The mood is one of a set of distinctive verb forms that are used to express modality. There are 3 moods in Russian: the Indicative, Subjunctive and Imperative.

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Indicative Subjunctive Imperative
The verb expresses real actions in the present, past or future tense. The verb names a conditional action that could have happened (could happen) under certain circumstances. The verb expresses an order, incentive, request,warning or advice.


The Imperative mood

The Imperative mood is formed from the present tense form using:

  1. suffix : :
  • in verbs with the stress on the ending: бегу- беги, кричу-кричи
  • in verbs with a prefix вы that takes the stress: выбегу-выбеги, вывезу -вывези
  • in verds with a stem made up of several consonants: одолжи, держи

2. zero suffix and zero ending if the stress in on the stem: валяю - валяй[], стираю -стирай[]

3. with the help of particles пусть, давай, пускай,пусть будет, дай-ка, да, -ка:

дай-ка посмотрю (let me see it), пусть будет мир (let there be peace)

Some verbs use special way to form the imperative:

  • the infinitive could also serve as the imperative although with some military/police

connotation: Отжиматься 50 раз! Стоять! (do 50 push-ups! freeze!)

  • the interchangeable : лить- лей (to pour -pour), бить- бей (to hit-hit)
  • The suffix -ва that remains from the infinative and which is lost in the present tense:

давайть- даю -давай(give)

  • from a different stem altogether: ехать - поезжай, есть - ешь (go, eat)

The plural is formed with the addition of the ending -те: решай-решайте, стой-стойте

The category of tense is not applicable.


Some interesting observations.

In spoken Russian you might hear other moods used in the meaning of the imperative: Ты бы пока пропылесосил комнату (why don't you vacuum the room meanwhile?) - subjunctive

Пошел к черту! or Опал-отжался! (Go to hell! Fall down and do push-ups!) - indicative