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Essential Russian Sentence Patterns to Know

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Making sentences in Russian isn’t easy for foreigners. To do it, you have to know not only vocabulary, but also the grammar of this complex language. If you want to start speaking as soon as possible, you’d better learn some Russian sentence patterns. By remembering them, you’ll be able to build your own sentences really quickly, without thinking too much about rules.

In this article, you’ll find ten really useful Russian sentences for beginners. These sentences will help you have basic conversations with native speakers and feel more confident in your knowledge of the language. Don’t be lazy; we recommend that you spend a few hours remembering them. We’re sure that in the future, you’ll appreciate yourself for doing so!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Linking Nouns: A is B
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Something: A is/was [Adjective]
  3. Expressing “Want”: I Want (to)…
  4. Expressing “Need”: I Need (to)… / I Have (to)…
  5. Expressing “Like”: I Like (to)…
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something: Please…
  7. Asking for Permission: May I / Can I?
  8. Asking for Information About Something: What is/was…?
  9. Asking About Time: When is…?
  10. Asking About Location or Position: Where is…?
  11. Conclusion

1. Linking Nouns: A is B

This is one of the most common Russian sentence patterns, and you use it to give a basic explanation or make a statement. For example:

  • Джон – мой брат
    Dzhon – moy brat
    “John is my brother.”

In Russian, we put “–” between the subject and predicate if they’re both nouns. Keep it in mind!

  • Мой брат – таксист
    Moy brat – taksist
    “My brother is a taxi driver.”
  • Эти часы – подарок моей жены
    Eti chasy – podarok moyey zheny
    “This watch is a present from my wife.”

In Russian, the word часы (chasy) is only plural, while in English, it can be either singular or plural. But intermediate and advanced learners should know this already!

  • Россия – самая большая страна в мире
    Rossiya – samaya bol`shaya strana v mire
    “Russia is the biggest country in the world.”
  • Мопсы – хорошие собаки, мне они нравятся
    Mopsy – khoroshiye sobaki, mne oni nravyatsya
    “Pugs are nice dogs; I like them.”
Sentence Patterns

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Something: A is/was [Adjective]

This type of Russian sentence construction is widely used to describe something or somebody. For example:

  • Эта пицца вкусная
    Eta pitstsa vkusnaya
    “This pizza is delicious.”
  • Моя последняя работа была ужасной 
    Moya poslednyaya rabota byla uzhasnoy
    “My last job was terrible.”

This Russian sentence pattern refers to the past. You should remember it!

  • Фильм, который мы смотрели вчера, был страшным 
    Fil’m, kotoryy my smotreli vchera, byl strashnym
    “The film we watched yesterday was scary.”
  • Я думаю, мой брат умнее, чем моя сестра 
    Ya dumayu, moy brat umneye, chem moya sestra
    “I think my brother is smarter than my sister.”
  • Ты красивая 
    Ty krasivaya
    “You are beautiful.”

The last sentence above is correct if you say it to a girl. If you want to compliment a guy, say Ты красивый (Ty krasivyy). If you’re going to praise somebody who’s older than you, use Вы красивые (Vy krasivyye).

A Man Whispering Something in a Woman’s Ear

Don’t skimp on compliments!

3. Expressing “Want”: I Want (to)…

Basic Russian phrases like these are useful in everyday conversations, since they help to express desires and plans. The Russian sentence patterns given below will definitely enrich your speech:

  • Я хочу вот это 
    Ya khochu vot eto
    “I want this.”
  • Я хочу задать вопрос 
    Ya khochu zadat’ vopros
    “I want to ask a question.”
  • Я хочу быть для тебя хорошим мужчиной 
    Ya khochu byt dlya tebya khoroshim muzhchinoy
    “I want to be a good man for you.”

If you’re a girl, change this last Russian sentence pattern a bit by saying: Я хочу быть для тебя хорошей девушкой (Ya khochu byt dlya tebya khoroshey devushkoy).

  • Я хочу жить в Японии через несколько лет 
    Ya khochu zhit’ v Yaponii cherez neskolko let
    “I want to live in Japan in a few years.”
  • Я хочу, чтобы вы перестали так громко разговаривать 
    Ya khochu, chtoby vy perestali tak gromko razgovarivat’
    “I want you to stop talking so loud.”

4. Expressing “Need”: I Need (to)… / I Have (to)…

These basic Russian sentence patterns are really easy and helpful at the same time. Check out some examples:

  • Мне нужна ручка 
    Mne nuzhna ruchka
    “I need a pen.”

If the thing you need refers to the masculine gender, use нужен (nuzhen); if to the neutral, use нужно (nuzhno).

  • Мне нужно попрактиковаться
    Mne nuzhno popraktikovat’sya
    “I need to practice.”
  • Мне нужно попрактиковаться
    Seychas mne nuzhno idti
    “Now I have to go.”

In Russian, “need” and “have to” are normally expressed with the same word: нужно (nuzhno).

  • Мне нужно воспользоваться ванной/Мне нужна ванная 
    Mne nuzhno vospol’zovat’sya vannoy/Mne nuzhna vannaya
    “I need to use the bathroom.”
  • Мне нужно готовиться к экзамену
    Mne nuzhno gotovit’sya k ekzamenu
    “I have to prepare for my exam.”
Sentence Components

5. Expressing “Like”: I Like (to)…

You need to know how to structure a Russian sentence using the verb “to like” in order to sound positive in your speech. We’ve prepared some basic Russian sentence patterns to get you started: 

  • Ты мне нравишься 
    Ty mne nravish’sya
    “I like you.”

If you’re talking to an older person or somebody you don’t know very well, use Вы мне нравитесь (Vy mne nravites’) instead.

  • Мне нравится готовить 
    Mne nravitsya gotovit’
    “I like to cook.”
  • Мне нравится смотреть закаты на пляже 
    Mne nravitsya smotret’ zakaty na plyazhe
    “I like to watch sunsets at the beach.”
  • Мне нравится его чувство юмора 
    Mne nravitsya ego chuvstvo yumora
    “I like his sense of humor.”

If you’re talking about a girl or a woman, simply replace его (ego) with её (yeyo).

  • Мне нравится то, как моя мама ко мне относится 
    Mne nravitsya to, kak moya mama ko mne otnositsya
    “I like the way my mother treats me.”

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something: Please…

It’s important to know this easy Russian sentence structure if you want to make polite requests. Pay attention to these common Russian sentence patterns:

  • Пожалуйста, сядь(те) 
    Pozhaluysta, syad’(te)
    “Please, sit.”

The form сядь (syad’) is applicable if you’re talking to your friend or a close relative. If you’re speaking to a group of people, to a person who’s older than you, or someone who’s not in a close relationship with you, use the form сядьте (syad’te). Remember this rule while reading and using the Russian sentence patterns below.

  • Пожалуйста, послушай(те) меня 
    Pozhaluysta, poslushay(te) menya
    “Please, listen to me.”
  • Пожалуйста, встаньте в очередь
    Pozhaluysta, vstan’te v ochered’
    “Please, stand in line.”
  • Пожалуйста, прекрати(те) так нагло врать 
    Pozhaluysta, prekrati(te) tak naglo vrat’
    “Please, stop lying so brazenly.”
  • Пожалуйста, познакомь(те) нас друг с другом
    Pozhaluysta, poznakom’(te) nas drug s drugom
    “Please, introduce us to each other.”
A Man and Woman Shaking Hands at a Car Dealership

Being polite in Russian is as easy as in English.

7. Asking for Permission: May I / Can I?

If you visit Russia, it’s crucial that you know how to ask for permission. Moreover, these Russian phrases will help you sound polite. 

  • Я могу войти? 
    Ya mogu voyti?
    “May I come in?”
  • Можно мне воды? 
    Mozhno mne vody?
    “Can I get some water?”
  • Я могу опоздать на 15 минут?
    Ya mogu opozdat’ na 15 minut?
    “Can I be 15 minutes late?”
  • Могу я попросить твоего совета? 
    Mogu ya poprosit’ tvoyego soveta?
    “May I ask you for a piece of advice?”

To use the polite form, change твоего (tvoyego) to вашего (vashego).

  • Могу ли я позвать своего друга? 
    Mogu li ya pozvat svoyego druga?
    “Can I invite my friend?”

8. Asking for Information About Something: What is/was…?

With these Russian sentence patterns, you’ll be able to ask about many core things. For instance:

  • Что это? 
    Chto eto?
    “What is it?”
  • Как его зовут? 
    Kak ego zovut?
    “What is his name?”

If you’re interested in a girl’s name, use её (yeyo) instead of его (ego) in this Russian sentence.

  • Какое блюдо мы ели в последний раз? 
    Kakoye blyudo my yeli v posledniy raz?
    “What was the dish we had the last time?”
  • Какой сегодня день? 
    Kakoy segodnya den’?
    “What is the day today?”
  • Какой твой любимый цвет? 
    Kakoy tvoy lyubimyy tsvet?
    “What is your favorite color?”

In a formal situation or when talking to an older person, say ваш (vash), not твой (tvoy).

A Man and Woman Talking on a Date

Asking questions helps you sound interested in another person while talking to him or her.

9. Asking About Time: When is…?

To ask a question in Russian about the time, use the following sentence patterns:

  • Когда встреча? 
    Kogda vstrecha?
    “When is the meeting?”
  • Когда наш рейс? 
    Kogda nash reys?
    “When is our flight?”
  • Когда мы пойдём на море?
    Kogda my poydyom na more?
    “When will we go to the sea?”
  • Когда они наконец поженятся и заведут детей?
    Kogda oni nakonets pozhenyatsya i zavedut detey?
    “When will they marry and have children?”
  • Когда я уснул? 
    Kogda ya usnul?
    “When did I fall asleep?”

If you’re a woman, say уснула (usnula) instead of уснул (usnul).

10. Asking About Location or Position: Where is…?

Knowing the following Russian sentence structure and patterns, you’ll never get lost. They’ll also help you keep conversations going. Remember these examples:

  • Где лифт? 
    Gde lift?
    “Where is the elevator?”
  • Где ближайший ресторан?
    Gde blizhayshiy restoran?
    “Where is the nearest restaurant?”
  • Где родился Джек Лондон?
    Gde rodilsya Dzhek London?
    “Where was Jack London born?”
  • Где у вас тут туалет? 
    Gde u vas tut tualet?
    Gde u vas tut tualet?
  • Где лучше подстричься?
    Gde luchshe podstrich’sya?
    “Where should I cut my hair?”
The Red Square in Moscow

You should definitely know these questions if you go to Russia! 

11. Conclusion

In this article, you learned the top Russian language sentence structures every beginner should know. Each pattern in this article is correct and useful. 

Of course, there are many more speech constructions, and one article isn’t enough to name all of them. What we covered today should give you a good headstart and increase your speaking and writing level. If you want to learn more basic Russian sentence patterns to practice, visit RussianPod101.com. Here you’ll find a great deal of expressions for both beginners and advanced learners.

We also suggest that you use our premium service MyTeacher. If you choose to do so, a native Russian speaker will teach you, correct your mistakes, and test your knowledge. We’re sure that this method of studying will be the most efficient for you!

Feel free to let us know in the comments if you have any questions or need to know another sentence pattern!

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