Iterative aspect

The iterative aspect (abbreviated ITER), also called "semelfactive",[1] "event-internal pluractionality",[2] or "multiplicative",[3] is a grammatical aspect that expresses the repetition of an event observable on one single occasion, as in 'he knocked on the door', 'he coughed', 'she is drumming', etc.[4] [5] It is not to be confused with frequentative aspect and habitual aspect, which both signal repetition over more than one occasion.

Other authors[6] have reserved the term "semelfactive" for this mono-occasional repetition, and defined iterative aspect as denoting 'several' repetitions over more than one occasion, as opposed to the 'frequent' repetitions conveyed by frequentative aspect.


  1. ^ Smith, C. S. (1991). The parameter of aspect. Dordrecht: Kluwer, p28.
  2. ^ Bertinetto, Pier Marco, and Alessandro Lenci. 2012. "Habituality, Pluractionality, and Imperfectivity." In The Oxford Handbook of Tense and Aspect, edited by Robert I. Binnick, 852-880. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ Tatevosov, Sergej. 2002. "The parameter of actionality." Linguistic Typology 6: pp317-401.
  4. ^ Bhat, D.N.S. 1999. The prominence of tense, aspect and mood. Benjamins. pp53ff
  5. ^ p160 in Bybee, J., R. Perkins, & W. Pagliuca, The Evolution of Grammar: Tense, Aspect, and Modality in the Languages of the World. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  6. ^ p236 in S.C. Dik. 1997. The Theory of Functional Grammar, part I The Structure of the Clause. Berlin: Mouton.

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