"I have to make lunch."
Translation:Muszę zrobić obiad.
What is the difference between zrobic and robic? Or ugotowac and gotowac and such. I was speaking with a native speaker friend of mine and she said it was a sort of thing that implies that it just recently happened, however I am still having a difficult time understanding. Is it like a near future tense like futur proche in french? Any help would be fantastic thank you.
"zrobić" is perfective, "robić" is imperfective. Similarly "ugotować" and "gotować". In Polish those aspects are called "dokonany" and "niedokonany" and that shows their functions better, as it could be translated as "accomplished" and "not-accomplished".
So, the perfective ('accomplished') shows, that the action was finished. I started cooking the lunch and I finished it, it is now done. Imperfective shows the process. It is either not finished or we don't have data on it, sometimes it may mean that we don't really care whether it's finished or not.
So for example "Muszę robić obiad" means something alongside "I have to be making the lunch" - although it would probably be translated as "I have to make the lunch" anyway.
"Muszę zrobić obiad" makes more sense, meaning exactly "I have to make the lunch" - as logically we are interested in the result, a ready lunch.
A perfective verb cannot be used in present tense, because a perfective verb denotes a specific moment when the action is finished. What can look to you like a present tense form of a perfective verb is in fact a future tense form. So: "gotuję" = "I cook/I am cooking", but "ugotuję" means "I will cook" (and not "I will be cooking", which is Future Compound and looks differently).
Indeed this is once again a very helpful comment. The trouble I have with perfective/imperfective verbs is not so much the concept, it resembles at least in parts the distinction in French between different types of past (Imparfait vs. Passé simple, likewise Imperfecto vs. Indefinido in Spanish). But how can you tell which form is imperfective and which is perfective, do you have to learn by heart that robic and gotowac are imperfective and the others are perfective? E.g. with spotkac/spotykac I will probably never remember which is which. Is there some rule of thumb for this?
My grammar is good but not brilliant, so probably someone will correct me here, but mentally I think about Polish verbs in terms of them having a longer and a shorter form.
Sometimes the verb gets longer towards the end like spotkac/spotykac, zachowac, zachowywac. In these cases the longer form is the imperfective.
In other forms the longer form has its 'extra' part at the beginning, like robic/zrobic or czytac, przeczytac. In these cases the imperfective is the shorter one.
Maybe (probably...) thats not always true but that's what I do mentally, when I'm choosing which form :)