Yes! After all the confusing grammatical rules on nouns and declinations and the dash mark and everything else, now time for something thankfully a lot simpler: verbs.
Probably the most difficult language to learn in terms of verb conjugation is Italian, especially with their “passato remote” (distant past) tense. Compare the conjugation for Italian parlare (to talk) to the Romanian conjugation for vorbi. Quite a difference eh?
The good news in Romanian is that you don’t even need to learn some of those verb tenses. The “Past Perfect” for example is only used in Oltenia, for example. So let’s start with the basics.
|Who||Vorbi (To Talk)|
|tu (you familiar)||vorbesti|
|voi (you plural)||vorbiti|
Notice anything interesting? The form for “they talk” and “I talk” is exactly the same. Yes it is! Therefore if you’re using this verb and it’s unclear who is talking, you might have to specify with a pronoun first.
Example: Vorbesc foarte tare.
This means either I am talking loudly or they are. Therefore you’d need to clarify with a pronoun.
Example: Ele vorbesc foarte tare.
But what about the past tense? You have two choices. One is super simple, which assumes you know what the “past participle” is. If you look up at the top of the linked webpage, you’ll see the participle listed in the top right-hand corner. In English this is usually the verb form that ends in “-ed” as in this case, “talked”.
Simple Past Perfect
|Who||Vorbi (To Talk)|
|eu (I)||am vorbit|
|tu (you familiar)||ai vorbit|
|el/ea (he/she)||a vorbit|
|noi (we)||am vorbit|
|voi (you plural)||ati vorbit|
|ei/ele (they)||au vorbit|
This time you’ll see the “we” form is the same as the “I” form. Therefore you’d need to clarify with a pronoun in some case.
Example: Am vorbit cu el.
This means someone has spoken with him. But whom?
Example: Eu am vorbit cu el (I talked with him).
Example: Noi am vorbit cu el (We talked with him).
See how easy that was? For all verbs, you can do a simple past tense by adding am/ai/a/am/ati/au plus the (unchanging) participle.
So let’s imagine you hear a verb and you have no idea what it means – slefui. You learn that the past participle is “slefuit”.
How do you conjugate this verb in the simple past tense?
|Who||Slefui (To Grind)|
|eu (I)||am slefuit|
|tu (you familiar)||ai slefuit|
|el/ea (he/she)||a slefuit|
|noi (we)||am slefuit|
|voi (you plural)||ati slefuit|
|ei/ele (they)||au slefuit|
Now (in your head) imagine making the past forms of these verbs:
Citi (to read) – Participle: citit
Munci (to work) – Participle: muncit
Folosi (to use) – Participle: folosit
See? Super easy.
Now let’s move to the future tense, which is ALSO super easy to do, especially the one called “Future 1” or “Simple Future” on the website.
|Who||Vorbi (To Talk)|
|eu (I)||voi vorbi|
|tu (you familiar)||vei vorbi|
|el/ea (he/she)||va vorbi|
|noi (we)||vom vorbi|
|voi (you plural)||veti vorbi|
|ei/ele (they)||vor vorbi|
See? Incredibly easy. Once you remember all the voi/vei/va forms, you’re set for life because they never change!
Vorbi (to talk) – I will talk = voi vorbi
Citi (to read) – You (familiar) will read = vei citi
Munci (to work) – We will work = vom munci
Folosi (to use) – They will use = vor folosi
Truly couldn’t be simpler!
Note: According to Romanian pronunciation rules, the last “i” in any word is always silent. However the i actually is said out loud for infinitive verb forms.
In simpler language, this means for the simpler future tense and all those vorbi/folosi etcetera the last “i” is pronounced.
tu vorbesti – (you familiar talk/speak) – last i is silent.
tu vei vorbi – (you familiar will talk/speak) – last i is NOT silent
Now let’s mix and match and see how well you got this down! Highlight the blank portion with your mouse if you get stuck.
|I worked||Eu am muncit|
|We worked||Noi am muncit|
|I will work||Voi munci|
|He speaks||El vorbeste|
|He spoke||El a vorbit|
|He will speak||El va vorbi|
Really it’s that easy. But wait, there’s a second commonly used future tense, called “popular” on the website. What’s this?
Both future tenses are almost identical in meaning. And the good news is that it’s super easy because it’s almost identical with the present tense.
Popular Future Tense
|Who||Vorbi (Present)||Who||Vorbi (Future)|
|eu (I)||vorbesc||eu (I)||o sa vorbesc|
|tu (you familiar)||vorbesti||tu (you familiar)||o sa vorbesti|
|el/ea (he/she)||vorbeste||el/ea (he/she)||o sa vorbeasca|
|noi (we)||vorbim||noi (we)||o sa vorbim|
|voi (you plural)||vorbiti||voi (you plural)||o sa vorbiti|
|ei/ele (they)||vorbesc||ei/ele (they)||o sa vorbeasca|
You might notice there that he talks = el vorbeste but he will talk becomes el o sa vorbeasca. Yep, a different ending, which is also the same one for “they” in the future tense. This is actually the subjunctive form (more on that in a later post).
A little tricky but the good news is this “o sa + subjunctive form” is the same for all verbs in the “popular” future tense.
Let’s mix and match! Highlight the blank portion with your mouse if you get stuck.
|eu (I)||talk (vorbesc)||eu (I)||will talk (o sa vorbesc)|
|tu (you familiar)||read (citesti)||tu (you familiar)||will read (o sa citesti)|
|el/ea (he/she)||speaks (vorbeste)||el/ea (he/she)||will speak (o sa vorbeasca)|
|noi (we)||work (muncim)||noi (we)||will work (o sa vorbim)|
|voi (you plural)||read (cititi)||voi (you plural)||will read (o sa cititi)|
|ei/ele (they)||speak (vorbesc)||ei/ele (they)||will speak (o sa vorbeasca)|
|eu (I)||talked (am vorbit)||eu (I)||will talk (voi vorbi)|
|tu (you familiar)||read (ai citit)||tu (you familiar)||will read (vei citi)|
|el/ea (he/she)||spoke (a vorbit)||el/ea (he/she)||will speak (va vorbi)|
|noi (we)||worked (am muncit)||noi (we)||will work (vom munci)|
|voi (you plural)||read (ati citi)||voi (you plural)||will read (veti citi)|
|ei/ele (they)||spoke (au vorbit)||ei/ele (they)||will speak (vor vorbi)|
If you look at the list of conjugations on the webpage, you will almost never need the “Simple Perfect” all of the other future tenses (2 and 3) and the subjunctive tenses (which you’ll notice are identical with the popular future).
In fact, if you just learn the forms above, present, past perfect and the two future tenses, you’re ready to go in about 99% of situations.
|Present Tense||Eu vorbesc|
|Past Tense||Eu + am + vorbit (participle)|
|Future Tense||Eu + voi + vorbi (infinitive)|
|Future Popular||Eu + o sa + vorbesc (subjunctive)|
The conditional tenses are useful but I’ll get to those (and the imperative) another time. And also get into the imperfect tense, another kind of past tense.
Romanian verbs generally come in one of two flavors, what I call “esc” and “ez”. All of the verbs we’ve been using today have been of the “esc” variety, that is to say, the present tense form for “I” ends in “-esc”.
Let’s look at one of those “ez” verbs now, the verb “fuma” meaning “to smoke”.
|Who||Fuma (To Smoke)|
|tu (you familiar)||fumezi|
|voi (you plural)||fumati|
See? Not so difficult and almost identical with “esc” verbs. The past tense and the two future tenses are formed exactly the same way as in “esc” verbs per the chart.
He smokes = el fumeaza
He smoked = el a fumat
He will smoke = el va fuma
He will smoke = el o sa fumeze
Couldn’t be simpler!
Now a final table listing a critical verb: fi (to be).
|eu (I)||sunt||eu (I)||am fost|
|tu (you familiar)||esti||tu (you familiar)||ai fost|
|el/ea (he/she)||este||el/ea (he/she)||a fost|
|noi (we)||suntem||noi (we)||am fost|
|voi (you plural)||sunteti||voi (you plural)||ati fost|
|ei/ele (they)||sunt||ei/ele (they)||au fost|
|eu (I)||voi fi||eu (I)||o sa fiu|
|tu (you familiar)||vei fi||tu (you familiar)||o sa fii|
|el/ea (he/she)||va fi||el/ea (he/she)||o sa fie|
|noi (we)||vom fi||noi (we)||o sa fim|
|voi (you plural)||veti fi||voi (you plural)||o sa fiti|
|ei/ele (they)||vor fi||ei/ele (they)||o sa fie|
Note: Again, remembering that the last “i” in infinite verb forms IS pronounced, both “fi” and “fii” are pronounced the same way (fee).
And now you know how to say…
INTR-O BUNA ZI VOI FI IN ROMANIA!