Alex
Lesson 63 - Verbs. Past Tense.

Past Tense of Russian Verbs

 

The past tense is generally used to express actions occurred before the time of speaking or writing. In Russian, using special endings forms the past tense.

Uses of the Past Tense

The meaning of the past tense form depends on whether the verb is imperfective or perfective.

Imperfective verbs in the past tense

Past tense forms of imperfective verbs are generally used:

1.    To name an action that took place in the past (before the moment of speaking).

Example


·      Мы делали это задание. - We did this exercise.

·      Вчера вечером я смотрел телевизор, читал книгу. - Yesterday I watched TV, read a book.

2.    To denote an action in progress that took place in the past:

Example


·      В это время я смотрел телевизор. - I was watching TV at that moment.

3.    To denote repeated actions in the past.

Example

·      
Я отправлял ей письма каждый день. - I used to send her letters every day.


Perfective verbs in the past tense

 

Past tense forms of perfective verbs are generally used:

1.    To name an action that took place in the past with special emphasis on its completion, result or limit.

Example


·      Мы сделали это задание. - We have completed this task.

·      Я посмотрел телевизор и пошёл спать. - I watched TV and (after I finished watching TV) I went to sleep.

 

2.    To denote momentary actions in the past.

Example

·      
После этого я отправил ей письмо. - After that, I sent her a letter.

 

Verb Endings in the Past Tense

Russian past tense verbs agree with their subjects in gender and number. The table below represents regular endings of Russian verbs in the past tense:

<table class="MsoNormalTable" style="margin-left: .9in; border-collapse: collapse; mso-table-layout-alt: fixed; border: none; mso-border-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-padding-alt: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-border-insideh: 1.0pt solid windowtext; mso-border-insidev: 1.0pt solid windowtext;" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 107.1pt; border: solid windowtext 1.0pt; background: #D7D7D7; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" width="107">

Gender

</td> <td style="width: 99.0pt; border: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-left: none; mso-border-left-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; background: #D7D7D7; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" width="99">

Singular

</td> <td style="width: 85.5pt; border: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-left: none; mso-border-left-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; background: #D7D7D7; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" width="86">

Plural

</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 107.1pt; border: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-top: none; mso-border-top-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="107">

Masculine

</td> <td style="width: 99.0pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-right: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="99">

</td> <td style="width: 85.5pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-right: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" rowspan="3" width="86">

-ли

</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 107.1pt; border: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-top: none; mso-border-top-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="107">

Feminine

</td> <td style="width: 99.0pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-right: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="99">

-ла

</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 107.1pt; border: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-top: none; mso-border-top-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="107">

Neuter

</td> <td style="width: 99.0pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid windowtext 1.0pt; border-right: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid windowtext 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="99">

-ло

</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

 


Verb Forms in the Past Tense

The above-mentioned endings are added to the past tense stem of the verb. The formation of the past tense stem of Russian verbs will be discussed in greater detail in articles devoted to Russian verbs conjugation. Below, we are going to provide just general guidelines.

The past tense stem of most Russian verbs can be defined by dropping the ending -ть/-ти from their infinitive. Thus, the past tense stem of the first conjugation verb работать “to work” is работа-. Below, you can see the past tense forms of this verb:

<table class="MsoNormalTable" style="border-collapse: collapse; mso-table-layout-alt: fixed; border: none; mso-border-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-padding-alt: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-border-insideh: 1.0pt solid #C4C4C4; mso-border-insidev: 1.0pt solid #C4C4C4;" border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 131.4pt; border: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; background: #D7D7D7; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" width="131">

Gender

</td> <td style="width: 117.0pt; border: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-left: none; mso-border-left-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; background: #D7D7D7; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" width="117">

Singular

</td> <td style="width: 117.0pt; border: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-left: none; mso-border-left-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; background: #D7D7D7; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" width="117">

Plural

</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 131.4pt; border: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-top: none; mso-border-top-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="131">

Masculine

</td> <td style="width: 117.0pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-right: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="117">

работал

</td> <td style="width: 117.0pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-right: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" rowspan="3" width="117">

работали

</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 131.4pt; border: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-top: none; mso-border-top-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="131">

Feminine

</td> <td style="width: 117.0pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-right: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="117">

работала

</td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 131.4pt; border: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-top: none; mso-border-top-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="131">

Neuter

</td> <td style="width: 117.0pt; border-top: none; border-left: none; border-bottom: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; border-right: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-top-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; mso-border-left-alt: solid #C4C4C4 1.0pt; padding: 0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;" valign="top" width="117">

работало

</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

 

Verbs whose past tense stem ends in б, г, з, р, с, к do not add the in the masculine singular form.

Examples

везти (infinitive) “to carry” - он вёз (past tense, mascular singular), она везла (past tense, feminine singular)

мочь (infinitive) “to be able” - он мог (past tense, mascular singular), она могла (past tense, feminine singular)

печь (infinitive) “to bake” - он пёк (past tense, mascular singular), она пекла (past tense, feminine singular).

 

Jul 1, 2012 12:38 PM
Alex
Language Skills
English, Russian, Ukrainian
Learning Language