25 Most Common Russian Verbs You Should Know

Today we're going to learn some basic Russian verbs everyone should know for starters. There will be a short list but also a lot of work, because you need to learn all the forms of these verbs to use them correctly in different situations.

So, the essential Russian verbs are:

Most common Russian verbs

Let's take a closer look at each verb in the list.

Быть [bit'] - to be


The verb быть in the Russian language has many different forms but it's rarely used in the Present Tense. For example, we don't say "I am", "he is" and so on.  If you want to say "I am a student", you just say "Я студент" (literally: I sudent).

But it is important to know the future forms of this verb - will be.

the verb to be in Russian

It can be both will and will be. For example:

Я буду врачом. - I will be a doctor.
Он будет спать. - He will sleep/ He's going to sleep.

The past tense form of the verb быть is more simple. It doen't change so much:

Я был. - I was.
Ты был. - You were.
Он был. - He was.
Она была. - She was.
Оно было. - It was.
Они были. - They were.
Мы были. - We were.
Вы были. - You were.
Они были. - They were.

Делать [dyelat'] - to do/to make

Luckily there's just one verb for both of these actions. Here's the conjugation of this verb:



Я делаю домашнюю работу. - I'm doing my homework.
Она делает серьги из полимерной глины. -  She makes earrings out of polymer clay.

Ходить [hadit'] - go on foot, walk (undefinite, multidirectional)

You'll probably hate it but it's not easy to choose the right verb to express the movement in Russian. We have four options. Ходить means go on foot, walk. Usually it doesn't mean you're going somewhere right now. It expresses walking in general, so it is used to describe repeated return journeys.

Я хожу на работу каждый день. - I go to work (on foot) every day. (I go there and return home in the evening).
Она ходит на работу пешком. - I go to work on foot.

This verb also denotes the walking in general or the ability:

Он не может ходить. - He can't walk.

verb hodit

Идти [idti] - go on foot, walk (definite, unidirectional)

We use this verb when we talk about going somewhere right now. And usually it's a one-way journey.

Я иду в магазин. - I'm going to a store. (I'm on my way there or intent to go soon)
Завтра я иду (=пойду) на концерт. - Tomorrow I'm going to a concert.

verb idti

Ездить [yezdit'] - go by transport (indefinite, multidirectional)

It's the same as ходить, but we use it ONLY when we talk about going by any means of transport.

Я езжу на работу на метро. - I go to work by underground.

verb ezdit'

Ехать [yekhat'] - go by transport (definite, unidirectional)

Similar to идти, but again, we ONLY use it when talk about going by transport.

Я еду домой с работы. - I'm going home from work.

verb ehat' conjugation

стоять [stayat'] - to stand

Examples:

Просто больше не стой здесь. - Just don't be (stand) there any more.
Дома стоят близко друг к другу. - The houses stand near to each other.

verb stoyat' conjugation

сидеть [sidyet'] - to sit

Examples:

Ты будешь сидеть здесь и ждать меня. - And you will be staying here and waiting for me.


лежать [lezhat'] - lie

Examples:

Во втором ящике лежит блокнот. - There's a pad in that second drawer.
Ей не нравится лежать на пляже. - She doesn't like lying on the beach.


есть [yest'] - eat

Он не ест ничего, кроме фруктов. - He eats nothing else but fruit.


пить [pit'] - drink

Examples:

Он посреди пустыни и очень хочет пить. - He's out in the desert, and he's thirsty.


спать [spat'] - sleep


Examples:

Я всегда сплю на середине кровати. - I always sleep in the middle of the bed.


работать [rabotat'] - work

Examples:

Глубоко в туннелях телефоны не работают. - The phones won't work this deep in the tunnel system.
Я работаю учителем. - I work as a teacher (= I'm a teacher).


видеть [vidyet'] - see

Ты видишь меня в последний раз. - This is the last time you have to see me.


смотреть [smatryet'] - look, watch

Examples:

Мы здесь смотрим фильмы по субботам. - We watch movies in here on Saturday nights.
Кажется, на тебя кто-то смотрит. - I think you've caught someone's eye.



слышать [slishat'] - hear

Examples:

Я слышу его голос. - I hear his voice.


слушать [slushat'] - listen

Они никого не слушают, даже собственных матерей. - They don't listen to anybody, not even their own mothers.


говорить [gavarit'] - speak, tell

Она плохо говорит по-английски, но всё понимает. - She speaks hardly any English, but she understands enough.


читать [chitat'] - read

Examples:

Тебе не обязательно читать это вслух. - You don't have to read it out loud.
Мой сын умеет читать. - My son can read.


писать [pisat'] - write

Examples:

Я пишу левой рукой. - I write with my left hand.
Он очень талантливый музыкант, пишет изумительную музыку.He's a very talented musician, writes such beautiful music.


учить [uchit'] - teach, study, memorize

Examples:

Она учит детей не мусорить. - She teaches kids not to litter.
Я буду учить это как Библию. - I will study this thing like it's the Bible.
Мы учим английский уже три года. - We have been studying English for three years now.


понимать [panimat'] - understand

Она не понимает, что несёт (=говорит). - She doesn't know what she's saying.


хотеть [khatyet'] - want

Я просто хочу отдохнуть. - I just want to rest.


знать [znat'] - know

Ты даже не знаешь о чем говоришь. - You've no idea what are you talking about.


думать [dumat'] - to think

Я думаю, он придёт. - I think he will come.
Она думает, что никогда не выйдет замуж. - She thinks she will never get married. 


If you're not sure you've remembered all these verbs, watch this video to refresh your memory. It contains more examples and pronunciation of each word.