(For a friendlier, written out description of aspect, see BAnna's Log) Tenses · For the present tense, always use imperfective Я вижу её. = I see her. · Perfective future tense Я увижу её. = I will see her. · There are 2 ways to use the imperfective for future tense Я буду видеть её. = I will be seeing her. Я вижу её завтра. = I see her tomorrow. (this is called the planned future) · Perfective past tense Я увидел её. = I saw her. · Imperfective past tense Я видел её. = I saw her. “Pure” Imperfective rules · Actions in process, or incomplete, are imperfective Мы шли. = We were walking. · Actions repeated habitually or unspecified numbers of times are imperfective. So terms like часто, всегда and кажды день normally take the imperfective. Она часто забывала. = She often forgot. · Verbs used to denote states (rather than actions) are usually imperfective Он был дома. = He was home. · Expressions of duration require the imperfective Я писал весь день. = I was writing all day. · Actions attempted but without result are imperfective Я вам звонил. = I called you (but you weren't home). · Use the imperfective for commands to do something repeatedly or without time limitation. Говорите по-русски, пожалуйста. = Speak Russian please. · For infinitive verbs used after the verbs начинать/начать, продолжать, кончать/кончить always use imperfective. Я начинаю понимать. = I'm beginning to understand. · Use the imperfective for invitations. Садитесь. = Take a seat. · For insistent commands that imply the nuance “you know you’re supposed to do it” use the imperfective. Открывайте! = Open it! (you know you're supposed to) · After Давай(те) не use the imperfective, because the imperfective future is implied. Давайте не (будем) говорить об этом. = Let's not talk about that. “Pure” Perfective rules · Completed single events are perfective Мы пошли домой. = We went home. · Sequences of actions are perfective, unless they are repeated actions (see above), if one event must be completed before the other one starts Я позвонил и сказал что приду. = I phoned and said I'd come. · Use the perfective for commands involving single events. Скажите, пожалуйста... = Please tell me... · With infinitives, to show something is impossible, use the perfective. Открыть окно не возможно. = It's impossible to open the window. “Mixed” rules · If there was no action use the imperfective unless the action was expected to happen or there was a failure to do something Она не звонила. = She didn't call. (imperfective) Она не позвонила. = She didn't call (even though she was expected to).(perfective) · In the past tense, imperfective is used when the fact of completion is irrelevant. Вы читали «Войну и Мир»?. = Have you read «War and Peace»? (it doesn't matter if you finished)(imperfective) Вы прочитали «Войну и Мир»?. = Have you finished «War and Peace»? (perfective) · In the past tense, imperfective is used when the completed action is reversed or undone. Я открывал окно. = I opened the window (and later closed it again - imperfective). Я открыл окно. = I opened the window (and it's still open - perfective). · Use the imperfective for negative commands unless it’s just a friendly warning. Не спрашивай! = Don't ask! (imperfective) Не нада покупать эту книгу. Don’t buy that book. (imperfective) Не упади. = Don’t fall; watch your step. (perfective) Verbs of Motion (VOM) rules · VOM verbs are often shown in multidirectional/unidirectional pairs in text books, like ходить/идти. This isn’t the same as an imperfective/perfective pair. Both of these verbs are imperfective. · There are 14 VOM pairs, for total of 28 verbs, all of which are imperfective. They can all be made perfective by adding the prefix по. Note the minor spelling change that occurs for по + идти = пойти. По adds the meaning “a little” to multidirectional verbs. Давай походим по парку. = Let’s wander around in the park. (perfective) · По adds the meaning “to make a complete trip in one direction” or “to start/set off” to unidirectional verbs. Пойдём! = Let’s go! (perfective) · The prefix с, which can be added to all VOMs except бродить,adds the meaning “to make one round trip”. · There are 11 other prefixes that are commonly used with VOMs (one of them just happens to be a c with a different meaning). Unlike the по and с prefixes mentioned above, when you add the prefix to a multidirectional VOM, you get an imperfective VOM. When you add one to a unidirectional verb, you get a perfective VOM. For example, for the prefix вы выходить = a multidirectional imperfective verb of motion выйти = a unidirectional perfective verb of motion · Imperfective VOMs are normally used to denote a single round trip in the past tense. This is due to the fact that the action is reversed or undone, as mentioned above. Летом приезжали мои русские друзья. = My Russian friends came in the summer (and have now gone home).