Just as nouns can be grouped into declension classes, so verbs can be grouped into conjugation classes.
There is a major difference, however: you can usually identify the declension class of a noun by looking at its dictionary form, but the conjugation class of a verb is based on the non-past inflectional endings, not on the dictionary form. One learns various ways of making good guesses as to a verb's conjugation class by looking at the dictionary form (the infinitive form), but one still has to learn two key forms for every verb:
  1. the infinitive, to make the past tense (жќть: жќл...)
  2. the 3rd Person Plural, to make the non-past tense (живџт: живёт...)
If the 3rd Plural ends in -ут or -ют, the verb belongs to the first conjugation.
If the 3rd Plural ends in -ат or -ят, the verb belongs to the second conjugation.
The two sets of conjugational endings are also distinguished by the vowel -ё- (-е- when unstressed) vs. -и- in four of the forms:
First conjugation Second conjugation
я жив я говор
ты жив-ёшь ты говор-ќшь
он(а) жив-ёт он(а) говор-ќт
мы жив-ём мы говор-ќм
вы жив-ёте вы говор-ќте
они жив-џт они говор-їт
Spelling rules affect the way some of these endings are written.
There are four verbs whose non-past endings are irregular.
The 1st Sg. non-past forms of many 2nd conjugation verbs are affected by consonant alternation (e.g. вќдеть - вќжу).
Finally, in order to know how to pronounce the various verb forms, you need to know the verb's stress pattern.