The Imperative and Subjunctive Mood of Russian Verbs

“Do not be late!” Do you know what grammar term that used in this sentence? When we want to ask or demand people to do something, we use an imperative mood. We can say the imperative is used to make commands. Meanwhile, when we want to express something that is still unreal like a wish, emotional thing, or action that still haven’t (but it may happen), we use the subjunctive mood.

The Imperative Mood of Russian Verbs

Different from the subjunctive mood that use particle бы, to make sentences in the imperative mood there are some formulas as you can see below.

– Change the suffix -ат, -ят, -ут or –ют and put the word -й, -и or –ь. To be more polite, you can put -йте, -ите or –ьте.

  • Писать (to write): пиши –пишите
  • Читать (to read):  читай –  читайте

– But there are also irregular form of verbs.

  • Поехать (to go): Поезжай  – Поезжайте
  • Дать (to give): Дай – Дайте
  • Есть (to eat): Ешь –  Ешьте

– Form from conjugation Я

  • Выучить (to learn): выучу, выучат – выучите
  • Заполнить (to fill): заполню, заполнят – заполните

For example:

  • Читайте это!
    (Chitayte eto!)
    Read this!
  • Не говори плохо о нем
    (Ne govori plokho o nem)
    Don’t say bad about him.
  • Напишите свое имя и фамилию.
    (Napishite svoye imya i familiyu)
    Write down your name and surname.

The Subjunctive Mood of Russian Verbs

In Russian language, the subjunctive is followed by the particle -бы. This particle can be used for any gender and number. The sentence in the subjunctive mood is always in the past tense. Although its form in the past tense, but can also refer to the present and the future. It is always written separately from the verb.


– The particle -бы always follow the verb. But there’s an exception. Like the example below.

  • Если бы я не была занят, я бы смотрела.
    (Yesli by ya ne byla zanyat, ya by smotrela)
    If I were not busy, I would watch.

From this example, -бы has a function to emphasize the subject as well.

– To express the wish, request, this mood often use some of these verbs хотеть (to want), просить (to ask), желать (to wish), and смотреть (to watch).

The example:

  • Я хочу бы с ней
    (Ya khochu by s ney)
    I would like with her.
  • Мы бы пошли в кино, если бы у нас был билет.
    (My by poshli v kino, yesli by u nas byl bilet)
    We would go to the cinema if we had a ticket.
  • Я с удовольствием прочитал бы вашу книгу.
    (Ya s udovol’stviyem prochital by vashu knigu)
    I would gladly read your book.

That is the explanation about Subjunctive and Imperative Mood of Russian Verbs. Keep practicing to create sentences using both moods of Russian verbs. Besides, to make a sentence in Russian you also need to know the formula for present, past, and future tense of Russian verbs . Are you familiar with those tenses?

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