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.

3 thoughts on “Reflexive Verbs

    1. Almost 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 or if you are focusing on the process, then you have to use the imperfective aspect. In the present tense you can only use the imperfective aspect. Reflexive verbs can be imperfective and perfective too.

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