Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Verbs

with 5 Comments

The final chapter of Schaum’s Russian Grammar is СДЕЛАНО! 😁 79 pages of Russian verbs, done!

Random things I learned:

Russian has so many verb conjugations! More than I could have imagined + lots of verbs that take some remembering, like махать (to wave) = машу, машешь,… машут. Or stems in ей, like Что ты робеешь? (Why are you shy?).

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Russian verbs are divided into PRODUCTIVE and NON-PRODUCTIVE. Non-productive classes = the old stuff. All new verbs coming into Russian get shuffled into the productive classes. (Апгрейдить anyone?)

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Again, Schaum’s Grammar is definitely a Good, Thorough Book but… sometimes the explanations get a bit technical for this level of language study: obstruent stems, transitivity, “action emanating from the Agent to the Patient (instead of simply “the passive voice”).

On the other hand, some of the terms are actually pretty useful for further Google research. For example, did you know that suppletion = those mix-match verb pairs like говорить/сказать or искать/найти?

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There is a group of “color” verbs: белеть, голубеть, желтеть, краснеть.

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“Ты взял мою книгу?” “Нет, я не брал.” Oh whyyyyyyy do these verbs have to be different? I understand how people learning English feel when they ask about the difference between “Did you do your homework?” and “Have you done your homework?”

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The concept of annulled action is something I’m still getting used to. I found this little table really useful:


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Some perfective verbs with по- and за- indicate the action is just beginning. For example:

  • полюбить = to fall in love (start loving)
  • пойти = to start walking
  • заинтересоваться = to become interested
  • заболеть = to fall ill
  • засмеяться = to start laughing

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There’s an excellent review here of давай. I realized that up until now, I’ve only been using the давай + perfective first-person plural form of this, like Давай подумаем об этом. But turns out:

  • the opposite of Давай подумаем об этом is slightly different verb-wise: Нет, давай не будем думать об этом.
  • you can also use давай + imperfective for continuous/repeated actions:
    • Давай говорить серьезно = let’s talk seriously
    • Давай говорить прямо = let’s be frank
    • Давай говорить очень тихо = let’s talk quietly
    • Давай говорить по делу = let’s talk business
    • Compare the perfective version: давай поговорим об этом завтра, когда ты протрезвеешь = let’s talk about this tomorrow when you’re sober
  • to suggest doing something else instead, use лучше:
    • Давай не будем смотреть этот фильм в кино. Давай лучше дома посмотрим.

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Some of the topics in this chapter:



I can’t believe I’m finally done with this book! Although Schaum’s Russian Vocab took just one spring to complete, this grammar textbook took 5 years. And to be honest, I’m not quite done with it. I’ve been creating lots and lots of notes in ANKI – hundreds of entries!- and now I need to start reviewing them. I learned a lot of helpful things from this book… now the task is to remember them all.😆

If you’re curious about this other chapters, here’s a table of contents for you:

Chapter 1. Schaum’s Russian Grammar: The Sounds of Russian

Chapter 2. Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Nouns

Chapter 3. Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Prepositions

Chapter 4. Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Pronouns

Chapter 5. Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Adjectives and Adverbs

Chapter 6. Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Numbers, Dates, and Time

Chapter 7: Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Verbs (this post)

Chapter 8. Schaum’s Russian Grammar: Conjunctions



Have you used this series to study Russian? Or maybe there’s another textbook you can recommend? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

5 Responses

  1. David Emerling
    | Reply

    When Russian language students first learn that they must know TWO versions for every ONE verb – it is quite discouraging. And then they have to learning all the nuances of imperfective and perfective. They understand a sentence like: Я купил тебе падарок. (I bought you a present) but have a hard time understanding a phrase like Я покупал тебе падарок. (I was buying you a present). Then again, Russians must think the English system is insane. And it is!
    Could you say all the following sentences in Russian?
    “I buy you a present every time it’s your birthday.”
    “I am buying you a present for your birthday.”
    “I am going to buy you a present for your birthday.” (Think how strange “going” is in this sentence. Going where?)
    “I will buy you a present for your birthday.”
    “I will have bought you a present for your birthday for the past 6 years.”
    “I will have been buying presents for your birthday every year for the past 6 years.”
    “I will be buying you a present for your birthday on Amazon.”
    “I bought you a present for your birthday.”
    “I was buying you a present for your birthday.”
    “I would have bought you a present for your birthday.”
    “I was thinking about buying you a present for your birthday.”
    “I want to buy you a present for your birthday.”
    “Having bought you a present for your birthday, I now expect one from you.”
    “You saw me buying you a present. Now it’s no surprise.”

    Good luck with that! 🙂

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      That is a lot! 😂 Ahhh, English grammar.

      PS: Fixed the typo, no worries!

  2. David Emerling
    | Reply

    Typo! покупал not пукупал.

  3. David Emerling
    | Reply

    I also find it interesting that Russian has dedicated verbs for eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. (обедать, завтракать, ужинать) They also have a single verb for saying “I did not make there on time.” Я не успел.

    I’m still trying to figure out why Russians use the same word for hand and arm. And they use the same word for fingers and toes. Very odd.

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Я не успела… in non-covid years when I actually go places, that is my most used verb. 😉

      It is fascinating to me when words are more specific in one language than in another. Like, why is рука so non-specific? After all, Russian has stuff like локоть and ладонь and костяшки. I’ve been slowly making a list of words like that… hopefully there will be enough to create a post about them in 2021, stay tuned…

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