The Present Tense in Slovene

After learning the Pronouns, we’re ready to attack on the tenses, which luckily are quite simple. In Slovene, verbs are mainly used in 3 tenses: Sedanjik (present tense), Preteklik (past tense) and Prihodnjik (future tense) – and it’s all about endings. Let’s start with the Present Tense.

Sedanjik – Present Tense

In the present tense, focus on the ending marked in red, because that’s the only thing that changes according to the subject.

Below are the verbs govoriti (to talk), reči (to say) and jesti (to eat).

GOVORITI

REČI

JESTI

Jaz

govorim

rečem

jem

Ti

govoriš

rečeš

ješ

On, Ona, Ono

govori_

reče_

je_

Midva, Midve / Medve

govoriva

rečeva

jeva

Vidva, Vidve / Vedve

govorita

rečeta

jesta

Onadva, Onidve

govorita

rečeta

jesta

Mi, Me

govorimo

rečemo

jemo

Vi, Ve

govorite

rečete

jeste

Oni, One

govorijo

rečejo

jejo / jedo

As you can see,

  • Jaz → M
  • Ti → Š
  • On → Ø (nothing)
  • Midva → VA
  • Vidva → TA
  • Onadva → –TA
  • Mi → –MO
  • Vi → –TE
  • Oni → – JO

They have the same same endings, but they are from 3 different categories of verbs.

The easiest way to nail it is to remember the “Jaz” form and simply change the ending.

  1. Govoriti is a regular verb, which follow the normal conjugation. The endings are in red. My trick is to take out the -TI from the infinitive form and simply add the ending to it.
    For example: KUHATI: KUHATIKUHAM (jaz kuham – I cook)
  2. Reči ends in -ČI, therefore it doesn’t have the typical ending. We simply change the -I to -E and add the same ending.
    For example: TEČI: TEČE → TEČEM (jaz tečem – I run)
  3. Jesti is an irregular verb and falls into a category along with 3 others verbs. The ending is normal, except for 3 pronouns: Midva, Vidva and Vi, that we add a -S before the ending. Also with those verbs, the “Oni” form has two forms.
    For example: ITI (to go) – Jaz grem – Vi gresteOni grejo/gredoVEDETI (to know) – Jaz vem – Vi veste – Oni vejo/vedoDATI (to give) – Jaz dam – Vi daste – Oni dajo/dado.

The Negative form is simple, you just add “ne” infront of the verb.
For example: ne govorim, ne rečem, ne jem

To Be and To Have

Two important and basic verbs in every language is biti, to be and imeti, to have… and they are irregular, so you will have to memorize them. They also have their own negative form, not very difficult, but still – you have to remember than they are in one word and not two, as the others verbs

BITI

 Negative

IMETI

 Negative

Jaz

sem

nisem

imam

nimam

Ti

si

nisi

imaš

nimaš

On, Ona, Ono

je

ni

ima_

nima_

Midva, Midve / Medve

sva

nisva

imava

nimava

Vidva, Vidve / Vedve

sta

nista

imata

nimata

Onadva, Onidve

sta

nista

imata

nimata

Mi, Me

smo

nismo

imamo

nimamo

Vi, Ve

ste

niste

imate

nimate

Oni, One

so

niso

imajo

nimajo

What to be careful with biti, is in the singular third person (On, Ona, Ono) the negative form is ni and not ni je, which is not Slovene.

With imeti, the ending is normal, but the e in the infinitive changes into a. Imeti jaz imam, ti imaš…


Learning any new language is not easy and you will need some solid tools that you can refer to. One tool I really like to use, which was introduced to be during my Slovene Course, is the Slovenski Glagol by Rada Lečič, which is available in many languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate and leave them in the comment box below 🙂


Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & Numerals, Slovene Nouns & Pronouns, Slovene Verbs, Slovene AdjectivesSlovene SyntaxSlovenian Idioms.

Let’s learn,
Anna.

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