Video lesson on one of the most difficult topics in Russian grammar
Enjoy Russian teacher Olga explains how to make verb aspects work for us, not FRIGHTEN us!
People who come to learn Russian at our language school often say that the most difficult thing in Russian grammar is aspects: imperfective and perfective. That’s why we decided to make more materials to help people understand this concept better.
What is it – imperfective and perfective verb aspects in the Russian language?
The thing is that in Russian one verb has at least two forms, to words indicating the same action but from different perspectives:
- ДЕЛАТЬ (imperfective) – СДЕЛАТЬ (perfective);
- ЧИТАТЬ (imperfective) – ПРОЧИТАТЬ (perfective);
- ПИСАТЬ (imperfective) – НАПИСАТЬ (perfective) and etc.
The difference between the two verbs might be very little – just a prefix sometimes. But there are verbs that sound quite different in imperfective and perfective forms: ПОКУПАТЬ (imperfective) – КУПИТЬ (perfective); БРАТЬ (imperfective) – ВЗЯТЬ (perfective).
In Russian, we don’t have so many tenses like in English, but we have aspects that help us to express the differences in actions:
- Imperfective is used to talk about the process, repeated action, and just focus on the action itself, on the fact of its happening.
- Perfective, on the contrary, focuses on the result of an action and on something that happened or will happen just once. Right, perfective just exists in the past and future, there is no present form.
Let’s see a few examples.
1. Сейчас я читаю книгу. – I’m reading a book now. (Imperfective form is used to show the process of reading at the moment, continuous action).
2. Я каждый день читаю книгу. – I read a book every day. (Imperfective is used to talk about a repeated action).
3. Я вчера читала книгу. – I read a book yesterday. (Imperfective is used just to inform about a fact of the action, that this action happened yesterday, but we know nothing about the result).
4. Вчера я прочитала эту книгу. – I read (I finished reading) this book yesterday. (Perfective is used to show the result of the action).
Watch the video, and listen to Olga’s explanations. Leave your comments if there are questions left or choose a Skype course with Olga!