Both words seem to be derived from the same root. Is one more favored in certain geographical areas? Or is one more closely related to Russian than the other?

Google translate list both as possible translations of "help," but doesn't differentiate their meanings in any significant way. Both have the same list of synonyms, except that допомагати also has "promote" and "avail."

1 Answer 1


Допомагати is an imperfective verb (aspect), and допомогти is a perfective verb (aspect). These are typical variations of verbs in Slavic languages, more in English here.

Imperfective verbs convey:

  • actions and states in progress, just ongoing states and actions, with significant course (in opinion of the speaker);
  • actions that serve as a background for other (perfective) actions, ex. коли зателефонували, я читав книгуI was reading the book when the telephone rang;
  • simultaneous actions, ex. читатиму книгу, коли брат писатиме листаI will be reading the book while brother will be writing the letter;
  • durative actions, lasting through some time, e.g. кричавhe was shouting, смикатиметьсяit will be vibrating;
  • aimless motions, ex. ходжуI am walking here and there;
  • multiple (iterative) actions, ex. дописуватиto insert many times to the text, виходитимемоwe will go out (many times);
  • actions heading towards no or an unspecified purpose: писатиму листаI will be writing the letter;
  • continuous states, ex. стоятимуI will be standing.

Perfective verbs can refer to the past or to the future, but not to present actions – an action happening now cannot be ended, so it cannot be perfective. Perfective verbs convey:

  • states and actions that are seen as having finished (even if a second ago) or becoming so in a future time-point, have no significant course, have short duration or are treated as a whole by the speaker, ex. закричавhe shouted, перемішавit will stir (only once);
  • single-time actions, ex. дописатиto insert to the text, вийшовhe went out;
  • actions whose goals are seen as having been achieved, even if with difficulty, ex. прочитавI have read, дочиталаshe finished reading and found what she had sought;
  • circumstancial actions leading up to a state, ex. покохалаshe came to love, зрозумієшyou (sg.) will understand, взнаємоwe will get to know;
  • the beginning of the action or the state, ex. встануI will stand up (and I will stand), почервонівhe reddened; the end of the action or the state, ex. доспівайsing until the end;
  • actions executed in many places, on many objects or by many subjects at the same time, ex. повиносивhe carried out (many things), виламаютьthey will break out in many places, повирізатиto cut off many items;
  • actions or states when they are seen as constituting a lexeme-specific block of time (Aktionsart), ex. постоюI will stand for a little time, побувhe was (there) for some time.
  • A postscript. How to understand which verb is? Sometimes prefixes help but need just learn those verbs or use dictionaries. Aug 14, 2017 at 17:45
  • I thought aspect only changed from prefixes. Thanks! Aug 14, 2017 at 20:29
  • Yeah, often not prefixes, but suffixes matter. Носитинести, возитивезти, зазначатизазначити, пробачатипробачити, etc.
    – Sasha
    Aug 15, 2017 at 9:04

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