Russian Language Blog

Verb of the Week: посвящать/посвятить Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in language

Всем привет! [Hello all!] It’s been a while since we have done a verb of the week, so I thought it would be a good idea to write a post about yet another wonderful Russian verb (because there’s nothing like a little Russian grammar to spice up your Friday, right?). I opened my verb book (yes, I have a verb book full of Russian verbs – don’t laugh) and decided on посвящать/посвятить. In the photo: «Белая гвардия» [The White Guard], a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. Trust me, there is a reason why I chose this photo for this post…

The verb посвящать/посвятить means “to dedicate, to devote.” It conjugates as follows.


Present tense
я посвящаю
ты посвящаешь
он/она посвящает
мы посвящаем
вы посвящаете
они посвящают

Past tense

Future tense
буду посвящать
будешь посвящать
будет посвящать
будем посвящать
будете посвящать
будут посвящать

Now for the perfective:

Past tense

Future tense
я посвящу
ты посвятишь
он/она посвятит
мы посвятим
вы посвятите
они посвятят

Now for some sentences (and a little anecdote about how I learned this verb).

Всё своё свободное время он посвящал игре в гольф. [He dedicated all his free time to golf.] I found this sentence while browsing the internet and I liked it because I have an uncle to whom it applies. I’ll have to tell my mom this next time we’re talking about family…

Он посвятил первую книгу своей матери. [He dedicated his first book to his mother.] Notice that in this sentence, the thing that is being dedicated is accusative (книгу) and the person to whom it is dedicated is dative (матери).

This verb can also be used in the sense of letting someone in on a secret, like in this example: Не посвящайте меня в ваши тайны. [Don’t let me in on your secrets.] Notice that it is в + accusative here.

And finally, the reason why I used a photo of роман «Белая гвардия» [the novel The White Guard] for this post: when I was first starting to read literature in Russian, I picked up a copy of «Белая гвардия» and the first thing I saw was Bulgakov’s dedication: Посвящается Любови Евгеньевне Белозёрской [Dedicated to Lyubov Yevgenevna Belozyorskaya]. For some reason, reading that dedication made this verb stick in my mind, and I have never forgotten it.

Here’s a trivia question for you: who was Lyubov Belozyorskaya?

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Keep learning Russian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.


  1. olaf:

    Буду посвящать свое свободное время чтобы унать, кто Любовь Белозерская.

  2. Khety:

    Thanks Natalie. I first met this verb in the song by Ирина Дубцова, Кому зачем:
    I know, in terms of cultural reference, this does not really compete with Bulgakov… I just like the song 🙂

  3. Rob:

    I would add that посвящать/посвятить is cognate with святой (“sacred, holy”), which is also related to such words as священник (“clergyman; priest”), and various other terms used in the context of religion and Russian Orthodoxy.

    However, if I correctly understand the etymologies at, the root свят- (“sacred”) is historically unconnected with свет- (“light, as in photons”). Even going way back to proto-Slavic, they were distinct words. (Just in case David Roberts is curious!)

    So, for instance, you’ve got освящать/освятить (“to consecrate”), but освещать/осветить (“to illuminate”) — differing by just one vowel!

  4. Rob:

    Here’s a trivia question for you: who was Lyubov Belozyorskaya?

    I had to look this one up! All I knew for sure is that she was NOT the real-life inspiration for the title heroine in Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita.

    But, apparently, Lyubov Belozyorskaya was (at least at one time) a close friend of the woman who is famed as the “real-life Margarita”.

  5. David Roberts:

    Natalie, I think these verb of the week posts are great.

    I had to look up Любовь Белозёрска too. I find it good practice in such cases to search with the Cyrillic version, then you get a bit of translation exercise and maybe pick up some new vocabulary at the same time as finding out what you want to know. In this case I found “Л. Е. Белозерская скончалась 27 января 1987 года в Москве” so now I know a synonym for умерла.

    Rob, thanks for forestalling my curiosity about свят- and свет-. Any thoughts on possible linkage between the preposition про and the french/english apropos?

  6. David:

    Another thing I’ve just noticed about these two verbs посвящать/посвятить. Here we have an imperfective посвящать with the по- prefix that’s so often used to convert imperfectives to perfectives. So, was there once an imperfective verb святить, whose perfective was/still is посвятить, which has to be “imperfectivised” by changing -тить to -щать when святить dies out?