What are the 3 aspects of verbs

As in other Slavic languages, verbs in Russian are differentiated according to their aspect. Almost every verb has an aspect pair that expresses the completed and the unfinished aspect of a verb.

When translating into German, both types of these aspects are translated with the same German verb, since German does not recognize this distinction between completed and unfinished verbs.

When translating from German, but of course also when speaking and writing Russian, a certain amount of sensitivity is required to apply the appropriate aspect, since using the "wrong" aspect usually changes the meaning, which can lead to problems in understanding.

Examples of aspect pairs in Russian:

unfinished aspect

perfect aspect

German verb

писать

написать

write

видеть

увидеть

see

учить

выучить

learn

читать

прочитать

read

слышать

услышать

Listen

говорить

поговорить

talk

рассказывать

рассказать

tell

спрашивать

спросить

ask

отвечать

ответить

reply

звонить

позвонить

call

покупать

купить

to buy

работать

отработать

work

ремонтировать

отремонтировать

repair

For some verbs, the aspect partners have a completely different form. Check out some of these exceptions:

unfinished aspect

perfect aspect

German verb

брать

взять

to take

ловить

поймать

to catch

класть

положить

lay

искать

найти

search and find

In a separate chapter we present the formation of the aspects to you. There you will find many examples of how unfinished verbs are formed from completed verbs and vice versa.

Verbs that have only one aspect

There are a number of verbs of which - due to their meaning - no aspect pairs can be formed.

Verbs that only appear in the completed aspect

Verbs with prefixes за- and по-, which denote the beginning of an action

e.g. drive off (поехать), start running (побежать), зашагать (start walking, march off) etc.

Verbs with the prefix -по, which denote a time-limited action

полежать ([lying around for a while]), посидеть ([sitting for a while]), помечтать ([dreaming for a while]), пораздумать (thinking [for a while]) etc.

Verbs with prefixes пере-, от-, до-, which denote the end, the result of an action

отшуметь (let off steam), допроситься (persuade sb. to fulfill a request), перепортить (spoil)

Verbs with the suffix -ну- denote the intense and sudden beginning of the action

хлынуть (to rain), грянуть (to thunder)

Some verbs with the suffix -и-

понадобиться (to be used), очутиться (to advise)

Verbs that only appear in the unfinished aspect

Verbs without prefixes with the suffix -ыва- (-ива-), denoting an action that can be repeated often (rarely used in modern Russian)

говаривал (spoke), сиживал (sat), видывал (saw)

Written verbs with a prefix and suffix -ыва- (-ива-), -а, -е, -и, which denote a process without an achieved result

заискивать (ingratiate oneself), сожалеть (regret)

Verbs with the prefix по- and the suffix -ыва - (- ива-), which denote a short and non-continuous action

покашливать (clear your throat), поглядывать (look from time to time)

Verbs with prefixes под-, при- and suffixes -ыва- (-ива-), -ва-, which denote an accompanying action

подсвистывать (whistling on the side), приговаривать (speaking to yourself)

Verbs with the prefix пере- and affix –ся, which denote a long-lasting and reciprocal action

перекликаться (calling out to each other), перестреливаться (shooting at each other)

Verbs that contain both aspects
There are also verbs that have both the completed and the unfinished aspect.

Verbs that contain both aspects

Verbs with the suffixes -ова (ть), -ирова (ть),

some verbs with suffixes -а (ть), -и (ть), -е (ть)

организовать (organize), телефонировать (phone calls), обещать (promise), венчать (church church), женить (marry), казнить (order) (execute), вреалеть, etc.

For some verbs, the aspect also depends on the lexical meaning.

Sometimes the aspect is just expressed by changing the emphasis.

Толпа бежала за ними. (A crowd ran after them) (unfinished) - Кто-то бежал из Москвы, и велено всех задерживать. (Somebody fled Moscow and everyone was ordered to stop) (completed);

родилa (to give birth) - completed and родила (to give birth) - unfinished.

The following chapter explains the formation of the aspects of Russian verbs.