A verb’s aspect is closely related to a verb’s tense.
tense = when the action took place
aspect = what kind of action took place
GGBB teaches three different kinds of aspect:
- internal – (the Greek present and imperfect tense)
- external – (the Greek aorist tense)
- perfect – (the Greek perfect tense)
External refers to an action as a whole. Some would call it “snapshot” action.
I ran the race.
We built the house.
Internal refers to action as ongoing, continuous, repeated, or habitual. BBG call this ” continuous aspect”.
I am running the race.
We were building the house.
Perfect aspect refers to any verb tense that speaks of the present consequences of past action. Wallace calls this perfective-stative. See GGBB p. 499-503.
I have run the race.
We have built the house.
Optional, more advanced information:
Wallace distinguishes between aspect and Aktionsart:
“Aspect is the basic meaning of the tense, unaffected by considerations in a given utterance, while Aktionsart is the meaning of the tense as used by an author in a particular utterance, affected as it were by other features of the language.” (source).