Lesson 064

Russian Imperative mood

6+

We have already learned Russian Present, Past and Future tenses. Today, let’s learn how to tell people to do something, i.e. to form the Imperative mood (Command form) from Russian verbs.

Commands for the 2d person (ты and вы)

To convert a verb in its Command form, you must know if the verb is perfective or imperfective:

– For imperfective verbs: work with the 3d person plural form in the Present tense.

– For perfective verbs: work with the 3d person plural form in the Future tense.

1. For verbs which stem ends in a vowel

Take the 3d person plural form, drop the verb’s ending and add:
й – for the singular or informal form (ты)
йте – for the plural or formal form (вы)

ду́мать -> ду́мают -> ду́май / ду́майте (to think)

If it’s a reflexive verb – drop the verb’s ending and add
йся – for the singular or informal form (ты)
йтесь – for the plural or formal form (вы)

стара́ться -> стара́ются -> стара́йся / стара́йтесь (to try, to endeavour)

Russian Pod 101

2. For verbs which stem ends in a consonant

Take the 3d person plural form, drop the verb’s ending and add
и – for the singular or informal form (ты)
ите – for the plural or formal form (вы)

проси́ть -> про́сят -> проси́ / проси́те (to ask)

If it’s a reflexive verb – drop the verb’s ending and add
ись – for the singular or informal form (ты)
итесь – for the plural or formal form (вы)

влюби́ться -> влю́бятся -> влюби́сь / влюби́тесь (to fall in love)

But if the stress of the infinitive comes on the stem of the verb, add ь and ьте accordingly:

знако́мить -> знако́мят -> знако́мь / знако́мьте (to present, to introduce)

Some irregular verbs in the Imperative mood

быть -> будь / бу́дьте (to be)
есть -> ешь / е́шьте (to eat)
ждать -> жди / жди́те (to wait)
идти -> иди / иди́те (to go)
езжа́ть -> езжай / езжа́йте (to drive)

Commands for the 1st and 3d persons

1. With the particle пусть

The particle пусть is used to form the third-person Imperative. The formula is:

пусть + (subject) + 3d person verb in the present or future

Examples:

Пусть он схо́дит в магази́н.
Let him go the the store.

Пусть они́ е́дут куда́ хотя́т.
Let them go where they want to.

Пусть бу́дет как есть.
Let it be as it is.

2. With the verb дава́ть

This way is used to form the first-person commands. The formula is:

дава́й/дава́йте + (subject) + the verb in the future

The form дава́й is used when talking to one person in informal tone.

The form дава́йте is used when talking to several people or in formal tone.

Examples:

Дава́й пойдём в кино́!
Let’s go to the cinema!

Дава́й, я помогу́ тебе́!
(Will you) let me help you!

Дава́йте пообе́даем в рестора́не!
Let’s have a dinner in the restaurant!

Дава́йте не бу́дем шуме́ть!
Let’s not to make noise!

3. Using the Future tense

The 1st person plural verbs (usually perfective verbs) in the Future tense can be used as a command:

Схо́дим в кино́?
Let’s go to the cinema?

Поговори́м по-ру́сски!
Let’s speak Russian!

With some verbs addressing a number of persons or speaking in the formal tone the ending -те must be added:

Пойдём туда́ вме́сте?
Let’s go there together? (informal)

Пойдёмте пообе́даем в рестора́не!
Let’s come have lunch in a restaurant! (formal or plural)

Practice all today’s examples with the audio track.

The offline version of this lesson is available here

6+

2 comments on “064 – Russian Imperative mood”

  1. Alan says:

    I don’t understand what is stress of the infinitive comes on the stem of the verb, add ь and ьте accordingly.Not all stress of the infinitive comes on the stem of the verb?

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Alan,

      In the word проси́ть, accent (stress) falls on the -ить which is the ending of the verb, the stem would be прос-.

      In the word знако́мить, the stem is знако́м, i.e. the stress is the part of the stem.

Your feedback and questions

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share on