Most Russian verbs have two aspects
- 'imperfective' and 'perfective'. To talk about an action in general, or one that will go on for some time, perhaps be repeated, the imperfective
is used. This is the one used in all the examples under the verb entries above and it is probably the more common.
However, to focus on one specific occasion, or on the result of a future or past action, the perfective must be used. Perfective verbs are often, though not always, formed by attaching a prefix to the imperfective verb, e.g.:
A perfective verb has only two tenses - past and future.
Я прочитаю журнал means 'I shall read (and finish) the journal'.
Я прочитал журнал means 'I finished the journal'.
All perfective verbs are noted in the glossary.
(See grammar in lesson 14.)