Russian Lessons Online:
The Verb "to be" in the Present Tense.

‘To be’ in Russian is ‘быть’. Sometimes we usually use the verbs ‘явля́ться’ and ‘находи́ться’ in this meaning:
  • ‘явля́ться’ describes a state or specifies characteristics of some people or objects:
    Москва́ явля́ется столи́цей Росси́и.
    Moscow is the capital of Russia.

    Твой отве́т не явля́ется пра́вильным.
    Your answer is not right.

  • ‘находи́ться’ is used for indicating a place:
    Где нахо́дится э́тот рестора́н?
    Where is that restaurant (located)?

    Кра́сная пло́щадь нахо́дится в Москве́.
    Red Square is (located) in Moscow.

The verb ‘быть’ may be used in both meanings, that’s why today exactly this one will be examined. In modern Russian it’s usually omitted in the present tense:
Мой брат инжене́р.
My brother is an engineer.
(literally: My brother – engineer).

As you can see, we don’t use articles. Articles don’t exist in Russian language. When it’s necessary to distinguish definite objects from indefinite ones, we change the word order or, sometimes, the sentence structure, but in the majority of situations the context let us know, what the speaker means.

As to the verb ‘быть’ (to be), it may be completely omitted or replaced with the dash, like in the above mentioned example:
Мой брат инжене́р.

There are some rules about usage of the dash in sentences like this, and the most important of them are explained in this video. Besides that, in this video lesson you will find more examples of sentences with the verb ‘быть’ and also you will see, how to make interrogative and negative sentences in Russian. Enjoy watching!


© Yevgeni Yeliseyev, 2016 — 2024