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Russian Conjunctions List: Build Brilliant Russian Sentences

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Compared to verbs, nouns, and adjectives, conjunctions in Russian don’t decline, agree, or conjugate. Yaaaay! Moreover, they’re very similar to those in English. Once you learn the top ten (well, the top twelve) conjunctions—if you’ve set your mind seriously—your Russian language skills will become undeniably better.

Ready to start learning the most basic conjunctions in Russian? Let’s get to our Russian conjunctions list!

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Russian Conjunction?
  2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts: И (I) — “And”
  3. Conjunctions to Express Opposition: Но (No) — “But”
  4. Conjunctions to Express Choice: Или (Ili) — “Or”
  5. Conjunctions to Express Condition: Если (Yesli) — “If”
  6. Conjunction for Comparison: Как (Kak) — “As”; “Like”
  7. Conjunctions to Express Similarity: Тоже (Tozhe) — “Also”; “Too”
  8. Conjunction to Express Purpose: Чтобы (Chtoby) — “So that”; “In order to”
  9. Conjunction to Express Cause: Потому что (Potomu chto) — “Because”
  10. Conjunctions to Express Consequence: Поэтому (Poetomu) — “So”; “That’s why”
  11. Conjunctions for Clarification: То есть (To yest’) — “In other words”; “So”
  12. Conjunction of Time: Когда (Kogda) — “When”
  13. Conjunction of Place: Где (Gde) — “Where”
  14. Conclusion

1. What is a Russian Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions connect words, phrases, and even sentences. That’s why knowing Russian grammar conjunctions will let you express more complicated thoughts and sound much more natural. In the Russian language, conjunctions don’t change and aren’t counted as a part of the sentence.

To warm up, check out our list of must-know adverbs and phrases for connecting thoughts in Russian, and listen to our audio lesson about the six most-used Russian conjunctions.

2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts: И (I) — “And”

Improve Listening

1. И (I) — “And”

This is the most-used of all Russian language conjunctions. It can connect nouns, verbs, adjectives, parts of sentences, and even whole sentences.

Remember, if you connect similar words with и (i), you don’t need to put a comma. If you connect two sentences, then put a comma before и (i). Take a look at these examples:

  • Я люблю петь и танцевать
    Ya lyublyu pet’ i tantsevat’
    “I love singing and dancing.”
  • Ешь суп и картошку
    Yesh’ sup i kartoshku
    “Eat soup and a potato.”
  • Она забыла дома кошелёк, и он заплатил за неё в кафе
    Ona zabyla doma koshelyok, i on zaplatil za neyo v kafe
    “She’d left her purse at home, and (so) he paid for her in the restaurant.”

2. Да (Da) — “And”

This is one of those Russian conjunction words that’s seldom used in speech. But you can come across it in fables and fairytales quite often:

  • Ешь яблоки да груши
    Yesh’ yabloki da grushi
    “Eat apples and pears.”
  • Ты да я – хорошие друзья
    Ty da ya – khoroshiye druz’ya
    “You and I are good friends.”

Don’t use the last sentence with your friends though, as it’s more suitable to use when talking to kids.

3. Conjunctions to Express Opposition: Но (No) — “But”

Improve Listening Part 2

1. но () — “But”

This conjunction is used to express any opposition. You can oppose single words, phrases, and even sentences. Remember to put a comma before но (no) if it doesn’t stand at the beginning of the sentence:

  • Она красивая, но глупая
    Ona krasivaya, no glupaya
    “She is beautiful but stupid.”
  • Он хотел поехать в путешествие, но заболел и остался дома
    On khotel poyekhat’ v puteshestviye, no zabolel i ostalsya doma
    “He wanted to travel, but caught a cold and stayed at home.”
  • Я был бы рад, но…
    Ya byl by rad, no…
    “I’d be glad to but…”

Leave a meaningful pause when using the last sentence to imply that an undeniable circumstance prevents you from doing something.

2. А (А) — “But”

This one gives a slight contrast in order to specify the description:

  • Он не просто умный, а самый умный в классе
    On ne prosto umnyy, a samyy umnyy v klasse
    “He isn’t just smart, but the smartest one in the class.”
  • Я не Коля, a Толя
    Ya ne Kolya, a Tolya
    “I’m not Kolya, (but) I’m Tolya.”
  • Она не из Америки, а из Франции
    Ona ne iz Ameriki, a iz Frantsii
    “She is not from America, (but) she is from France.”

3. Однако (Odnako) — “But”

This is used mostly in written language as an alternative of но (no). It sounds smarter and more poetic:

  • Они расстались, однако через год снова встретились и решили возобновить отношения
    Oni rasstalis’, odnako cherez god snova vstretilis’ i reshili vozobnovit’ otnosheniya
    “They broke up, but a year later they met again and decided to start their relationship again.”
  • Внутри ей было очень страшно, однако на лице не дрогнул ни мускул
    Vnutri yey bylo ochen’ strashno, odnako na litse ne drognul ni muskul
    “She was very frightened inside, but she didn’t show it.”
    (Literally: “…but not even one muscle on her face did tremble” when translated.)

Interesting fact. In spoken language, there’s another meaning of oднако (odnako). When said by itself, it means “wow,” and expresses moderate amazement. To sound more natural, you can say Хммм, oднако ж (Khmm, odnako zh) which translates to “Well, wow.”

4. Зато (Zato) — “Instead”; “But”

This is used to specify that one thing has happened and that another thing has not, or that there isn’t one thing but there is another one. The conjunction emphasizes a thing that happened or is there:

  • Она не очень красивая, зато добрая
    Ona ne ochen’ krasivaya, zato dobraya
    “She is not very beautiful, but (instead) she is kind.”
  • Он не поехал в Германию, зато поехал в Китай
    On ne poyekhal v Germaniyu, zato poyekhal v Kitay
    “He didn’t go to Germany, but (instead) he went to China.”

4. Conjunctions to Express Choice: Или (Ili) — “Or”

Learn How to Express a Choice in Russian.

1. Или (Ili) — “Or”

This is the most basic conjunction to express choice in the Russian language. As with и (i), if you join similar words with или (ili) you don’t need to put a comma. If you connect two sentences, then put a comma before или (ili). Take a look at these examples:

  • Ты хочешь пиццу или суши?
    Ty khochesh’ pitsu ili sushi?
    “Do you want pizza or sushi?”
  • Ты ещё учишься в школе или уже поступил в университет?
    Ty eschyo uchish’sya v shkole ili uzhe postupil v universitet?
    “Do you still study at school or have you already entered the university?”
  • Ты будешь покупать себе гитару, или друг одолжит тебе свою?
    Ty budesh’ pokupat’ sebe gitaru, ili drug odolzhit tebe svoyu?
    “Will you buy yourself a guitar or will your friend lend you his?”

2. Либо…, либо… (Libo…, libo…) — “Either… or…”

This is a popular conjunction both in speech and literature. Put a comma before the second либо (libo):

  • Ты либо иди вперед, либо отойди в сторону
    Ty libo idi vpered, libo oyoudi v storonu
    “You either go, or move aside.”
  • Либо она извинится, либо я расскажу об этом её руководителю
    Libo ona izvinitsya, libo ya rasskazhu ob etom yeyo rukovoditelyu
    “She either apologizes or I will tell her boss about it.”

3. либо (libo) — “or”

This is a more poetic version of the conjunction above. You can find it in books or articles:

  • За это её могут лишить зарплаты либо даже уволить
    Za eto eyo mogut lishit’ zarplaty libo dazhe uvolit’
    “For that, she may be left without a salary or even get fired.”

4. Или…, или… (Ili…, ili…) — “Either… or…”

This is the same as либо…, либо… (libo…, libo…), but it’s used relatively more often:

  • Или тот, или другой вариант сработает
    Ili tot, ili drugoy variant srabotayet
    “Either this or that option will work.”
  • Он или сменит работу, или попросит о повышении зарплаты
    On ili smenit rabotu, ili poprosit o povyshenii zarplaty
    “He will either change his job or will ask for a salary raise.”

5. Conjunctions to Express Condition: Если (Yesli) — “If”

Learn How to Express a Condition in Russian.

1. Если (Yesli) — “If”

This conjunction can be used when you need to state a condition. It divides a sentence into two parts: the part with a condition and the part that describes what happens if the condition occurs. The “if” part can be placed either in the first or second part of the sentence:

  • Если ты не будешь заниматься спортом, у тебя будет плохое здоровье
    Esli ty ne budesh’ zanimat’sya sportom, u tebya budet plokhoye zdorovye
    “If you don’t do physical exercises, you’ll have bad health.”
  • Ты заболеешь, если не оденешься теплее
    Ty zaboleyesh’, esli ne odenesh’sya tepleye
    “You’ll catch a cold if you don’t wear warmer clothes.”
  • Она пойдёт в кафе, если ей будет лень готовить
    Ona poydyot v kafe, esli ey budet len’ gotovit’
    “She’ll go to the restaurant if she is too lazy to cook.”

Listen to the audio lesson that we made for you to practice using this conjunction.

2. Если…, то… (Esli…, to…) — “If… then”

This is another way to set a condition. As it’s longer, it’s less used in spoken language than just если (esli).

  • Если она родит сына, то назовёт его Дмитрием
    Esli ona rodit syna, to nazovyot ego Dmitriyem
    “If she gives birth to a boy, then she’ll call him Dmitriy.”
  • Если он узнает об этом, у неё будут проблемы
    Esli on uznayet ob etom, u neyo budut problemy
    “If he gets to know about it, then she’ll have problems.”

3. Если бы…, …бы… (Esli by…, …by…) — “If…”

This conjunction helps to show what would have happened (or could happen) if some event occurred:

  • Если бы ты приехал завтра, я была бы счастлива
    Esli by ty priekhal zavtra, ya byla by schastliva
    “If you could come tomorrow, I would be so happy.”
  • Если бы она не позвонила ему, он бы уже был в Корее
    Esli by ona ne pozvonila emu, on by uzhe byl v Koreye
    “If she hadn’t called him, he’d have been in Korea by now.”

4. Если бы только… (Esli by tol’ko…) — “If only…”

This is used to express regrets about an event that didn’t happen.

  • Если бы только он приехал на час раньше…
    Esli by tol’ko on priyekhal na chas ran’she…
    “If only he came one hour earlier…”
  • Если бы только она не забыла купить торт…
    Esli by tol’ko ona ne zabyla kupit’ tort…
    “If only she hadn’t forgotten to buy a cake…”

6. Conjunction for Comparison: Как (Kak) — “As”; “Like”

This conjunction is used to compare things. There’s a punctuation rule that set expressions with как (kak) are written without a comma, while other comparisons with как (kak) are written without it:

  • Он красный как помидор
    On krasnyy kak pomidor
    “He is red like a tomato.”

This expression is used when someone gets very red.

  • Ты ведешь себя как девочка
    Ty vedesh’ sebya kak devochka
    “You behave like a girl.”

This expression is used toward a boy who behaves moodily or cries.

  • Её волосы, как огонь, горели при солнечном свете
    Yeyo volosy, kak ogon’, goreli pri solnechnom svete
    “His hair looked like a fire in the sunlight.”

7. Conjunctions to Express Similarity: Тоже (Tozhe) — “Also”; “Too”

Learn How to Express Similarity in Russian.

1. Тоже (Tozhe) — “Also”; “Too”

So, this conjunction is perfect for saying “me too” and things like that:

  • Я тоже это хочу
    Ya tozhe eto khochu
    “I also want this.”
  • Петя умный. Коля тоже неглупый
    Petya umnyy. Kolya tozhe ne glupyy
    “Petya is clever. Kolya is also not stupid.”
  • Они тоже решили купить себе такую же микроволновку
    Oni tozhe reshili kupit’ sebe takuyu zhe mikrovolnovku
    “They also decided to buy themselves the same microwave.”
  • Я тоже
    Ya tozhe
    “Me too.”

You need to be careful not to mix the conjunction тоже (tozhe) and pronouns with the particle то же (to zhe). Listen to our audio lesson about the particle.

2. Также (Takzhe) — “Also”

This is an alternative for тоже (tozhe). It’s used most often in written language:

  • Будьте готовы к тому, что вам также не выдадут визу
    Bud’te gotovy k tomu, chto vam takzhe ne vydadut vizu
    “Be ready that you also won’t get a visa.”
  • Помимо дивана они также решили приобрести кресло
    Pomimo divana oni takzhe reshili priobresti kreslo
    “Besides a sofa, they’ve also decided to buy an armchair.”

8. Conjunction to Express Purpose: Чтобы (Chtoby) — “So that”; “In order to”

This conjunction is the most-used conjunction to express purpose, both in spoken language and in written speech:

  • Чтобы выздороветь, она купила лекарство
    Chtoby vyzdorovet’, ona kupila lekarstvo
    “In order to recover, she bought a medicine.”
  • Она начала вести трекер привычек, чтобы научиться вставать и ложиться в одно и тоже время каждый день
    Ona nachala vesti treker privychek, chtoby nauchit’sya vstavat’ I lozhit’sya v odno I to zhe vremya kazhdyy den’
    “She started a habit tracker to start going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.”
  • А что бы ты сделал, чтобы такого больше не произошло?
    A сhto by ty sdelal, chtoby takogo bol’she ne proizoshlo?
    “What will you do so that it doesn’t happen again?”

Listen to our audio lesson about the conjunction чтобы (chtoby) for additional information.

9. Conjunction to Express Cause: Потому что (Potomu chto) — “Because”

Learn How to Express Cause in Russian.

Do you like to explain yourself, or do you prefer for others to guess why you did this or that? In any case, the conjunction потому что (potomu chto) will come in handy if you’re late for work and your Russian boss asks you why you’re late. :-) Usually, the part of the sentence containing this conjunction is at the end.

  • Он опоздал, потому что попал в пробку
    On opozdal, potomu chto popal v probku
    “He was late because he got stuck in a traffic jam.”
  • Потому что я не хочу!
    Potomu chto ya ne khochu!
    “Because I don’t want to!”
  • Она начала учить русский язык, потому что захотела переехать жить в Россию
    Ona nachala uchit’ russkiy yazyk, potomu chto reshila pereyekhat’ zhit’ v Rossiyu
    “She’s started to learn Russian because she’s decided to move to Russia.”

Listen to our dialogue to learn more about conjunctions of cause. Make sure to listen to a review about the conjunctions of cause as well.

10. Conjunctions to Express Consequence: Поэтому (Poetomu) — “So”; “That’s why”

If you love to build heavy logical sentences, this conjunction is just for you. Set the statement in the first part of the sentence, add поэтому (poetomu) which means “so,” or “that’s why,” and tell what statement comes out of the first statement. Voila! A perfect sentence is ready.

In spoken language, this conjunction can be transformed into и поэтому (i poetomu), meaning “and so,” or “and that’s why,” to sound more smooth.

  • Он был сыт, поэтому отказался от десерта
    On byl syt, poetomu otkazalsya ot deserta
    “He was full, and that’s why he refused the dessert.”
  • Она не сделала домашнее задание, и поэтому получила двойку
    Ona ne sdelala domashneye zadaniye, I poetomu poluchila dvoyku
    “She didn’t do her homework, and that’s why she got a D.”
  • Солнце встает там, поэтому мы пришли с той стороны
    Solntse vstayot tam, poetomu my prishli s toy stotony
    “The sun rises there, so we came from that way.”

11. Conjunctions for Clarification: То есть (To yest’) — “In other words”; “So”

1. То есть (To yest’) — “In other words”; “So”

If you want to clarify something, you can express the same information in different words. That’s a nice way to practice your vocabulary. Let’s look at some examples of how to use the conjunction то есть (to yest’):

  • Это она сделала всю работу, то есть я даже ей не помогал
    Eto ona sdelala vsyu rabotu, to yest’ ya dazhe ey ne pomogal
    “She did this work all along, in other words, I haven’t even helped her.”
  • Он купил себе новый компьютер. То есть, как понимаешь, денег мы снова не увидим
    On kupil sebe novyy kompyuter. To yest’, kak ponimayesh’, deneg my snova ne uvidim
    “He bought himself a new computer. So, as you understand, we won’t see our money again.”
  • Она заболела. То есть проект мы должны заканчивать самостоятельно
    Ona zabolela. To yest’ proekt my dolzhny zakanchivat’ samostoyatel’no
    “She caught a cold. So, we’ll have to finish the project by ourselves.”

2. А именно (A imenno) — “Namely”; “What/who exactly”

This is another conjunction to specify details. Use it to ask for a specified answer:

  • А именно кто это сделал?
    A imenno kto eto sdelal?
    “Who exactly did this?”
  • Что-то мне не нравится этот дизайн
    Chto-to mne ne nravitsya etot disayn
    “Hmm, seems like I don’t like this design.”
  • А именно что не нравится?
    A imenno chto ne nravitsya?
    “What exactly don’t you like?”
  • Мне не нравится вкус этого блюда, а именно мяса
    Mne ne nravitsya vkus etogo blyuda, a imenno myasa
    “I don’t like the taste of this dish, namely the meat.”

12. Conjunction of Time: Когда (Kogda) — “When”

Learn Time Conjunction in Russian.

As in English, the word когда (kogda), meaning “when,” can be both a conjunction and question word. Use it when you need to specify that some action happened right after another one:

  • Когда я вернулся с работы, я сразу лёг спать
    Kogda ya vernulsya s raboty, ya srazu lyog spat’
    “When I returned from work, I immediately fell asleep.”
  • Я не люблю, когда меня перебивают
    Ya ne lyublyu, kogda menya perebivayut
    “I don’t like when I’m being interrupted (to be interrupted).”
  • Она ещё не решила, когда поедет в отпуск
    Ona eschyo ne reshila, kogda poyedet v otpusk
    “She hasn’t decided yet when she’ll take a vacation.”

13. Conjunction of Place: Где (Gde) — “Where”

As in English, the word где (gde), meaning “where,” can be both a conjunction and question word. Use it when you need to specify the place where an action is taking place (or has taken place):

  • Она приехала в город, где еще никогда не была
    Ona priyekhala v gorod, gde eschyo nikogda ne byla
    “She arrived in the city where she had never been before.”
  • Я сижу в том кафе, где мы встречались летом
    Ya sizhu v tom kafe, gde my vstrechalis’ letom
    “I’m sitting in that café where we met in summer.”
  • В сумке, где должен был находиться ключ, его не оказалось
    V sumke, gde dolzhen byl nakhodit’sya klyuch, ego ne okazalos’
    “There was no key in the pouch where it should have been.”

14. Conclusion

So, you’ve learned the most-used Russian conjunctions. You can look through the titles once again to refresh the words in your memory. Of course, the list of Russian conjunctions is not limited to the ones shown in our article. But you need to feel confident using the most common conjunctions to start feeling the difference with their alternatives.

Also, keep in mind that in modern texting, some of the conjunctions might be shortened. Check out our article about Russian internet slang to find out more about it.

If you feel that you need some practice with what you’ve just learned, but you don’t have quite enough motivation to make the most out of your studies, consider taking some lessons with our professional Russian tutors who can help, control, and catalyze your language-learning progress.

Before you go, let us know in the comments what you thought of our Russian conjunctions list! Do you feel more confident now, or is there still something you’re struggling to understand? We look forward to hearing from you!

Smile and keep learning Russian with RussianPod101. ;-)

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