Let's suppose I am grilling fish for a big party. I have grilled 20 fish and will grill 30 more. The grilled fish are immediately taken away to be given to the guests. A friend of mine comes in and sees me cooking. Then we have the following dialogue:

(1) Friend: How many fish will you grill?

(2) Mistuko: Thirty.

(3) Friend: How long will you be grilling fish?

(4) Mitsuko: One hour.

(5) Friend: And how many fish will you have grilled?

(6) Mitsuko: Fifty.

(7) Friend: So you will have been grilling fish for almost two hours!

(8) Mitsuko: Correct.

I am puzzled as to how I can translate this dialogue to Russian. The problem is that Future Simple and Future Perfect are both translated to Russian as the perfective future tense. The standard way of translating Sentences (1) and (5) is "сколько рыб ты пожаришь" despite that the meanings of Sentences (1) and (5) are very different. And I am also unsure how I can express the Future Perfect Continuous construction in Russian, i.e., Sentence (7).

My question is this: How can I elegantly but precisely translate the dialogue (1)-(8) to Russian?

My motivation to ask this question is to learn some general principles or tricks of elegantly but precisely expressing English Future Perfect constructions in Russian.

  • 2
    In English, the plural of fish is fish ;) Jun 27, 2019 at 15:47
  • @SergeySlepov : Cmon, "fishes" is a valid form, too. Look in the Oxford dictionary: lexico.com/en/definition/fish :)
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 27, 2019 at 16:18
  • @SergeySlepov : Fish is the more common form, so I have corrected my question. yet I think that fishes is not a wrong form either :)
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 27, 2019 at 16:22
  • "Fishes" refers to the number of different types—species. "Fish" refers to the food, regardless of number. Many languages do the same thing when animals can be both individuals and steaks) But the distinction is pedantic. Both are fine in any situation, in my opinion.
    – VCH250
    Jun 27, 2019 at 19:41
  • Along with mentioning multiple species of fish, 'fishes' is also applied to the Zodiaс sign Pisces, otherwise it's like "Fish are jumping and the cotton is high" :)
    – Alex_ander
    Jun 28, 2019 at 15:23

3 Answers 3


Since Russian doesn't have as many tense forms as English, you often need to use different adverbs or adverbial phrases to express the idea in a more precise way. But in fact, you can rely on context only and use bare Russian tense forms without any additional clarifying words, because Russian can well work this way, too.

The idea of the Future Perfect Tense can be clarified by using к этому/тому времени, for example:

Come to me at 7 p.m., I'll have already done the work. - Приходи ко мне в 7 вечера, к тому времени я уже выполню работу.

As for your dialog, it'll be something like this, elegantly and precisely:

(1) Друг: Сколько рыбы тебе ещё жарить?

(2) Мицуко: Тридцать штук.

(3) Друг: И сколько ты ещё будешь жарить?

(4) Мицуко: Ещё час.

(5) Друг: А сколько штук ты к тому времени нажаришь?

(6) Мицуко: Пятьдесят.

(7) Друг: Выходит, к тому времени ты будешь жарить уже почти два часа!

(8) Мицуко: Точно.

The parts in bold can be omitted provided the reader/listener knows the context. Уже is needed there because that original English sentence has not the Future Perfect Simple Tense, but the Future Perfect Continuous.

Нажарить is almost the same as пожарить, but here the prefix на- adds the idea that the result of the action will be complete and abundant:

пожарить рыбу – to fry [the] fish

пожарить рыбы – to fry some fish (not necessarily all the fish there is)

нажарить рыбы – to fry much fish so that it will be enough for everyone

Here рыбы is Genitive singular form with its partitive meaning.


I suppose you should use some helper words to translate Perfect tense, i.e.:

"сколько всего рыб ты пожаришь"

It will help to understand that you ask about fish that you've already grilled and fish you plan to grill.


A note about the usage of the word пожарить (since you mentioned it).

Traditionally, it didn't mean cooking a fried dish. The word поджарить was used in that meaning. Classical dictionaries and serious cooking books confirm that.

(Толковый словарь Ушакова)

ПОЖА́РИТЬ, пожарю, пожаришь, совер.
1. что и чего. Подвергнуть что-нибудь жарению в течение некоторого времени, заняться жарением чего-нибудь. Мясо не готово, надо еще пожарить. Надо бы картошки пожарить.
2. что. Сжарить всё, много (разг.). Пожарить все котлеты.

ПОДЖА́РИТЬ, поджарю, поджаришь, совер. (к поджаривать).
1. кого-что. Жаря, приготовить для еды (преим. об обжариваемом снаружи). Поджарить котлету. Поджарить картошку.

A lot of people still use the two words in a traditional way, while (mostly) younger people tend to replace поджарить with пожарить and обжарить - with поджарить. It sounds a bit informal but understandable. Some newer dictionaries (Efremova, etc.) and some books beginning from the 80-s depict that tendency.

In traditional meaning, the word нажарить (рыбы) means to fry a lot of fish, while пожарить (рыбу) means (along with 'to fry it for a while') to fry all the fish available.

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