So how will you know what the perfective form of a verb is?
You will need to learn a pair of imperfective and perfective forms of each verb. Almost all of the verbs that you have encountered so far described present actions so they are imperfective verbs. You can find a complete list of their perfective partners in the vocabulary list for this unit.
In Ме́жду на́ми, we will present new verbs as pairs: imperfective infinitive slash (/) perfective infinitive.
One of frequent ways that Russian makes perfective verbs is by adding a prefix to the imperfective verb. This prefix does not change the lexical meaning of the verb, it only makes the verb perfective. Here are some examples of perfectives formed by prefix:
|де́лать / сде́лать||писа́ть / написа́ть||чита́ть / прочита́ть|
|гото́вить / пригото́вить||слу́шать / послу́шать||смотре́ть / посмотре́ть|
|чи́стить / почи́стить||звони́ть / позвони́ть||ждать / подожда́ть|
The second common way of making an aspect pair is to start with the perfective and add a suffix to make its imperfective partner. The suffixes in the imperfective verbs are underlined below.
|oпа́здывать / опозда́ть||расска́зывать / рассказа́ть||забыва́ть / забы́ть|
|открыва́ть / откры́ть||начина́ть / нача́ть||зака́нчивать / зако́нчить|
|встава́ть / встать|
The third common pattern for aspect pairs is that the imperfective verb will be a first conjugation verb, while its perfective partner will be a second conjugation verb.
|повторя́ть / повтори́ть||объясня́ть / объясни́ть||покупа́ть / купи́ть|
|отвеча́ть / отве́тить|
While most verb pairs are build on the same root, there are some mismatched pairs, or pairs where the connections are not apparent.
|говори́ть / сказа́ть||брать / взять||понима́ть / поня́ть|
There are some verbs that just focus on processes (e.g., быть, рабо́тать, жить ) and do not have a perfective partner.
Match each imperfective verb with its perfective counterpart.
The aspect of the verb does not change the basic conjugation patterns for first and second conjugation verbs that you have already learned.
You will need to learn the stems and conjugation types of new verbs as you encounter them.
When we ask a yes/no question in the past tense, we can focus the question in one of two ways: we can ask if the action has ever happened or we can ask if an action has reached its anticipated result.
When asking if an action has ever happened or what activity was going on, we use imperfective verbs in the question.
If we know something of the context and are interested in knowing if an expected result has been reached, we can ask the question with the perfective verb.
|Вы чита́ли «Войну́ и мир»?||Implication: Have you ever done this?
You are not interested in whether they finished or not.
|Вы прочита́ли «Войну́ и мир»?||Implication: You were expected to do this.
Have you accomplished this?
Below there are some questions that Katya asked Amanda in their opening conversation. Identify which aspect Katya used in her question, and tell why she chose that aspect.
|Что ты де́лала вчера́?||imperfective||perfective|
|Ты всё написа́ла?||imperfective||perfective|
|Он забы́л компью́тер?||imperfective||perfective|
Listen to the following questions, paying close attention to whether or not the verb is imperfective (asking if an action has ever happened) or perfective (asking if an anticipated result was reached). Mouse over your choice to check your answer.
|Asking if action happened or
if you've ever done the action
|Asking if anticipated result
has been reached.
We can apply negation to verbs of either aspect, as you can see from these examples from our story line when Amanda says:
|Поэ́тому я не спала́.||I didn’t sleep. [She didn’t engage in this activity at all]|
|Нет, не опозда́ла.||I wasn’t late. [She may have been running behind schedule, but she
did not accomplish the result of “being late.” She showed up on time.]
When we negate an imperfective verb in the past tense (не спала́), we signal that the action did not happen at all, that the subject did not even engage in the activity.
When we negate a perfective verb in the past tense (не опозда́ла), we signal that the subject might have engaged in the activity, but did not accomplish its anticipated result, or that the subject did not complete an action that was expected.
Listen to the following statements from Caitlin. Paying close attention to determine whether she did not engage in an activity at all (negation with an imperfective verb) or whether she did not achieve an anticipated result of her activity or didn’t do an expected action (negation of a perfective verb). Mouse over your choice to check your answer.
|Caitlin did not do
the action at all
|Caitlin did not do
something she was
expected to do
You know that the preposition у can go with the genitive to express the notion of “having” in Russian. The preposition у can also be used in Russian to express the idea “at someone’s place” / “in someone’s space.” So, when Katya and Lena discuss Amanda’s whereabouts they conclude:
Она́ была́ у Же́ни. = She was at Zhenya’s house.
The preposition по́сле is used with nouns and pronouns in the genitive case to express the idea of «after something», and in Russian you should use по́сле only when you have a noun or pronoun to put right after it. For example:
|по́сле конце́рта||after the concert|
|по́сле ле́кции||after the lecture|
|по́сле фи́льма||after the film|
|по́сле за́втрака||after breakfast|
|по́сле э́того||after that|
Be careful, however, since not every use of "after" in English will be expressed as по́сле in Russian. In cases where "after" introduces a clause, you should plan to use the conjunction когда rather than the preposition после as there is no way to put a clause into the genitive case. For example:
|After I read the article, I started writing my composition.||Когда́ я прочита́л статью́, я на́чал писа́ть сочине́ние.|