The basic of Romanian grammar

This is a very brief introduction to and outline of Romanian grammar. It is a romance language, that is, it is descended from Latin and so has many similarities to French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. It is the closest to Latin, and retains grammatical features not found in any other romance language.

Grammar describes Romanian grammer in more depth.


Cases

Romanian has retained (to a degree) a case system, meaning that the ends of nouns change according to their function in the sentence.

In theory there are five cases (nominative, vocative, accusative, genitive and dative), but the reality is in fact simpler as the the nominative and accusative are identical and genitive and dative have the same forms.

This is illustrated with the word câine dog.

Nominative dog câine
Genitive to the dog câinelui
Dative of the dog câinelui

Negatives

Negatives are formed by placing nu no before the rest of the sentence.

Nu am bicicletă I don't have a bicycle.

When nu is used before a avea to have it may be shortened to n-.

N-am bicicletă I don't have a bicycle.


Nouns

Nouns have gender and may be masculine, feminine or neuter.

Nouns. Articles

The Romanian definite article the is unique among the romance languages as it is attached to the end of the noun. This can be seen with ul the added to barbat giving barbatul the man.

The ending changes depending on the gender of the noun, grammatical function within the sentence and whether it is singular or plural.

a man un barbat the man barbatul
a woman o femeie the woman femeia

Verbs

Romanian verbs are divided into four conjugations depending on the verb ending.

A întreba is a verb from the first conjugation (the most common type of conjugation). The a before the verb indicates that the verb is in the infinitive.

I askEu întreb
You askTu întrebi
He asksEl întreabă
She asksEa întreabă
We askNoi întrebăm
You (plural) askVoi întrebați
They ask (male)Ei întreabă
They ask (male)Ele întreabă

The subject pronouns Eu, tu, ei ... I, you, he ... are optional, and used for emphasis or when there otherwise would be ambiguity.


Verbs. Reflexive

Reflexive verbs are comprised of the verb preceded by the appropriate reflexive pronoun.

myself
yourselfte
himself, herself, itselfse
ourselvesne
yourselves, yourself
themselvesse

is translated as both yourselves and yourself as it can either be used to refer to more than one person, or when used as the polite form of yourself.

The reflexive used in the third person se is also used to construct the indefinte. For example, se crede că, one believes or it is thought ... ) both of which sound clumsy in Engish - maybe unless you are the queen:)

Some but not all verbs which are reflexive in Romanian, are also reflexive in English, and on example which is commonly used is a se spăla to wash.

I wash (myself)mă spăl
You wash (yourself)te speli
He washes (himself)se spală
We wash (ourselves)ne spălăm
You wash (yourselves)vă spălați
They wash (themselves)se spală