Polish Verb Aspect
Like other Slavic languages, Polish has verb aspect. This means that almost every verb has an imperfective and a perfective form.
In short, in imperfective forms:
– attention is being focused on the duration of an action. It is not important if this action has finished or will be finished.
– or it is indicated that the action was, is, or will be repeated.
On the other hand, in perfective forms:
– attention is being focused on the result/completion of an action.
– or it is indicated that the action was or will be performed once.
Oni wygrywali mecz.
(They were winning the match).
This sentence uses an imperfective verb because there is no attention put on the endpoint of the action. It is unknown if “they” actually won the game or not. It is simply known that at some point in the game they were beating the other team. Since the end result is not known, there is a chance that “they” still won, or that they lost.
Oni wygrali mecz.
(They won the match).
This sentence uses a perfective verb because there is focus put on the result of the match, which is that “they” won. It is definite that “they” won the match.
Ona zawsze kupowała jedzenie w sklepie.
(She always bought food in the store)
This sentence uses an imperfective verb because it implies that she bought food in the store multiple times, not just once.
Compare with- Ona wczoraj kupiła jedzenie w sklepie.
(She bought food in the store yesterday)
This sentences used a perfective verb because it is implied that she bought food in the store once. This action was not repeated.
– Only a few verbs do not have both an imperfective and perfective aspect.
– The polish verb system is complex so there is no one complete rule to determine whether a verb is in the imperfective or perfective aspect. Here are some general rules:
Some perfective verbs are formed by adding a prefix to the imperfective verb.
|go (by vehicle)
Some perfective verbs have different stem changes from the imperfective verb.
Some verbs have completely different forms in the imperfective and perfecive.
It is important to note that:
– Imperfective verbs appear in the past, present, future, conditional, and imperative tenses.
– Perfective verbs appear in the past, future, conditional, and imperative tenses (Perfective verbs have no present tense)