Infinitives in Russian

The infinitive is the unchangeable verb form of Russian verbs that you’ll see in dictionaries. On its own, the infinitive does not indicate person, number, or tense. It just give the meaning of the verb.

Different forms of the infinitive

The infinitive form of the Russian verbs always ends in -ть, -ти, or -чь.

For example:

  • -ть: читать = to read
  • -ть: любить = to love
  • -чь: мочь = to be able to
  • -ти: спасти = to save

Uses of the infinitive

The infinitive has many common uses in Russian.

In conjunction with other verbs to designate the beginning, continuation or ending of an action

  • Мы начали разговаривать. = We have started talking.
  • Он продолжил работать. = He continued to work.
  • Она кончила читать. = She finished reading.

To construct the compound future tense

  • Мы будем работать. = We are going to / shall work.
  • Они будут гулять на улице. = They will walk outside.

In combination with the words, like должен (must), рад (glad), готов (ready), обязан (obliged), намерен (intended)

  • Я должен ехать в Москву. = I must go to Moscow.
  • Они рады приветствовать новых чемпионов в своём городе. = They are happy to welcome new champions in their city.
  • Мы готовы встретить гостей. = We are ready to meet the guests.
  • Ты должен дать интервью журналистам. = You’re obliged to give an interview to journalists.
  • Президент намерен распустить парламент = President intends to dissolve parliament.

In combination with adverbs and adjectives

  • Вам нужно приехать. = You need to come.
  • Им некуда поехать. = They have nowhere to go.
  • Необходимо поддерживать друг друга. = It’s necessary to support each other.
  • Тебе нельзя пить много кофе. = You should not drink too much coffee.

In combination with verbs of motion

  • Мы поехали кататься на лыжах. = We went skiing.
  • Каждый год, мы ездим на море ловить морскую рыбу. = Every year we go to the sea to catch sea fish
  • Мария идёт в кинотеатр смотреть новый фильм. = Maria goes to the cinema to watch the new movie.
  • Каждые выходные, я хожу в кафе кушать мороженое. = Every weekend, I go to a café to eat ice cream.
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