Near future or far future by the imperfective

yuryhashi

Member
Japanese
I think that the imperfective can express near future and also far futrure actions if it is used in the present tense. But if it is used in the past tense, it can express a near future action only.
Examples:
Электричка отправлялась в 6 часов вечера.

Я через два года уезжаю в Киев.
Я через два года уезжал в Киев. (<= I think this sentence is wrong)


Is my thinking correct?
 
  • Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    I think that the imperfective can express near future and also far futrure actions if it is used in the present tense. But if it is used in the past tense, it can express a near future action only.
    Examples:
    Электричка отправлялась в 6 часов вечера.

    Я через два года уезжаю в Киев.
    Я через два года уезжал в Киев. (<= I think this sentence is wrong)


    Is my thinking correct?

    Strictly speaking, there is no future with the verb in the past tense. Your first sentence, taken alone, means pure past action, and only from the wider context we can know that this action is in the future relative to some other action, such as:

    Электричка отправлялась в 6 часов вечера, а ему еще надо было успеть заехать в магазин.

    "Отправлялась" is really in the future relative to "надо было", but this temporal relationship is only semantic and not grammatical. And such a way you can describe an action even in the far future relative to another action:

    Они познакомились в 1995 году, он заканчивал институт еще только через 4 года, а она - через год.

    So your last sentence is correct, although can be used only in very special context.
     

    yuryhashi

    Member
    Japanese
    Thank you so much for your explanation.

    Они познакомились в 1995 году, он заканчивал институт еще только через 4 года, а она - через год.

    Can I say, "Но он бросил учиться через два года" after the above sentence?
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Они познакомились в 1995 году, он заканчивал институт еще только через 4 года, а она - через год.

    Can I say, "Но он бросил учиться через два года" after the above sentence?
    Sure, you can. You can also use "historical future": Но он бросит учебу через два года, уйдет в армию, а она выйдет замуж за его лучшего друга".
     

    yuryhashi

    Member
    Japanese
    Sure, you can. You can also use "historical future": Но он бросит учебу через два года, уйдет в армию, а она выйдет замуж за его лучшего друга".
    Thank you for your explanation!
     

    Ёж!

    Senior Member
    Русский
    Your first sentence, taken alone, means pure past action, and only from the wider context we can know that this action is in the future relative to some other action
    On the other hand, the meaning of the verb «отправляться» in most contexts looks like 'to have intent to depart', 'to go for departing' rather than just 'to depart', because departing most commonly is looked upon as a momentary action, while the verb is imperfective. So, the sense, by default, is future, in a way, especially since the momentary character of the planned departing is reinforced by the words «в шесть часов вечера».
     
    Last edited:

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Yes, Ёж! makes a good point about the specific use of the imperfective here. I would bring out this nuance in English by saying "the train was to leave" or "the train was going to leave" or "the train was leaving" or "the train was due to leave".
    "The train left at 6.00 p.m., but he still had to find time to go to the shop" is also possible though, because (as Maroseika notes in #2) we now have context which places the action (of the train leaving) in the future, even though a past tense is used.
     
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    Ёж!

    Senior Member
    Русский
    I am not sure what you mean by 'tram'. «Электричка» means «пригородный поезд»; usually it runs from the center city to local little towns and dachahoods, and back.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Oops, my mistake! Thanks for pointing that out, Ёж! I am used to seeing the same word in Slovak, where it's (almost always) a tram, so that's another false friend to add to my list. I've corrected the post now.
     
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