Verb Voice: active / passive

Ukrainian has two voices: active and passive. The separate group includes reflexive verbs with the postfix “-ся” (e.g. вмиватися – to wash oneself, одягається – to dress oneself). The passive voice can also be formed by the passive participle and non-personal form of participle ending in “-но, -то” (e.g. маши́ну поми́то – the car is washed, місто побудовано).

  1. Active voice means that a sentence has a subject that acts upon its verb.
  2. Passive voice means that a subject is a recipient of a verb’s action.
  3. Reflexive verbs are used to indicate the concept of ‘self’. The subject and the object are the same person. These verbs end with the suffix –ся (–сь).
activepassivereflexive
Він ми́є автомобі́ль.Автомобі́ль ми́ється ним.Він ми́ється.
He is washing the car.The car is being washed by him.He washes himself.
“The car” is the direct object.“The car” is the subject.The subject and the object are the same person.

To conjugate reflexive verbs (зворо́тні дієслова́) you just need to put “ся” at the end of the word. “Ся” comes from себе (-self). The subject and the object refer to the same thing.
ми́ти – ми́тися (to wash – to wash oneself),
Я мию себе. (active) = Я миюся. (reflexive) – I wash myself.
Вони миють себе. (active) = Вони миються. (reflexive)- They wash themselves.
Він миє себе. (active) = Він миється (reflexive) – He washes himself. (“ть” is added before “ся” in third person singular in reflexive form)

Some verbs change their meaning when are used in the reflexive form:
  • вчи́ти – to teach to learn
    вчи́тися – to study
  • залиша́ти – to leave
    залиша́тися – to stay
  • займа́ти – to occupy
    займа́тися – to be busy with something
  • става́ти – to stand, to become
    става́тися – to happen
  • пи́ти – to drink
    напи́тися – to get drunk
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