11.1 - Aspects in general
A reminder: in Ukrainian the future and past tenses (and also infinitives) have two aspects: imperfective and perfective. The present tense is not normally described in terms of aspects, although it is imperfective (i.e. an incomplete or ongoing action) by its very nature.
Aspects are used to show what kind of action is being described.
|Example||Type of action||Aspect|
|We were at the theatre||setting the scene, state||imperfective|
|and were watching a play||ongoing action, process, not yet completed||imperfective|
|when someone's mobile went off.||one-off, completed action interrupting the situation described before||perfective|
|The man repeatedly tried to turn it off||repeated action, not brought to a conclusion||imperfective|
|but it kept ringing.||repeated/ongoing action||imperfective|
|People were really annoyed||state||imperfective|
|and an usher told him to leave.||completed, one-off action||perfective|
|I think the man has learnt his lesson||completed action, with no need for repetition in the future and a lasting effect (we hope!)||perfective|
|and will always check||repeated action, put in context by "always"||imperfective|
|that his mobile is switched off||state||imperfective|
|when he goes to the theatre.||repeated action; "when" here means "whenever"||imperfective|
The system of verb tenses and aspects can be shown as follows, using the verb "to look" in English as an example:
|imperfective||to be (in the process or state of) looking
to look (if the context makes clear that this is an incomplete or repeated action)
|I was (in the process or state of) looking
I used to look
I would look
I looked (if the context makes clear this is an incomplete action)
|I will be looking
I will look ... (if the context makes clear this is an incomplete action)
I am looking
do I look?
|perfective||to look (i.e. to complete or limit the action)||I have looked
I looked (completed one-off action)
|I will look (completed action)|
Other parts of the verb, for example imperatives (commands), participles and gerunds, also reflect aspect, so it is important to be accurate in recognising and rendering the impefective and perfective forms of verbs. To practise this please try Exercise 11.1A.