Aspect is a grammatical category that expresses how an action, event or state, denoted by a verb, relates to the flow of time.

A basic aspectual distinction is that between perfective and imperfective aspects. Perfective aspect is used in referring to an event conceived as bounded and unitary, without reference to any flow of time during it ("I helped him"). Imperfective aspect is used for situations conceived as existing continuously or repetitively as time flows ("I was helping him"; "I used to help people"). Further distinctions can be made, for example, to distinguish states and ongoing actions (continuous and progressive aspects) from repetitive actions (habitual aspect).

Certain aspectual distinctions express a relation in time between the event and the time of reference. This is the case with the perfect aspect, which indicates that an event occurred prior to (but has continuing relevance at) the time of reference: "I have eaten"; "I had eaten"; "I will have eaten".

Different languages make different grammatical aspectual distinctions; some do not make any. The marking of aspect is often conflated with the marking of tense and mood. Aspectual distinctions may be restricted to certain tenses: in Latin and the Romance languages, for example, the perfective–imperfective distinction is marked in the past tense, by the division between imperfects and preterites. Explicit consideration of aspect as a category first arose out of study of the Slavic languages; here verbs often occur in the language in pairs, with two related verbs being used respectively for imperfective and perfective meanings.

Note the distinction between aspect and tense. Tense indicates when the situation takes place, and thus the tense marker varies appropriately. Aspect should be independent of tense, but if an aspect cannot be independent of tense, then it should clarify the tense.

Aspect English Example Hilinqwo Translation Indication or Expression
Generic I help him. Eqos awksodit jirom. General truths.
Perfective I helped him. Eqos awksodat jirom. Event viewed in its entirety, without reference to its temporal structure during its occurrence.
Imperfective See specifics
- Continuous I help him.
I am helping him.
I continue to help him.
Eqos awksodisit jirom. Situation is ongoing and either evolving or unevolving.
- - Progressive I am helping him. Eqos awksodisit jirom. Situation is ongoing and evolving.
- - Stative I know French. Situation is ongoing but not evolving.
- Habitual I help him every day. Situation is repeated with some degree of regularity.
Momentane I helped him once.
Perfect I have arrived. Brings attention to the consequences of a situation in the past.
A conflation of aspect and tense.
- Recent Perfect I just helped him.
Prospective I am about to help him.
I will help him shortly.
Brings attention to the anticipation of a future situation.
A conflation of aspect and future tense.
Episodic I helped him xxx. (non-gnomic)
Continuative I am still helping him. Eqos staawksodisit jirom. Action or situation that is in progress.
Inceptive I started helping him. Beginning of a new action or dynamic situation.
Terminative
Cessative
I finished helping him. End of an action or dynamic situation.
- Completive I finished helping him; we finished the work. Normal or expected cessation.
- Abortive I finished helping him … Abnormal cessation.
Inchoative
Ingressive
The flowers started to bloom. Entrance into a new state or static situation.
Egressive The flowers finished blooming. Exit from a state or static situation.
Durative I helped him for a while. Situation that existed for a limited amount of time, then ceased.
Pausative I stopped helping him for a while. Momentary pause in a situation or action.
Resumptive I resumed helping him. Resumption of a situation or action that had paused.
Punctual I helped him xxx. Occurance at the expected time or condition.
Defective I almost helped him. Failure of a situation to commence.
Delimitative I helped him for an hour. Situation that occured over a delimited amount of time.
Frequentative Sparkler (vs "sparker") Pluskintoro Action or situation represented as the repeated execution of another singular action.
Protractive The argument went on and on. Persistent action or state, particularly with little or no indication of cessation.
Iterative I help him again and again. Eqos pluawksodit jirom.
Experiential I have helped him many times. Eqos awksodasit multet jirom. Repeated or multiple occurance in the past.

Degree

Intensive: Stronger, more forceful, or more concentrated action relative to the root on which the intensive is built.

Luknos qalukorat. The lamp glared.

Moderative: Kept or keeping within reasonable or proper degrees of strength, force or concentration.

Luknos xxxlukorat. The lamp shone.

Attenuative: Weaker, less forceful, or less concentrated action relative to the root on which the attenuative is built.

Luknos xxxlukorat. The lamp glimmered.

Intent

Intentional: Occurance with intent.

I helped him as I had promised.

Accidence: Occurance absence of intent.

I helped him even though I wasn't planning to.