Register me

Impersonal verbs

In my opinion, the topic on impersonal verbs in Russian is very interesting. This is such group of verbs which denote action without an active participant. If you have learned the composition of a sentence, let's say it is a predicate with a subject in a sentence.

Impersonal verbs can denote:

1. Condition, emotions of a person.
Взгрустнулось - I feel sad.

2. Desirability of an action.
Следует подумать над задачей - One should think about the task.
(impersonal verb - "следует")

3. Possibility or lack of possibility
На каникулах мне недостает друзей - I miss my friends during my vacations.

4. Natural phenomena or the condition of the environment
Вечереет - It is getting dark.

One of the classic examples of impersonal verb is the sentence "Смеркалось." [Smerkalas'] - The shades of evening began to descend. This word means getting nightfall, where there is already no day but night has not come yet. But this word does not have the same meaning as the noun "вечер" (evening) because it describes action, a gradual approach. This is an impersonal verb, the action takes place on its own.
Pay attention, sometimes even personal verbs can be used as impersonal. You should look at the whole sentence. If there is no object, subject, it can be a personal verb in the meaning of impersonal one.

Пахнет морем - It smells like sea.
Воздух пахнет морем - Wind smells like sea.

Grammatically, impersonal verbs are not changed in person and number, they have the endings of the 3rd person, singular form, present and future tenses and neuter gender, singular, past tense.

Here are some examples of sentences with impersonal verbs:
Мне везёт в карты - I'm lucky in cards.
Книгу залило дождём - The book is become wet due to rain.
Всю ночь гремело - It was stormy all night long.
За окном светает - Day is breaking outside.
Мне нездоровится - I'm under the weather.
Перед грозой всегда темнеет - It always gets darker before the storm.

You can find Russian language schools and teachers:

Translation (ru-en)
Only registered users can use this function