Slovene Irregular Verbs in Present Tense

In general, the conjugation of regular verbs in Slovene is quite simple to remember and apply, especially in the Present Tense, as it follows a straight forward pattern.

Irregular verbs on the other hand are a little bit more tricky and it needs some practice and memorizing.

An easy way to remember verbs conjugation in Slovene is to memorize the “jazform and simply change the ending accordingly.

Regular verbs ending with -ti, such as kuhati (to cook), -ti becomes -m, ∴ jaz kuham.

Irregular verbs, such as bati se (to be afraid), the ending is same as with regular verbs, but the first part differs from its infinitive form, ∴ jaz se bojim.

Biti (sem) and Imeti (imam)

Two of the most basics verbs that we usually learnt during the early stage of learning Slovene is biti (to be) and imeti (to have). And they are irregular.

Verbs ending with –ovati or –evati

Verbs ending with -ovati, the “ova” always becomes “uje“.

  • potrebovati (potrebujem) – to need
  • potovati (potujem) – to travel
  • svetovati (svetujem) – to advise

And 95% of the verbs ending with –evati, the “eva” also becomes “uje“.

  • končevati (končujem) – to finish
  • vključevati (vključujem) – to include

Verbs ending with –či

A common ending for irregular verbs is –či. Most frequently, the “č” of the “či” is kept and, the “i” is replaced by “e“.

  • reči (rečem) – to say
  • teči (tečem) – to run
  • vleči (vlečem) – to pull
  • obleči se (oblečem se) – to get dressed
  • peči (pečem) – to bake

Another possible ending, but less frequent is the “č” of the “či” becomes “ž” but the “i” is also replaced by “e“.

  • vreči (vržem) – to throw
  • preseči (presežem) – to exceed
  • leči (ležem) – to lie down

Verbs ending with -sati

With some verbs ending with –sati, the “sa” becomes “še“. (Notice how the s changes into š.)

  • pisati (pišem) – to write
  • plesati (plešem) – to dance
  • risati (rišem) – to draw

Irregular verbs are used everyday

Some of verbs that we frequently use everyday are also irregular, but fortunately, most of you should already be familiar with them:

  • iti (grem) – to go,
  • jesti (jem) – to eat,
  • piti (pijem) – to drink,
  • brati (berem) – to read and
  • vedeti (vem) – to know.

Some verbs you might not be as familiar with, but it would be a good idea to know about them:

  • najti (najdem) – to find
  • iskati (iščem) – to look for
  • živeti (živim) – to live
  • moči (morem) – to be able to
  • hoteti (hočem) – to want
  • pasti (padem) – to fall
  • spati (spim) – to sleep

The list of irregular verbs can go on for a while and it’s probably too much to learn everything at once. Although, with time, perseverance and practice, it will become easier.

As mentioned in previous post, one of my favorite reference for verbs is Slovenski Glagol by Rada Lečič and it also includes an nice list of irregular verbs in the Present Tense.


Discover more Slovene “lessons” that might interest you: Slovene Numbers & NumeralsSlovene Nouns & PronounsSlovene VerbsSlovene AdjectivesSlovene SyntaxSlovenian Idioms, Slovene Adverbs.

Let’s learn,
Anna.

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: Vidva, Onadva 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…


The audio files (biti and imeti) are a courtesy of my friend Jure from Slovenian Word Of The Day.  You can listen to his explanation of vocabulary words, such as vas, on his website.

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 & NumeralsSlovene Nouns & PronounsSlovene VerbsSlovene AdjectivesSlovene SyntaxSlovenian Idioms, Slovene Adverbs.

Let’s learn,
Anna.