I'm trying to understand Russian future verb tenses and aspects.

I'm aware Russian has three tenses, the present, the past and the future. And I'm aware the imperfective verb indicates non complete and repeated actions, as two examples. And I'm aware the perfective aspect indicates successfully completed actions, as one example of its use.


  • I will cook when you arrive
  • Я приготовлю еду, когда ты приедешь

I think this is correct. I'm using the future perfective to say I will successfully start and complete the cooking when you arrive (at my house).

But my real question when it comes to the future perfect. The future perfect indicates one future action will be completed before another future action.

  • I will have (already) cooked when you arrive.
  • ????????????

How would you translate the above?

In this sentence I'm expressing that: I will stop cooking at 7pm (for example). You will arrive at 8pm (for example). So no cooking will happen when you arrive because I (will have) finished it.

Perhaps there's another way to express this in Russian? Something like "I will be finished cooking when you arrive"?

  • A duplicate of How should I translate Future Perfect constructions to Russian?.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 8:39
  • "I will cook when you arrive" is "Я приготовлю еду/обед, когда ты приедешь". You cannot omit the direct object with "приготовить" (perfective), although its imperfective counterpart "готовить" can well do without any objects..
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 8:45
  • Thanks, I edited the first translation
    – mmm111mmm
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 9:01
  • It's a duplicate but the linked question really hasn't given me any more clues except "you may be able to tell from context" and "use a helper word".
    – mmm111mmm
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 9:07
  • 2
    Really? Haven't you noticed the к этому/тому времени thing? Your "I will have (already) cooked when you arrive" is "[К тому времени,] когда ты приедешь, я уже приготовлю еду/обед".
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


You can just translate the phrase "I will be finished cooking when you arrive":

Я (уже) закончу готовить еду, когда ты приедешь.

but it's enough just to use the word "уже" itself:

Я уже приготовлю еду, когда ты приедешь.

or slightly better:

Когда ты приедешь, я уже приготовлю еду.

But I would recommend:

Когда ты приедешь, еда уже будет готова.

  • 5
    @newfivefour: And more natural: Я приготовлю поесть/еду/обед/ужин к твоему приезду (I will have cooked by your arrival).
    – tum_
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 10:05
  • Thank you! That's very clear. In your last example, why did you use the imperfective?
    – mmm111mmm
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 10:06
  • 2
    @newfivefour, "еда уже готова" is actually not an action, it's state of еда. Еда can be "уже готова" or "еще не готова" by some time. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 10:14
  • 2
    When Russians learn perfect tenses in English, many of them tend to think that these tenses are totally unnecessary and superfluous, and that using "уже" is enough to indicate this aspect. They can say "I already did it" or "I will already do it" instead of "I have already done it" and "I will have already done it" because it sounds much more natural to Russian ears. It works in a similar manner in back translation. Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 6:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.