russian verb tenses

 

To start with, there are only 3 tenses in the Russian language:

  • Present Tense
  • Past Tense
  • Future tense.

There are also 2 verbal aspects - Imperfective and Perfective. Almost all verbs in the Russian language have 2 aspects, with some rare exceptions. These aspects p

Let's have a look at Russian verb tenses more closely.

 

Russian Verbs – Present Tense

The Present tense in Russian is only formed by Imperfective verbs.

 

The Present tense is used when we talk about:

  • Actions that are occurring right now.

I'm watching a film. Я смотрю фильм.

  • Facts and eternal truths.

The Earth revolves around the Sun. Земля вращается вокруг Солнца.

  • Habitual actions.

brush my teeth every morning. Я чищу зубы каждое утро.

  • Actions that have begun in the past and are still happening in the present.

have been studying at university for 2 years now. Я учусь в университете уже 2 года.

 

Russian Verbs – Past Tense

The Past tense in Russian is formed by both, Imperfective and Perfective verbs.

 

We use Imperfective verbs in the Past tense when we talk about:

  • Actions that have been repeated in the past

went to the gym every weekend. Я ходила в тренажёрный зал каждые выходные.

  • Actions in the past that were in progress

I was reading a book when he rang. Я читал книгу, когда он позвонил.

  • Actions in the past that lasted a certain amount of time

The film lasted for 3 hours. Фильм длился 3 часа.

 

We use Perfective verbs in the Past tense when we talk about:

  • Actions that have been completed in the past

wrote my first book last year. Я написал свою первую книгу в прошлом году.

 

Russian Verbs – Future Tense

The Future tense in Russian is formed by both, Imperfective and Perfective nouns.

 

We use Imperfective verbs in the Future tense when we talk about:

  • Actions that will be repeated in the future

People have to work until they are retired. Люди должны работать до выхода на пенсию.

  • Actions in the future that will be in progress (incomplete)

At this time next week I will be flying to New York. Я буду лететь в Нью-Йорк в это время на следующей неделе.

 

We use Perfective verbs in the Future tense when we talk about:

  • Actions that are most definitely happening in the future

I'm planning to move abroad one day. Я планирую переехать за границу когда-нибудь.

  • Actions in the future that will be completed

I will get my driving license next week. Я получу свои водительские права на следующей неделе.

 

Want to learn more about Russian verbs?

Check out these lessons:

Russian Verb Aspects
Russian Verb Conjugations

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