Polish Language Blog

Future Tense of Perfective and Imperfective Verbs Posted by on Aug 14, 2009 in Grammar

One of you (once again, I can always count on you, my fab readers!) wanted to know more about this whole verb aspect issue. More specifically, how to tell whether a verb is perfective or imperfective by looking at its future tense form.

And finally, this is one thing that is actually very simple, easy and straightforward in Polish. Really!

Let’s use these two verbs that you should already know from the previous post about aspect: pomóc and pomagać (to help).

Which one of those is perfective? If you know how to create future tense forms of Polish verbs, finding out the aspect is a piece of cake.

Take a look at all the future tense forms of “pomóc”:

  • ja (I) – pomogę
  • ty (you, singular) – pomożesz
  • on, ona, ono (he, she, it) – pomoże
  • my (we) – pomożemy
  • wy (you, plural) – pomożecie
  • oni, one (they, masculine, feminine) – pomogą

and now let’s see what happens with “pomagać”:

  • ja (I) – będę pomagać (or for feminine “I” – będę pomagała; masculine – będę pomagał)
  • ty (you, singular) – będziesz pomagać (or for feminine you – będziesz pomagała; masculine – będziesz pomagał)
  • on, ona, ono (he, she, it) – będzie pomagać (or for she – będzie pomagała, he – będzie pomagał, it – będzie pomagało)
  • my (we) – będziemy pomagać (or for feminine we – będziemy pomagały; masculine or mixed gender – będziemy pomagali)
  • wy (you, plural) – będziecie pomagać (or for feminine you plural – będziecie pomagały; masculine or mixed gender – będziecie pomagali)
  • oni, one (they, masculine, feminine) – będą pomagać (or for feminine they – będą pomagały; masculine or mixed gender – będą pomagali)

See the difference? The perfective form is just a single word without any “będę” in front of it. And that’s exactly how you can tell if a verb is perfective or not. All the double bits with “będę/będziesz, etc” are imperfective verbs.

I told you it would be easy. What may not be easy is how to create all those future tense forms. But that’s a whole another story for another blog post.

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  1. Przytula Guy:

    or you could name it : Dokonany/Niedokonany form of verb.
    and if using present tense for dokonany this is the future tense…
    best regards, Guy

  2. Gabriel:

    That post shows that polish sometimes can be easy, hehe. Only sometimes…!

  3. Linda:

    Yes, i immediately see the difference in use – but what is the translation? I don’t know what perfective and imperfective means, so what is the difference between:
    Ja pomogę
    Ja będę pomagać/pomogała

    I thought “ja pomogę” meant “I am helping or I help” ie not future at all

    Am I just being thick??


  4. barsorro:

    Linda, the present perfective is used for future actions that are going to be (at least in plan) to be completed and to bring about a result.

    “Pomogę Ci!” –> “I’m going to help you! / I’ll help you!” (You don’t need to be afraid or look for other assistance).

    The function of the imperfective is to say that somebody will be doing something at a certain point in time, that an action will be taking place over a certain period of time — continuously, or repeatadly.

    “Nie mogę Cię odwiedzić dziś po południu. Będę pomagała mojej siostrze w odrobiać lekcje.” –> “I can’t visit you today in the afternoon. I will be helping my sister do her homework.”

    “Możemy już właściwie wypisać Pana ze szpitala. Mam nadzieję, że ktoś będzie pomagał Panu w robieniu zakupów.” –> “We can actually discharge you from the hospital now. I hope that someone will help you do the shopping.” [literally: “… in doing the shopping.”] (This “someone” will, obviously, need to do that repeatedly — not just once).

    That’s it in a nutshell. Note that the perfective and imperfective aspects are subject to tense changes. You’ll find some helpful explanations in the Wikipedia article on Polish grammar:


    Sorry to have only so much time to explain at the moment.


  5. Varun:

    Polish Language translation and interpretation company in India.