Russian Grammar – The Past Tense of the Verb

The basics of Russian Grammar – Verbs and its Past Tense

At the category “Russian Grammar” we show the basics of Russian Language grammar, describing most useful grammar rules, cases to let you learn Russian grammar more easily and effortlessly.

This lesson is about Russian verbs, it’s Past Tense.

The English counterparts of the Russian past tense are the Past Indefinite, the Past Continious, the Present Perfect and the Past Perfect.


Читать (to read) – читал – читал (was reading)

The past tense verbs whose infinitive ends in ть is formed by adding the suffix л to the infinite stem.

Russian Grammar Chart 1.

 masculine Я, ты, он читал 

feminine Я, ты, она читала

Мы (we)Вы (you)                       читали

Они (they)

Note: In the past tense verbs do not change the person: they change the number (я читал, мы читали) and gender (он читал, она читала)


Учиться (to study)

Учи-ть-ся – учи-л-ся – учился

Russian Grammar Chart 2.

Он училсяОна училась МыВы                       училисьОни

 The Use of the Verb быть (to be)

Russian Grammar Chart 3.

ОнОна                    в комнате.Они

He is

She is                 in the room.

They are

Он былОна была                    в комнате.Они были

He was

She was                       in the room.

They were

Сегодня концерт.There is a concert today.Сейчас уроки.

Classes are in progress now.

Вчера был концерт.There was a concert yesterday.Вчера были уроки.

Classes were in progress yesterday.

Note: the verb быть is not used in the present tense.

Exercise 1: Put the verb from infinite from to Past Tense form, like “Читать (to read) – читал – читал

Кушать (to read) – ___________

Слушать (to listen) – ___________

Играть (to play) – ___________

Знать (to know) – ___________

Говорить (to tell) – ___________

Exercise 2: How will change the verb if you say “we”, like “Он читал – Мы чита-ли

Он играл – Мы ___________

Он знал – Мы ___________

Он говорил – Мы ___________

Он слушал – Мы ___________

Он кушал – мы ___________

I believe this lesson was helpful. Put your the answers on exercises at comments below and I will check it! Remember: you should learn just basics of Russian grammar, don’t concentrate on it too much! The best method of learning is massive input of easy reading and listening in Russian: more about this method.

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Oleg Vinzhegin,

Your personal guide into the world of excellent Russian speaking

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Your personal guide into the world of excellent Russian speaking

Discuss: “Russian Grammar – The Past Tense of the Verb”

  1. December 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    кушать – кушал
    слушать – слушал
    играть – играл
    знать – знал
    говорить – говорил

    Мы играли
    Мы знали
    Мы говорили
    Мы слушали
    Мы кушали

    А кушать – это не синоним слова «есть»?

    Спасибо за упражнение!

    Posted by Vanessa Garcez

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