Combining Verbs

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Lesson Notes

Combining verbs with "да"

In English the word "to" is often used when combining two verbs, e.g. "I want to read". In Bulgarian the word "да" plays the same role. But while in English "to" is typically followed by an infinitive, the verb after "да" changes depending on the person(s) performing the action. In other words, you need to conjugate both verbs linked by "да":

"Аз искам да чета" - I want to read
"Ти искаш да четеш" - You want to read
"Той иска да чете" - He wants to read

For a negative sentence, just add "не" in front of the first verb:

"Не харесват да четат" - They don't like to read

For a closed question, insert the particle "ли" between the first verb and "да":

"Харесваш ли да четеш?" - Do you like to read?

Expressing likings

To express a liking (or lack thereof), you can use the verbs харесвам (to like), обичам (to love), предпочитам (to prefer), or мразя (-и) (to hate).

Expressing ability

To express ability or knowledge, you can use мога (can/to be able to) or знам + как (to know how to):

"Аз мога да говоря български" - I can speak Bulgarian
"Той не знае (как)* да чете" - He doesn't know how to read

* Omitting the word "как" in such phrases is quite common

Conjugation of мога

All verbs of the 1st conjugation group with a stem ending in "г", change "г" to "ж" before the thematic vowel "е". Мога (-е) falls into this category:

Аз мога Ние можем
Ти можеш Вие можете
Той може Те могат

Expressing necessity

Necessity in Bulgarian is expressed with имам/нямам + нужда. "Нужда" is the Bulgarian noun for "need", so this literally means "I have a need to" or "I don't have a need to":

"Имаш нужда да ядеш повече месо" - You need to eat more meat
"Той няма нужда да говори" - He doesn't need to speak

Expressing obligation and prohibition

The word "трябва" is used for obligation, just like "must" or "have to". In order to express prohibition use "не трябва" – its meaning is similar to "must not". It is followed by "да" and a verb. However, there is only one form of "трябва" for the present tense, so you only have to conjugate the second verb:

"Той трябва да носи костюм" - He must wear a suit
"Децата не трябва да говорят тук" - The children must not talk in here

Depending of the context, "не трябва" could also mean "not to have to":

"Не трябва да носиш костюм" - You don't have to wear a suit


Exercise 1

мога, имам нужда, трябва да, плувам, нов, алкохол