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Classification of Russian verbs

There are two types of verbs in Russian - I conjugation and II conjugation. All Russian verbs are divided into two conjugations by type of endings (see here).
Most Russian verbs belong to the I conjugation.
Also in Russian there are two classes of verbs - productive and unproductive.
Productive classes include verbs of the I and II conjugations. All these verbs have a definite system of changes of endings in the present tense (for Imperfective verbs) and in the future tense (for Perfective verbs).

Unproductive classes of verbs have their own characteristics while conjugation and should be memorized. :)

Productive verbs

Verbs I conjugation that end in -АТЬ, -ЯТЬ, -ЕТЬ, -ОВАТЬ, -НУТЬ. These verbs in the present or future tenses will have the endings:
   я             ...-Ю (after vowels)
                 ...-У(after consonants)
   ты         ...-ЕШЬ
   он/она  ...-ЕТ
   мы        ...-ЕМ
   вы         ...-ЕТЕ
   они       ...-ЮТ(after vowels)
                ...-УТ(after consonants)

1 class чит-А-ть и гул-Я-ть, and also наде-ВА-ть, показ-ЫВА-ть and рассматр-ИВА-ть 
      я чит-А-Ю
      ты чит-А-ЕШЬ...
      они чит-А-ЮТ,
and also
      я показ-ЫВА-Ю
      ты показ-ЫВА-ЕШЬ...
      они показ-ЫВА-ЮТ

2 class - бол-Е-ть 
      я бол-Е-Ю
      ты бол-Е-ЕШЬ...
      они бол-Е-ЮТ

3 class - рис-ОВА-ть или танц-ЕВА-ть (here suffixes -ОВА- и -ЕВА- are changed to suffix -У-)
      я рис-У-Ю
      ты рис-У-ЕШЬ...
      они рис-У-ЮТ

4 class- отдох-НУ-ть 
      я отдох-Н-У
      ты отдох-Н-ЁШЬ...
      они отдох-Н-УТ

5 class - говор-И-ть, or куП-И-ть, or хоД-И-ть  (there may be changes in the basis of verbs 
So the verbs куП-И-ть and люБ-И-ть, готоВ-И-ть and others add suffix -Л- in the form for I
   Б  БЛ             В  ВЛ
   М  МЛ           П → ПЛ
The verbs хоД-И-ть and плаТ-И-ть, спроС-И-ть and others change consonants in the form for I
   Д  Ж              З  Ж
   С Ш              Т  Ч
   Т  Щ              СТ  Щ)
      я хоЖ-У
      ты хоД-ИШЬ...
      они хоД-ЯТ
      я добаВЛ-Ю
      ты добаВ-ИШЬ...
      они добаВ-ЯТ
      я ноШ-У
      ты нос-ИШЬ...
      они нос-ЯТ

Unproductive verbs

In verbs of this group the basis of Infinitive differs from the basis of the present tense:
  • писа-ть - пиш-у, плака-ть - плач-у.
Most of these verbs alternate between the final consonants of the infinitive and the present (or future) tense.

Consonant alternation occurs in all forms of the present:
п/пл (капать),              б/бл (колебать),
м/мл (дремать),          с/ш (писать), 
з/ж (сказать),              т/ч (шептать),
т/щ (клеветать),          д/ж (глодать),
ст/щ (свистать),          г/ж (двигать),
к/ч (плакать),              х/ш (махать),
ск/щ (искать),             зг/зж (брызгать).

Also unproductive classes include verbs like 
  • ‘брать - беру’, ‘ждать - жду‘ 
  • verbs thet in Infinitive end on -ять типа ‘смеяться’
  • verbs like ‘держать - держу‘
Verbs of this group have in the Infinitive the ending -а-ть (-я-ть), and in the forms
  • verbs like ‘висеть - вишу’ 
Verbs of this group have in the Infinitive -е-ть (as verbs of the 2nd class of the type (‘болеть’), but form the present tense forms following the pattern of the 2nd conjugation (-ишь, -ит, -им, -ите, -ят).

Alternations of consonants are possible based on the following rules:
п/пл ‘терпеть’,             б/бл ‘скорбеть’,
м/мл ‘шуметь’,            т/ч ‘лететь’,
д/ж ‘видеть’,                ст/щ ‘блестеть‘,
с/ш ‘висеть‘. 
  • verbs like ‘сохнуть - сох‘
This group includes verbs with Infinitive na -нуть, which in the past tense forms lose the suffix -ну-.
  • verbs like ‘нести - несу’
This group includes verbs ending in the Infinitive on-сти, -сть, -зти, -зть.
  • verbs like ‘печь - пеку’
This group includes verbs ending in the Infinitive on -чь.
The present tense basics of these verbs end in -г or -к: они мог-ут, они пек-ут.
  • verbs like ‘давать - даю’
This group includes the verb to give with all prefixes - продавать, издавать, вставать, узнавать...
  • verbs like ‘понять - пойму’
All verbs of this group belong to the Perfective.
  • group of verbs like ‘начать - начну'
  • group of verbs ‘бить - бью’
    This group includes five verbs: бить, вить, лить, пить, шить.
    • group of verbs ‘мыть - мою’
    This group includes five verbs with alternating ы/о in the base: выть, крыть, мыть, рыть, ныть.

    Also there are verbs that do not fall into any of the previous groups.
    - жить,               - плыть,
    - петь,                - брить,
    - дуть,                - гнить,
    - стать,               - обуть,
    - одеть,              - идти,
    - ехать,              - ошибиться,
    - реветь,            - хотеть,
    - есть,                - дать,
    - быть
    and all the prefixed verbs.

    Conclusion. In Russian there are two classes of verbs - productive and unproductive.
    Productive classes of verbs vary in the present and future tense according to the system.
    Unproductive classes of verbs have their own characteristics while conjugation and should be remembered.

    If you want to learn more Russian verbs with the correct forms, then listen to the podcast 'Russian Verbs'. Every Monday a new Russian verb appears on the podcast with all forms in the present, past and future tenses, as well as in the forms of the Imperative. In addition, if the verb has a specific pair (Imperfective and Perfective aspects), then all forms of the pair verb will also be.
    On the podcast, not only forms, but also examples of the use of all forms in sentences.
    And if it’s hard for you to just listen, then in the comments for each audio track there is a document for printing (in PDF) with all the materials on the new verb.

    1. Open brackets, write the correct forms of verbs in the present (or future) tense
       я (открыть)
       ты (заснуть)
       он (издавать)
       она (обижать)
       мы (выкупить)
       вы (прожить)
       они (перестать)

    2. Test (Check yourself!)

    3. Find mistakes in the forms of the verbs.
    Я встречю тебя завтра.
    Мы решам проблему вместе.
    Каждую субботу она ездет на дачу.
    Мой брат коллекционировает фотографии футболистов.
    Я летю на самолёте в Петербург.
    Она никогда не ношит джинсы.

    Picture from


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