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Russian Conjugations Of The Word To Be.

Russian Conjugations are crazy, wouldn’t you agree? If you don’t know how we Russians change the verb endings every two seconds, just take a look at this article. Today we will take a look at an even crazier word.

To Be Couse

That word is so small yet capable of deceiving people and pretending to be some word that it’s not. It also conjugates different from all the decent Russian verbs. Let’s start with the neutral infinitive form of this word.

Быть – to be

So far so good. The only problem here is the Ы sound. More about how to make up Russian sounds here.

Present Tense of the word To Be

Normally, Russian Conjugations consist of 6 different forms that we form depending on what pronoun we connect to the word. We the word TO BE everything is different.

The verb TO BE in the Russian Language has only one form for Present Tense.

Я есть – I am
Ты есть – You are (single person informal pronoun)
Он/Она есть – He/She is
Мы есть – We are
Вы есть – You are (plural or single person formal pronoun)
Они есть – They are

Houston, we have a problem

In the Russian Language, the verb TO BE in a present tense looks exactly the same as the verb TO EAT.

Кто ЕСТЬ кто в компании?Who IS who in this company?
Кто начал ЕСТЬ без меня?Who began EATING without me?

To eat or not to eat? That is the question!

This confusion between the Russian words “Есть” as in to be and “Есть” as in to eat leads to this joke about Shakespeare quote.

Быть или не быть – вот в чем вопрос! – this is how is should be said since “To Be” in its infinitive form is Быть.

Есть или не есть – вот в чем вопрос! – I personally struggle with this very question every day in front of the fridge 🤦‍♀️🤣.

Past Tense of Быть или не быть

A Rebellious verb that is TO BE behaves perfectly normal when it comes to the Past Tense. As all the verbs in the Russian Language, Быть could be modified into four gender-related forms.

Он БЫЛHe was
Она БЫЛАShe was
Оно БЫЛОIt was
Они БЫЛИThey were

Back to the future

TO BE as a verb is one of the most mysterious once in the entire Russian Language. In the Future Tense, this word acts just like Schrödinger’s cat for this word conjugates as a verb in Present Tense but means Future.

Я будуI willЯ буду есть.I will eat.
Ты будешьYou willТы будешь есть.You will eat.
Он/Она будетHe/She willОна будет есть.She will eat
Мы будемWe willМы будем есть.We will eat.
Вы будетеYou will (plural or formal)Вы будете естьYou will eat.
Они будутThey willОни будут есть.They will eat.

This crazy list is extremely important since you can put any verb into its future form by just connecting its infinitive form to TO BE from this list.

Я буду помогать студентам учить русский язык
I will help my students to learn Russian🖖

This is a promise. I hope you feel like you know the Russian Conjugations a bit better.

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Tatiana Saenko is a linguist, an author, and a Russian Language tutor. Communication without limits and barriers is her goal.

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