16

The title pretty much says it all. It's a very common mistake which (unfortunately) even many native speakers make.

Is there a rule to unambiguously decide should I end this verb with -тся or -ться?

8
19

There are four cases when you put ь in verb suffixes:

  • Infinitive: умывать(ся), беречь(ся).
  • Second person singular present or future tense: умываешь(ся), бережёшь(ся).
  • After all consonants except й and г (ляг(те)) with imperative mood: исправь(те).
  • Suffixes following a vowel: вернусь, вернитесь, вернулись, вернувшись.

In all other cases, there is no ь.

The best way is to ask a question... If it ends in т, it's тся, if in ть, then it's ться:

  • Я собираюсь - что сдела*ть*? - прогуляться.
  • Сейчас - что делае*т*? - строится новый район.
  • Все, что может - что дела*ть*? - портиться, обязательно - что сделае*т*? - испортится!
3
  • Good examples! :) Jun 13 '12 at 21:28
  • 1
    Yes, exactly how I learned it!
    – vasek1
    Jun 13 '12 at 22:13
  • That's how it's taught in Russian schools. Jun 14 '12 at 19:24
5

The key here is to ask a question that this verb answers.

If the question is "what is it doing?", then the ending should be -тся (делается, пишется, причесывается, ...)

If the question is "what to do?", then it's -ться (делаться, писаться, причесываться, ...)

3

It's a big problem ;-) and there's whole site dedicated to that question: http://tsya.ru/

3
  • Haha, nice website :) Although one could argue that this ought to be a comment rather than an answer. +1 anyway Jun 18 '12 at 20:15
  • I suppose, the whole site deserves whole answer ;-)
    – kirilloid
    Jun 18 '12 at 20:19
  • i always consider these rules as a good tool to 'remember recapitulation technique'
    – Yurij73
    Jun 19 '12 at 22:26

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