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The Russian past tense is used to talk about actions and situations which took place at any point in the past. It is the most common form of the verb in Russian. The good news is that there is only one past tense form in Russian compared to numerous forms in English.
She did eat.
She had eaten.
She was eating.
She has eaten.
Combining the stem of the infinitive with the suffix л forms the past tense verb in Russian. You can then add the past tense verb to the subject of the sentence. For example:
|Remember: Use the same vowel in the past tense verb form as in the infinitive form before -ть. For example, зависеть - зависел, бросить - бросил, спрятать - спрятал.|
There is an exception in forming the past tense form for some Russian verbs which have the infinitive ending in -чь, -ти, -нуть. The suffix л is not used to form the past tense form of such verbs if they are used with singular masculine subjects (i.e. nouns and pronouns), like in:
However, the suffix л is used for the same verbs if they are used with singular feminine and neutral, as well as all plural subjects. For example:
In Russian, all past tense verbs change by number. The ending -и is an indicator of plural number (писал --> писали). It is the same for all genders.
Only singular forms of the past tense verbs change by gender. Singular masculine forms have no ending after the suffix л (туман упал). An indicator of singular feminine forms is the ending а (роса упала). The ending o is used with singular neuter forms (дерево упалo).
The following the table shows the endings that you need to use after the suffix л to form the masculine, feminine, neutre and plural forms of the verb.
|Gender and number||
Past tense ending
(after the suffix л)
(читать - to read)
|Singular masculine||none||Он читал.||Singular feminine||-a||Она читала.|
|Singular neuter||-o||Оно читало.|
|Plural (all genders)||-и||Они читали.|
Fill in the blanks with the appropriate past tense form of the verbs given in the brackets.
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