|Lesson 8: Past Tense|
There are about four different ways of forming the past tense in Romanian. In this lesson we will cover two kinds of past tenses called the "compound past" and the "simple past". We will also review some time expression often used in conjunction with the past.
The past participle is formed from the infinitive of the verb following a few fairly simple rules. It might be easier at first to simply memorize the past participles of the more commonly used verbs (note: past participles can also be used as adjectives! -more on that later).
For starters, let's look at the past tense of a face meaning "to do" or "to make":
You may notice the past tense for eu and noi is exactly the same: am făcut. You can use the personal pronouns to stress who is the doer of the action.
Here are some examples of basic verbs and their past participles:
Here are some simple rules to follow to divine the past participle. There are a number of exceptions to the rules however, so a list of common irregular verbs will follow.
"a alege" = "to choose"
alege -> ales -> ales
"a zice" = "to say"
zice -> zis -> zis
"a alerga" = "to run"
alergat -> alergat
"a șopti" = "to whisper"
șoptit -> șoptit
To negate a past tense you add a 'nu' in front of the 'avea' helping verb. This often gets shortened to 'n-'.
Nu am băut -> N-am băut I did not drink
Nu ai venit -> N-ai venit You did not come
One more thing you should know about Romanian negation is that they love double-negatives! We only say that in dialect in English so I have fun doing it in Romanian. Words you will need to form double negatives are:
I do not expect this to make a whole lot of sense without a small sea of example sentences, so below you will find exactly that...
AND now for the simple past!
The simple past is used to denote an action that happened more than once or over a period of time. Examples in English would be "We were writing each other everyday" or "I went to the library on Sundays". It is constructed by adding a suffix* to the end of the verb infinitive. The suffixes used are as follows:
*If the infinitive ends in an i, change the i to an e when adding the suffixes.
Example using a vorbi (to speak): Ea vorbea cu noi. She was speaking with us.
These suffixes look familiar? They should! They are the same as the forms of 'to have' used in the compound past. Below you will see examples of some verbs with this suffix added:
fi (irregular) "be"
You may have noticed that with avea the letter 'a' is not doubled: avea + am = aveam. This is true for all verbs ending in a.