Perfective or imperfective aspect? “Я делал” or “Я сделал”?
by Svetlana Mart

Many students who study the Russian language on the Russian courses encounter the problem of understanding verb forms in Russian. Let’s find out about them together, what they means and why they are needed.

There is one meaning but there are two forms.

In the Russian language each verb has its pair. What does it mean? It means that while studying verbs you will have to study two words, two forms of the verb – perfective and imperfective. As linguists we call them СВ and НСВ.

For example:

 НСВ  СВ Meaning 
 Делать Сделать   To do
Покупать Купить To buy
Говорить Сказать To speak, to say

Do all verbs have two forms in Russian? No, not all. But verbs with one form are quite rare and usually they are of no interest for beginners who study Russian.

For example:

We use 1 form for:

1) Words which do not have the aim to achieve result (жить (to live), ненавидеть (to hate), обожать (to adore))

2) Most words of statement (спать (to sleep), молчать (be silent), смеяться (to laugh)

3) Some impersonal words (следует, не спится) 

And other words, that you will study in advanced level of Russian language.



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