You’ve already come across some Russian reflexive verbs in our lessons (нравиться, казаться) – the verbs that end in -ся (or -сь). Today let’s look at the reflexive verbs in more details and practice their use.
In general, Russian reflexive verbs carry the idea of ‘self’. For example, умыва́ть means to wash something (face, hands) of somebody, умыва́ться means ‘to wash oneself’.
In other cases they imply reciprocating, for example:
– встреча́ться – to meet each other
– подружи́ться – to make friends
There is also a group of verbs called ‘intransitive’. They are never used with objects, they only have subjects. For example:
– смея́ться – to laugh
– улыба́ться – to smile
Some verbs can behave as intransitive ones being used in their reflexive form. For example:
– начина́ть уро́к – to begin a lesson
– уро́к начался́ – the lesson began (by itself)
Russians also use reflexive verbs to express the idea of ‘to be (something)’. For example:
– боя́ться – to be afraid
– горди́ться – to be proud
And one more very important aspect of use of reflexive verbs is the Passive voice or impersonal sentences.
For example: де́лать / де́латься
Я э́то де́лаю таки́м о́бразом.
I do it this way.
Э́то де́лается таки́м о́бразом.
It is done this way.
The majority of the Russian verbs have a reflexive form (but not all). Some Russian verbs have only reflexive form. But there are also some verbs that change their meaning in the reflexive form.
For example: пыта́ть / пыта́ться
Пле́нного до́лго пыта́ли.
The prisoner has been tortured for a long time.
Она́ пыта́лась снять кни́гу с по́лки.
She tried to get a book from the shelf.
Listen to the audio and practice all the examples of today’s lesson.
More lessons on the Russian verbs
- The verb "to be" in Russian
- Russian verbs: Introduction - The Infinitive
- Russian Present tense
- Practice Russian Present Tense with questions
- Russian Past tense
- Russian verb aspects
- Perfective and imperfective verbs - Practice
- Use of the verb 'быть' in the Past tense
- Future tense with imperfective verbs
- Future tense with perfective verbs
- To go in Russian - Идти and ехать
- Past, Present, and Future of Russian verbs - Practice
- Russian Imperative mood (Command form)
- Commands for the 1st and 3d persons
- Reflexive verbs
- Russian verbs of motion (unprefixed)
- Prefixed verbs of motion
- Verbs of motion: practice
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