y ta k e noun positions. I t is to be noted th a t th e y m ay be introduced e ith e r by who, tuhose, w hom , and w hich, or by w h a t, w h a t­

ever, w hoever, w henever, o r w h o m ever, b ut not by that.

1) C onsum er: H e is my frien d . S ource: He called you.

R e su lt: — » W hoever called you is my frien d . 2) C onsum er: The te a c h e r gave him a prize.

S ource: He won it.

R e s u lt: — » The te a c h e r gave w hoever won it a prize.

3) C onsum er: I know it (so m eth in g ).

S ource: The boy said th a t rem a rk .

R esult — » I know who said th a t rem a rk . 4) C onsum er: I rem em ber it.

S ource: H e w ro te a letter.

R e s u lt: — » I rem em ber w h a t he w rote.

(c) W h-3 tra n sfo rm a tio n . The follow ing sentence types w ere classified u n d er th is category because the source strin g s become relativ e clauses and because th e y tak e noun positions. They d iffe r fro m Wh-2 tra n s fo rm a tio n s in th a t n o th in g is om itted.

1) C onsum er: I know it (so m e th in g ).

S ource: The boy stole the money.

R e s u lt: — » I know ( th a t) th e boy stole the money.

2) C onsum er: The m an answ ered it.

S ource: He w as in M anila.

R esu lt: — » The m an answ ered th a t he w as in M anila.

3) C onsum er: I t (som ething) w as tru e . S ource: They won th e game.

R esu lt: — » T h a t th ey won th e gam e w as tru e . 4) C onsum er: The tro u ble is (som ething)

S ource: He did not study.



Functional Loadof English

Tense-Aspect Modifications

Result: —» The trouble is (that) he did not study.

The type of sentence below was classified under this category although it was analyzed to have undergone an additional transformation. (See example (3) above.)

5) Consumer: It (something) was true.

Source: — » They won the game.

R esult: —» That they won the game was true.

R esult: —» It was true th a t they won the game.

(d) Subordinatives. The following sentence types were classified under this category because of the subor­

dinating conjunction.

1) Peter stayed because John went.

2) I shall stay if you tell me to.

3) He went w here there are many people.

B u t:

4) He went, to a place where there are many people was classified under wh-1 transformation.

(e) Compound sentences. In addition to the fore­

going sentence types, compound sentences were classified under another group. There were regarded as derived from two sentences. Thus:

1) Consumer: The boy ran.

Source: The girl walked.

Result: —» The boy ran and the girl walked.

(f) Sentences with two or more predicates. Sen­

tences with two or more predicates were classified under a different kind of transformation and therefore categorized under a different group. Thus:

1) Consumer: The boy ran.

Source: The boy jumped.

Result: —» The boy ran and jumped.

Gathering of corpus. Each successive sentence from the different sources was copied on 3 x 5 sheets of paper, with at least one verb on each sheet, although in some cases there were two or more. The copying went on until 1,000 sheets, which were numbered serially, were used.


1. Sampling of corpus. In the final tabulation of the data, every odd-numbered sheet was selected. If there happened to be two or more verbs on any given sheet, only the first one was used. In the conversational m ater­

ial, where response utterances were without verbs, the sheet was disregarded and the next odd-numbered one was selected. Verb substitutes were not included. For ex­


(1) Did you go to the party last night?

No, I didn’t. (Yes, I did).

Didn't and did were regarded as substitutes for ‘did not go’ and ‘went.’

2. Increasing the goal to 6,000 primary modifications.

It was originally proposed to obtain 6,000 tense-aspect mod­

ifications for all three groups, primary, secondary, and special modifications. This was the number obtained as a result of a random sampling of the entire corpus of 12,000 sentences on the basis of one for every two. However, in order to achieve a more equitable representation of the nine sources of w ritten materials used, the number of tense-aspect modifications was increased to 500 each. The number of tense-aspect modifications for the conversation­

al materials was increased to 1,500. This yielded a grand total of 6,000 prim ary modifications. It was not necessary to copy more sentences from additional sources. All that was required was to go over the odd-numbered sheets in the corpus once more. The second verb in those sheets which had two or more verbs was tabulated. If this sec­

ond verb was a secondary modification, it was added to the samples in Group I I ; if this second verb happened to be a special modification, it was added to the sample in Group III. This was done until the goal of 500 tense-aspect modifications for each of the nine sources was reached.

The final sample came up to 7,403 tense-aspect modifi­


Explanation of the use of the data sheets. If a V-ed modi­

fication was found on a given odd-numbered sheet, Hole B on the left side of the data sheet was cut open to identify it. If this modification was used in a Pattern I type of sentence, Hole I, top row was cut open. If it happened to



Functional Loadof English

Tense-Aspect Modifications

be used in a dependent clause, the corresponding hole, bot­

tom row, was cut open.

The same procedure was followed in the tabulation of the modals and the special modifications, except that another form was used. In the case of the modals, if a can + V was encountered, the hole beside can + V was cut open; but if a can + be + V-en was encountered, the hole beside can + V was cut open and, in addition, the item was checked to identify which form was encountered.

Presentation and discussion of findings.

1. Total number of tense-aspect modifications by groups. Table IV-A present the total number of tense-as­

pect modifications tabulated from the written and conver­

sational materials.




Wr i t t e n M a t e r i a l Conversation Grand Total Tech­

nical Non-

Tech Total % No. % No. %

I 2,000 2,500 | 4,500 75.00| 1,500 25.00 6,000 81.20 II 269 263 | 892 83.60 175 16.40 1,067 14.30

III 124 122 246 73.00| 90 27.00 | 336 4.50

2,393 3,245 5,638 1,765 7,403 100.00

Analysis of the data in the table reveals that of the grand total of 7,403 tense-aspect modifications tabulated from the corpus, 6,000 or 81% were in Group I (Prim ary Modifications), 1,067 or 14.3% were in Group II (Second­

ary Modifications), and 336 or 4.5% were in Group III (Special Modifications). Of the 6,000 prim ary modifica­

tions, 4,500 or 75% were from w ritten sources, which in­

cluded both the technical and non-technical materials, and 1,500 or 25% were from the conversational materials. Of the 1,067 secondary modifications, 892 or 83.6% were from the written sources, and 175 or 16.4% were from the


conversational materials. Of the total of 336 special mod­

ifications, 246 or 73% were from the w ritten sources, and 90 or 27% were from the conversational materials.

F urther analysis of the data in the table reveals that there seems to be a tendency toward the use of modals in w ritten materials, and that there is a tendency towards the use of more primary and special modifications in the conversational materials. The figures show this observa­


W ritten Material Conversational Material Group I ... ... 80% 85%

Group II ... 16% 10%

Group III ... 4% 5%

a. Primary modifications, Group I. The findings on the distribution of the different tense-aspect modifications

of the Prim ary Modifications Group are presented in Ta­

ble IV-B.

Analysis of the data in the table reveals that of the 4,500 prim ary modifications tabulated from the w ritten materials, 1,962 or 43.3% were V-s, and 1,649 or 36.6%

were V-ed. These two modifications alone account for 80%

of the entire number of prim ary modifications. The V-ing modifications account for 3.9% of the entire number of prim ary modifications, while the V-en modifications ac­

count for 15.8% of the entire number.

In the conversational material, there is a predomi­

nance of the number of V-s modifications. Of the 1,500 prim ary modifications tabulated, 937 or 61.8% were in this tense alone, and 316 or 20.8% were in the past tense.

These two tenses together account for 82% of the total number of prim ary modifications. The V-ing modifications account for 6.4% of the total number of prim ary modifi­

cations, which is 2.6% more than the V-ing modifications in the written materials. Thus relatively there is a great­

er tendency towards the use of the V-ing modifications in conversation than in writing. The V-en modifications ac­

count for 9.77% of the total number of prim ary modifi­

cations in the conversational materials, which is 6.0% less


TABLEIV-B PRIMARYMODIFICATIONS Total Rank 1\ 2 3 7 4 5 6 8 9 12 10 14 11 13

% 48.41 32.82 4.26 1.60 4.06 3.41 3.11 1.07 .72 .08 .45 .02 .22 .04 100.24

No. 2,899 1,965 255 96 243 204 186 63 43 5 25 1 13 2 6,000|

Conversational Material Rank 1 2 3 10 5 6.5 4 6.5 9 12.5 8 12.5 12.5

%| 61.84 20.86 5.61 .53 1.78 1.19 4.62 1.19 .66 0.00 .73 0.00 0.00 0.00 | 99.01|

No. 937 316 85 8 27 18 70 18 10 0 11 0 0 50

| 1.500

WrittenMaterial Rank 1 2 5 7 3 4 6 8 9 12 10 14 11 13

% 43.36 36.61 |3.77 1.95 4.80 4.30 2.58 1.00 .73 .11 .31 | .02 .29 .04 99.90

No. | 1,962 1,649 170 88 216 186 116 45 33 5 141 13 2 4,500

Primary Modifications a V-s bVe-d c pres-have+V-en dpast-have+V-en e pres-be+V-en f past-be+V-en g pres-be+V-ing hpast-be+V-ing i pres-have+be-en+V-en j. past-have+be-en+V-en k pres-have + be-en + V-ing past-have+be-en+V-ing mpres-be+be-ing+V-en npast-be4- be-ing+V-en Total Modifications oandpdid not occur intheentirecorpus;not includedinthetable.


than the V-en modifications in the w ritten materials. It means th at there is a greater tendency for the V-en mod­

ifications to be used in w riting than in conversation.

b. Secondary modifications, Group II. The findings on the distribution of the different tense-aspect modifica­

tions of the Secondary Modifications Group are presented in Table IV-C.




W ritten M aterial Conversational M aterial T o t a l

No. % Hank No. % Rank No. 7c Rank

can 157 | 17.60! 3 44 25.24 2 201 18.83 3

could 77 | 8.63| 5 21 12.00 3 98 9.18 4

may 80 8.97 4 12 6.86 6 92 8.62 5

might 33 3.70 8 5 2.88 8 38 | 3.56 8

shall 15 1.68! 9 0 0.00 9 15 1.41 9

should 57 6.39 6 15 8.59 5 72 6.72 6

will 232 | 26.00 1 51 29.34 1 283 26.621 would 190 | 21.30| 2 17 9.74 4 307 19.40 2

must 51 | 5.72 7 1 0 5.75 7 61 | 5.72 7

Total 892 | 99.99 | 175 | 100.37 1,067 99.89 Note: In cases of contracted modals, the following were


(a) What 'll I (we) do? = Classified under shall (b) What’ll you (she) do = Classified under will The above figures include the occurrences of the dif­

ferent complex combinations of the basic forms, like can + be + V-en, shall + be + V-ing or must + have + V-en. By basic forms are meant can + V, shall + V, or must + V.

Analysis of the data in the table reveals th at will has


Ruiz Functional Loadof English

Tense-Aspect Modification : the highest functional load, with w ould ranking 2, and can, ranking 3. Of the total of 1,067 occurrences of the modals, 283 or 26.4% were will. Shall is evidently low in func­

tional load, with only 15 or 1.4% of the total occurrences.

It is to be noted that it did not occur in the conversational material at all.

c. Special modifications, Group III. The findings on the distribution of the different tense-aspect modifi­

cations of the Special Modifications Group are presented in Table IV-D. Analysis of the data in the table reveals th at of the 15 different special modifications, (you) + V, as Drive the car and Have fun is the most productive.

Modifications like Please come in and Let’s go were in­

cluded in this category. It was encountered in all the sources used, and it ranks 1 in the three different types of sources. Of the total of 336 special modifications, 137 or 40.8% were of this type.

The second in rank is pres-he + going to + V, ‘is/are /am going to eat’. It was also encountered in all the sour­

ces, except in the encylopedia. It appeared 16 times in 500 samples gathered from the textbooks in a second lang­

uage, and 21 times in the conversational materials.

Ought to + V, dare to + V, and need to V seem to have low functional load. Twaddell classifies these under a minor class and adds th at:

...th e ir former semantic functions are increas­

ingly taken over by other modals or catenatives, either wholly or partly via suppletion. (14:10).

This probably explains why their functional load is low.

Further analysis of the data in the table reveals the following regarding the status of will + V (Table IV-C) and pres-be + going to + V.

W ritten Material Conversational Material will + V ... 26.0% 21.1%

pres-be + going to

+ V ... 21.5% 23.3%

Out of a total of 892 occurrences of the modal modifica­

tions in the written materials, w ill + V was used 232


TABLEIV-D SPECIALMODIFICATIONS | Total Rank 1 11 3 5 2 14.5 9 6 7 1 14.5 9 9 12.5 12.5

% 4.46 1.48 14.58 3.57 22.02 .29 1.78 3.27 2.67 40.77 .29 1.78 1.78 .59 .29| 99.92

No. 15 5 49 12 74 1 6 11 9 137 1 6 6 2 2 336

Conversation Rank 12 12 3 4 2 12 8 8 8 1 12 5.5 5.5 22 12

% 0 0 21.11 | 4.45| | 23.34 | 0 1.11 1.11 1.11 43.33 | 0 22.2 22.2| 0 0 99.81

No. 0 0 19 4 21 0 1 1 1 39 0 2 2 0 0 90

Written Rank 4 8.5 3 6.5 2 | 13.5 | 8.5 5 6.5 1 | 13.5 | 10.5 | 10.5 12.5 | 12.5

% | 6.10 2.03 | 12.20 3.25 | 21.55 .41 2.03 4.07 3.25 39.66 .41 1.63 1.53 .82 .82 99.86

No. 15 5 | 30 8 53 1 5 10 8| 98| 1 4 4 2 2 246|

Modification pres-be+to + V past-be + to +V pres-have(got)be +V past-have+ to+V pres-be+going to+V past-be+going to + V V-s (Future) pres-do+ V past-do+ V (You) + V aux-have +NP+V-en used to+V need to + V dareto+V ought to+ V Total



Functional Loadof English

Tense-Aspect Modifications

times, or approximately 26.0%. Out of a total of 246 oc­

currences of the special modifications pres-be + going to + V was used 53 times or 21.5%. This yields a difference of 4.5% in favor of will + V. It might be suspected that in writing w ill + V has ascendency over pres-be -+ go­

ing to + V. This is not w arranted in these figures be­

cause this difference is not statistically significant. If the CR (critical ratio) is used as a test of the signifi­

cance of two uncorrelated percentage difference, the ob­

tained CR is only .713. To be significant at the 5% level, a CR of 1.96 is necessary.

2. The most common patterns in which the modifi­

cations were found. In second-language teaching, the ba­

sic units of instruction are normally sentence patterns.

Substitutions, expansions, conversions, replacement and/

or transformations are standard procedures.

Table IV-E shows the most common basic sentence patterns in which the three groups of modifications were found. Analysis of the data in the table reveals that of the 6,000 occurrences of the prim ary modifications tab­

ulated from both the w ritten and conversational ma­

terials, 2,681 or 44.6%; were found in sentences or clauses of Pattern IV type (NP + VPt + N Pa). Pattern IV also ranks 1 in the secondary modifications as well as in the special modifications group. Pattern I (NP + VPi + Adv) was found to be the next in rank. Further analysis of the data in the table reveals that 25% of the grand total of 7,403 modifications occurred in Pattern VII (NP + be + Adv), Pattern VIII (NP + be + A dj), and Pattern IX (NP + be + N P). This fact is significant because these patterns involve the verb be, which is a potential source of error on the p art of the Hiligaynon speaker.

3. The most common two-string transformations where the modifications were found. Table IV-F pres­

ents the findings regarding the most common clauses in which the modifications were found. Analysis of the data in the table reveals that of the total of 1,663 prim ary modifications which occurred in two-string trans-






Modification Secondary

Modification Special

Modification Total Grand

R 1 R2 R3 R4

No. % No. % No. % No. %

I 11,144 19.10 205 19.21 129 38.44 1,478 19.95 2 2 2 2

II 63 1.05 11 1 .03 1 .30 75 1.01 9 9 8.5 8

III 41 .68 13| 1.22 1 .30 75 .74 8 8 8.5 9

IV 2,681 44.65| 572 | 53.60 142 42.31 | 3,395 45.83 1 1 1 1

V 108 1.79 43 3.93 19 5.66 170] 2.30 7 7 3 7

VI | 223 3.73 47| 4.31 15 4.47| 285 3.85 6 5 4 6 VII | 397 6.63 444 . 01 8 2.38 | 449 6.06 5 6 7 5 VIII | 592 9.89 77| 7.22 10 2.98| 679 9.171 4 3 6 4 IX | 571 12.54 55| 5.16 11 3.28 | 817 1.033 4 5 3 Total 6,000 100.05 1,067| 99.69 336 100.42| 7,403 99.94|

formations, 533 of 32% were of Type 28, which is tra ­ ditionally described as the adverbial clause in a complex sentence illustrated in, “I f he goes to New York, I’ll stay in Los Angeles” or in “I stayed because he l e f t ” Second in rank is Type 15, an example of which is the w ho-clause in adjective position, as in “I know the boy who borrowed your car.” The clause which occurs in included position as in “I know that he borrowed your car” ranks third.

In the case of the secondary modifications, Type 28 also ranks first. Of the total of 302 modal modifications which occurred in the type of clause described, 80 or 26.4%

were of Type 28, and 78 or 25.83% were of Type 25. Type 41 ranks last.

Column 3 of the table shows the distribution of the environments of the special modifications group. Type 28 and Type 15 rank 1 and 2 respectively as in the case of the primary and secondary modifications group.

Considering the three groups as a whole, of the grand total of 2,003 modifications which occurred in these six types of clauses, 628 or 31.3% belonged to Type 28, 409



% 4.15 | 19.67 | 20.42 | 31.35 | 14.93 8.49 99.01

No. 83 394 409 628 299 170| 2,003

GroupIII Rank 5.5 2 3 1 4 5.5

% 5.25| 26.30 | 15.78| 39.45 7.89 5.26 99.94

No. i i 2 10 6 15 3 2 38

GroupII Rank 5 2 3 1 4 6

% 39.7 25.82 21.19 26.48 19.20| 3.31| 99.66|

No. 12 78 64 80| 58 10 302|

GroupI Rank 6 3 2 1 4 5

% 4.15 18.39 21.89 32.03 14.31 9.50 99.60

No. 69 | 306| | 359| | 533| | 238| 158 1,663

Type 23 25 15 28 30 14 Total 23=Whoever saidthat was tellingalie(NominalizedVPin subject position) 25=I knowthat he went home.(Nominalized VP in direct object position) 51=The boy whocame hereismynephew.(AdjectivalizedVPinadjectiveposition) 28=Iftheystay, I'll go.(Subordinateclause, traditionallycalled adverbial clause) 30=Theboy played, but his sister went tobed.(Compound sentence, sourcestring) 14=Theboysanganddanced.(Compoundpredicate)


or 20.4% belonged to Type 15, and 394 or 19.6% belonged to Type 25. Only 83 or 4.1% belonged to Type 23 which is the least common environment in the whole group.

Summary and conclusions. In this paper, the functional load of the different tense-aspect modifications in Eng­

lish was determined by tabulating their frequency of oc­

currence in written and conversational sources. The most common sentence patterns and the most common environ­

ments or types of clauses in which these modifications oc­

curred were also determined. The analysis of the data ga­

thered permit the following conclusions:

(1) V-s and V-ed are the most highly productive pri­

mary modifications.

(2) W ill-would and can-could are the most highly pro­

ductive secondary modifications.

(3) (You) + V and aux-be + going to + V are the most highly productive special modifications.

(4) There is a greater tendency of the V-ing modifi­

cations than the V-en modifications to be used in conver­

sation, but the reverse is true in the case of the w ritten materials.

(5) Patterns IV and I are the most common patterns in which the modifications occurred, and Patterns II and III are the least common.

(6) Environment Type 28, the adverbial subordinate clause, and Type 15, the who-clause used as an adjective, are the most common environments in which the modifi­

cations occurred.

Implications for teaching English. The values of the find­

ings in this study for the teaching of English are sum­

marized as follows:

(1) The findings point out to teachers which tense- aspect modifications should be taught early because of their social usefulness.

(2) The findings point out what useful types of sen­



Functional Loadof English

Tense-Aspect Modifications

tence patterns and sentence expansions should be taught and mastered because of their social utility.

(3) Textbook writers can make use of the findings for purposes of selecting the most common and most useful tense-aspect modifications, sentence patterns, and sentence expansions.


1. Arnold, H.H. ‘‘Tense Frequency in the Spanish Novel and Dra­

ma,” Modern Language Journal, XIV, 3 (December, 1929), pp. 234-235. Also cited in Coleman’s Experiments and Stu­

dies in Modern Language Teaching, pp. 152-153.

2. Bonifacio, Wenceslawa. “Time and Tense.” Term Paper for English 370L, University of California at Los Angeles, Spring Semester, 1961. 36 pp.

3. Brennard, J.D. and Algernon Coleman. “Syntax Count of the French Verb,” Experiments and. Studies in Modern Lang­

uage Teaching, University of Chicago Press, 1934, pp. 280- 346.

4. Coleman, Algernon. Experiments and Studies in Modern Lang­

uage Teaching. Compiled for the Committee on Modem Language Teaching. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1934. xi - 367 pp.

5. George, H.V. “Report on a Verb-Frequency Count Carried Out in the C.I.E. Hyderabad,” Bulletin of the Central Institute of English, Hyderabad. No. 1 (September, 1961), pp. 45-53.

6. Huse, R.R. “The Psychology of Foreign Language Study,”

University of North Carolina Press (1931). Also cited in Coleman’s Experiments and Studies in Modern Language Teaching, p. 24.

7. Keniston, Hawyard. “The Syntax Count of Contemporary Spa­

nish.” Cited in Coleman’s Experiments and Studies in Mo­

dern Language Teaching, pp. 347-357.

8. Lado, Robert. “Criteria for the Introduction and Proper-Order­


ing of Sentence Patterns,’’ Language Learning, June, 1958.

Special Issue.

9. Lyman, R.L. Summary of Investigations Relating to Grammar, Language, and Composition. Supplementary Educational Mo­

nographs. Published in conjunction with The School Review and The Elementary School Journal, No. 30, January, 1929.

The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

10. Olshtain, Elite. A Frequency Count of English Tense Usage in Technical and Non-technical Writing.” Term Paper, English 370L. University of California at Los Angeles, 19(52.

11. Sack, F.L. The Structure of English: A Practical Grammar for Foreign Students. Berne: A. Franoke. 1954. xvii — 208 pp.

12. Sudran, Abe L. “Syntax of the Verb in Four Contemporary French Novels.” Unpublished Master’s Thesis, University of Chicago, 1931. Also cited in Coleman, Algernon, Experiments and Studies in Modem Language Teaching, p. 164.

13. Thompson, Lionel. “The Use and Abuse of Textbooks in the Teaching of English,” Report of the Regional Conference of the English Coordinating Committees of Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. SEAREP. College of Education, Prasarmit, Bang­

kok, Thailand, (April, 1960), pp. 25-30.

14. Twaddell, W.F. The English Verb Auxiliaries. Providence, Rode Island: Brown University Press, 1960. 21 pp.

Mga Sanggunian


tuberculosis, manufactures VOC metabolites in vitro, and a number of these VOCs have been detected in the breath as apparent biomarkers of infection.5,6Breath biomarkers identified

Republic of the Philippines UNIVERSITY OF RIZAL SYSTEM Province of Rizal Tel/Fax 63 918 951 9618 urs.spmo@gmail.com BIDS AND AWARDS COMMITTEE SUPPLEMENTAL BID BULLETIN NO.. 1