I just can't seem to understand when to use imperfective and perfective for the future tense. Also which way is more common to form the perfective form? Thank you to anyone who can help.

1 Answer 1


This answer attempt is very informal and short, but I'll try:

  • If time period is specified, e.g. завтра (tomorrow), or на наступному тижні (on the next week), or протягом наступного тижня (during the next week), or etc, then perfective tense expresses that the action will be finished during that period of time. E.g.

    Я малюватиму (буду малювати) завтра.

    means something like

    I will draw (will be drawing) tomorrow.


    Я намалюю завтра.

    is more like

    I will finish my drawing tomorrow.

  • If time period is not specified, then perfective tense more focuses on the confidence that the action will be completed at all (not just abandoned). For example

    Я намалюю.

    implies that the drawing will be finished (at unspecified point of time, but it will be), while

    Я малюватиму (буду малювати).

    probably more focuses on the process itself, but doesn't imply successful completion (though it doesn't imply cancellation either).

Also I'd like to notice that the correspondence between imperfective and perfective verbs is usually many-to-many (not one-to-one). And the verb choice can imply additional details. For example намалюю is more like “I will draw (and finish it)” while домалюю is more like “I will finish the drawing (that I had already started before)”.

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