Russian Language Grammar

    Classification

Russian participles are classified as follows:

ACTIVE PARTICIPLES

Example:

Meaning:

Present

читающий

(one) who is reading

Past:     Imperfective

читавший

(one) who was reading

Past:     Perfective

прочитавший

(one) who has read

 

PASSIVE PARTICIPLES

Example:

Meaning:

Present

читаемый

(something) which is being read

Past:     Imperfective

читанный

(something) which was being read

Past:     Perfective

прочитанный

(something) which has been read

 Note: The meaning, of course, may admit variants as regards translation into English: читающий (one who reads), прочитанный (something which was read), etc.

 

Characteristics of Participles

Participles are verbal adjectives. They possess characteristics of both of these parts of speech.

1.   Adjectival characteristics are the following:

   (a)   Endings: Participles have typical adjectival endings:  читающий, прочитанный, написанная.

   (b)   Genders: Participles have three genders.

MASCULINE

читающий

FEMININE

читающая

NEUTER

читающее

   (c)   Numbers: Participles have two numbers.

Singular:

читающий

Plural:

читающие

   (d)   Cases: Participles are declined regularly, like adjectives.

NOM.

читающий

GEN.

читающего

DAT.

читающему

ACC. (anim.)

читающего

INSTR.

читающим

PREP.

читающем

 

2. Verbal characteristics are the following (as indicated in the table above):

   (a)   Participles can be active or passive:

ACTIVE

человек, строящий дом

the man (who is) building the house

PASSIVE

дом, построенный им

the house which was built by him

   (b)   Participles have two tenses, present and past (no future):

PRESENT

человек, пишущий письмо

the man (who is) writing the letter

PAST

дама, писавшая письмо

the lady who was writing the letter

   (c)   Participles have two aspects in the past tense:

IMPERFECTIVE

человек, читавший книгу

the man who was reading the book

PERFECTIVE

человек, прочитавший книгу

the man who (has) read the book

Furthermore:

   (d)   Participles can be transitive or intransitive (including reflexive):

TRANSITIVE

девочка, купившая шляпу

the girl who bought the hat

INTRANSITIVE

люди, идущие по улице

the people who are going down the street

REFLEXIVE

урок, начавшийся в три часа

the lesson which began at three o'clock

   (e)   Participles govern the same case as the verb from which they are formed:

командовать армией (instr.)

to command an army

генерал, командующий армией (instr.)

the general who is commanding the army

   (f)   In certain constructions, participles call for the same preposition as the verb from which they are formed:

играть на скрипке

to play the violin

мальчик, играющий на скрипке

the   boy who was   playing the violin