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Imperfective verb question


Zooey 4 | 8
22 Sep 2014 #1
Hello, everyone in cyberspace.

I have a question about imperfective verbs. I know that you can form an imperfective verb to express something that's in the process of being done in the present only, so I have a few questions about the rules governing those verb tenses. Many Poles put a suffix before a verb; for example, the verb pić changes to wypić in the imperfective tense.

1.) How do you know what suffix to put before a verb? For example, how do you know that czytać becomes przeczytać?

2.) Do imperfective verbs describe things that occur occasionally, frequently, or not enough?
pam
22 Sep 2014 #2
Many Poles put a suffix before a verb; for example, the verb pić changes to wypić in the imperfective tense.

You have this the wrong way round. The present tense is used with Imperfective verbs.
Wypić is the perfective form of the verb Pić and is used for past, future, conditional tenses.
OP Zooey 4 | 8
23 Sep 2014 #3
So the perfective forms of verbs can't be used to describe the present tense? The imperfective form of verbs cannot be used for the past or the future tense, only the perfective?
pam
23 Sep 2014 #4
So the perfective forms of verbs can't be used to describe the present tense?

No, because to put it as simply as possible, the perfective tense refers to actions that have been or will be completed. It is a tense more concerned with the results of an action. The present tense means that the action is occurring now and so the perfective tense is never used.

The imperfective form of verbs cannot be used for the past or the future tense, only the perfective?

This is where it gets confusing I'm afraid.
There are past, future and conditional forms of Imperfective verbs too, as well as present.
This is one of the harder aspects of Polish grammar to understand.
Have a look at these threads, they may be of some help:

https://polishforums.com/language/perfective-imperfective-grammar-29677/
https://polishforums.com/language/help-understand-imperfective-perfective-verbs-54279/

I also forgot to add that przeczytać is the perfective form of czytać.
OP Zooey 4 | 8
23 Sep 2014 #5
Ok, but before I get more confused, can I ask you another question? What is the conditional form of the imperfective verb mean? Does it mean that if A happens, B might happen? I know about the past and future forms of imperfective verbs, but I don't know how to form them into coherent sentences.

You tell me that przeczytać is the perfective of czytać (to read). What happens to być in a sentence with przeczytać? Does być change to reflect the present tense? I am trying to tell someone that I'm currently reading a book, but I haven't finished it yet. I thought that I should use przeczytać to express this fact.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,343
23 Sep 2014 #6
The imperfective for read [czytać]:
Czytałem książkę (past) - czytam książkę (present) - będę czytać [or będę czytał/a] ksiązkę (future).

The perfective for read [czytać]:
Przeczytałem ksiażkę (past) - przeczytam książkę (future).

The conditional for read [czytać]:
imperfective : Gdybym czytała tę ksiażkę, wychowywałabym swoje dzieci inaczej.
perfective : Gdybym przeczytała tę książkę, wychowałabym swoje dzieci inaczej.
cinek 2 | 345
23 Sep 2014 #7
What happens to być in a sentence with przeczytać?

What do you mean? 'Być' is one of the few verbs that have no perfective form.
Give us some examples of the sentences you have a problem with, or at least English sentences you're trying to translate.

Cinek
pam
23 Sep 2014 #8
I am trying to tell someone that I'm currently reading a book, but I haven't finished it yet. I thought that I should use przeczytać to express this fact.

Czytam książkę ale nie skonczyłam jej jeszcze czytać.
The Imperfective form, czytać, is used here. You are currently reading the book, so this is present tense and therefore not perfective.
My Polish grammar is far from perfect, so you would be better taking advice from someone Polish I think.
Please look at the threads I linked you to though. In the first one the OP is asking the same question as you.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,343
23 Sep 2014 #9
My Polish grammar is far from perfect, so you would be better taking advice from someone Polish I think.

Your advice has been actually very good here, Pam. In my view, the OP tries to tackle too many problems at a time, so confusion arises, both in her and in people who try to help.


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