In English, the verb "walk" is atelic. One could in principle walk indefinitely. Fatigue and aging limit the activity, but that fact is not an inherent part of the meaning of the verb. Hence sentences like "The escapee walked and kept walking."

However, suppose we have a sentence like "The teenager walked to the store." "Walk" may not be a telic verb, but "walking to the store" is a self-limiting activity. Once at the store, the teenager has completed the act of walking to the store. He can't walk to the store once he's at the store. So, wouldn't "walked to the store" be a telic predicate? And wouldn't predicates, rather than verbs, be telic vs. atelic?

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    I’d say that depends on the language. In Finnish, where telicity is morphologically marked, it is primarily a property of objects, not verbs: luen kirjaa means ‘I’m reading a book’ (atelic, no information on completion), whereas luen kirjan means ‘I [will] read the book’ (telic, indicating that the entire book will be read to its completion). The verb remains the same, only the object changes. There are some constraints – explicitly continuous aspects are incompatible with telic constructions, for example – but that’s the general pattern. Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 8:38
  • You may want to take a look at linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/27830/atelicity-events/…
    – Alex B.
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 10:54
  • and linguistics.stackexchange.com/a/15132/445
    – Alex B.
    Commented Aug 15, 2022 at 13:36


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