27.2 Verbal Aspect (Past Tense)

fried dumplings with onion and bacon

27.2 Verbal Aspect (Past Tense)

In this module, you will learn how verbal aspect operates in the past tense.

Завдання 1

Look at the photos and their captions. Then answer the questions that follow.

– Що ти роби́ла вчо́ра?
– Я роби́ла дома́шнє завда́ння.
A close-up image of several math equations
– Ти зроби́ла дома́шнє завда́ння з матема́тики?
– Ні, не зроби́ла. Воно́ ду́же важке́.

As with the infinitives, perfective verbs are used in the past tense to refers to a one-time action in specific circumstances, emphasizing the completion of this action (as in dialogue 2 above). Imperfective verbs in the past tense are used very often for simple statements of fact and convey actions in general, without specifying the circumstances. Thus, the response to the question “What did you do yesterday?” will most commonly utilize imperfective verbs:

Я спа́ла, роби́ла дома́шнє завда́ння і розмовля́ла по телефо́ну.

Perfective verbs will be used in such a response only if you intend to tell a more specific story in which the order of actions and their completion matter.

The formation of the past tense for perfective verbs is exactly the same as for imperfective verbs (on how to form the past tense, see modules 24.1 and 24.2).

Завдання 2

Read the conversation between two friends and mark all the perfective verbs in the past tense. Then answer the questions that follow.

Завдання 3

Complete the conversation below with the most appropriate verbs from the bank.

Завдання 4

Look at the photos and their captions. Then answer the questions that follow.

dog eating at bowl
Цуценя́ до́вго ї́ло м’я́со…

…і, наре́шті, з’ї́ло його́!
Uncooked Vareniki dumplings
Ми ціли́й день готува́ли варе́ники…
plate of varenniki
…і наре́шті приготува́ли!

Another important distinction between imperfective and perfective verbs in the past tense is that of process (expressed by the imperfective) vs. the completion/result of the action (expressed by the perfective) – as in the examples above.

These distinct meanings are often (but not always) emphasized with certain words and phrases:

for process

  • до́вго (for a long time)
  • ціли́й день (the whole day)
  • дві годи́ни (for two hours)
  • все лі́то (all summer)
  • бага́то ро́ків (for many years)
  • з ра́нку до ве́чора (from morning till night)

for completion

  • наре́шті (finally)
  • шви́дко (quickly)

Завдання 5

Complete the sentences below with the most appropriate verbs from the bank.

Завдання 6

Select the most appropriate verbs to complete the questions you hear.

Завдання 7

Read the text below the photo and mark all the verbs that convey habitual or repeated actions. Then answer the questions that follow.


Завдання 8

Examine the photos and their captions, and respond to the questions that follow.

A small group of people sitting in an outdoor space
Вчо́ра студе́нти сиді́ли разо́м бі́ля університе́ту
і вчи́ли нові́ англі́йські слова́.
A man walking through an outdoor space carrying books
Петро́ ви́вчив слова́ і до́бре написа́в тест.

Verbal aspect helps convey the sequence of actions in the past. Imperfective verbs are often used to signal simultaneous actions:

Я пи́ла ка́ву і чита́ла газе́ту.
(I was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper.)

Perfective verbs are used to signal actions that took place one after another:

Я ви́пила ка́ву і прочита́ла газе́ту. = Споча́тку я ви́пила ка́ву, а по́тім прочита́ла газе́ту.

Finally, imperfective verbs are used to convey an ongoing background action while perfective verbs convey what occurred against that background:

Ми сиді́ли в па́рку і тут поба́чили Мари́ну на велосипе́ді.
(We were sitting at the park and [suddenly] saw Maryna on a bicycle.)

Завдання 9

For each sentence you hear, indicate whether the actions took place simultaneously, one after another, or whether one action was completed during a longer background action.

Завдання 10

Complete the conversation below with the most appropriate verbs from the bank.

Мовний пазл

Look through the activities you have just completed and choose the correct statements to summarize what you have learned.

А тепе́р тест

Complete the text below by providing the appropriate verbs. Select words from the bank, changing their form to the past tense. You should use each verb only once.