Irregular verbs conjugation in Present

Irregular verbs conjugation in Present

SlovenianSlovenian A1

Welcome to our Slovenian grammar course for beginners! Today we're going to talk about Slovenian Irregular verbs.

There's a group of verbs in Slovene that are the most commonly used and for which the aforementioned rules are not always followed. These are called irregular verbs (nepravilni glagoli). Often, the forms of these verbs can differ significantly from their base, making it better to memorize them. The good news is that their forms are somewhat logical. We discussed one of them in a previous lesson - the verb "biti" (to be). Let's look at commonly used irregular verbs in Slovenian.

Common Irregular Verbs

These verbs have unique forms in the first person singular, which don't directly follow the regular rules. The main challenge is identifying the base of the verb. In the case of "iti" (to go), the base for the present tense is "gre." It's somewhat unclear how this transformation occurred, but it's a fact that needs to be accepted and the verb memorized.

There are also more complex situations where the base has nothing to do with the infinitive, such as the verb iti (to go):
Jaz grem - I go
Ti greš - You go (singular, informal)
On / Ona / Ono gre - He / She / It goes
Midva / Midve / Medve greva - We both go (dual)
Vidva / Vidve / Vedve gresta - You both go (dual)
Onadva / Onidve / Onedve gresta - They both go (dual)
Mi / Me gremo - We go
Vi / Ve greste - You go (plural or singular formal)
Oni / One / Ona gredo / grejo - They go (plural)

In this case, the base for the Present Tense of iti is gre.
Note: in the third person plural, there are two forms: gredo and grejo. Both are equivalent and considered correct; you can use either one, whichever you prefer.

Here are a few more verbs that are considered irregular (we'll only provide the first person singular forms and the base, as once you determine the base, you can simply apply the endings described in the article about the Present Tense to get the required verb form):
Brati (to read) - berem (I read, base: bere, addition of "e" after "b");

Hoteti (to want) - hočem (I want, base: hoče, alternation between "t" and "č");

Imeti (to have) - imam (I have, base: ima, removal of "-m");

Izbrati (to choose) - izberem (I choose, base: izbere, replacement of "-bra" with "-bere");

Jesti (to eat) - jem (I eat, base: je, removal of "-s");

Piti (to drink) - pijem (I drink, base: pije, addition of "-je");

Početi (to do) - počnem (I do, base: počne, addition of "-n");

Postati (to become) - postanem (I become, base: postane, addition of "-ne");

Potrebovati (to need) - potrebujem (I need, base: potrebuje, replacement of "-ova" with "-uje");

Priti (to come) - pridem (I'll come, base: pride, addition of "-de");

Reči (to say) - rečem (I'll say, base: reče, addition of "-e" and absence of "-ti" in the infinitive);

Risati (to draw) - rišem (I draw, base: riše, alternation between "s" and "š", replacement of "-a" with "-e");

Spati (to sleep) - spim (I sleep, base: spi, replacement of "-a" with "-i");

Teči (to run) - tečem (I run, base: teče, addition of "-e" and absence of "-ti" in the infinitive);

Vedeti (to know something) - vem (I know, base: ve, removal of "-de");

Vzeti (to take) - vzamem (I'll take, base: vzame, replacement of "-e" with "-ame");

Živeti (to live) - živim (I live, base: živi, replacement of "-e" with "-i");

As you can see from the examples, the logic is simply absent in some cases. There's no other way but to memorize these forms. The advantage is that these verbs are used very often, so as you learn the language you will be able to remember them relatively quickly.


By understanding these irregularities, you'll be well prepared to deal with other irregular verbs you'll encounter as you learn the language. Continue to learn and apply your knowledge to effectively navigate the nuances of this fascinating language.
We are waiting for you in the next lesson, where we will talk about Perfective and Imperfective verbs in Slovenian. Good luck!