ASPECT (ВИД). Verbal Aspect for Elementary Russian. Depending on how you count them, English has as many as SEVENTEEN tenses. I spent a few hours reading the New Yorker last night, as I have done for many years. I might (correctly) say any or all of the following:. I read the New Yorker.
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Verbal Aspect for Elementary Russian
Depending on how you count them, English has as many as SEVENTEEN tenses.
I spent a few hours reading the New Yorker last night, as I have done for many years. I might (correctly) say any or all of the following:
We could do this in the present and the future, too… But you get the idea.
But you are unaware of it, since in English, choice of tense is also choice of aspect.Some tenses indicate perfective aspect, others imperfective.
PERFECTIVE vs IMPERFECTIVE
In simplest terms, PERFECTIVE stresses the RESULT of an action while IMPERFECTIVE stresses the PROCESS.
When might I say…
I watched the Flintstones. (Perfective)
I was watching the Flintstones. (Imperfective)
No mistaking aspect…
Note that in English and in Russian, it’s very difficult to make denotative mistakes in aspectual choice. In other words, whatever choice I make, no one is going to be confused.
But for your purposes, verbs exist in PAIRS! One verb is imperfective, the other is perfective
It is CRUCIAL to understand that ASPECT and TENSE are separate; you already KNOW how to conjugate EVERY verb in Russian.
PRESENT TENSE IS ALWAYS IMPERFECTIVE!
To form the PAST PERFECTIVE, just conjugate the verb in the past (написал, выпила, посмотрели)
To form the FUTURE PERFECTIVE, just conjugate the perfective verbs as you would any first- or second-congugation verb: напишу, посмотрим, прочитаешь.
How do you choose aspect?
Just as in English, aspect reflects the speaker’s relationship (literally his view) on the event or action.
Do you want to stress the PROCESS (imperfective) or the RESULT (perfective) of an action?
Another way to think of it: Could you take a photograph of the sentence (perfective), or would you need to make a film (imperfective)?