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.

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 greva - We both go (dual, informal)
Vidva / Vidve gresta - You both go (dual, informal)
Onadva / Onidve gresta - They both go (dual, informal)
Mi / Me gremo - We go
Vi / Ve greste - You go (plural, formal)
Oni / One / Ona gredo / grejo - They go (plural)

In this case, the base for the present tense of "iti" is "gre." It`s genuinely distinct from the infinitive form. Although the logic might seem absent in some instances, there`s no alternative but to memorize these verb forms. The advantage is that these irregular verbs are commonly used, both in written and spoken language, so as you continue to learn the language, you`ll gradually memorize them.
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 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 very frequently used, you can encounter them in both texts and spoken language. So, as you progress in learning the language, you`ll be able to memorize them relatively quickly.


That`s all. By grasping these irregularities, you`ll be well-prepared to handle other irregular verbs you encounter in your language learning journey. Keep exploring, learning, and applying your knowledge to effectively navigate the nuances of this fascinating language. Good luck!