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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi everybody! Lena here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher where I’ll answer some of your most common Russian questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What is verb conjugation and what to consider when conjugating a verb?
Explanation
Verbs conjugation is their form change depending on number and person. Similarly to in English, in Russian, there are three persons: я (ya, “I”), ты (ty, “you”), and он, она, оно (on, ona, ono, “he, she, it”) for singular, and мы (my, “we”), вы (vy, “You”), and они (oni, “they”), for plural.
According to the above, verbs’ conjugations are formed by personal endings, for example, Я люблю читать (Ya lyublyu chitat, “I like to read”), Он читает (On chitayet, “He reads”), Дети читают (Deti chitayut, “Children are reading”).
Knowing conjugations allow us to choose the right unstressed vowel in personal endings of verbs, either Е (e)or И (i). The example of common dilemma: ЧитаЕте (Chitayete, “You are reading”) or ЧитаИте (Chitaite, “you are reading”)? Both words sound equal but have the only correct spelling - ЧитаЕте (Chitayete, “You are reading”). The answer lies in knowing the right conjugation!
In Russian, there are two conjugations. The vowel Е (e) is used for 1st conjugation, and И (i) - for the 2nd. Let’s explore the typical endings of verbs for both conjugations for any person and number.
I conjugation
-у / -ю (-u / -yu),
-ешь / -ёшь (-yesh' / -yosh),
-ет / -ёт (-yet / -yot),
-ем /-ём (-yem / -yom)
-ете / -ёте (-yete / -yote),
-ут / -ют (-ut / -yut)
II conjugation
у / -ю (u / -yu),
-ишь (-ish'),
-ит (-it),
-им (-im),
-ите (-ite),
-ат /-ят (-at / -yat)
Let’s have a closer look to the first conjugation, by conjugating the verb читать (chitat'), meaning "to read."
Я читаю (ya chitayu), "I am reading"
Ты читаешь (ty chitayesh'), "You are reading"
Он читает (on chitayet), "He is reading"
Мы читаем (my chitayem), "We are reading"
Вы читаете (vy chitayete), "You are reading"
Они читают (oni chitayut), "They are reading"
The pattern is the VERB without the ending ТЬ (t') plus the appropriate ending.
The first conjugation verbs usually end in -ать (-at'), - ять (-yat'), -оть (ot') -еть (et'), -уть (ut') and so on.
Now, let’s see the second conjugation, by conjugating the verb учить (uchit'), meaning "to teach," "to learn," or "to study":
Я учу (ya uchu), "I teach"
Ты учишь (ty uchish'), "you teach"
Он учит (on uchit), "he teaches"
Мы учим (my uchim), "we teach"
Вы учите (vy uchite), "you teach"
Они учат (oni uchat), "they teach"
The pattern is the VERB without the ending ить (-it') plus the appropriate ending.
Usually verbs ending in -ить (-it') fall into the second conjugation. There are some exceptions, for example Брить (brit, “to shave”) and Слышать (slyshat, “to hear”) fall under the first conjugation.
Now, you can easily find the right conjugation of any verb by deriving it into an infinitive form, and then, use the respective correct vowel in its ending! The same works for all the aspects and moods of verbs, for example, if you have ПрочитаЕте (ProchitaYEte, “will have read”), don’t be afraid of the added prefix про- (pro-): just find the infinitive form of the word and the trick's done!

Outro

Conjugating verbs may look difficult, but starting practicing with basic verbs will certainly make you proficient and confident in a short time!
Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
До встречи! (Do vstrechi!) “See you soon!”

9 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

RussianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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What Russian learning question do you have?

RussianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 04:22 PM
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Hello Céline,


thank you for the question 👍👍👍 I see what you mean!

If a stem of a first conjugation verb in the present tense ends in a consonant, the ending for я-form will be "у", and for они-form - "ут". In another case (ending in a vowel), the endings will be "ю" and "ют".

For example: плавать (stem in the present tense ends in a vowel - "плава"), я плаваю, они плавают,

and

жить (stem in the present tense ends in a consonant - жив), я живу, они живут.


Regarding e/ё endings, we replace е with ё if the ending is under stress:

живёшь / плаваешь.


Let us know if you have any questions!


Kind Regards,

Evgeniia

Team RussianPod101.com

Céline
Sunday at 02:23 AM
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Hello, I have the same question than Irma, but I don't understand your answer.


You say 'you just need to remember which endings are for the 1st conjugation and which are for the 2nd`, this is ok but for a given verb, once I know it is the 1st conjugation, how do I choose between the 2 different forms for the 1st conjugation ?


In the lesson notes, in the 1st conjugation column we have (-у / -ю) at the first person, so how do you know that 'I'm reading' is 'Я читаю' and not 'Я читау' ?


The question is the same for the 2d conjugation, the ending at first person is also (-у / -ю) so how do you know that 'I teach' is 'Я учу' and not 'Я учю' ?

RussianPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 04:34 PM
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Hello Irma,


thank you for your question!

There are not so many endings for the first conjugation, you just need to remember which endings are for the 1st conjugation and which are for the 2nd.


Kind Regards,

Evgeniia

Team RussianPod101.com

RussianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:01 PM
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Здравствуйте Babu,


Спасибо for your feedback. We will definitely consider filtering it out for our future materials! 😇


Всего наилучшего,

Левенте (Levente)

Team RussianPod101.com

Irma
Friday at 10:26 AM
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hiya, i dont quite understand why there are two different endings for the first conjugation,

what are the differences between them and when should i use the respective ones :)

Babu
Saturday at 08:23 PM
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There is considerable background noise (irritatingly audible while using the headphone); as if the video has been taken somewhere near a highway. Kindly filter it out and reload the video for future listeners.

RussianPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 09:44 PM
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Hello Kathryn,


Conjugation is about present tense and the verb "to be" in future tense. Other tenses (future and past) have different ways of formation.


But please keep in mind that Perfective vebrs have conjugation but they are used to talk about future.


Elena

Team RussianPod101.com

Kathryn
Friday at 12:20 PM
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Are Russian verbs all conjugated with just present tense or are there multiple tenses like past, present, future,hypothetical future, etc.?