Russian verb aspects
Today we start one of the hardest for foreign students parts of the Russian grammar – aspects of the verb.
In Russian, there are only three verb tenses: present, past and future. How do Russians make it with so little? Thanks to the verb aspects: Perfective and Imperfective one.
In general, the Imperfective aspect describes the actions that are taking place at the moment of speaking, actions with no indication of the start and the end, and actions that haven’t finished yet or repeat.
The Perfective aspect is used to talk about the actions that happened or were supposed to happen once, actions that have finished with success. The Perfective aspect, due to the fact that it implies a finished action, does not have a Present tense form.
So most (not all) of the Russian verbs form pairs where one verb is perfective and another one is imperfective.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that two verbs look very much alike most of the times, you can’t create one from another, there are not rules for that. They are just two different verbs. However, in many cases, adding a prefix to an imperfective verbs makes it a perfective verb. But there are also many prefixed imperfective verbs.
Here are some common Russian verbs in such pairs (imperfective/perfective):
де́лать – сде́лать
говори́ть – сказа́ть
брать – взять
помога́ть – помо́чь
смотре́ть – посмотре́ть
чита́ть – прочита́ть
учи́ть – вы́учить
плати́ть – заплати́ть
покупа́ть – купи́ть
ходи́ть – сходи́ть
понима́ть – поня́ть
хоте́ть – захоте́ть
слы́шать – услы́шать
дава́ть – дать
ду́мать – поду́мать
по́мнить – запо́мнить
We will practice the use of verb aspects with examples in the following lessons when we learn the Past the the Future tenses in Russian.
For now, memorize the verbs from today’s lesson and practice them with the audio track.
More lessons on the Russian verbs
- "To be" in Russian
- The infinitive of the Russian verbs
- Russian Present tense
- Russian verb aspects
- Russian Past tense
- "To be" in the Past tense
- Reflexive verbs
- Future tense in Russian
- To go in Russian - Идти and ехать
- Russian Imperative mood (Command form)
- Russian verbs of motion (unprefixed)
- Prefixed verbs of motion
WE NEED THE SUPPORT OF READERS LIKE YOU!