Ukrainian verb conjugation: how to define and use it

Ukrainian verb conjugation: how to define and use it

The Ukrainian Present Tense is similar to the English Present Continuous and Present Simple:

What does he look like?

Vodianyk was represented as a naked, chubby old man with a fishtail. He is tangled in ooze, has a long, thick beard, and a green moustache. 

He could turn into a catfish, a goat, a dog, a cat, etc.

Where does he live?  

He lives in the water – in rivers, lakes, and ponds. Also likes to settle under a water mill.

Vodianyk might live in eddies. 

What does he do?

Vodianyk herds of catfish, carp, bream, and other fish that graze on the bottom of rivers and lakes. He commands mermaids and other water inhabitants.

This waterman could flood rivers, break dams and water mills, drown livestock and people, capsize boats, and extinguish fires lit on the banks. 

The time after sunset and on Ivan Kupala, when this spirit could drag people underwater, was considered especially dangerous. In addition, his victims were drunkards.

To appease him, people sacrificed goats, roosters, honey, bread, and other goods by throwing them into the water. 


from злидні – poverty

E. g. Вона співає. – She is singing. She sings.

In the Present Tense, all verbs are inflected for persons. That is why there are different personal endings added to the stem of the verb. All the verbs are divided into two groups or conjugations according to the vowel of the personal endings.

How will I know which verb belongs to which conjugation?

Most verbs which infinitives end in –ати, –яти, –вати belong to conjugation I.

The infinitives that end in –ити, –іти, –їти belongto conjugation II.

Note: there are many verbs, which are not following this rule (лежати, стояти – Conjug. II).

Let’s take a more detailed look at the formation of conjugation I.

  1. The ending –ти is dropped from the infinitive to get the stem (base of a word).

For example, in the word знати (to know) the stem is зна- and ends in a vowel:

Other verbs that are like this:

Мати (to have), читати (to read), відповідати (to answer), замовляти (to order), розмовляти (to talk, to speak), розуміти (to understand), грати (to play), співати (to sing) etc.

Note: The verbs пити (to drink) and бити (to beat) are conjugated in a different way using apostrophe: п’ю, п’єш, п’є, п’ємо, п’єте, п’ють.

The verb лити (to pour, to shed): ллю, ллєш, ллємо (ллєм), ллєте, ллють.

2. The ending -вати is dropped from the infinitive to get the stem.

For example, in the word готувати (to cook, to prepare) the stem is готу-:

Other verbs like this:

купувати (to buy), продавати (to sell), давати (to give),отримувати (to get, to receive) будувати (to build), куштувати (to taste) etc.

Note: there are many exceptions where the syllable -ва is a part of the stem, and we conjugate the verb without ending -ти: відкривати (to open), наливати (to pour in(to), співати (to sing), забувати (to forget) etc.

3. The ending –ути is dropped from the infinitive to get the stem.For example, in the word повернути (to turn, to give back) the stem is поверн-:

Other verbs that are like this:

пахнути (to have a fine smell), квітнути (to bloom), прагнути (to aim (at), тиснути (to squeeze, to press).

4. There are changes in the stem after dropping the ending –ти from the infinitive. For example, in the word жити (to live) the stem changes to жив- not just жи- :

Consonant interchange rules: г-ж, з-ж, с-ш, к-ч, т-ч, д.

Other verbs that are like this:

могти (can, to be able) – я можу, хотіти (to want) – я хочу, іти (to go) – я іду, казати (to say, to tell) – я кажу, писати (to write) – я пишу, хотіти (to want) – я хочу etc.

And now it is time for the formation of conjugation II.

5. The ending –ити, -ати is dropped from the infinitive to get the stem.For example, in the word бачити (to see) the stem is бач-:

Other verbs that are like this:

спішити (to hurry), вчити(ся) (to study, to learn), лежати (to lie), кричати (to scream).

6. The endings -ити or -іти are dropped from the infinitive to get the stem. But in the 1st person singular, there are verb consonants interchange in the stem of the word. For example, in the word ходити (to walk) the stem is ход– (but ходж– for the 1st person):

Consonant interchange rules: д-дж, т-ч, з-ж, с-ш, зд-ждж, ст-щ.

Other verbs that are like this:

їздити (to go, to drive, to ride) – їжджу, їздиш; платити (to pay) – плачу, платиш; возити (to transport) – вожу, водиш; радити (to advice) – раджу, радиш etc.

7. The ending -ити is dropped from the infinitive to get the stem.

For example, in the word говорити the stem is говор-:

Other verbs that are like this:

курити (to smoke), варити(ся) (to boil), творити (to create), пилити (to dust) etc.

8. Verbs with the stem ending into б, п, в, м, ф have additional consonant л in the 1st person singular and the 3rd person plural.

The infinitive ending -ити is dropped to get the stem. In the word любити (to love) the stem is люб- (любл- after я and вони):

Other verbs that are like this:

дивитися (to look, to watch) – дивлюсь, дивляться; знайомити(ся) (to meet) – знайомлю(сь), знайомлять(ся); ловити (to catch) – ловлю, ловлять; терпіти (to endure, to stand) – терплю, терплять; спати (to sleep) – сплю, сплять etc.

9. The ending -їти is dropped from the infinitive to get the stem.

For example, in the case of доїти (to milk) the stem is до-:

Other verbs that are like this:

клеїти (to clue), гоїти(ся) (to heal), коїти (to make, to do), кроїти (to cut, to shape), труїти (to poison), стояти (to stand).

Note: the verb їсти (to eat) has a particular form.

The conjugation pattern:

  1. Find the infinitive of the verb.


2. Define the сonjugation.

conjugation II

3. Add the necessary personal ending.

я говорю, ти говориш, він говорить, ми говоримо, ви говорите, вони говорять.

Phew, that is all about conjugations for today. Now you need to practice them. Conjugate in the comments the verbs знайомитися (to meet), кохати (to love in a romantic way) і творити (to create). We are waiting for your answers!

You may check your verbs conjugation in this dictionary.

Materials used in the preparation of this article:

  1. Grammar Reference Handbook (Ukrainian). Developed by US Peace Corps Ukraine Language Staff. 2009.
  2. Макарова Г., Паламар Л., Присяжнюк Н. Розмовляймо українською. Елементарний курс. 2011.