I've noticed that some imperfective verbs are converted to the perfective by just adding a prefix. However and oddly enough, sometimes there's an alternate imperfective formed from an internal modification of the prefixed verb itself!

I'm not taking into account verbs in which the prefix conveys a different meaning rather than just changing the verb aspect.

For example, делать, meaning "to do", is imperfective; if we add the prefix под, the word becomes подделать, which is perfective and means "to falsify". If we want to change the new verb to imperfective once again, then an internal modification is required, and thus it becomes подделывать.

Now to the point: the verb цвести ("to flourish") is imperfective and its perfective counterpart is расцвести. However, it seems that расцвести accepts two imperfectives: both the "original", unprefixed цвести, and a variation from the prefixed verb itself: расцветать.

The same goes for растянуть, which, apparently, accepts both тянуть and растягивать as imperfectives.

However, is there any difference in meaning, or are both imperfectives interchangeable?

  • Why only "расцвести" and "растянуть"? What about "зацвести", "отцвести", "затянуть", "оттянуть", "вытянуть", etc,? – Headcrab Aug 9 at 1:43
  • As I've mentioned, I'm not taking into account prefixes which add a new meaning rather than just changing aspect. Moreover, I gave just two examples because they seemed enough to ask my question. – swrutra Aug 9 at 10:48
  • 2
    The prefixes you used do add a new meaning. – Headcrab Aug 9 at 14:37

Generally the two imperfectives are not interchangeable but sometimes they can be:

Рвать цветы = (roughly same as) срывать цветы = pick flowers

But "срывать сроки" (break the deadlines) cannot be put as "рвать сроки".

Verbs such as расцветать, срывать are called "secondary imperfectives". Try googling that for more information.

Yes, there is a difference.

тянуть — to pull

растянуть – to stretch (not exactly, only as in "to stretch leather", not as in "to stretch arms", that would be вытянуть)

растягивать – to be stretching smth

Same goes for other verbs.

A prefixed verb is not just a version of an unprefixed one: prefixes modify the sense of verbs, and that is not limited to changing their 'perfectiveness'.

тянуть - to pull something (with an unknown result)

растянуть - to stretch something, to make it longer by pulling in two directions (or in one direction, with one end of it fixed)

растягивать - to do that stretching continuously or from time to time (imperfective version of растянуть)

натягивать - to pull on something

натянуть - perfective version of натягивать

Same with the other prefixed verbs having different sense: вытянуть/вытягивать, затянуть/затягивать, притянуть/притягивать, оттянуть/оттягивать, and so on.

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