Verb aspects are a thing that annoys many learners of Russian, Polish etc. Most learning resources just told me the basics of what they mean, but not how they function in practice.

This is a series where I, as an intermediate Polish learner, attempt to explain some grammatical features common to most Slavic languages in a simple, jargon-free and applicable way. I will be using Polish as my examples but I hope my notes will help learners of other languages too.

The perfective and imperfective verb-pairs took me a long time to figure out, but here’s what they are, in a nutshell:

The perfective aspect of verbs mean one thing: the thing is DONE. FINISHED. ONE ACTION.

The imperfective aspect of verbs can have two meanings:
1. the PROCESS of the action. Starting to do it, but not finishing it yet.
2. doing a thing REPEATEDLY.

Taking Polish as an example: zrobić – to have done; robić – to be in the process of doing OR to do repeatedly, regularly.

Now when to use which is something you need to get a feel for, but I’ll list some general principles I discovered. (I’ll be leaving the formation of the verb forms for another post.)

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