Welcome to the fifth lesson in our beginner's course. By now, you should start to feel comfortable reading in Russian, have begun memorizing basic vocab, and have a solid understanding of the basic structure of Russian nouns and pronouns.
To start being able to form more complicated sentences, we're going to go through how Russian verbs work in the present tense.
In this lesson, we’ll introduce you to the infinitive form of Russian verbs, learn how to use the word "to be" in the present tense, and go through how Russian verbs conjugate in the present tense.
The infinitive is the unchangeable form of Russian verbs. When you see verbs listed in the dictionary of on this site, they'll be in the infininitive. On its own, the infinitive does not indicate person, number, or tense. It just give the meaning of the verb.
The infinitive form of the Russian verbs always ends in -ть, –ти, or – чь.
The verb "to be" is of course one of the most common in English. Russian, however, doesn't really use "to be" in the present tense.
Mostly "to be" is simply ommitted. Sometimes, however, a dash "-" is used, or the word есть is used to mean "there is / are."
When the subject and predicate of a sentence are the same:
When there is an это in between:
So technically, you can use есть as the 3rd person singular or plural of the verb "to be," meaning there is / are.
есть is commonly used in the phrase "to have:"
есть is also less commonly used to give emphasis to phrases:
There are to conjugation groups for Russian verbs in the present tense.
1st conjugation verbs have the following suffixes before the infinitive ending, -ть:
To form the present tense, drop the infinative ending, -ть, and add the appropriate endings: “ю”, “ешь”, “ет”, “ем”, “ете” or “ют.” For example:
|я читаю||I read|
|ты читаешь||you read|
|он читает||he reads|
|мы читаем||we read|
|вы читаете||you read|
|они читают||they read|
2nd conjugation verbs have the suffixes, “и” and “е,” before the infinitive ending -ть:
To form the present tense, drop the infinitive ending, -ить or -еть, and add the appropriate endings: “ю” (or “у”) “ишь” “ит” “им” “ите” “ят” (or “ат”). For example:
|я говорю||I speak|
|ты говоришь||you speak|
|он говорит||he speaks|
|мы говорим||we speak|
|вы говорите||you speak|
|они говорят||they speak|