10.1 - Introducing the present tense

As its name suggests, the present tense describes actions which happen, or are happening, at the present time, or are repeated regularly, for example:

It isn't raining at the moment.
But I always carry an umbrella, just in case.
It often rains in this part of the world.

The present tense can also describe states and processes, for example:

I'm feeling very well at the moment.
The website is (in the process of) being updated.

In the present tense Ukrainian verbs have a different ending for each person: I, you (singular), he/she/it, we, you (plural), they. Giving the endings for each person in this order is known as conjugating the verb. You have met this principle before, when the future imperfective was being covered (page 4.7).

For example, the verb «жити» (to live) changes its endings (or is conjugated) as follows:

я живу I live
ти живеш you live (singular/informal)
він/вона/воно живе he/she/it lives
ми живемо we live
ви живете you live (plural/formal)
вони живуть they live

Compare these endings with the future tense of the verb «бути» (to be) on page 4.7.

As each person has a different ending, the subject of the verb may sometimes be omitted, providing this will not cause ambiguity. For example:

Наталю! Де ти? Natalia! Where are you?
Вже йду! I'm coming!

There is no need for «Я» in Natalia's answer, as the ending -у on the verb makes it clear who the subject is. If you are reading a text and cannot find the subject, look at the verb ending to help you.

Part of the collection of resources at UkrainianLanguage.org.uk
© 2007 Marta Jenkala