To buy: koupit vs kupovat


BE - Dutch
Hi everyone,

I'm currently teaching myself some basic but very important and commonly used verbs, such as the verb "to buy".

Still being a total beginner, I'm rather confused right now as to which form of the verb is generally used.

For instance, does one use the imperfective "kupovat" or the perfective "koupit" in the following sentences:

"I want to buy bread": Chci koupit/kupovat chléb.

"I buy the book": Kupuji/Koupím knihu.

Anyone who can explain, please?

  • francisgranada

    Senior Member
    A "simplified" explanation:

    Kupovat has a durative or iterative aspect e.g.:
    - Právě kupuji knihy - I am (just) buying books.
    - (Teď) nechci kupovat knihy - (Now) I don't want to buy books (i.e. I don't want to spend my time with buying books)
    - Každý den kupuji chléb - I (used to) buy bread every day.
    - Nechci kupovat knihy - I don't want to buy books (in general, i.e. not a concrete book and not only once)

    - Koupím (si) tu knihu - I (will) buy this book
    - Nechci koupit tu knihu - I don't want to buy this book

    (the traslation depends on the context as there are no exact equivalents in English)
    Last edited:


    BE - Dutch
    Many thanks for the excellent and simplified explanation!

    I was more or less aware of the distinction between the perfective and imperfective, but right now it isn't much of a priority and I wanted to determine which of the two forms might be worth knowing more at this point in the learning process.

    I suppose the use of "dát" vs "dávat" is analogous?

    In any case, I'm going to add both to my list of basic verbs.

    Thanks again,


    BE - Dutch
    Yes, however this verb has many "phraseological" usages (as in other languages, too), so you may eventually start a new thread about the verb dát/dávat.

    Alright, thanks! I'll just stick to the verb conjugations for the time being and read up on the imperfect and perfective.

    All the best,