Romanian verbs

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Unlike English but like other Indo-European languages, Romanian verbs are highly inflective. Romanian inherits its verbal conjugation system from Vulgar Latin. Unlike its nouns, Romanian verbs behave in a similar way to those of other Romance languages such as French, Spanish, and Italian. They conjugate according to mood, tense, voice, person and number. Aspect is not an independent feature in Romanian verbs, although it does manifest itself clearly in the contrast between the imperfect and the compound perfect tenses as well as within the presumptive mood. Also, gender is not distinct except in the past participle tense, in which the verb behaves like an adjective.

Verb paradigm[edit]

There are nine moods into which a verb can be put, with five of them being personal (having a different form for each person) and four non-personal. As an example, the tables below show the verb a face ("to do") at all moods, tenses, persons and numbers. Only positive forms in the active voice are given. The corresponding personal pronouns are not included; unlike English verbs, Romanian verbs generally have different forms for each person and number, so pronouns are most often dropped except for emphasis. The English equivalents in the tables (one for each mood and tense) are only an approximative indication of the meaning.

Personal moods
Mood Tense Number and person English
equivalent
(only sg. 1st)
Singular Plural
1st 2nd 3rd 1st 2nd 3rd
Indicative Pluperfect făcusem făcuseși făcuse făcuserăm făcuserăți făcuseră I had done
Imperfect făceam făceai făcea făceam făceați făceau I was doing
Compound perfect am făcut ai făcut a făcut am făcut ați făcut au făcut I did, I have done
Simple perfect făcui făcuși făcu făcurăm făcurăți făcură I have (just) done, I did
Future in the past (popular) aveam să fac aveai să faci avea să facă aveam să facem aveați să faceți aveau să facă I was going to do
Present fac faci face facem faceți fac I do, I am doing
Future voi face vei face va face vom face veți face vor face I will do
Future (popular, 1) am să fac ai să faci are să facă avem să facem aveți să faceți au să facă I'll do
Future (popular, 2) o să fac o să faci o să facă o să facem o să faceți o să facă[1] I'll do
Future perfect voi fi făcut vei fi făcut va fi făcut vom fi făcut veți fi făcut vor fi făcut I will have done
Subjunctive Past să fi făcut that I did, to have done
Present să fac să faci să facă să facem să faceți să facă that I do, to do
Optative &
Conditional
Past aș fi făcut ai fi făcut ar fi făcut am fi făcut ați fi făcut ar fi făcut I would have done
Present aș face ai face ar face am face ați face ar face I would do
Presumptive Past oi fi făcut o fi făcut om fi făcut oți fi făcut or fi făcut I might have done
Present oi face o face om face oți face or face I might do
Present progressive oi fi făcând o fi făcând om fi făcând oți fi făcând or fi făcând I might be doing
Imperative Present fă! faceți! do! (2nd person only)
Non-personal moods
Mood Tense Verb forms English equivalent
Infinitive Past a fi făcut to have done
Present a face to do
Participle Past făcut (sg., masc.)
făcută (sg., fem.)
făcuți (pl., masc.)
făcute (pl., fem.)
done
Gerund făcând doing
Supine de făcut (something) to do

Usage[edit]

Simple perfect[edit]

Use of simple perfect in interwar Romania:
  Area of use   Area of partial use
  Area of infrequent use   Not used
Historical region of Oltenia highlighted

The simple perfect has been replaced by the compound perfect in most of the Romanian varieties; it is commonly used in the Oltenian vernacular (graiul oltenesc) to denote recent actions that still affect the present situation: Mâncai (I have eaten). In the literary standard, the simple perfect is used almost exclusively in writing, where the author refers to the characters' actions as they take place. For that reason, the second person is practically never used, whereas the first person appears only when the writer includes himself among the characters.

Imperfect[edit]

In Romanian, the compound perfect is often used where other Romance languages would use the imperfect. For example, the English sentence My father was Romanian requires the imperfect when translated into languages like French and Italian, whereas in this context in Romanian the compound perfect form Tatăl meu a fost român is frequently used instead of the imperfect Tatăl meu era român.

Past participle[edit]

Verbs in the past participle are used in their singular masculine form when they are part of compound tenses (compound perfect, future perfect, past subjunctive, etc.) in the active voice. As part of a verb in the passive voice, the past participle behaves like adjectives, and thus must agree in number and gender with the subject:

  • Active voice: Am făcut curat în casă. (I cleaned the house.)
  • Passive voice: Echipa adversă a fost făcută praf. (The opposing team was laid to waste.)

Conjugation groups[edit]

From an etymologycal point of view, Romanian verbs are categorized into four large conjugation groups depending on the ending in the infinitive mood, and this is the verb classification that is currently taught in schools.

Conjugation Ending Examples Notes
I –a a da (to give)
a crea (to create)
a veghea (to ward)
Verbs ending in hiatus ea are included here, as well as verbs ending in -chea and -ghea, due to their first conjugation-like behavior
II –ea a putea (to be able to, to can do)
a cădea (to fall)
a vedea (to see)
only when ea is a diphthong (also see above)
III –e a vinde (to sell)
a crede (to believe)
a alege (to choose)
IV –i or –î a ști (to know)
a veni (to come)
a hotărî (to decide)

Most verbs fall in the first conjugation group with another large number ending in –i (fourth group).

This classification only partially helps in identifying the correct conjugation pattern. Each group is further split into smaller classes depending on the actual morphological processes that occur. For example, a cânta (to sing) and a lucra (to work) both belong to the first conjugation group, but their indicative first person singular forms are eu cânt (I sing) and eu lucrez (I work), which shows different conjugation mechanisms.

A more appropriate classification, which provides useful information on the actual conjugation pattern, groups all regular verbs into 11 conjugation classes, as shown below.

Class Identification Examples (one from each sound change type)
V1 infinitive ending in -a, present indicative without infix a ajuta, a arăta, a aștepta, a ierta, a toca, a apăra, a îmbrăca, a prezenta, a apăsa, a măsura, a căpăta, a semăna, a pieptăna, a amâna, a intra, a lătra, a apropia, a mângâia, a tăia, a despuia, deochea
V2 infinitive ending in -a, present indicative with infix -ez- a lucra, a studia, împerechea
V3 infinitive ending in -i, present indicative singular 3rd person ending in -e a fugi, a despărți, a ieși, a repezi, a dormi, a muri, a veni, a sui, a îndoi, a jupui
V4 infinitive ending in -i, present indicative singular 3rd person ending in a oferi, a suferi
V5 infinitive ending in -i, present indicative singular 3rd person ending in -ește a povesti, a trăi
V6 infinitive ending in , present indicative singular 3rd person ending in a vârî, a coborî
V7 infinitive ending in , present indicative singular 3rd person ending in -ăște a hotărî
V8 infinitive ending in diphthong -ea a apărea, a cădea, a ședea, a vedea, a putea
V9 infinitive ending in -e, past participle ending in -ut a pierde, a cere, a crede, a bate, a cunoaște, a coase, a vinde, a ține, a umple
V10 infinitive ending in -e, past participle ending in -s a prinde, a rade, a roade, a plânge, a trage, a merge, a zice, a întoarce, a permite, a scoate, a pune, a rămâne, a purcede, a scrie
V11 infinitive ending in -e, past participle ending in -t or -pt a rupe, a fierbe, a înfrânge, a sparge, a frige, a coace

Nevertheless, even such a classification does not consider all possible sound alternances. A full classification, considering all combinations of sound changes and ending patterns, contains about seventy types, not including irregular verbs.

Irregular verbs[edit]

There are various kinds of irregularity, such as multiple radicals whose choice is conditioned phonetically or etymologically and exceptional endings. The following is a list of the most frequent irregular verbs:

  • a avea "to have"
  • a fi "to be"
  • a vrea "to want"
  • a sta "to sit, stand, or remain"
  • a da "to give"
  • a azvârli "to throw"
  • a lua "to take"
  • a bea "to drink"
  • a ști "to know"
  • a usca "to dry"
  • a continua "to continue"
  • a mânca "to eat"
  • a face "to do"
  • a zice "to say"
  • a duce "to carry"

References[edit]

  • (Romanian) Maria Iliescu et al., Vocabularul minimal al limbii române, Editura Didactică și Pedagogică, 1981
  • (Romanian) Valeria Guțu Romalo et al., Gramatica limbii române, Editura Academiei Române, 2005

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In contemporary Romanian there is a tendency towards replacing o să with or să for the third person plural.See Gramatica limbii române, vol. I, p. 441.

External links[edit]