11.7 - Aspects in summary

Understanding the system of aspects in Ukrainian, and how imperfective and perfective verbs are used in sentences, is essential for anyone wishing to read efficiently. Aspects not only inform the reader of the different types of action, but also transfer a variety of shades of meaning.

A full and exhaustive discussion of aspects and their use is not possible within the scope of these materials, but it is to be hoped that Units 8 and 11 provide a starting point.

In summary:

  • the imperfective is used to describe prolonged, incomplete or interrupted actions and repeated actions; it is as if the speaker or observer is involved in the process of the action;
  • the perfective describes completed actions or points in a sequence, or those which are limited by time or in another way (including those which will definitely be completed in the future), as if the speaker/observer is distanced from the action;
  • the perfective infinitive is normally formed on the basis of the imperfective, mainly by adding a prefix or by internal change to the stem;
  • once you know the forms of both infinitives, the tenses are formed according to the usual rules;
  • as always, consulting a good dictionary, particularly a monolingual one, will provide additional help.

N.B. Unit 11 has not touched on the topic of verbs of motion, which will be dealt with in detail in Unit 13.

For a reading passage and practice on aspects, please go to the next page.

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala