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.
I brush my teeth every morning. Я чищу зубы каждое утро.
- Actions that have begun in the past and are still happening in the present.
I 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
I 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
I 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: