Verbs. First conjugation

  1. The chart below shows the present tense endings for verbs of the first conjugation:
    яработаю, делаю
    ты-ешьработаешь, делаешь
    он, она-етработает, делает
    мы-емработаем, делаем
    вы-етеработаете, делаете
    они-ютработают, делают
  2. The stem of most first conjugation verbs ends in the letters -а- or -я-.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. The stem of some conjugation 1 verbs ends in a consonant, as in the verb жить (to live) below:
    он, она-ётживёт
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. For example, let's look at the verb 'to live' above.
  12. 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.
  13. You know that the stem has the consonant -в, because the rest of the forms will show it.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

Copyright ©. George Mitrevski. Auburn University.