Past tense in Russian

February 11, 2016 Oxana N

Past tense

Russian verbs have only 3 tenses – past, present and future. It is quite easy – when you speak about anything that happened some time ago (even one second ago), you should use the Past Tense. The past tense is very easy in Russian if you know the infinitive of the verb ('to...'). All you do is remove the last two letters -ть from the infinitive "быть" and add the following endings:

masculine - Л

feminine - ЛА

neuter - ЛО

plural - ЛИ

For example:

он был (He was)

онА былА (She was)

онО бЫло (It was) - The sky was blue (НЕбо (онО) бЫло голубОе)

онИ бЫли (They were)

If the subject is "я" (I) or "ты" (you), we use "был" if the pronoun refers to a man and "была" if it refers to a woman: Я былА в Мaнчестере в прошлом году. (I was in Manchester last year.- (I'm a woman)

We always use "были" with "вы" (You), even if we address just one person:

Иван АндрЕевич, где Вы бЫли? = Ivan AndryEyevich, where have you been?

Ты уже был в Перу? = Have you been to Peru yet? (You're a man)

Ты уже былА в Перу? = Have you been to Peru yet? (You`re a woman)



Have you thought about online lessons?

Online tuition gives you access to brilliant tutors across the country
Connect one-to-one with a tutor or share your lesson with a group for 50% of the tutor's hourly rate! Find a Tutor for One-to-One Find an Online Study Group

Want to know more?

Visit Oxana's profile to find out more and send a message.

Visit Oxana's Profile

Resources others found helpful

Circle Theorem Notes

Explanation and examples of the circle theorems

learn more

Dyslexia support pack for language learners

Information for students, parents & tutors which can help students to understand that their …

learn more

Adding and subtracting fractions

This document creates a mini-booklet with simple, step-by-step instructions for adding and …

learn more

Mindfulness, Meditation

Meditation, audio, and practical life skills to manage stress and overwhelm more effectively

learn more

Free resources, revision notes and past papers for students

Find revision guides, exam papers and sample essays amongst hundreds of free resources available to students.

Find resources any subjects

Maths resources | Science resources | Music resources | Spanish resources | English resources | French resources