Verbs. First conjugation
- The chart below shows the present tense endings for verbs of the first conjugation:
|он, она||-ет||работает, делает
- The stem of most first conjugation verbs ends in the letters -а- or -я-.
- In Russian, then, you can tell who is doing the working, for example, even if a pronoun is not used. You do this by looking at the ending of the verb. Often, the use of a pronoun is redundant. For example:
-Что вы делаете?
- In the answer to the question above, it is understood that it is "we" that are reading, because the ending of the verb tells us that it is the "we" form.
- The stem of some conjugation 1 verbs ends in a consonant, as in the verb жить (to live) below:
- You will notice that the endings in the first person singular (-у), and third person plural (-ут), have the letter -у- instead of -ю-. This is a general rule for all first conjugation verbs that have a stem ending in aconsonant.
- You will also notice that the -е- in the rest of the endings of this verb is replaced by an -ё-. This happens in Russian any time the ending is accented.
- Learning a new verb will be much easier if you make a point to learn how it is similar to, or different from the verbs that you already know.
- Here is a hint: When you learn a new verb, learn the infinitive and also the я and ты forms. These three forms reveal all you need to know about the verb.
- The infinitive is the dictionary form. The я form is a frequent hiding place for irregularities that the other forms do not disclose. And the ты form is a true goldmine of information. It will tell you what vowels you need in the он, мы, вы, endings, whether it is a first conjugation or second conjugation verb, and when you compare to the я form, you'll be able to see if there are any consonant or stress pattern changes.
- For example, let's look at the verb 'to live' above.
- You notice that the infinitive is missing the -в- from its stem. This happens in consonant stem verbs in Russian: when you add the infinitive ending -ть, the last consonant of the stem is dropped.
- You know that the stem has the consonant -в, because the rest of the forms will show it.
- The ты form will let you predict that the verb is first conjugation: the vowel -ё- in the ты ending (жив-ёшь) will show you this. All first conjugation verbs have the vowel -е- or -ё- in their endings. Also, the fact that here we have the vowel -ё-, and not -e-, will tell you that the accent will always be on the ending.
- Since the stem of this verb ends in a consonant (-в-), you know that the они ending is going to be --ут, and not -ют.