Reflexive Verbs

Reflexive Verbs

REFLEXIVE VERBS – are verbs which have the same conjugation that regular verbs do 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

So first, let me tell you when we should use the reflexive verbs:

1. When the subject and the object is the same person. That means if someone makes an action with themself.

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. The second case when we should use reflexives is  for the meaning “each other”. That means when people do something together with each other. Look at the example:

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 (like “a lesson begins, the store opens ect.) Compare these two pictures.

the store is closed

Она закрывает окно. – She is closing the window.

Магазин закрывается в 9:00.  The store closes at 9:00.

4. And the last case when we use reflexive verbs is a special category of verbs which always are with the suffix -ся (-сь). 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?

The rule is simple. Whenever you have a verb ending in a vowel you should use the suffix -сь. In all other cases it is going to be -ся.

look at the example, we’re going to take a look at the conjugation of the verb “учиться” – to study

the present tense

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

the past tense

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

the 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 -сь for “I” and “you plural” forms in the present tense and all persons except masculine for the past. In all other cases you use the -ся. Using this way you don’t have to think about having a vowel or a consonant before the suffix сь/ся.

3 thoughts on “Reflexive Verbs

    1. No, of course, not! Neither perfective nor imperfective aspects have nothing with reflexives. Each verb can be categorized as imperfectve or perfective. It depends on what you are focusing on. If you are focusing on the result, then it should be used the perfective aspect. If you are focusing on the repeated (general) action (many times, often, always etc.) or if you are focusing on the process (for a long time, 5 hours etc.) then you have to use the imperfective aspect. In the present tense you use the imperfective aspect only.

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