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Russian Verbs

Russian is largely considered one of the most challenging languages for speakers of English to learn. One of the reasons that it is considered so difficult is because learning how to use Russian verbs correctly is quite the demanding task. The only reason that the verbs are so problematic is because they are used much differently than English verbs. The good news is that once you learn a few basic rules, you can apply those rules to basically any Russian verb.

The primary reason that Russian verbs are difficult for English speakers to comprehend is because they are conjugated differently. In English, and many other languages, verbs are conjugated into different forms based upon the tense (past, present, or future). In the Russian language, verbs are conjugated depending on whether or not the actions have been completed or not. This is a subtle difference, but an important one.

Imperfective Verbs

In Russian, imperfective verbs are verbs that do not give any indication that the actions have been completed. They could be actions that are taking place right now. For example, in English, you could say, “I am jumping over the fence” or “I jump around”. Both forms of “jump” would be considered imperfective because there is not indication that the action has come to a close.

Imperfective verbs are also used in Russian to describe habitual actions, or actions that are continually taking place. You can easily spot these actions because they are usually accompanied by words such as “always”, “never”, or “often”.


Perfective Russian verbs are verbs that describe actions that have a definite completion. This can apply to future or past actions. For example, in English you could say, “I bit the apple” or “I will bite the apple”. These are both examples of perfective verbs. The actions have clear endings of duration. They are not actions that are continually or habitually taking place.

Of course, there are a lot more rules and guidelines to understand when learning how to use Russian verbs correctly, but once you understand these basic foundations; you can more easily begin to speak the Russian language with fluency. Yes, Russian is a very challenging language to learn, but it is also a very useful and rewarding skill set to have. If you are committed to learning how to speak Russian, you must frequently practice and study the language using reliable educational materials, many of which can be found online.