I know this sentence means a change of state because of the verb broke.

John broke the window.

What is the semantic term for this sentence given no change of state occurred?

John viewed the parade.

  • A change of state occurred: the parade got viewed. Jan 24, 2017 at 5:10
  • really, are all transitive verbs are change of state? Jan 24, 2017 at 5:25
  • Transformative vs. passive or observational? Jan 24, 2017 at 6:19
  • What exactly is the question? Can you give more examples of sentences in the two categories (hopefully with other verbs)?
    – Mitch
    Apr 25, 2017 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


This question is asking about aktionsart or lexical aspect. Aktionsart divides verbs into five categories, based on whether they take time or not, whether a change of state occurs, and whether they are telic (have an end point or goal). Wikipedia has a nice simple table showing how these factors combine together.

A screenshot of Wikipedia's table

The window breaking is telic (has a change of state and an end point), and is probably non durative, because breaking glass is very quick. This would make it an achievement. If it was conceptualised more as an event which took time then it would be an accomplishment.

Viewing the parade has duration but is atelic, which makes it an activity.

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