13.2 - Perfective future (2)

It should be obvious by now that the present and future perfective forms of verbs in Ukrainian have much in common. Some grammarians, in fact, categorise the two forms under one heading as "non-past".

Because of the similarity of stems and endings, it is often easy to confuse the present and future perfective when reading a Ukrainian text. The following notes are intended to help learners avoid this confusion.

1. There are a number of frequently used verbs where the prefix is part of the meaning, and is not, therefore, a marker of the perfective. In this type of verb the perfective infinitive will be formed through internal change (see pages 11.3 and 11.4). It is worth taking the time to learn these. Examples of verbs of this type are:

imperfective infinitive present perfective infinitive perfective future
відвідувати (visit) відвідую відвідати відвідаю
відкривати (open, discover) відкриваю відкрити відкрию
вивчати (study, learn) вивчаю вивчити вивчу
досліджувати (research) досліджую дослідити досліджу

Other frequently used verbs like this (with future perfectives in brackets) are: дозволити (дозволю), стати (стану), відбутися (відбудуся), захопитися (захоплюся), повідомити (повідомлю), почати (почну), пояснити (поясню), продовжити (продовжу), звертатися (звернуся), висловити (висловлю), зникати (зникну).

2. Be aware of those verbs where the only difference between the present and future perfective is the stress (which may not always be marked in a written text), for example:

imperfective infinitive present perfective infinitive perfective future
визнавати *
(acknowledge, recognise)
визнаю визнати я визнаю
виміряти (measure out) виміряю виміряти виміряю

* also other compounds of «знати»

3. Learn the exceptions:

imperfective infinitive present perfective infinitive perfective future
відповідати * (reply) відповідаю відповісти відповім
давати * (give) даю дати дам
приймати * (receive) приймаю прийняти прийму
брати (take) беру взяти (узяти) візьму

* also other compounds of these verbs

4. If you cannot easily identify the tense of a verb in a sentence, look at the general context and for specific clues (usually adverbs) which will suggest either an ongoing action in the present or a one-off action in the future, as, for example:

Я визнаю свою помилку - пробачте. I accept that I was in the wrong - apologies.
Я визнаю cвою помилку, якщо ви подасте мені докази. I will accept I'm in the wrong if you can prove it.
Робоча група закінчить проект у понеділок. The working group will complete the project on Monday.

To practise distinguishing between the present tense and the future perfective go to Exercise 13.2A and Exercise 13.2B.

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala