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A Quick and Easy Guide to Romanian Verb Conjugation

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Romanian verb conjugations are way, way easier than they might appear to be.

That’s good, too—because they look pretty bad!

If you want to learn to speak good Romanian, you definitely can’t ignore the conjugations. English doesn’t have a lot of conjugations, but you still notice the mistake if someone says “He go to the library.”

Multiply that by the numerous Romanian conjugations, and it can seem, at first glance, like the language is a minefield just waiting to trip you up.In reality, though, you just need to learn a couple of key patterns. Quite a few of the conjugations are rarely used these days, and in casual conversations, you’ll hear the same conjugations over and over again.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Romanian Table of Contents
  1. What Do You Need to Care About?
  2. Verb Groups in Romanian
  3. Things That Happened in the Past
  4. Things That are Happening Now
  5. Things That are Going to Happen
  6. Conclusion

1. What Do You Need to Care About?

Top Verbs

If you look at a sprawling list of every single Romanian conjugation, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed. Truth be told, that’s a pretty dishonest way of presenting information to students. You don’t need to care about everything at once, not at all.

There are three terms that we’ll be discussing in this article, and it’s important that you know what they mean in English before learning them in Romanian. These terms are directly associated with Romanian verb conjugation patterns, so pay attention.

First is “person,” which refers to the individual and the identity of who’s using the verb. That could be:

  • First person: Equivalent to “I” in English. 
  • Second person: Equivalent to “you” and “you all.” 
  • Third person: Anybody else being referred to, such as “he,” “she,” ” it,” or “them.”

Next is “mood,” or how you feel about what you’re saying. For example, if it’s a statement of fact, you’d use one mood; if it’s a wish, you’d use another. English has just four moods, but Romanian has nine! There’s plenty of resources out there for clarification, and most of these moods are used infrequently anyway.

Then we have “tense,” which you’re likely already familiar with as well. It’s about what time something happened, or when it happened related to other events. English and Romanian both have lots of tenses, so it’s not too difficult to find conjugations that are equivalent in meaning.

2. Verb Groups in Romanian

Man Swimming in Pool

There are four Romanian verb groups, much like French, Italian, and Spanish. These are words that have the same type of ending in the infinitive, and therefore follow the same patterns.

Well, kind of. Some of them have extra endings! Let’s see what the Romanian verb endings look like by conjugating into the first person present (the equivalent of “I do”).

  • Type 1: Verbs ending in -a, like a înota, meaning “to swim.” The first person present is eu înot. Simple enough. However, some verbs conjugate with the ending –ez.
  • Type 2: Verbs ending in -ea. No subtypes here! Once you know how to conjugate one -ea verb, you know them all.
  • Type 3: Verbs ending in -e. Again, no exceptions to this rule.
  • Type 4: Verbs ending in -i or . Sometimes these verbs will end in -esc, and sometimes in -ăsc.

Hopefully, you’re beginning to see that Romanian verbs have a lot of things for you to think about. A lot of this just has to be memorized, and it would be a great idea for you to work on memorizing a verb chart early. The earlier you memorize the chart, the faster everything will become automatic for you.

3. Things That Happened in the Past

More Essential Verbs

In order to present things in a chronological manner, we’ll start with a quick overview of the past tenses in Romanian. These are the most common ones you’ll see when reading books or news articles anyway, so they’re very important to know.

Romanian has four different past tenses, but we’ll first focus on the two most common: the simple perfect and the compound perfect.

Those are the equivalents of “I did” and “I have done.” The difference is that in English, those have two separate meanings. In Romanian, they mean the same thing, but the simple perfect is used more for writing, while the compound is used more for speaking. The six conjugation forms for the simple perfect are as follows. Romanian usually drops the pronoun, so we’ll show it with only the verb form. We’re using the example a face (“to do”), which as you’ll recall, is a Type 2 verb.

“I did”“You did”“He/she/it did”“We did”“You (plural) did”“They did”
făcuifăcușifăcufăcuramfăcurățifăcură

The compound perfect is way easier! You just have to memorize one single conjugation—for the helping verb a avea (“to have”)—and then add the past participle of the actual verb. Just like in English, really.

“I have done”“You have done”“He/she/it has done”“We have done”“You (plural) have done”“They have done”
am făcutai făcuta făcutam făcutați făcutau făcut

One more important distinction is a tense called the imperfect. It also exists in Spanish and Italian, so it’s nothing unique—but we don’t have it in English. It’s used for talking about ongoing actions in the past. The perfect is for completed actions only—the difference between “I was reading a book” and “I read a book.”

“I was doing”“You were doing”“He/she/it was doing”“We were doing”“You (plural) were doing”“They were doing”
făceamfăceaifăceafăceamfăceațifăceau
  • În timp ce dormeam, mi-a umblat prin lucruri.
    “While I was sleeping, he went through my things.”

In the sentence above, dormeam is imperfect, while umblat is perfect because it marks a completed action.

4. Things That are Happening Now

Businessman Pointing to Watch

Moving on from what has happened, let’s now talk about things that are happening or that do happen. If you’re a native speaker or advanced learner of English, that last sentence should show you quite clearly the difference between the present progressive tense and the present simple tense.

We use the simple present tense to talk about habitual actions in English, and the present progressive to describe what actions are happening during the moment of speech. The same is not true in Romanian, where the simple present works for both situations.

Now, let’s look at Romanian present tense conjugations:

“I do”“You do”“He/she/it does”“We do”“You (plural) do”“They do”
facfacifacefacemfacețifac
  • Ea se învârte în cerc.
    “She’s running in circles.”
  • Fac yoga în fiecare dimineață.
    “I do yoga every morning.”

We need to use the subjunctive mood now, in a place that might seem a little odd.

The subjunctive isn’t terribly hard to produce. It’s the same as the present indicative, but for the “he/she/it” and “they” parts, we change the ending to -ască.

So what’s odd about the subjunctive? Usually, it’s used to express hopes or wishes or, as mentioned before, unreal statements. In Romanian, it’s not only that. It’s also used any time we use the connecting word .

  • Aș vrea să pot.
    “I wish I could.”
  • Aș fi vrut ca el să vorbească cu noi.
    “I wish he would talk to us.”

5. Things That are Going to Happen

Silhouette of Woman Looking to Future

Could you have guessed that the Romanian future tense would be the easiest of them all?

There’s no real future tense in Romanian; instead, we use a helping verb. The reasons why this might be the case, as compared to the complexities of other Romance languages, are shrouded in mystery. All you have to know is that you simply conjugate the verb a vrea (“to want”) and then connect it to the infinitive. Yes, in Romanian, you’re literally saying “I want to” but it really means “I will.”

“I will do”“You will do”“He/she/it will do”“We will do”“You (plural) will do”“They will do”
voi facevei faceva facevom faceveți facevor face
  • Ne vom întâlni din nou.
    “We will meet again.”

How, then, do you distinguish the sentence above from saying “We want to meet again?” Grammatically, you can’t. But the context is likely to clear up the meaning. And really, how different are the two, anyway?

6. Conclusion

The main thing you have to keep in mind as you gaze over this long and wide set of conjugation tables is this: Romanian babies know this too.

Well, toddlers at least.

And that comes from tens of thousands of hours living and breathing the Romanian language, 24/7.

You don’t need to put in quite that kind of time, but you do need to actually expose yourself to the language as it’s spoken and written. Only that kind of slowly accumulating experience is going to give you the feeling for things like using the subjunctive or the imperfect.

At the same time, don’t ignore the benefits of actually sitting down and studying. That, combined with good Romanian content, is going to make the process a whole lot shorter.

RomanianPod101.com is the best place on the web for getting both grammar lessons and excellent audio and text resources in real, authentic Romanian.

As you read and listen, pay attention to the conjugations instead of just directly translating them in your mind. Think about which tenses are being used, and which pronouns are present or omitted.

That kind of language consciousness is going to pay off big time as you jump leaps and bounds ahead of your Romanian-learning peers!

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section with any questions you have about Romanian verb conjugations. We’ll do our best to help you out!

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