Lesson 023

Russian verbs: Introduction - The Infinitive


We have already learned the basics of Russian nouns and pronouns. The only thing that we are missing to start composing the sentences in Russian is the verbs.

Today we start learning the Russian verbs and cover the initial form of the verb – the infinitive.

All Russian verbs are divided into two groups according to the type of ending which they take in their conjugation. These groups are generally called the first and second conjugations.

The first conjugation of the Russian verbs

Russian Pod 101

These verbs end in ТЬ (except ИТЬ) and ТИ. For example:

быть [byt’]to be

знать [znat’]to know

де́лать [dyé-lat’]to do

идти́ [eed-tée]to go

The second conjugation of Russian verbs

These verbs end in ИТЬ plus some exceptions. For example:

проси́ть [pra-séet’]to ask

говори́ть [ga-va-réet’]to speak

держа́ть [deer-zhát’]to hold


There is a number of exceptions in this system.

For example, the verbs:

– бежа́ть [bee-zhát’]to run
– хоте́ть [ha-tyét’]to want

belong to the ‘mixed’ type of conjugation.

There is also a number of irregular verbs the conjugation of which doesn’t follow the common rules. These verbs need to be memorized.

Practice the examples of this lesson with the audio recording (at the bottom of the screen under the blue button).

Make sure you’ve memorized the conjugation types as you will need them in the following lessons.

Follow the links below to continue learning about the Russian verbs.

Congratulation on getting more familiar with the Russian verbs!

We hope you enjoy learning Russian with us. If you have any questions, fon’t hesitate to post them in the comments!

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