Introduction to Lithuanian Basics:
Lesson 32

By Linas


You might be thinking something like: “Oh crap, this learning thing is getting difficult and there is this uo to av thing and then s disappearing and then these other endings and these times and…”. Well, all I can say is that… you are darn right!

There are some things to learn in the language. There is the past, the future, the present (even though Lithuanian has it very simple) and some endings, and some categories (o, a, i) of verbs and some... We are learning it now! It might seem difficult at first. The thing is… it is all there is. No, I don’t mean these categories are all there are. I mean, this whole thing is all there is generally to a language. That’s what sets the difference between people who learn it and people who drop it and never learn something: actually sitting through and learning all of these things.

We have learnt a lot already and it wasn’t that hard, was it? So, if you keep cool a bit longer and then you proceed on practicing it, you might actually learn something useful. Learning and putting up with some rules is the price you have to pay for knowing it. I guess what I am trying to say is that you have to look at it in this way: there are things to learn but that’s what you do. So, I guess what I am really trying to say is: be encouraged.

Or, whatever. That was my nudge. Now, we are ready for some more learning of how to use the past before the next lesson where I introduce some more awesome things about how to use the past which is pretty interesting. Not that I wouldn’t introduce something interesting in this lesson as well...


What I’m about to introduce today is going to rock your world!

Alright, that might be a bit of an overstatement but...

Changing ti to o is not how all verbs travel to the past because there is another way!

Do not panic, though. The ti to o is the usual way and it is pretty easy to remember the other way too because there are just two kind of words that follow that other way. I will tell you the kinds of words one by one now and then in the next lesson, I will explain how to deal with these forms in the past. I will have finished by the end of the next lesson so it can’t be much, can it.

First of all...

All words ending in yti travel to the past by changing yti to ė.

So, it doesn’t become daryo, it becomes darė for he did!

Of course, all o words (with a few exceptions, the most notable of which is žino, which becomes žinoti) are yti words so all o words travel to the past by changing yti to ė (this ė, as you recall, is this French é from liberté).

Actually, if you want to make it even more simple, you could just say that:

All o words change o to ė to travel to the past.

This becomes very easy for us: you change o to ė and that’s it. If only time travel in real life were that simple. For example:

He says it.

Answer: Jis tai sako.
Not correct. Please try again.

He said.

Answer: Jis tai sakė.
Not correct. Please try again.

So, I’m saying once again for those that are particularly stupid: you simply change o to ė and that gets you to the he form of the past.

She reads.

Answer: Ji skaito.
Not correct. Please try again.

Just for fun:

To read.

Answer: Skaityti.
Not correct. Please try again.

And then:

She read.

Answer: Ji skaitė.
Not correct. Please try again.

They read.

Answer: Jie skaitė.
Not correct. Please try again.

He did it.

Answer: Jis tai darė.
Not correct. Please try again.

Alright. We just had the first rule for how we travel to the past differently.

Here’s the second rule:

Words that end in ia in the form for he usually change that ia to ė to travel to the past as well.

This is not as universal as with o but now we have this unifying rule:

Words that end in o or ia change it to ė in the past.

This rule, especially the ia part is just like Newton’s laws: they fall for relativity and quantum mechanics, they don’t always work and technically they are not right but yet we can succesfuly use them in practice!

Well, maybe it’s not as accurate in practice as Newton’s laws but still. Let’s get back to a few examples of the ia part:

I have mentioned already that he waits is...

He waits.

Answer: Jis laukia.
Not correct. Please try again.


He waited.

Answer: Jis laukė.
Not correct. Please try again.

The other one that I have mentioned is he asks which is:

He asks.

Answer: Jis klausia.
Not correct. Please try again.


He asked.

Answer: Jis klausė.
Not correct. Please try again.

And don’t worry if you didn’t remember jis laukia or jis klausia or both because I have only mentioned them once or twice.

Alright. We’ll have another example of ia words in the past (which will be a interesting) and then we’ll also learn how to use this ė form of the past. See you.