I know that not all verbs have a perfective counterpart, while there are others which are perfective-only.

However, some verbs do have both aspects, but many times dictionaries don't indicate their counterpart directly.

For example, the verb тянуть. This verb spawns many derived verbs, yes. Растянуть, вытянуть, натянуть. However, these prefixes add a new meaning, and thus they don't just form the perfective counterpart of тянуть.

On gramota.ru, the definition of тянуть does not cite its perfective equivalent. Like other dictionaries.

Then I found, on cooljugator.com, a link to the verb потянуть as the perfective equivalent of тянуть.

After checking the definition of потянуть on a digital Толковый словарь русского языка, that verb is described as "начать тянуть".

My question is: when a dictionary does not link to the perfective counterpart of a given imperfective verb, what does that really mean? That the perfective counterpart is not important? Or that the imperfective verb has no true perfective counterpart without changing slightly its meaning?

  • I'm closing this because by definition questions asking about some resources are too broad and end up as a list of advices of different quality. Such advises are enough to be given as comments. My advise would be to google phrases like "совершенная форма глагола" plus the verb.
    – shabunc
    Sep 15, 2018 at 13:08
  • 4
    No reason to close this. For a Russian sure, this seems trivial, but for us it's quite an interesting question. Trigger happy as always, dude. I mean honestly this place just gets worse and worse. You get better answers on most forms than here because of the super moderation.
    – VCH250
    Sep 15, 2018 at 13:49
  • My last paragraph is not clear enough?
    – swrutra
    Sep 15, 2018 at 14:50
  • @VCH250 this is indeed an edge case - that's why it's not deleted but just closed - if it will get enough reopen votes - so let it be. Whenever you disagree - it's totally fine to raise your voice and you are more than welcome to inform about your concerns on Russian.Meta
    – shabunc
    Sep 15, 2018 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure about all cases when perfective counterpart is not shown in a dictionary, but in case of "тянуть" it might be that none of its perfective forms mean the same as тянуть itself. Затянуть is to fasten (a belt, a knot, etc), растянуть is to stretch (fabric), etc., while тянуть itself can mean any of those. So, there is no definite perfective counterpart.

  • in my opinion perfective of тянуть is по-тянуть, we never say тянуть ремень/узел, but затягивать, likewise with натянуть we never say тянуть перчатки, but натягивать, подтянуть - not тянуть лицо, but подтягивать, with рас-тянуть and вы-тянуть it's not as clear cut though, but considering that both have their own imperfective aspect рас-/вы-тягивать, and that по-тягивать on the other hand can't be classed as imperfective of по-тянуть since it has distinct aspect of its own (pull or sip little by little), it's possible to conclude that по-тянуть and тянуть do form a pair Sep 18, 2018 at 6:35
  • потянуть is perfective, but it has a sense of incompleteness. Тянуть ремень – why not? e.g. "мы тянули-тянули, но так и не смогли затянуть ремень". Using specific versions like "затягивать" or "растягивать" are more commonly used, but it doesn't mean that "тянуть" cannot mean the same.
    – Alissa
    Sep 18, 2018 at 15:23
  • я тянул на себя дверь vs я потянул на себя дверь - perfectly complete action in the latter; i've never heard тянуть in the sense of затягивать/натягивать and myself wouldn't use it in this sense, so though theoretically it's possible, in practice i don't think it occurs or occurs often enough to accept it as a rule Sep 18, 2018 at 17:22

My question is: when a dictionary does not link to the perfective counterpart of a given imperfective verb, what does that really mean? That the perfective counterpart is not important? Or that the imperfective verb has no true perfective counterpart without changing slightly its meaning?

Тянуть has several meanings, according to that it has got different perfective counterparts, or remains imperfective. Just some examples. And you will see the reason.

ТЯНУТЬ ТЯНУ́ТЬ, несовер. 1. кого (что). Натягивать, тащить или расправлять; напрягаясь, тащить к себе. (Pull, spread)

Тянуть невод – вытянуть, тянуть холст – натянуть

  1. что. То же, что вести (build)

    Тянуть телефонную линию – протянуть

3.Натягивая, волочить что-н. для того, чтобы укрепить вдоль, поперек чего-н.

Тянуть веревку через двор. Протянуть

  1. кого (что). Тащить, направляя куда-н. (Pull somewhere )

тянуть баржу. Тянуть кого-н. за рукав – потянуть

  1. что. Протягивать, вытягивать (give, hold, stretch)

    Тянуть руку. Тянуть шею– вытянуть

  2. перен., кого (что). Усиленно содействовать(help, promote) вытягивать.

Тянуть приятеля по службе. Тянуть неуспевающего ученика – вытянуть

  1. перен., кого (что). Настойчиво просить, убеждать(persuade ) пойти или поехать куда-н.

Тянуть в кино. Тянуть в гости. – потянуть.

  1. Влечь, привлекать. (Attract )

Его тянет (безл.) к родным местам (тянут родные места). – потянуть

9 безл., чем. О струе воздуха, запахе: распространяться.(spread)

Тянет холодом из окна. Тянет дымом.– потянуть

10 что. Всасывать, вбирать, поглощать.

Тянуть пиво (медленно пить)– втянуть, Тянуть все силы из кого-н. – вытянуть

  1. Медленно делать что-н.(not to hurry)

    Тянуть дело. Тянуть с ответом. Тянуть время. – потянуть

13 весить (weigh)

. Свёрток тянет пять килограмм.– потянуть

  1. обычно безл., что. Вызывать ощущение тяжести, давления или боли. (hurt)

Подтяжки тянут. Тянет (безл.) в плечах. (no)

  1. Красть, тащить.(steal )

Тянуть, что плохо лежит – стянуть

  • despite what the dictionary says, in my view потягивать is not imperfective of потянуть but rather a form in its own right which doesn't have perfective aspect, because it has a special meaning тянуть понемногу, whereas when we say потянуть we don't imply тянуть понемногу but начать тянуть, so in my opinion потянуть is a true perfective of тянуть Sep 17, 2018 at 11:03

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