What's the difference between умереть and умирать? I find it very confusing as both mean 'die', just that умирать is a verb.


2 Answers 2


Both умереть and умирать are verbs that mean "to die".

умереть is a perfect verb, умирать is an imperfect verb.

The perfect form is used in cases when someone is talking about a process that finished already, the imperfect is used to denote a developing process or a repeating action.


Он умер. He died.

Он умирает. He is dying.

Люди умирают каждый день. People die every day.


Зачем ему нужно было здесь умирать? - Why did he need to be dying here? (Can mean that he eventually died, but can also mean that he is still alive. Can imply that he was pretending to be dying or thought that he was already about to die, but it turned out that he was merely sick and later even got recovered)

Зачем ему нужно было здесь умереть? - Why did he need to die here? (almost in all casese would mean that he did die and now is dead)

умирать also has a more general meaning, while умереть would stick to the specific situation happening at the time of speaking.


Да, я знаю, ты мне сейчас станешь говорить, что все люди смертны, и что нет ничего противоестественного в человеческой смерти. Но я всё равно не xочу умирать. Я xочу жить вечно.

(Yes, I know, you will say that all people are mortal and that human death is a natural phenomenon. But I still don't want to die. I want to live forever)

Надо что-то делать. Дай мне лопату. Будем пробиваться. Я не xочу умереть здесь под этой толщей снега.

(We need to do something. Give me the shovel. We'll be digging. I don't want to end up buried here under the snow)

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