The Verbless Subjunctive in Russian

Posted: 16 May 2013 Last revised: 31 Oct 2019

See all articles by Nina Dobrushina

Nina Dobrushina

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: May 15, 2013


The Russian subjunctive particle by can be used in constructions that lack any finite verb form, including constructions involving infinitives, predicative adverbs or adjectives, and nouns. The properties of these constructions are compared, and a conclusion is made that verbless subjunctives share a common semantic component, namely a wish or necessity. A survey of the development of subjunctive verbless constructions with predicative adverbs and adjectives shows that the evolution of the optative meaning took place during the last two centuries.

Keywords: Russian, morphology, verb, mood, subjunctive, optative

JEL Classification: Z

Suggested Citation

Dobrushina, Nina, The Verbless Subjunctive in Russian (May 15, 2013). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 32/HUM/2013, Available at SSRN: or

Nina Dobrushina (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017

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