024 – Russian verbs – the Present tense

Today we are start learning the conjugation of Russian verbs – on of the building blocks for any sentence! This lesson is covering the Present tense.

Unlike in English, there is only one Present tense in Russian language. It means that the phrase я де́лаю can be translated both as ‘I do’ and ‘I’m doing’.

There are two big groups of verbs in Russian language to which belong most of the verbs, they are called the first and second conjugation. The difference between them is in the endings they take when conjugated.

In order to form the Present tense from an infinitive you need to drop the ending and to add one of the following endings depending on the subject of the sentence.

The Present tense of the verbs of first conjugation

я – …ю
ты – …ешь
он/она/оно – …ет
мы – …ем
вы – …ете
они – …ют

For example:

знатьto know

я зна́ю
ты зна́ешь
он зна́ет
мы зна́ем
вы зна́ете
они́ зна́ют

понима́тьto understand

я понима́ю
ты понима́ешь
он понима́ет
мы понима́ем
вы понима́ете
они понима́ют

The Present tense of the verbs of second conjugation

я – …у/ю
ты – …ишь
он/она/оно – …ит
мы – …им
вы – …ите
они – …ат/ят

For example:

говори́тьto speak

я говорю́
ты говори́шь
он говори́т
мы говори́м
вы говори́те
они говоря́т

ходи́тьto walk

я хожу́ *
ты хо́дишь
он хо́дит
мы хо́дим
вы хо́дите
они хо́дят

* Note that this verb has a changing stem.

We also recommend: Russian verb conjugation.

Further down the road, you will notice that the Russians often omit the personal pronouns all together (as they do it in Spanish) since the form of the verb is already telling us who is the subject of the sentence.

Practice all today’s verbs with the audio track.

Present tense memo chart

1st. conjugation 2d. conjugation
он / она / оно

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