Conjugation of Verbs / Спряжение глаголов


In many other languages verb also changes its endings for persons. And even in English we change the ending  for he / she / it (I work, he works). The same thing happens with Russian verbs too. But we have different endings for each person. This changing of endings of verbs is called conjugation (спряжение).

 Pay attention that we replace the infinitive ending -ть / -ти. There are two types of conjugation. The type of conjugation depends on the ending of a verb in the infinitive form.  The 1-st type verbs end in -ать, -ять, -еть or -ти in infinitive form.

The 2-d type verbs end in -ить and also some irregular verbs

Спряжение 1

думать – to think

я думаю
Ты думаешь
Он думает
Мы думаем
Вы думаете
Они думают

Спряжение 2

говорить – to speak

Я говорю
Ты говоришь
Он говорит
Мы говорим
Вы говорите
Они говорят

What also very important to mention is that after 8 letters (к, г, ш, ж, щ, ч, х, ц) we don’t write the ending -ю /-ют / -ят. We use the endings -ут /-ат instead.


  • Я пишу, они пишут – I write, they write (not пишЮ, пишЮт)
  • Они лежат – they lay (not они лежЯт)

Reflexive Verbs

REFLEXIVE VERBS  are verbs which have the same conjugation like regular verbs but the difference is only that they have the special suffix -ся (sometimes -сь) at the end.

  • мне нравится – I like
  • я родился – I was born

Reflexive verbs are used:

1. When the subject and the object is the same person. 

Look at the example with the verb “мыть (to wash)

russian reflexive verbs

Он моет пол – he washes the floor.       

Он моется – he washes himself.

2. Reflexives are also used for meaning “each other”, when people do something together with each other. 

he meets a new day

Он встречает новый день на пляже. – He meets a new day at the beach.  

Они встречаются. – They meet.

3. For inanimate things making an action (passive voice.) Compare these two pictures.

the store is closed

Она закрывает окно. – She is closing the window.

Магазин закрывается в 9:00.  The shop is closed at 9:00.

4. Special verbs which never used without the suffix -ся. They should be memorized.

  • нравиться – to like
  • заниматься  – to do, to be busy with smth.
  • надеяться – to hope
  • остаться – to stay
  • родиться – to be born

-СЯ or -СЬ?

If there is a vowel before the suffix, the suffix is -сь. After the consonant the suffix is -ся.

учиться – to study

present tense

  • я учусь
  • ты учишься
  • он учится
  • мы учимся
  • вы учитесь
  • они учатся

past tense

  • он учился
  • она училась
  • оно училось
  • они учились

future tense

  • я буду учиться
  • ты будешь учиться
  • он будет учиться
  • мы будем учиться
  • вы будете учиться
  •  они будут учиться

I think it is much easier to memorize that you have to use the suffix -сь for “я” and “вы” forms in the present tense and all persons except masculine for the past. In all other cases you use the suffix -ся.

Irregular Verbs in Past Tense

The past tense is formed by replacing the infinitive ending -ть with -л/-ла/-ло/-ли (depending who made this action in past). More about past tense. Some verbs are exceptions. You should memorize them.

1. Идти – to go

  • он шёл – he went
  • она шла – she went
  • оно шло – it went
  • они шли – they went

2. Мочь – can, may

  • он мог – he could
  • она могла – she could
  • оно могло – it could
  • они могли – they could

3. Есть – to eat

  • он ел – he ate
  • она ела – she ate
  • оно ело – it ate
  • они ели – they ate

For pronouns Я and Ты the ending depends on the gender. If a male made this action, use он–form. If a female made the action, use она–form.

  • Я мог – I could (if I am a man)
  • Я могла – I could (If I am a woman)
  • Ты шёл – you went (if I am talking to a man)
  • Ты шла – you went (If I am talking to a woman)

For any noun or pronoun in plural use они-form.

  • Мы ели в кафе – We ate in the cafe.
  • Друзья ели дома – Friends ate at their house.

Irregular Verbs

Irregular Verbs

Some Russian Verbs are conjugated in a different way. For example, a verb in the infinitive form ends in -ать which means that it should be the 1-st type of conjugation, but it is changed as the 2-d type. Or some verbs-exceptions have absolutely different endings. You should learn them. You can print out these two pages at the same piece of paper from both sides and make cards to practice the verbs.

irregular verbs