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100 Must-Know Russian Verbs

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Why is it important to study the most common verbs in Russian? Verbs are the backbone of every sentence. They help you keep track of the action in a sentence, and are absolutely essential for improving your language skills. So, this article is all about Russian verbs and will try to explain some of their important and unique aspects. Then at the end, we’ll give you a list of the 100 most essential Russian verbs to know for everyday situations.

Before continuing, though, you may find it helpful to brush up on other parts of speech in Russian. We recommend checking out the following RussianPod101.com blog posts:

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Learning the Russian Verb Groups
  2. Irregular Verbs in Russian
  3. The Added L Sound
  4. Consonant Changes in Russian Verbs
  5. The 100 Must-Know Russian Verbs
  6. Conclusion

1. Learning the Russian Verb Groups 

State Kremlin Palace

If you’ve ever tried to learn another European language, you’re probably already familiar with the issue of conjugations. These are verb groups that conjugate according to the same rules. Grammarians generally divide Russian verbs into two groupings—the first and second conjugation.

The first conjugation includes verbs with stems ending with:

  • А consonant: печь (pechʹ), мочь (mochʹ)
  • The letters у, ы, о, and я: вернуть (vernutʹ), мыть (mytʹ)
  • Certain verbs ending in -ить: бить (bitʹ), жить (zhitʹ), and лить (litʹ)

The second conjugation is made up of verbs with stems ending with:

  • и or е: говорить (govoritʹ), видеть (videtʹ)
  • The letter a following ж, ш, щ, or ч: слышать (slyshatʹ), молчать (molchatʹ)

Knowing the two Russian verb conjugations is quite important since they conjugate differently.

                        First             Second

Я                 -у/-ю            -у/-ю

Ты               -ешь            -ишь

он/а/о          -ет               -ит

мы              -ем              -им

вы               -ете             -ите

они              -ут/-ют -а/-ят

2. Irregular Verbs in Russian

Top Verbs

Every European language seems cursed with loads of irregular verbs, and unfortunately, the Russian language is no exception. Some of the most common Russian verbs are irregular, so these are very important to know for almost any situation. 

These irregularities can come in two forms: the ones with minor inconsistencies and the highly irregular verbs. This section will go over the highly irregular verbs, while sections 3 and 4 will discuss other changes to Russian conjugations.

Woman Who Fell Asleep Reading

Thankfully, there aren’t very many highly irregular verbs in Russian. These verbs normally arise from the fusion of multiple conjugations. This can be seen with basic Russian verbs like есть (estʹ), meaning “to eat,” and дать (datʹ), meaning “to give,” whose singular and plural forms use different stems.

я                  ем  (yem)  дам (dam)

ты               ешь (yeshʹ) дашь (dashʹ)

он/а/о          ест (yest) даст (dast)

мы              едим (yedim)    дадим (dadim)

вы               едите (yedite)   дадите (dadite)

они              едят (yedyat) дадут (dadut)

The most irregular verbs in Russian are probably быть (bytʹ), meaning “to be,” and идти (idti), meaning “to go.” Both have different stems for their perfective and imperfective forms. Likewise, these verbs also change their stems between the present and past tense.

быть           есть (yestʹ) — “there is”     был (byl) — “he was”

идти         идёт  (idyot) — “it goes”       шёл (shyol) — “he went”

Learners should note that any verbs derived from these will have the same irregular conjugation. For example, задать (zadat), meaning “to give out,” and забыть (zabytʹ), meaning “forget,” conjugate as зададим (zadadim) and забудем (zabudem) respectively, in the first person plural.

3. The Added L Sound

More Essential Verbs

Some Russian verbs can seem fairly regular, but will have one strange feature in the first person singular. After certain consonants, the first person singular will add the letter –л- into the conjugation. The most well-known verb that does this is probably любить (lyubitʹ), meaning “to love.”

Любить        он любил (on lyubil)       он любит (on lyubit)              я люблю (ya lyublyu)

“to love”          “he loved”                 “he loves”                         “I love”

While this conjugation of Russian verbs might appear frustrating at first glance, don’t worry. This is a very consistent sound change in Russian, as the added “L” sound occurs in the first person singular of second conjugation verbs ending in п, б, ф, в, and м. Take a look at the Russian verbs conjugation table below:

                     Infinitive           First person       Second person

                                                        singular          singular

(“to buy”)     купить (kupitʹ)             куплю (kuplyu)             купишь (kupishʹ)

(“to love”)    любить (lyubitʹ)     люблю (lyublyu)      любишь (lyubishʹ)

(“to feed”)   кормить (kormitʹ)     кормлю (kormlyu)     кормишь (kormishʹ)              

(“to rule”)     править (pravitʹ)     правлю (pravlyu)     правишь (pravishʹ)

(“to roar”)    греметь (gremetʹ)    гремлю (gremlyu)      гремишь (gremishʹ)

4. Consonant Changes in Russian Verbs

One of the most difficult things about learning Russian is understanding all the different sound changes. In Russian, these occur in all parts of speech, including verbs. Sometimes consonants will occur in a word and make it appear totally different. As a result, verbs like лечь (lechʹ), лягу (lyagu), and ляжешь (lyazheshʹ) might appear unrelated at first glance, even though they all come from the same verb stem.

The process of “softening” consonants is called palatalization and can occur to a number of different sounds. Below are three examples with some common verbs you might already know, where palatalization occurs when the infinitive is changed to the first person singular.

Д > Ж  видеть (videtʹ) “to see”                вижу (vizhu) — “I see”

Т > Ч   хотеть (khotetʹ) — “to want”              хочу (khochu) — “I want”

С > Ш  просить (prositʹ) — “to ask”          прошу (proshu) — “I ask”

The tricky thing is that many verbs in Russian feature some kind of sound change in their conjugation. The good news is that once you get more familiar with palatalization, you can start to see and anticipate the patterns. For example, imperfective first conjugation verbs ending in -ать regularly palatalize.

Infinitive                       First person  Second person

                                       singular                    singular

Писать (Pisatʹ) >          пишу (pishu)          пишешь (pisheshʹ)    

Сказать (Skazatʹ) >         скажу (skazhu)       скажешь (skazheshʹ)

This may look a bit overwhelming at first, but hang tough. With practice and regular use, these consonant changes will become second-nature.

Man Who Aced Test

5. The 100 Must-Know Russian Verbs

Negative Verbs

Now that you’re more familiar with some of the grammatical and sound-related changes that can occur in Russian verbs, we’ve got a list of the top 100 must-know Russian verbs for beginners who want to start using and speaking Russian.

1.

Быть (Bytʹ)
“to be”
Я был пилотом. 
Ya byl pilotom.
“I was a pilot.”
Быть is a highly irregular verb.
It’s almost never used in the present tense, except in the third person: есть (yestʹ).
Есть много книг на столе. 
Yestʹ mnogo knig na stole.
“There are a lot of books on the table.”

2.

Делать (Delatʹ)
“do,” “make,” “act”
Мы не делали домашнюю работу.
My ne delali domashnyuyu rabotu.
“We weren’t doing homework.

3.

Знать (Znatʹ)
“know,” “be familiar with”

Я знаю это место.
Ya znayu eto mesto.
“I know this place.”
Знать means to know a place, a fact, a person, or how to do something:
Я тебя знаю. 
Ya tebya znayu. 
“I know you.”

Я знаю, как танцевать. 
Ya znayu, kak tantsevatʹ. 
“I know how to dance.”

4.

Хотеть (Khotetʹ)
“want,” “wish for”

Я не хочу идти с тобой.
Ya ne khochu idti s toboy.
“I don’t want to go with you.

5.

Идти (Idti)
“go,” “walk,” “function/work”
Идём в кино!
Idyom v kino! 
“Let’s go to the cinema!”
Идти (Idti), ходить (Khoditʹ)
Идти is also used with weather words.
Идёт дождь (Idyot dozhdʹ), идёт град (idyot grad), идёт снег (idyot sneg
“It’s raining, it’s hailing, it’s snowing”

6.

Мочь (Mochʹ)
“can,” “be able”
Я могу помочь.
Ya mogu pomochʹ.
“I can help.”

7.

Говорить (Govoritʹ)
“speak,” “tell”
Они говорят так быстро.
Oni govoryat tak bystro.
“They talk so quickly.”

8.

Видеть (Videtʹ)
“see”
Она не хочет вас видеть.
Ona ne khochet vas videtʹ.
“She doesn’t want to see you.”

9.

Есть (Estʹ)
“eat”
Я не ем мясо.
Ya ne yem myaso.
“I don’t eat meat.”
Есть is extremely irregular, and the infinitive is identical to the third person singular of быть.

10.

Сказать (Skazatʹ)
“say,” “tell”
Как сказать “да” по-английски?
Kak skazatʹ “da” po-angliyski?
“How do you say da in English?”

11.

Смотреть (Smotretʹ)
“see,” “watch”
Я не часто смотрю телевизор.
Ya ne chasto smotryu televizor.
“I don’t often watch TV.”

12.

Читать (Chitatʹ)
“read”
Ты читаешь каждый день.
Ty chitayeshʹ kazhdyy denʹ.
“You read every day.”

13.

Стоять (Stoyatʹ)
“be standing”
Он стоял на кухне.
On stoyal na kukhne.
“He was standing in the kitchen.”

14.

Готовить (Gotovitʹ)
“cook,” “prepare food”
Мы готовим суп по субботам.
My gotovim sup po subbotam.
“We cook soup on Saturdays.”

15.

Спать (Spatʹ)
“sleep”
Я обычно сплю хорошо.
Ya obychno splyu khorosho.
“I usually sleep well.”

16.

Ехать (Ekhatʹ)
“go,” “move”
Я ехал на метро вчера.
Ya yekhal na metro vchera.
“I went on the metro yesterday.”
Ехать is the concrete counterpart of the Russian abstract verb ездить (ezditʹ).

17.

Слышать (Slyshatʹ)
“hear,” “listen”
Я услышал странный звук.
Ya uslyshal strannyy zvuk.
“I heard a strange noise.”

18.

Заниматься (Zanimatʹsya)
“be engaged with,” “be busy with,” “do,” “study”
Мы занимаемся спортом.
My zanimayemsya sportom.
“We do sports.”
Заниматься can have several meanings and takes its object in the instrumental case.
Заниматься русским языком 
Zanimatʹsya russkim yazykom 
“To study Russian”

Заниматься йогой 
Zanimatʹsya yogoy 
“To do yoga”

19.

Искать (Iskatʹ)
“search, look for”
Они искали кого-то.
Oni iskali kogo-to.
“They were looking for someone.”

20.

Положить (Polozhitʹ)
“put,” “place,” “set”
Она положила книгу на стол.
Ona polozhila knigu na stol.
“She put the book on the table.”

21.

Ждать (Zhdatʹ)
“wait”
Наша машина ждёт нас.
Nasha mashina zhdyot nas.
“Our car is waiting for us.”

22.

Брать (Bratʹ)
“grab,” “take”
Брать кого-либо за руку
Bratʹ kogo-libo za ruku
“To take someone by the hand”
брать is also the imperfective form of the verb взять (vzyatʹ).
Child Holding Parent’s Hand

23.

Стать (Statʹ)
“become”
Вы готовы стать членом.
Vy gotovy statʹ chlenom.
“You’re ready to become a member.”

24.

Думать (Dumatʹ)
“think”
Как ты думаешь?
Kak ty dumayeshʹ?
“What do you think?”

25.

Спросить (Sprositʹ)
“ask”
Он спросил почему.
On sprosil pochemu.
“He asked why.”

26.

Жить (Zhitʹ)
“live,” “inhabit”
Я живу во Флориде.
Ya zhivu vo Floride.
“I live in Florida.”

27.

Иметь (Imetʹ)
“have”
Они не имеют права голоса.
Oni ne imeyut prava golosa
“They don’t have the right to vote.”
Иметь means “to have,” but is mostly used with abstract nouns. In most cases, the preposition “у” + noun/pronoun in genitive case + “есть” is used to express possession. 

Ex. У меня есть машина (U menya est’ mashina) = “I have a car.”

28.

Понять (Ponyatʹ)
“understand,” “comprehend”
Я не понял его намерения.
Ya ne ponyal ego namereniya.
“I didn’t understand his intention.”

29.

Сидеть (Sidetʹ)
“sit”
Я сидел за столиком.
Ya sidel za stolikom.
“I was sitting at the table.”

30.

Взять (Vzyatʹ)
“take,” “seize”
Кто взял мой нож?
Kto vzyal moy nozh?
“Who took my knife?”
Взять is the perfective form of брать (bratʹ).

31.

Работать (Rabotatʹ)
“work”
Я работаю дома по пятницам.
Ya rabotayu doma po pyatnitsam.
“I work at home on Fridays.”

32.

Начать (Nachatʹ)
“begin,” “start”
Начну на выходных.
Nachnu na vykhodnykh.
“I’ll start on the weekend.”

33.

Включить (Vklyuchitʹ)
“turn on,” “light,” “power on”
Нам нужно включить компьютер.
Nam nuzhno vklyuchitʹ kompʹyuter.
“We need to turn on the computer.”

34.

Выключить (Vyklyuchitʹ)
“turn off,” “shut down”
Нам нужно выключить компьютер.
Nam nuzhno vyklyuchitʹ kompʹyuter.
“We need to turn off the computer.”

35.

Дать (Datʹ)
“give”
Дай мне 5 минут.
Day mne 5 minut.
“Give me 5 minutes.”
Дать is a highly irregular verb and the perfective counterpart of давать (davatʹ).

36.

Любить (Lyubitʹ)
“love,” “like”
Вы не любите меня.
Vy ne lyubite menya.
“You don’t love me.”
Любить can be both “like” and “love,” depending on the direct object.
Я тебя люблю. 
Ya tebya lyublyu.
“I love you.”

Я люблю кофе. 
Ya lyublyu kofe. 
“I like coffee.”

37.

Значить (Znachitʹ)
“mean,” “signify”
Что значит это слово?
Chto znachit eto slovo? 
“What does this word mean?”

38.

Найти (Nayti)
“find”
Я найду тебя.
ya naydu tebya.
“I’ll find you.”

39.

Играть (Igratʹ)
“play”
Ты играешь на гитаре.
Ty igrayeshʹ na gitare.
“You play the guitar.”
Играть means both to play an instrument and to play in general.
Дети играют. 
Deti igrayut.
“The children play.”

Она играет на скрипке.
Ona igrayet na skripke.
“She plays the fiddle.”

40.

Показать (Pokazatʹ)
“show,” “demonstrate”
Я покажу вам комнату.
Ya pokazhu vam komnatu.
“I’ll show you the room.”

41.

Путешествовать (Puteshestvovatʹ)
“travel”
Мы редко путешествуем.
My redko puteshestvuyem.
“We rarely travel.”

42.

Забыть (Zabytʹ)
“forget”
Я забыл его фамилию.
Ya zabyl ego familiyu.
“I forgot his surname.”

43.

Писать (Pisatʹ)
“write”
Я пишу письмо.
Ya pishu pisʹmo.
“I’m writing a letter.”

44.

Бояться (Boyatʹsya)
“to be afraid,” “to fear”
Я не боюсь увидеть тебя.
Ya ne boyusʹ uvidetʹ tebya.
“I’m not afraid to see you.”

45.

Чувствовать (Chuvstvovatʹ)
“feel”
Я чувствую себя одиноко.
Ya chuvstvuyu sebya odinoko. 
“I feel alone.”
Чувствовать alone means to feel something else, but as a Russian reflexive verb, it can mean to feel an emotion.

46.

Звать (Zvatʹ)
“name,” “call”
Меня зовут Иван.
Menya zovut Ivan.
“My name is Ivan.”
Звать is the name verb used to talk about people’s names. The names of things and places use the verb называться (nazyvatʹsya).

47.

Кончиться (Konchitʹsya)
“end,” “finish”
Фильм вдруг кончился.
Filʹm vdrug konchilsya.
“The film ended abruptly.”

48.

Улыбаться (Ulybatʹsya)
“smile”
Никто не улыбается здесь.
Nikto ne ulybayetsya zdesʹ.
“No one smiles here.”

49.

Остановиться (Ostanovitʹsya)
“stay,” “remain,” “stop”
Моя сестра остановится у нас.
Moya sestra ostanovitsya u nas.
“My sister is staying with us.”

50.

Использовать (Ispolʹzovatʹ)
“use”
Я использую машину по средам.
Ya ispolʹzuyu mashinu po sredam.
“I use the car on Wednesdays.”

51.

Уезжать (Uyezzhatʹ)
“leave,” “go away”
Мы уезжали после ужина.
My uyezzhali posle uzhina.
“We were leaving after dinner.”

52.

Строить (Stroitʹ)
“build,” “construct”
Мы строили замок.
My stroili zamok.
“We were building a castle.”

53.

Платить (Platitʹ)
“pay,” “give money”
Мы платили штраф.
My platili shtraf.
“We paid the fine.”

54.

Покупать (Pokupatʹ)
“buy,” “purchase”
Мы покупали суп и хлеб.
My pokupali sup i khleb.
“We were buying soup and bread.”

55.

Заказывать (Zakazyvatʹ)
“order”
Я не заказывал пиццу.
Ya ne zakazyval pitstsu.
“I didn’t order a pizza.”

56.

Пробовать (Probovatʹ)
“try,” “attempt”
Иван пробовал писать.
Ivan proboval pisatʹ.
“Ivan tried to write.”

57.

Носить (Nositʹ)
“wear,” “carry”
Я ещё ношу кольцо.
Ya yeshchyo noshu kolʹtso.
“I still wear the ring.”

58.

Встречать (Vstrechatʹ)
“meet,” “encounter”
Он не хочет встречать вас.
On ne khochet vstrechatʹ vas.
“He doesn’t want to meet you.”

59.

Благодарить (Blagodaritʹ)
“thank,” “express thanks/gratitude”
Благодарю за внимание.
Blagodaryu za vnimaniye.
“I thank you for (your) attention.”

60.

Открываться (Otkryvatʹsya)
“open”
Дверь открывается автоматически.
Dverʹ otkryvayetsya avtomaticheski.
“The door opens automatically.”
открываться is an intransitive verb, while открывать (otkryvatʹ) is the transitive form.

61.

Слушать (Slushatʹ)
“listen,” “hear”
Я не слушаю слухи.
Ya ne slushayu slukhi.
“I don’t listen to rumors.”

62.

Смеяться (Smeyatʹsya)
“laugh”
Нина смеётся громко.
Nina smeyotsya gromko.
“Nina laughs loudly.”

63.

Отвечать (Otvechatʹ)
“reply,” “answer”
Они не отвечали на главный пункт.
Oni ne otvechali na glavnyy punkt.
“They weren’t answering the main point.”
Man Uncertain of Something

64.

Рассказывать (Rasskazyvatʹ)
“tell a story,” “narrate,” “recount”
Он вам не рассказывает самого главного.
On vam ne rasskazyvayet samogo glavnogo.
“He’s not telling you the big news.”

65.

Предполагать (Predpolagatʹ)
“assume,” “suppose,” “presume”
Я предполагала, что он отец.
Ya predpolagala, chto on otets.
“I assumed that he’s the father.”

66.

Петь (Petʹ)
“sing”
Я пою тут каждый вечер.
Ya poyu tut kazhdyy vecher.
“I sing here every evening.”

67.

Учиться (Uchitʹsya)
“study,” “learn”
Он учится в университете.
On uchitsya v universitete.
“He studies at university.”
Учиться can refer to studying in general or studying something specific with the dative case.

Она учится испанскому языку.
Ona uchitsya ispanskomu yazyku. 
“She’s learning Spanish.”

68.

Войти (Voyti)
“enter,” “come in”
Я войду и поищу.
Ya voydu i poishchu.
“I’ll come in and look.”

69.

Ходить (Khoditʹ)
“go,” “walk
Он ходит в хорошую школу.
On khodit v khoroshuyu shkolu.
“He goes to a good school.”
The verb ходить is the abstract counterpart of идти (idti).

70.

Помогать (Pomogatʹ)
“help,” “assist”
Он не собирается помогать вам.
On ne sobirayetsya pomogatʹ vam.
“He’s not going to help you.”

71.

Предпочитать (Predpochitatʹ)
“prefer”
Я просто предпочитаю плавать.
Ya prosto predpochitayu plavatʹ.
  “I just prefer to swim.”

72.

Кататься (Katatʹsya)
“ride,” “go”
Кататься по кругу
Katatʹsya po krugu
“To ride in a circle”
Кататься на is also used with several nouns.
Кататься на лыжах 
Katatʹsya na lyzhakh 
“To use skis”

Кататься на велосипеде 
Katatʹsya na velosipede 
“To ride a bike”

73.

Ездить (Yezditʹ)
“go (by vehicle),” “drive”
Мы часто ездим в Москву.
My chasto yezdim v Moskvu.
“We often go to Moscow.”
ездить is the abstract counterpart of the verb ехать (yekhatʹ).

74.

Родиться (Roditʹsya)
“to be born”
Юлия родилась в мае.
Yuliya rodilasʹ v maye.
“Yulya was born in May.”

75.

Умереть (Umeretʹ)
“die,” “decease”
Она умерла 2 года назад.
Ona umerla 2 goda nazad.
“She died 2 years ago.”

76.

Летать (Letatʹ)
“fly”
Эти пули летают.
Eti puli letayut.
“These bullets fly.”

77.

Плавать (Plavatʹ)
“swim”
Медведь плавает.
Medvedʹ plavayet.
“The bear is swimming.”

78.

Лежать (Lezhatʹ)
“lie”
Мы можем лежать на диване.
My mozhem lezhatʹ na divane.
“We can lie on the couch.”

79.

Мыть (Mytʹ)
“clean”
Я мою окно.
Ya moyu okno.
“I’m cleaning the window.”

80.

Пить (Pitʹ)
“drink,” “drink alcohol”
Нехорошо пить на службе.
Nekhorosho pitʹ na sluzhbe.
“You shouldn’t drink on the job.”

81.

Весить (Vesitʹ)
“weigh”
Я вешу 81 килограмм.
Ya veshu 81 kilogramm.
“I weigh 81 kilograms.”

82.

Нравиться (Nravitʹsya)
“be pleasing”
Мне нравится идея искусства.
Mne nravitsya ideya iskusstva.
“I like the idea of art.”
The subject of нравиться is the thing being liked, and the person takes the dative case.

Нам нравится рис. 
Nam nravitsya ris. 
“We like rice.”

83.

Гулять (Gulyatʹ)
“walk,” “stroll”
Я хочу гулять вокруг квартала.
Ya khochu gulyatʹ vokrug kvartala.
“I want to walk around the neighborhood.”

84.

Объяснять (Obʹyasnyatʹ)
“explain”
Он хорошо объясняет.
On khorosho obʹyasnyayet.
“He explains well.”

85.

Закрывать (Zakryvatʹ)
“close,” “shut”
Я всегда закрываю дверь.
Ya vsegda zakryvayu dverʹ.
“I always close the door.”

86.

Бегать (Begatʹ)
“run”
Я бегаю очень быстро.
Ya begayu ochenʹ bystro.
“I run very fast.”

87.

Звонить (Zvonitʹ)
“call,” “phone,” “ring”
Я не хочу звонить Виктору.
Ya ne khochu zvonitʹ Viktoru.
“I don’t want to call Viktor.”

88.

Казаться (Kazatʹsya)
“seem,” “appear”
Ваша ситуация кажется интересной.
Vasha situatsiya kazhetsya interesnoy.
“Your situation seems interesting.”

89.

Казаться (Kazatʹsya)
“seem,” “appear”
Я не хочу звонить Виктору.
Ya ne khochu zvonitʹ Viktoru.
“I don’t want to call Viktor.”

90.

Передать (Peredatʹ)
“broadcast,” “pass along”
Они передали программу по радио.
Oni peredali programmu po radio.
“They broadcasted the program on the radio.”

91.

Остаться (Ostatʹsya)
“stay,” “remain”
Она останется дома сегодня.
Ona ostanetsya doma segodnya.
“She’s staying at home today.”

92.

Подумать (Podumatʹ)
“consider,” “think about”
Они подумают об этом.
Oni podumayut ob etom.
“They’re considering it.”

93.

Решить (Reshitʹ)
“decide”
Мы не можем решить сейчас.
My ne mozhem reshitʹ seychas.
“We can’t decide now.”

94.

Получить (Poluchitʹ)
“receive,” “get”
Я получил письмо!
Ya poluchil pisʹmo!
“I got a letter!”

95.

Бывать (Byvatʹ)
“be,” “visit”
Вы бывали в Москве?
Vy byvali v Moskve?
“Have you ever been to Moscow?”

96.

Находиться (Nakhoditʹsya)
“be located somewhere”
Где находится твой дом?
Gde nakhoditsya tvoy dom?
“Where is your house?”

97.

Встать (Vstatʹ)
“get up”
Я обычно встаю в 9.
Ya obychno vstayu v 9.
“I usually get up at nine.”

98.

Называться (Nazyvatʹsya)
“be named,” “be called”
Эта жидкость называется вода.
Eta zhidkostʹ nazyvayetsya voda.
“This clear liquid is called water.”

99.

Молчать (Molchatʹ)
“be quiet,” “be silent”
После этого мы молчали.
Posle etogo my molchali.
“After that, we were silent.”

100.

Бросить (Brositʹ)
“throw”
Ребёнок бросил мяч.
Rebyonok brosil myach.
“The child threw the ball.”
Child Holding Baseball

6. Conclusion

In this article, you’ve gotten familiar with the most essential verbs in Russian. Now that you’ve got some of the key Russian verbs vocabulary under your belt, you can go out and understand a lot more of what’s being said in Russian.

Keep in mind that Russian words can change their meaning when they change or get new prefixes. That means you can use prefixes and add on to the vocabulary you already know.

If you want to dig deeper and learn even more vocabulary, check out the other lists on RussianPod101, as well as our grammar explanations and study guides. 

Remember that if you want to really take your Russian to the next level, you can use our premium service. This gives users access to teachers, one-on-one instruction, personalized lessons, and plenty of useful practice.

Are there any verbs we didn’t cover that you really want to know? Or Russian verbs rules you don’t quite understand yet? Drop us a comment and let us know; we’ll do our best to help! 

Happy learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Russian

Russian Pronouns: Pronunciation, Grammar & Exciting Facts

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Psss, psss, you. 

Yes, you. 

RussianPod101 has chosen you for a top-secret mission. Don’t worry, no guns or poisoned apples are required. All you need is to equip yourself with a new portion of the Russian language and learn Russian pronouns with us.

The thing is that we need you to deliver a message with secret information to a Russian spy. He’ll find you in the crowd on the street himself. The only difficulty is that you can’t name things directly in case there are enemy ears around. You’ll need to just drop some hints, and the Russian agent will understand.

How? Well, Russian pronouns will help you. These tiny words replace nouns, and even adjectives, so that only the one who knows what you’re talking about will get the idea. Helpful? Without a doubt!

Study this article and arm yourself with knowledge about Russian pronouns pronunciation, the Russian declension of pronouns, and their usage in a sentence, to successfully perform this mission. We provide you with a comprehensive list of Russian pronouns with examples, useful charts and tables, and other information to help you use them. 

Are you ready? The fun is about to begin.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Russian Personal Pronouns
  2. Russian Possessive Pronouns
  3. Russian Reflexive Pronouns
  4. Russian Demonstrative Pronouns
  5. Russian Determinative Pronouns
  6. Russian Interrogative-Relative Pronouns
  7. Russian Indefinite Pronouns
  8. Russian Pronouns Exercises
  9. Conclusion

1. Russian Personal Pronouns

Introducing Yourself

First, let’s understand what exactly a pronoun is. In the Russian language, a pronoun is a substitute word used to mention a noun without naming it directly. Before we start, check out our list of the most useful Russian pronouns.

Basically, the most essential pronouns for beginners are personal pronouns. In Russian, they’re called личные местоимения (lichnyye mestoimeniya). 

The Russian personal pronouns are:

  • я (ya) — “I”
  • ты (ty) — “you” (singular)
  • он (on) — “he” 
  • она (ona) — “she” 
  • оно (ono) — “it” 
  • мы (my) — “we” 
  • вы (vy) — “you” (plural)
  • они (oni) — “they”

Here’s a Russian personal pronouns chart that will help you understand the system of Russian pronoun declension:

SingularPlural
1st2nd3rd1st2nd3rd
NeuterMasculineFeminine
EnglishIyouithesheweyouthey
Nominativeя (ya)ты (ty)оно (ono)он (on)она (ona)мы (my)вы (vy)они (oni)
Accusativeменя (menya)тебя (tebya)его (yego)её (yeyo)нас (nas)вас (vas)их (ikh)
Genitive
Dativeмне (mne)тебе (tebe)ему (yemu)ей (yey)нам (nam)вам (vam)им (im)
Instrumentalмной / мною (mnoy / mnoyu)тобой / тобою (toboy / toboyu)им (im)ей / ею (yey / yeyu)нами (nami)вами (vami)ими (imi)
Prepositionalмне (mne)тебе (tebe)нём (nyom)ней (ney)нас (nas)вас (vas)них (nikh)

There are several things that you need to keep in mind:

  • Его is pronounced as yevo, not yego.
  • If there’s a preposition before the third-person pronoun, the pronoun gets the prefix н- (n-) before е (e) and и (i). For example, К нему кто-то пришёл (K nemu kto-to prishyol), meaning “Somebody came to him.” 

Compare this to Передай ему привет (Pereday yemu privet), meaning “Say hi to him.” 

Because the prepositional case is always used with a preposition, you can see in the Russian personal pronouns chart that only forms starting with н- (n-) are used.

We’ve prepared a special video for you about Russian personal pronouns and the accusative case. Check it out! 

Here are some examples:

  • Я ему передам (Ya yemu peredam) — “I will give it to him.” (Or: “I will tell him what you said.”)
  • У неё новый парень (U neyo novyy paren’) — “She has a new boyfriend.”
  • Как зовут твоего кота? (Kak zovut tvoyego kota?) — “What’s your cat’s name?”
  • Мы пойдём к ней в гости (My poydyom k ney v gosti) — “We will go to her place as guests.”

2. Russian Possessive Pronouns

This is Your Book.

Possessive pronouns are called притяжательные местоимения (prityazhatyel’nyye myestoimyeniya) in Russian. The Russian possessive pronouns are: 

  • мой (moy) — “my” or “mine” 
  • твой (tvoy) — “your” or “yours” (for singular possessor)
  • наш (nash) — “our” or “ours” 
  • ваш (vash) — “your” or “yours” (for plural possessor)

In Russian, possessive pronouns are called притяжательные местоимения (prityazhatyel’nyye myestoimyeniya). These pronouns answer the question “Whose?” and show to whom an object belongs.

Here are a couple more Russian pronouns declension tables:

Singular
1st person2nd person
NeuterMasculineFemininePluralNeuterMasculineFemininePlural
Englishmy; mineyour; yours (singular)
Nominativeмоё (moyo)мой (moy)моя (moya)мои (moi)твоё (tvoyo)твой (tvoy)твоя (tvoya)твои (tvoi)
Accusativeмоё (moyo)мой, моего (moy, moyevo)мою (moyu)мои, моих (moi, moikh)твоё (moyo)твой, твоего (tvoy, tvoyevo)твою (tvoyu)твои, твоих (tvoi, tvoikh)
Genitiveмоего (moyevo)моей (moyey)моих (moikh)твоего (tvoyevo)твоей (tvoyey)твоих (tvoikh)
Dativeмоему (moyemu)моим (moim)твоему (tvoyemu)твоим (tvoim)
Instrumentalмоим (moim)моими (moimi)твоим (tvoim)твоими (tvoimi)
Prepositionalмоём (moyom)моих (moikh)твоём (tvoyom)твоих (tvoikh)
Plural
1st person2nd person
NeuterMasculineFemininePluralNeuterMasculineFemininePlural
Englishmy, mineyour, yours (plural)
Accusativeнаше (nashe)наш, нашего (nashe, nashego)нашу (nashu)наши, наших (nashi, nashikh)ваше (vashe)ваш, вашего (vash, vashego)вашу (vashu)ваши, ваших (vashi, vashikh)
Genitiveнашего (nashego)нашей (nashey)наших (nashikh)вашего (vashego)вашей (vashey)ваших (vashikh)
Dativeнашему (nashemu)нашим (nashim)вашему (vashemu)вашим (vashim)
Instrumentalнашим (nashim)нашими (nashimi)вашим (vashim)вашими (vashimi)
Prepositionalнашем (nashem)наших (nashikh)вашем (vashem)ваших (vashikh)

There are two options for the accusative case that depend on the animacy of the noun following the pronoun.

Please note that in the words моего (moyego), твоего (tvoy, tvoyego), нашего (nashe, nashego), вашего (vash, vashego), the letter г (g) is pronounced as v. This is an important rule of Russian pronouns’ pronunciation.

Here are some examples of Russian possessive pronouns in a sentence:

  • У моего друга есть машина (U moyego druga yest’ mashina) — “My friend has a car.”
  • Как твои дела? (Kak tvoi dela?) — “How are you doing?” (Lit. “How are your doings?”)
  • Нашему папе сегодня исполняется 50 лет (Nashemu pape segodnya ispolnyayetsya pyat’desyat let) — “Our dad is becoming fifty years old today.”
  • Ваша дочь очень красивая (Vasha doch’ ochen’ krasivaya) — “Your daughter is very beautiful.”

3. Russian Reflexive Pronouns

Smiling Woman Pointing to Herself.

Reflexive pronouns are called возвратные местоимения (vozvratnyye mestoimeniya) in Russian. The Russian reflexive pronouns are:

 себя (sebya) — “-self” 

свой (svoy) — “one’s own” 

сам (sam) — “myself,” “himself,” “herself,” “itself”
1- The Personal Reflexive Pronoun Себя

Englishmyself, himself, herself
Nominative
Accusativeсебя (sebya)
Genitiveсебя (sebya)
Dativeсебе (sebye)
Instrumentalсобой (soboy)
Prepositionalсебе (sebe)

Have a look at some examples that show how the information in the Russian pronouns table can be applied:

  • Я всегда сам себе готовлю еду (Ya vsegda sam sebe gotovlyu yedu) — “I always cook for myself.”
  • После увольнения я хочу немного пожить для себя и только потом начать искать новую работу (Posle uvol’neniya ya khochu nemnogo pozhit’ dlya sebya i tol’ko potom nachat’ iskat’ novuyu rabotu) — “After a resignation, I want to live for myself a little bit, and only after that start searching for a new job.”

2- The Reflexive Possessive Pronoun Свой

NeutralMasculineFemininePlural
EnglishMy own, his own, her own
Nominativeсвоё (svoyo)свой (svoy)своя (svoya)свои (svoi)
Accusativeсвоё (svoyo)свой, своего
  (svoy, svoyego)
свою (svoyu)свои, своих (svoi, svoikh)
Genitiveсвоего (svoyego)своей (svoyey)своих (svoikh)
Dativeсвоему (svoyemu)своим (svoim)
Instrumentalсвоим (svoim)своими (svoimi)
Prepositionalсвоём (svoyom)своих (svoikh)

Ready to have a look at some example sentences? Here they are:

  • Заботься о своём здоровье (Zabot’sya o svoyom zdorov’ye) — “Take care of your health.” 
  • Он сегодня пойдёт с ней в кино (On segodnya poydyot s ney v kino) — “He will go to the cinema with her today.” 

3- The Emphatic Pronoun Сам

NeutralMasculineFemininePlural
EnglishMyself, himself, herself
Nominativeсамо (samo)сам (sam)сама (sama)сами (sami)
Accusativeсамо (samo)сам, самого (sam, samogo)саму (samu)сами, самих (sami, samikh)
Genitiveсамого (samogo)самой (samoy)самих (samikh)
Dativeсамому (samomu)самим (samim)
Instrumentalсамим (samim)самими (samimi)
Prepositionalсамом (samom)самих (samikh)

This is how this pronoun can be used in a sentence:

  • Он сам так решил (On sam tak reshil) — “He decided it by himself.” 
  • Она хочет сделать это задание сама (Ona khochet sdelat’ eto zadaniye sama) — “She wants to do this task by herself.” 

4. Russian Demonstrative Pronouns

Man Pointing to Something in the Distance

The Russian demonstrative pronouns are:

  • этот (etot) — “this”
  • тот (tot) — “that”

And here’s another Russian pronouns chart for you to review:

NeutralMasculineFemininePlural
EnglishThis
Nominativeэто (eto)это (eto)эта (eta)эти (eti)
Accusativeэто (eto)этот, этого
  (etot, etogo)
эту (etu)эти, этих (eti, etikh)
Genitiveэтого (etogo)этой (etoy)этих (etikh)
Dativeэтому (etomu)этим (etim)
Instrumentalэтим (etim)этими (etimi)
Prepositionalэтом (etom)этих (etikh)
NeutralMasculineFemininePlural
   EnglishThat
Nominativeто (to)тот (tot)та (ta)те (te)
Accusativeто (to)тот, того (tot, tovo)ту (tu)те, тех (te, tekh)
Genitiveтого (tovo)той (toy)тех (tekh)
Dativeтому (tomu)тем (tem)
Instrumentalтем (tem)теми (temi)
Prepositionalтом (tom)тех (tekh)

Here are some examples of these Russian language pronouns in a sentence:

  • Ты можешь этим гордиться (Ty mozhesh’ etim gordit’sya) — “You can be proud of it.” 
  • Я не знаю ту женщину (Ya ne znayu tu zhenshchinu) — “I don’t know that woman.” 

5. Russian Determinative Pronouns

There’s just one Russian determinative pronoun: весь (ves’), meaning “all” or “the whole.”

NeutralMasculineFemininePlural
Englishall, the whole
Nominativeвсё (vsyo)весь (ves’)вся (vsya)все (vse)
Accusativeвсё (vsyo)весь, всего
  (ves’, vsego)
всю (vsyu)все, всех (vse, vsekh)
Genitiveвсего (vsego)всей (vsey)всех (vsekh)
Dativeвсему (vsemu)всем (vsem)
Instrumentalвсем (vsem)всеми (vsemi)
Prepositionalвсём (vsyom)всех (vsekh)

For example:

  • Я весь промок (Ya ves’ promok) — “I’m all wet.” (if a man is talking)
  • Ты весь горишь (Ty ves’ gorish’) — “You are burning.” (Meaning: “You have a fever.”)
  • Мы все идём гулять в воскресенье, ты с нами? (My vse idyom gulyat’ v voskresen’ye, ty s nami?) — “We all are going out on Sunday, will you go with us?” 

6. Russian Interrogative-Relative Pronouns

Basic Questions

The Russian interrogative-relative pronouns are: 

  • кто (kto) — “who” 
  • что (chto) — “what” 
  • какой (kakoy) — “what” 
  • который (kotoryy) — “which” 
  • каков (kakov) — “how” or “what” 
  • сколько (skol’ko) — “how much” 
  • чей (chey) — “whose” 
  • когда (kogda) — “when” 
  • где (gde) — “where” (location) 
  • куда (kuda) — “where to” (direction)
  • как (kak) — “how” 
  • откуда (otkuda) — “from where” 
  • почему (pochemu) — “why” 
  • зачем (zachem) — “what for”

You may wonder why two groups of pronouns—relative and interrogative—are joined into one. This is because, in the Russian language, in both cases the same pronouns are used while their functions in a sentence differ.

Russian interrogative pronouns are called вопросительные местоимения (voprositel’nyye mestoimeniya). They’re used to ask questions, and can also be called вопросительные слова (voprositel’nyye slova), meaning “question words.” Watch our video lesson about interrogative pronouns to learn more about them.

Russian relative pronouns are called относительные местоимения (otnositel’nyye mestoimeniya). They’re used to connect the parts in a complex sentence.

Only several Russian interrogative-relative pronouns are conjugated (yaaaay!). The following pronouns always stay the same:

  • когда (kogda) — “when” 
  • где (gde) — “where” (location)
  • куда (kuda) — “where to” (direction)
  • как (kak) — “how” 
  • откуда (otkuda) — “from where” 
  • почему (pochemu) — “why” 
  • зачем (zachem) — “what for” 

That leaves us with seven pronouns. It’s important to know their conjugations because the same words—and the same rules of conjugation—work for the next group of pronouns, which will be indefinite pronouns. So, here’s a Russian pronoun declension chart:

EnglishWhatWhoHow many
Nominativeчто (chto)кто (kto)сколько (skol’ko)
Accusativeчто (chto)кого (kovo)сколько, скольких (skol’ko, skol’kikh)
Genitiveчего (chego)кого (kogo)скольких (skol’kikh)
Dativeчему (chemu)кому (komu)скольким (skol’kim)
Instrumentalчем (chem)кем (kem)сколькими (skol’kimi)
Prepositionalчём (chyom)ком (kom)скольких (skol’kikh)

The following pronouns are conjugation by the rules of adjective conjugation: 

  • какой (kakoy) — “what” 
  • который (kotoryy) — “which” 
  • каков (kakov) — “how” or “what” 
  • чей (chey) — “whose” 

For more information, check out our article about Russian adjectives.

Here are some example sentences of interrogative-relative pronouns in a sentence:

  • Я не знаю, где мой телефон (Ya ne znayu gde moy telefon) — “I don’t know where my phone is.” 
  • О чём ты думаешь? (O chyom ty dumayesh’?) — “What are you thinking about?” 
  • Сколько сейчас времени? (Skol’ko seychas vremeni?) — “What time is it now?” 

By the way, do you know another way to ask about time and how to answer this question correctly? If not, read our exhaustive article on time in Russian.

7. Russian Indefinite Pronouns

Mystery Man

Indefinite pronouns are called неопределённые местоимения (neopredelyonnyye mestoimeniya) in Russian. These pronouns are formed from Russian interrogative-relative pronouns with the prefix не- (ne-), meaning “not.” There are also some particles that are used to form the indefinite pronouns: 

  • кое- (koye-) — “some-” 
  • -либо (-libo) — “any-” or “some-” 
  • -то (-to) — “some-” 
  • -нибудь (-nibud’) — “any-” 

Keep in mind that these particles are written with a hyphen.

Every particle has a meaning. It will be useful to know it in order to form indefinite pronouns from Russian interrogative-relative pronouns with it:

  • не- (ne-) — “not” 

This particle means something indefinite or hard to describe. Also, it’s a negation of the following interrogative-relative pronoun, so sometimes it means that there are no options or solutions.

  • кое- (koye-) — “some-” 

This also means something indefinite, but in most cases, the meaning is that the speaker doesn’t want to give exact information.

  • -либо (-libo) — “any-” or “some-“

It’s tricky to separate the meaning of this particle from the particle -нибудь (-nibud’), meaning “any-,” because they mean the same thing. The only difference is that -нибудь (-nibud’) is very common and widely used in spoken language; it can also be used in all situations. On the other hand, -либо (-libo) creates bookish and official pronouns which are mostly used in questions.

  • -нибудь (-nibud’) — “any-” or “some-” 

So, this particle means “at least something,” “at least someone,” “at least somewhere,” “at least somehow,” etc. It’s not important what you’re talking about exactly; just as long as there’s something, it’s fine.

  • -то (-to) — “some-” 

This particle is used when the speaker doesn’t find that it’s important (for his story, claim, message, etc.) to name something directly. It helps keep the focus on the facts that really matter. This particle is very commonly used.

We’ve prepared example sentences with all of the possible variations for the most-used pronouns. Try to memorize sentences instead of learning dry rules. :)

  1. кто (kto) — “who”
  1. некто (nekto) — “someone” 

This is a very bookish word that refers to an unknown person. 

Некто приходил сюда и оставил окно открытым (Nekto prikhod’il syuda i ostavil okno otkrytym) — “Someone came here and left the window opened.” 

  1. кое-кто (koye-kto) — “someone” 

Compared to the previous pronoun, this word is much more frequently used in spoken language. Most of the time, a speaker uses this word when talking about someone he knows, usually an opponent of some sort. The speaker could even jokingly refer to themselves as the opponent to be ironic. 

Кое-кто съел всё мороженое, что у нас было (Koye-kto s’yel vsyo morozhenoye, chto u nas bylo) — “Someone specific ate all the ice-cream we had.” 

  1. кто-либо (kto-libo) — “anyone” 

This word is also pretty bookish, and in spoken language, it’s better to use кто-нибудь (kto-nibud’), meaning “anybody.” 

Не желает ли кто-либо из присутствующих чаю? (Ne zhelayet li kto-libo iz prisutstvuyushchikh chayu?) — “Does anyone from the people who are here fancy some tea?” 

  1. кто-то (kto-to) — “somebody” 

This is a very common word in speech. 

Кто-то мне звонит (Kto-to mne zvonit) — “Someone calls me (on the phone).” 

  1. кто-нибудь (kto-nibud’) — “anybody” 

This word is used a lot in spoken language. 

Кто-нибудь хочет пиццу? (Kto-nibud’ khochet pitsu?) — “Does anybody want a pizza?” 

  1. что (chto) — “what”
  1. нечто (nechto) — “something” (that a speaker has difficulty describing)

This is a very bookish word. 

В темноте было нечто большое и пугающее (V temnote bylo nechto bol’shoye i pugayushcheye) — “There was something big and scary in the darkness.” 

  1. кое-что (koye-chto) — “something specific” (the speaker knows what, but doesn’t want to name it)

This is a very common pronoun in spoken language. 

Мне нужно еще кое-что купить, я вас догоню (Mne nuzhno eshchyo koye-chto kup’it’, ya vas dogonyu) — “I need to buy something else; I’ll come up with you.” 

  1. что-либо (chto-libo) — “anything” 

This word is also pretty bookish, and when speaking, it’s better to use что-нибудь (chto-nibud’), which also means “anything.” 

Не имеется возможности что-либо предпринять на текущий момент (Ne imeyetsya vozmozhnosti chto-libo predprinyat’ na tekushchiy moment) — “There is no opportunity to do anything at the current moment.” 

  1. что-то (chto-to) — “something” 

This is a very common word in spoken language. 

Кто-то мне звонит (Kto-to mne zvonit) — “Someone calls me (on the phone).” 

  1. что-нибудь (chto-nibud’) — “anything” 

This word is used a lot in spoken language. 

Ты хочешь что-нибудь? (Ty khochesh’ chto-nibud’?) — “Do you want anything?” 

Please note that not all of the particles are used with every interrogative-relative pronoun, and some of the words change form. Below is a chart of all possible combinations (we’ve excluded old pronouns that are hardly used in modern language). 

You’ll see that some indefinite pronouns have exactly the same translation—especially with the particles -нибудь (-nibud’) and -либо (-libo). To spot the difference in meaning, check out the explanation about indefinite particles above.

Man Waving from Inside Doorframe
VariationsExample Sentence
какой (kakoy)
“What”
некий (nekiy)
  • With some not very well-known characteristic; little-known
  • Usually followed by a person’s name, surname, or nickname

кое-какой (koye-kakoy)
  • With indefinite characteristics; with bad quality

какой-либо (kakoy-libo)
  • This or that; any from the group of the same; not worth attention

какой-нибудь (kakoy-nibud’)
  • This or that; any from the group of the same; not worth attention
какой-то (kakoy-to)
  • Not clear which exactly
Тебя у дверей ждёт какой-то мужчина

Tebya u dverey zhdyot kakoy-to muzhchina.

“There is a man that waits for you near the door.”
который (kotoryy)
“Which”
некоторый (nekotoryy)
  • Not stated definitely; not very significant

который-нибудь (kotoryy-nibud’)
  • Any one out of several
Он некоторое время молчал 

On nekotoroye vremya molchal.

“He didn’t say anything (kept silent) for some time.”
сколько (skol’ko)
“How much”
несколько (neskol’ko)
  • Indefinite small amount

сколько-либо (skol’ko-libo)
  • Indefinite amount (usually a small one)

сколько-то (skol’ko-to)
  • Indefinite amount

сколько-нибудь (skol’ko-nibud’)
  • Indefinite amount
Рассказать в нескольких словах

Rasskazat’ v neskol’kikh slovakh

“To tell in a small amount of words”
чей (chey)
“Whose”
чей-либо (chey-libo)
  • Belonging to someone, not known to whom

чей-нибудь (chey-nibud’)
  • Belonging to someone, not known to whom

чей-то (chey-to)
  • Belonging to someone
Чья-то забытая книга лежит на столе 

Ch’ya-to zabytaya kniga lezhit na stole.

“Someone’s forgotten the book that lies on the table.”
когда (kogda)
“When”
некогда (nekogda)
  • No spare time

кое-когда (koye-kogda)
  • Sometimes; seldom

когда-либо (kogda-libo)
  • (In) some time

когда-нибудь (kogda-nibud’)
  • (In) some time

когда-то (kogda-to)
  • Some time ago; in the past; some time in the future
Мне некогда 

Mne nekogda.

“I don’t have time (I’m busy).”
где (gde)
“Where” (location)
негде (negde)
  • No place (where something could be done)

кое-где (koye-gde)
  • Somewhere; in some (usually rare) place

где-либо (gde-libo)
  • In any possible place

где-нибудь (gde-nibud’)
  • In any possible place

где-то (gde-to)
  • In some place
Мне негде заниматься 

Mne negde zanimat’sya.

“I don’t have a place to study.”
куда (kuda)
“Where to” (direction)
некуда (nekuda)
  • No place where to

куда-либо (kuda-libo)
  • Somewhere to; doesn’t matter where

куда-нибудь (kuda-nibud’)
  • Somewhere to; doesn’t matter where

куда-то (kuda-to)
  • Somewhere to; unknown where to
Я хочу куда-нибудь в отпуск 

Ya khochu kuda-nibud’ v otpusk.

“I wanna go on vacation somewhere (not stay at home).”
как (kak)
“How”
кое-как (koye-kak)
  • With great difficulty; negligently; anyhow

как-либо (kak-libo) 
  • In any possible way

как-нибудь (kak-nibud’)
  • In any possible way

как-то (kak-to)
  • In an indefinite way, not clear how; to an extent; once upon a time
Он кое-как помыл посуду 

On koye-kak pomyl posudu.

“He washed the dishes in a slapdash manner.”
откуда (otkuda)
“From where”
неоткуда (neotkuda)
  • No place from where

откуда-нибудь (otkuda-nibud’)
  • From somewhere

откуда-либо (otkuda-libo)
  • From somewhere

откуда-то (otkuda-to)
  • From some unknown place or from some source
Он только что откуда-то приехал 

On tol’ko chto otkuda-to priyekhal.

“He’s just arrived from somewhere.”
почему (pochemu)
“Why”
почему-либо (pochemu-libo)
  • According to some indefinite reason

почему-нибудь (pochemu-nibud’)
  • According to some indefinite reason

почему-то (pochemu-to)
  • Due to an unknown reason
Он почему-то не пришёл 

On pochemu-to ne prishyol.

“He hasn’t come (due to an unknown reason).”
зачем (zachem)
“What for”
незачем (nezachem)
  • No need

зачем-либо (zachem-libo)
  • With some, not definitely known reason/goal

зачем-нибудь (zachem-nibud’)
  • With some, not definitely known reason/goal

зачем-то (zachem-to)
  • For something; for some goal
Тебя зачем-то вызывает начальник 

Tebya zachem-to vyzyvayet nachal’nik.

“The boss calls you for something.”

8. Russian Pronouns Exercises

Wow, impressive. You’ve mastered all the nuances of Russian pronouns. Seems like you’re a responsible person to trust with such an important mission. Alright, here are the messages that need to be delivered:

1. В доме с красными занавесками есть комната. В комнате лежит книга. Ответ в ней. Скорее!

(V dome s krasnymi zanaveskami yest’ komnata. V komnate lezhit kniga. Otvet v ney. Skoreye!)

There is a room in the house with red curtains. There is a thick book in the room. The answer is in it. Hurry up!

A possible answer: В доме с красными ними есть она. В ней лежит кое-что. Он в нём. Скорее! (V nyom s krasnymi nimi yest’ ona. V ney lezhit koye-chto. On v nyom. Skoreye!)—”There is it in the house with red them. There is something lying inside it. It is in it. Hurry up!”

2. Операция началась. Будь осторожным. Не ходи в бар “Белая лошадь”.

(Operatsiya nachalas’. Bud’ ostorozhnym. Ne khodi v bar “Belaya loshad’”).

The operation has started. Be careful. Don’t go to the bar “White horse.”

A possible answer: Она началась. Будь осторожным. Не ходи в тот бар. (Ona nachalas’. Bud’ ostorozhnym. Ne khodi v tot bar)—”It has started. Be careful. Don’t go to that bar.”

Now practice replacing the nouns with pronouns in the comments below.

To finalize your Russian pronouns journey listen to our special podcast about Russian pronouns. It will also help you to improve your Russian pronouns pronunciation.

9. Conclusion

Improve Listening

Well, well, well, that was a wonderful trip through the mysteries of Russian pronouns, wasn’t it? Now, you’ll be able to use Russian pronouns correctly in a sentence—that’s a new, serious step toward language fluency. So, well done!

If you want to continue improving your language skills, think about getting professional help from a language tutor. He or she will help you spot mistakes, improve your pronunciation, and help you start talking in Russian. Like REALLY TALKING. Wanna check how effective that will be for you? Then give RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian-learners a try. Schedule a trial lesson right now and get ready for a language boost!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you’ve learned anything new about Russian pronouns today! Did we forget any words in our Russian pronouns list? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Telling Time in Russian: Words, Phrases & Exciting Facts

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This article is the result of a diligent inquiry into the question of how native Russians are actually telling time in Russian. If you’ve taken a peek at this topic before, you probably know that Russians usually add one of the following words to the number of hours:

  • утра (utra) — “of the morning”
  • дня (dnya) — “of the day”
  • вечера (vechera) — “of the evening”
  • ночи (nochi) — “of the night” 

But how would you define three a.m.? Is it still night or is it already morning? 

Well, the Russian language is very flexible, so both options are possible depending on the context and what you want to emphasize. If you’re talking about early wakeups, saying Сегодня я встал в 3 утра (Segodnya ya vstal v tri utra), or “Today I woke up at three in the morning,” will be just right.

If you want to put an extra dose of indignation because something has woken you up in the middle of the night, then it will be perfect to say: В три ночи меня разбудил звонок от начальника (V tri nochi menya razbudil zvonok ot nachal’nika), meaning “At three of the night I’ve been woken up by a call from my boss.”

Exciting, isn’t it?

Understanding the limits of language flexibility will help you feel more comfortable using the Russian language for telling time in Russian. In this article, we’ll also explore Russian hours and minutes, and learn how to ask the time in Russian. So, let’s take a bite from this delicious, juicy piece of knowledge!

If you want to learn about both date and time in Russian, RussianPod101 has prepared an article on Russian Dates for you. The two go hand-in-hand, after all!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Russian Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask the Time in Russian
  2. Russian Hours
  3. Minutes in Russian
  4. Useful Patterns
  5. Conclusion

1. How to Ask the Time in Russian

How to Ask for the Time in Russian.

So, how do you say “What time is it?” in Russian? There are two main phrases:

  • Сколько времени? (Skol’ko vremeni?) — “What time is it?”
  • Который час? (Kotoryy chas?) — (lit.) “Which hour is it?” / “What time is it?”

These phrases are used equally for asking about time in Russian, depending on the speaker’s preference. Let’s have a closer look at each phrase so that you can decide which one to use in your active vocabulary. 

1- Сколько времени? (Skol’ko vryemeni?)

“What time is it?” in the Russian language is Сколько времени? (Skol’ko vremeni?).

Let’s have a closer look at the words in this question and see how we can expand on it to sound better.

  • The word cколько (skol’ko) is a basic question word which means “how much” or “how many.” For example, you can ask Сколько это стоит? (Skol’ko eto stoit?), meaning “How much does it cost?”

You can also add “now” to this phrase. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it makes a phrase a bit longer and, thus, more polite. “Now” in Russian is cейчас (seychas). To remember this word, you can divide it into two parts. The first half cей (sey) is a word often found in old Russian literature that means “this.” The second half час (chas) means “hour.” So basically, the word cейчас (seychas) means “this hour.” Cool, right?

Now let’s put it in a phrase: Сколько сейчас времени? (Skol’ko seychas vremeni?) — “What time is it now?”

The phrase became slightly more polite, but it’s still very informal. 

If you want to ask your colleague about the time in Russian, you need to add a special phrase in front of this question: 

  • Ты не подскажешь, сколько сейчас времени? (Ty ne podskazhesh’, skol’ko seychas vremeni?) — “Could you tell me, what time is it now?” 

Or this question:

  • Вы не подскажете, сколько сейчас времени? (Vy ne podskazhete, skol’ko seychas vremeni?) — “Could you tell me, what time is it now?” 

The word подсказать (podskazat’) means “prompt (to).” Use the first question if you’ve agreed to talk with your colleague in an informal way, or as Russians say на “ты” (na “ty”), meaning “using informal ‘you’.” Use the second sentence in all other cases; it’s very polite. If you want to know more about the differences between the Russian formal and informal “you,” read our article on Russian pronouns.

You can make this phrase even more polite, especially if you’re addressing a stranger on the street. Before the question, add Извините, пожалуйста (Izvinite, pozhaluysta), which means “Excuse me, please.” So, the whole phrase will be: 

  • Извините, пожалуйста, вы не подскажете, сколько сейчас времени? (Izvinite, pozhaluysta, vy ne podskazhete, skol’ko seychas vremeni?) — “Could you tell me, please, what time is it now?” 

This phrase will still sound very polite if you exclude the word пожалуйста (pozhaluysta), meaning “please”: 

  • Извините, вы не подскажете, сколько сейчас времени? (Izvinite, vy ne podskazhete, skol’ko seychas vremeni?) — “Could you tell me, what time is it now?” 

It’s totally up to you to use it or not.

Such a transformation! Now you know the first phrase for how to ask the time in Russian both formally and informally. 

2- Который час? (Kotoryy chas?)

Now, it’s time to break down the second phrase.

  • The word который (kotoryy) means “which” or “what.” For example, you can ask Который из двух тебе нравится? (Kotoryy iz dvukh tebe nravitsya?), meaning “Which one out of the two do you like?”
  • In Russian, “hour” is час (chas). We’ve already seen it as part of the word cейчас (seychas), meaning “now.”

You can also add cейчас (yeychas), or “now,” in the middle of the phrase: 

  • Который сейчас час? (Kotoryy seychas chas?) — “Which hour is it now?”

Also, you can add the polite expressions to the beginning—it works absolutely the same as with the first phrase: 

  • Извините, вы не подскажете, который час? (Izvinite, vy ne podskazhete, kotoryy chas?) — “Could you tell me, what time is it?”

There you go! So, which phrase do you choose? How do YOU say “What time is it?” in Russian? Share in the comment section below! We’re really curious.

2. Russian Hours

Time

When it comes to talking about time in Russian, it’s important to know which time system to use—twelve-hour or twenty-four-hour. In Russia, people use both systems in different situations. In a conversation, Russians prefer using the twelve-hour clock; in all kinds of official messages (e.g. TV programs, flight schedules, official meetings, etc.), they use the twenty-four-hour clock.

Below, you’ll learn how to use both systems properly for telling time in Russian.

1- Twelve-hour Clock in Russian

At the beginning of this article, you already discovered that the time of day in Russian is added to the number of hours: 

утра (utra) — “of the morning” 

дня (dnya) — “of the day” 

вечера (vechera) — “of the evening” 

ночи (nochi) — “of the night” 

And Russians choose the word depending on what time of day it is for them. If three a.m. is already morning for you, then use утра (utra), or “of the morning.” If it’s still night, then use ночи (nochi), meaning “of the night.”

Here’s a list that will be helpful for telling time in Russian: 

  • Час ночи (chas nochi) — “1 a.m.” 
  • Два часа ночи (dva chasa nochi) — “2 a.m.”
  • Три часа ночи (tri chasa nochi) — “3 a.m.”
  • Четыре часа ночи (chetyre chasa nochi) — “4 a.m.”
  • Пять часов утра (pyat’ chasov utra) — “5 a.m.”
  • Шесть часов утра (shest’ chasov utra) — “6 a.m.”
  • Семь часов утра (sem’ chasov utra) — “7 a.m.”
  • Восемь часов утра (vosem’ chasov utra) — “8 a.m.”
  • Девять часов утра (devyat’ chasov utra) — “9 a.m.”
  • Десять часов утра (desyat’ chasov utra) — “10 a.m.”
  • Одиннадцать часов утра (odinnadtsat’ chasov utra) — “11 a.m.”
  • Двенадцать часов дня (dvenadtsat’ chasov utra) — “12 p.m.” or Полдень (polden’) — “Midday”
  • Час дня (chas dnya) — “1 p.m.”
  • Два часа дня (dva chasa dnya) — “2 p.m.”
  • Три часа дня (tri chasa dnya) — “3 p.m.”
  • Четыре часа дня (chetyre chasa dnya) — “4 p.m.”
  • Пять часов вечера (pyat’ chasov vechera) — “5 p.m.”
  • Шесть часов вечера (shest’ chasov vechera) — “6 p.m.”
  • Семь часов вечера (sem’ chasov vechera) — “7 p.m.”
  • Восемь часов вечера (vosem’ chasov vechera) — “8 p.m.”
  • Девять часов вечера (devyat’ chasov vechera) — “9 p.m.”
  • Десять часов вечера (desyat’ chasov vechera) — “10 p.m.”
  • Одиннадцать часов вечера (odinnadtsat’ chasov vechera) — “11 p.m.”
  • Двенадцать часов ночи (dvenadtsat’ chasov nochi) — “12 a.m.” or Полночь (polnoch’) — “Midnight”

You’re probably wondering why the word час (chas) behaves differently after numbers. The thing is that Russian nouns change their endings depending on the numbers that stand before them, according to Russian noun declension rules

After the number of hours, the noun should be in the genitive case. The only thing that changes is the grammatical number of the noun. For numbers from two to four, the noun should be in the singular form; for numbers five or above, the noun should be in the plural form. 

What about numbers like twenty-three? The last number is taken into consideration. Here, the last number is три (tri), or “three,” so the noun after it will behave according to the rules of “three.” By the way, the same rule applies to the word минута (minuta), or “minute,” which we’ll discuss in detail shortly. :)

Please note that Russians don’t usually add один (odin), or “one,” to the beginning of час ночи (chas nochi) meaning “1 a.m.” or час дня (chas dnya) meaning “1 p.m.”

Another thing that you should know is that, in informal speech, Russians usually exclude the word час (chas), or “hour.” So, for example, Одиннадцать часов утра (odinnadtsat’ chasov utra), or “11 a.m.,” will be одиннадцать утра (odinnadtsat’ utra), meaning “11 a.m.”

Now, practice telling time in Russian using the twelve-hour clock. Here are some examples:

  • Я встаю в семь утра (Ya vstayu v sem’ utra) — “I wake up at 7 a.m.” 
  • Сейчас восемь вечера (Seychas vosem’ vechera) — “It’s 8 p.m. now.”

So, what time do you usually wake up? What time is it now? Share in the comments below. In Russian, of course. ;)

2- Twenty-four-hour Clock in Russian

24-hour Clock.

Russians use the twenty-four-hour time system for official purposes. Learn how to tell time in Russian with twenty-four-hour time-tables: 

  • Один час (chas nochi) — “01:00” 
  • Два часа (dva chasa) — “02:00”
  • Три часа (tri chasa) — “03:00”
  • Четыре часа (chetyre chasa) — “04:00”
  • Пять часов (pyat’ chasov) — “05:00”
  • Шесть часов (shest’ chasov) — “06:00”
  • Семь часов (sem’ chasov) — “07:00”
  • Восемь часов (vosem’ chasov) — “08:00”
  • Девять часов (devyat’ chasov) — “09:00”
  • Десять часов (desyat’ chasov) — “10:00”
  • Одиннадцать часов (odinnadtsat’ chasov) — “11:00”
  • Двенадцать часов (dvenadtsat’ chasov) — “12:00”
  • Тринадцать часов (trinadtsat’ chasov) — “13:00”
  • Четырнадцать часов (chetyrnadtsat’ chasov) — “14:00”
  • Пятнадцать часов (pyatnadtsat’ chasov) — “15:00”
  • Шестнадцать часов (shestnadtsat’ chasov) — “16:00”
  • Семнадцать часов (semnadtsat’ chasov) — “17:00”
  • Восемнадцать часов (vosemnadtsat’ chasov) — “18:00”
  • Девятнадцать часов (devyatnadtsat’’ chasov) — “19:00”
  • Двадцать часов (dvadtsat’ chasov) — “20:00”
  • Двадцать один час (dvadtsat’ odin chas) — “21:00”
  • Двадцать два часа (dvadtsat’ dva chasa) — “22:00”
  • Двадцать три часа (dvadtsat’ tri chasa) — “23:00”
  • Ноль часов (nol’ chasov) — “00:00”

You can listen to our audio lesson to practice talking about time

Here are some examples for you:

  • Совещание назначено на одиннадцать часов (Soveshchaniye naznacheno na odinnadtsat’ chasov) — “The meeting has been appointed to start at 11:00.” 
  • Московское время двенадцать часов (Moskovskoe vremya dvenadtsat’ chasov) — “The Moscow time is 12:00.” 

Practice telling time in Russian by making your own sentences and writing them in the comments section at the end of this article.

3. Minutes in Russian 

Minutes in Russian.

“Minute” in Russian is минута (minuta). It’s pretty easy to tell the exact time with the twenty-four-hour clock using this word. Just remember the noun declension rule that we discussed for the word час (chas). Let’s see three possible forms of this word:

  • Шестнадцать часов сорок одна минута (shestnadtsat’ chasov sorok odna minuta) — “16:41”
  • Двадцать один час двадцать три минуты (dvadtsat’ odin chas dvadtsat’ tri minuty) — “21:23”
  • Пятнадцать часов тридцать минут (pyatnadtsat’ chasov tridtsat’ minut) — “15:30”
  • Пять часов шесть минут (pyat’ chasov shest’ minut) — “05:06”
  • Восемь часов ноль минут (vosem’ chasov nol’ minut) — “08:00”

When Russians add minutes, they often omit the words минута (minuta) and час (chas). If there are zeros in the number of minutes, they are pronounced. So, the times above will be pronounced as:

  • Шестнадцать сорок одна (shestnadtsat’ sorok odna) — “16:41”
  • Двадцать один двадцать три (dvadtsat’ odin dvadtsat’ tri) — “21:23”
  • Пятнадцать тридцать (pyatnadtsat’ tridtsat’) — “15:30”
  • Пять ноль шесть (pyat’ nol’ shest’) — “05:06”
  • Восемь ноль ноль (vosem’ nol’ nol’) — “08:00”

Now, let’s explore how to talk about time in Russia during a conversation.

In Russia, there are two scenarios for choosing a language pattern to give the minutes. The first one is used for the first half of the hour—the minutes from one to thirty. Russians look at the hour after the current one, and count how many minutes of this hour have already passed. For example, it’s 15:03. This means that three minutes of the fifteenth hour have already passed. 

Please note that you’ll need to use ordinal numbers. Read our article about Russian numbers to learn more.

Here are some examples:

  • Пять минут четвертого (pyat’ minut chetvyortogo) — “3:05”
  • Одна минута второго (odna minuta vtorogo) — “1:01 “
  • Девятнадцать минут десятого (devyatnadtsat’ minut desyatogo) — “09:19”

This pattern might seem a bit complicated. Believe me, this is true even for Russians! That’s why some of them simply state the hours and minutes, omitting the words минута (minuta) and час (chas):

  • Три ноль три (tri nol’ tri) — “3:03”
  • Час ноль одна (chas nol’ odna) — “1:01 “
  • Девять девятнадцать (devyat’ devyatnadtsat’) — “09:19”

The second pattern is used to talk about the second half of the hour. Russians count how many minutes are left before the upcoming hour. For example, it’s 15:40. This means that twenty minutes are left before the sixteenth hour. 

Here are some examples:

  • Без двадцати четыре (bez dvadtsati chetyre) — “3:40”
  • Без трёх минут девять (bez tryokh minut devyat’) — “8:57”
  • Без восьми минут пять (bez vos’mi minut pyat’) — “4:52”

Please note that for the most-used increments of minutes, such as twenty, fifteen, ten, and five, the word “minutes” is almost always omitted.

What about утра (utra)—”of the morning,” дня (dnya)—”of the day,” вечера (vechera)—”of the evening,” and ночи (nochi)—”of the night?” Are they used when we add minutes? 

Yes, of course. But in most cases, they’re omitted when it’s clear from the context what part of the day it is.

4. Useful Patterns

Improve Listening

Okay, so how do Russians tell time? It’s time to learn patterns that don’t need to include the word “minute.” The following patterns can be used only for the twelve-hour clock system:

  • Половина (polovina) — here: “half an hour to” 

For example, половина третьего (polovina tryet’yego), meaning “02:30” or “half an hour to three.”

  • Пол- (pol-) — here: “half an hour to” 

For example, полчетвёртого (polchetvyortogo), meaning “03:30” or “half an hour to four.” Please note that you don’t need to put a hyphen after пол- (pol-) except for with one number: одиннадцать (odinnadtsat’), or “11.” For this number, it will be пол-одиннадцатого (pol-odinnadtsatogo), or “10:30.” 

  • Четверть (chetvert’) — here: “quarter past” 

For example, четверть седьмого (chetvert’ sed’mogo), meaning “06:15” or “quarter past six.” 

  • Без четверти (bez chetverti) — here: “quarter to” 

For example, без четверти десять (bez chetverti desyat’), meaning “09:45” or “quarter to ten.” 

The following patterns can be used for both the twelve-hour and twenty-four-hour clock systems:

  • Ровно (rovno) — “exactly” 

For example, ровно шесть утра (rovno shest’ utra), meaning “exactly 06:00.” Or ровно шесть ноль ноль (rovno shest’ nol’ nol’), meaning “exactly 06:00.” 

  • Почти (pochti) — “almost” 

For example, почти пять часов (pochti pyat’ chasov), meaning “almost 05:00.”

Do you need more words and expressions of time in Russian? Here’s our vocabulary list to talk about time. Check it out!

5. Conclusion

Basic Questions

Yaaay, you did it! Now, telling time in Russian shouldn’t feel that hard. You also know how to ask the time in Russian. 

To practice telling time in Russian, we strongly recommend that you do a listening practice with our special audio lesson about time

If you want to dig even more into the topic of time, learn the phrase “What time does it open?” from our audio lesson and check out our article on how to read dates in Russian.

Searching for a professional Russian tutor? Here’s RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian-learners. Native Russian teachers with impressive teaching backgrounds will help you to understand all the grammar rules and enrich your vocabulary. Just take a trial lesson to see how it works for you. ;-)

Before you go, let us know in the comments what new Russian nouns you learned today! Are there any you still want to know? We look forward to hearing from you! 

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Top 100 Russian Nouns: Grammar, Vocabulary & Examples

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You’ve probably noticed that a lot of kids start learning words with nouns—besides sound imitations, of course. They say “mom,” “dad,” “dog,” “cat,” and so on. Only after that do they start to glue sentences together with verbs and add adjectives. It’s just so easy to point at something and pronounce its name—causing loud excitement in the rows of grannies and grandads.

It’s actually a great way for grownups to study as well. You can put stickers with Russian nouns on things around you, practice saying the names of things in Russian while walking down the street, or talk about what you’re eating during dinner with Russian friends. It may also be helpful to make learning cards and draw pictures on them.

In this article, RussianPod101 will help you take your first steps to language fluency and teach you the most common nouns in the Russian language. Also, we’ll help familiarize you with Russian noun declension, Russian noun endings, and Russian gender nouns. Nouns in Russian grammar might look complicated at first, but they’re actually quite simple. You’ll see!

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Table of Contents
  1. Nouns in Russian Grammar
  2. Top 100 Most Common Nouns in the Russian Language
  3. Conclusion


1. Nouns in Russian Grammar



Nouns 1

Before we head to our Russian list of nouns, there are some grammar rules you need to be aware of. Trust us when we say that you’ll be able to learn Russian nouns a lot more painlessly once you have these down and understand how Russian nouns change. In turn, this will make your future Russian nouns lessons so much easier and you’ll be speaking perfect Russian a whole lot quicker!

1- Russian Grammatical Gender


The first thing that you need to know about Russian nouns, before we get to our list of the 100 most common Russian nouns, is that every one of them has a gender: masculine, feminine, or neuter. You’ll avoid a lot of difficulties with the Russian declension of nouns if you pay attention to what gender the new noun is while learning it.

Sometimes, the gender will be easy to remember: мама (mama), or “mom,” is feminine, and папа (papa), or “dad,” is masculine. But sometimes it will get tricky: окно (okno), meaning “window,” is neuter, while дверь (dver’), meaning “door,” is feminine. Why?

You can use your imagination to create an explanation that will help you remember better. Maybe дверь (dver’) is feminine because in old times, Russian girls put beautiful ornaments on them, or because once you enter the door the women’s realm begins. The crazier your imagination works, the better you’ll remember. ;)

Besides gender, Russian nouns can be plural and singular, like in English. Further, some nouns only have a plural form, such as the word деньги (den’gi), or “money.”

2- Russian Noun Cases


The next thing that you should know in order to put nouns in Russian sentences correctly is that they have grammatical cases. Instead of learning the name of all the Russian nouns cases by heart, just try to understand them—then you’ll make a great step toward the innate feeling of Russian language grammar.

Here are the Russian cases of nouns, with explanations and examples:

1. Nominative case. This is the main noun in a sentence, the noun that is doing something. You can practice finding nominative nouns in English sentences:

    – A cat is playing with a mouse. (Answer: Cat.)
    – An apple is on the table. (Answer: Apple.)

    Though the apple here isn’t actually doing anything, the verb “is,” in this case, is still a verb, so the case of “apple” will be nominative.


Now, try to find a nominative case noun in a Russian sentence :
    Мама любит меня ( lyubit menya) — “Mom loves me.”
    Папа работает (Papa rabotayet) — “Dad works.”


2. Genitive case. In English, this case is usually shown with the possessive ending -s. But the Russian language has made a special case for it. Once you see that something belongs to someone in a sentence, then the noun in that Russian phrase should be in the genitive case. Look at the examples:

    Это книга Маши (Eto kniga Mashi) — “This is the book of Masha.”

    Маша (Masha) is a very common Russian girls’ name. The book belongs to Masha, which is why her name is in the genitive case.

    У сестры есть собака (U sestry yest’ sobaka) — “(My) sister has a dog.”

    You’re probably wondering how to distinguish the nominative and genitive cases here. Well, there’s a small trick: The nominative case never has a preposition, but the genitive case, like the one here, sometimes does have ne.


3. Dative case. This case is used when something is given, thrown, read, etc. to a noun. In English, this is usually expressed with the article “to”:

    Папа читает книгу сыну (Papa chitayet knigu synu) — “Dad is reading a book to (his) son.”

    Here, the word “son” is in the dative case.


4. Accusative case. This case is usually paired with the nominative case. While the nominative noun is doing something, the accusative noun is the noun receiving the action:

    Папа любит машины (Papa lyubit mashiny) — “Dad loves cars.”

    Here, the word “cars” is in the accusative case.


5. Instrumental case. The noun in this case is an instrument with which something is done:

    Я пишу ручкой (Ya pishu ruchkoy) — “I write with a pen.”

    Here, the word “pen” is in the instrumental case.


6. Prepositional case. This case is mostly used with Russian prepositions:

    В машине тепло (V mashine teplo) — “It’s warm in the car.”
    На столе лежит книга (Na stole lezhit kniga) — “There is a book lying on the table.”


3- Russian Noun Declension


Now you’re ready to start putting nouns in Russian sentences. There are three ways to go about Russian noun declension. It’s easy to tell which way to use because it’s based on a noun’s ending: 1) –а/-я (-a/-ya) 2) No ending 3) -o/-e (-o/-ye).

Before having a look at the table of declension endings, here’s an exercise.

Below you’ll find a list with the most-used Russian nouns. For every noun, there’s an example of how to use those nouns in Russian phrases or sentences. Study the sentences and try to understand what noun case it’s in. Pay attention to the noun endings, both in the vocabulary form shown in the list, and the case form in the sentence. Is there a difference? What difference is that? Search for grammar patterns to better understand the Russian nouns declension.

Now, you’re ready to dig into our list of the 100 most common Russian nouns.

2. Top 100 Most Common Nouns in the Russian Language



Nouns 2

1- People


  • Человек (chelovek) — “person; human”
    • Высокий человек (vysokiy chelovek) — “a tall person”

  • Друг (drug) — “friend”
    • Лучший друг (luchshiy drug) — “the best friend”

  • Ребёнок (rebyonok) — “child; kid”
    • Милый ребёнок (milyy rebyonok) — “a cute kid”

  • Женщина (zhenshchina) — “woman.”
    • Красивая женщина (krasivaya zhenhschina) — “a beautiful woman”

  • Мужчина (muzhchina) — “man”
    • Сильный мужчина (sil’nyy muzhchina) — “a strong man”

  • Мальчик (mal’chik) — “boy”
    • Маленький мальчик (malen’kiy mal’chik) — “a little boy”

  • Девочка (devochka) — “girl”
    • Взрослая девочка (vzroslaya devochka) — “a grown-up girl”

  • Девушка (devushka) — “young woman; girl; girlfriend”
    • Это моя девушка (Eto moya devushka) — “This is my girlfriend.”

  • Парень (paren’) — “young man; boy; boyfriend”
    • Это мой парень (Eto moy paren’) — “This is my boyfriend.”

  • Имя (imya) — “name”
    • У тебя красивое имя (U tebya krasivoye imya) — “Your name is beautiful.”

  • Фамилия (familiya) — “surname; family name”
    • Моя фамилия – Иванов (Moya familiya – Ivanov) — “My surname is Ivanov.”

  • Начальник (nachal’nik) — “boss”
    • Строгий начальник (strogiy nachal’nik) — “a strict boss”

  • Гость (gost’) — “visitor; guest”
    • Дорогой гость (dorogoy gost’) — “a dear guest”


To talk about people, it’s important to know about job titles. We’ve prepared a special vocabulary list with jobs in Russian and an article about how to find a job in Russia.

2- Family


A Family.
  • Семья (sem’ya) — “family”
    • У меня большая семья (U menya bol’shaya sem’ya) — “I have a big family.”

  • Отец (otets) — “father”
    • Мой отец – программист (Moy otets – programmist) — “My father is a programmer.”

  • Папа (papa) — “dad”
    • Мой папа много работает (Moy papa mnogo rabotayet) — “My dad works a lot.”
    • Compared to the previous word, this word is mostly used by children and girls.

  • Мама (mama) — “mother”
    • Я люблю свою маму (Ya lyublyu svoyu mamu) — “I love my mom.”

  • Сын (syn) — “son”
    • Мой сын уже вырос (Moy syn uzhe vyros) — “My son has already grown up.”

  • Дочь (doch’) — “daughter”
    • У него есть маленькая дочь (U nego yest’ malen’kaya doch’) — “He has a small daughter.”

  • Брат (brat) — “brother”
    • Старший брат, младший брат (Starshiy brat, mladshiy brat) — “an elder brother, a younger brother”

  • Сестра (sestra) — “sister”
    • Старшая сестра, младшая сестра (Starshaya sestra, mladshaya sestra) — “an elder sister, a younger sister”

  • Жена (zhena) — “wife”
    • Любимая жена (lyubimaya zhena) — “a dear wife”

  • Муж (muzh) — “husband”
    • Любимый муж (lyubimyy muzh) — “a dear husband”

If you wanna know more Russian family-related words, read our full guide on talking about relatives in Russian.

3- Place


Now, let’s get to location nouns in Russian vocabulary.

  • Место (mesto) — “place”
    • Положи это на место (Polozhi eto na mesto) — “Put it in its place.”

  • Земля (zemlya) — “earth; Earth”
    • Мы живём на планете Земля (My zhivyom na planete Zemlya) — “We live on the planet Earth.”

  • Город (gorod) — “town; city”
    • Мой родной город – Берлин (Moy rodnoy gorod – Berlin) — “My hometown is Berlin.”

  • Улица (ulitsa) — “street”
    • Я живу на улице Ленина (Ya zhivu na ulitse Lenina) — “I live on Lenina Street.”

  • Москва (Moskva) — “Moscow”
    • Я хочу побывать в Москве (Ya khochu pobyvat’ v Moskve) — “I want to visit Moscow.”

  • Страна (strana) — “country”
    • Ты из какой страны? (Ty iz kakoy strany?) — “What country are you from?”

  • Россия (Rossiya) — “Russia”
    • Я люблю Россию (Ya lyublyu Rossiyu) — “I love Russia.”

  • Дорога (doroga) — “road”
    • В дорогу! (V dorogu!) — “Let’s go! Let’s start our journey!”
    • This phrase is usually used before a long trip or a long ride.


4- Nature


In the Forest.
  • Лес (les) — “forest”
    • Я хочу поехать в лес за грибами (Ya khochu poyekhat’ v les za gribami) — “I want to go to the forest to pick mushrooms.”

  • Воздух (vozdukh) — “air”
    • Воздух такой свежий! (Vozdukh takoy svezhiy!) — “The air is so fresh!”

  • Огонь (ogon’) — “fire”
    • Он разжёг огонь (On razzhyog ogon’) — “He made a fire.”

  • Вода (voda) — “water”
    • Воду без газа, пожалуйста (Vodu bez gaza, pozhaluysta) — “Water without gas, please.”

  • Ветер (veter) — “wind”
    • Ветер такой сильный, я замёрз (Veter takoy sil’nyy, ya zamyorz) — “The wind is so strong, I’ve frozen.”

  • Солнце (solntse) — “sun”
    • Солнце печёт (Solntse pechyot) — “The sun is so strong.”

  • Луна (luna) — “moon”
    • Смотри, сегодня полная луна (Smotri, segodnya polnaya luna) — “Look, there is a full moon today.”

  • Дерево (derevo) — “tree”
    • Давай присядем у того дерева (Davay prisyadem u togo dereva) — “Let’s have a seat near that tree.”

  • Снег (sneg) — “snow”
    • Снег идёт (Sneg idyot) — “It’s snowing.”

  • Небо (nebo) — “sky”
    • На небе ни тучки (Na nebe ni tuchki) — “Not a single cloud in the sky.”

  • Море (more) — “sea”
    • Я хочу на море! (Ya khochu na more!) — “I wanna go to the seaside!”


5- Animals


[Four Cats
  • Животное (zhivotnoye) — “animal”
    • У тебя есть домашние животные? (U tebya yest’ domashniye zhivotnyye?) — “Do you have any pets?”

  • Собака (sobaka) — “dog”
    • У меня есть собака (U menya yest’ sobaka) — “I have a dog.”

  • Кошка (koshka) — “cat (female)”
    • У меня есть кошка (U menya yest’ koshka) — “I have a cat.”

  • Кот (kot) — “cat (male)”
    • Ласковый кот (Laskovyy kot) — “an affectionate, sweet cat”

  • Комар (komar) — “mosquito”
    • Комар жужжит под ухом (Komar zhuzhzhit pod ukhom) — “A mosquito is buzzing near my ear.”

  • Рыба (ryba) — “fish”
    • Я бы хотел рыбу на ужин, а ты? (Ya by khotel rybu na uzhin, a ty?) — “I’d love some fish for dinner, what about you?”


6- House


Nouns 3
  • Дом (dom) — “house”
    • Двухэтажный дом (dvukhetazhnyy dom) — “two-storied house”

  • Квартира (kvartira) — “flat; apartment”
    • Двухкомнатная квартира (dvukhkomnatnaya kvartira) — “an apartment with two rooms”

  • Дверь (dver’) — “door”
    • Закрыть дверь на ключ (zakryt’ dver’ na klyuch) — “to close the door with a key”

  • Окно (okno) — “window”
    • Открыть окно (otkryt’ okno) — “to open the window”

  • Стол (stol) — “table”
    • Положи на стол (Polozhi na stol) — “Put (it) on the table.”

  • Комната (komnata) — “room”
    • Это моя комната (Eto moya komnata) — “This is my room.”

  • Книга (kniga) — “book”
    • Моя любимая книга (moya lyubimaya kniga) — “my favorite book”

  • Свет (svet) — “light”
    • Включи свет, пожалуйста. (Vklyuchi svet, pozhaluysta.) — “Switch on the light, please.”


Wanna know how to name other things around your house? Here’s our vocabulary list on home appliances.

7- Daily Life


Chatting on the Phone
  • Деньги (den’gi) — “money”
    • Зарабатывать деньги (zarabatyvat’ den’gi) — “to earn money”
    • Note that this noun doesn’t have a singular form; it’s always in the plural form.

  • Работа (rabota) — “work; job”
    • Я люблю свою работу (Ya lyublyu svoyu rabotu) — “I love my job.”

  • Письмо (pis’mo) — “letter; e-mail”
    • Отправить письмо (otpravit’ pis’mo) — “to send a letter”

  • Школа (shkola) — “school”
    • Ходить в школу (khodit’ v shkolu) — “to go to school”

  • Университет (universitet) — “university”
    • Я учусь в университете (Ya uchus’ v universitete) — “I study in university.”

  • Машина (mashina) — “car”
    • Я приехал на машине (Ya priyekhal na mashine) — “I came by car.”

  • Компьютер (komp’yuter) — “computer”
    • Работать за компьютером (rabotat’ za komp’yuterom) — “to work from the computer”

  • Ноутбук (noutbuk) — “laptop”
    • Включить ноутбук (vklyuchit’ noutbuk) — “to switch on a laptop”

  • Телефон (telefon) — “phone”
    • Мобильный телефон (mobil’nyy telefon) — “mobile phone”

  • Наушники (naushniki) — “earphones”
    • У тебя есть наушники? (U tebya yest’ naushniki?) — “Do you have earphones?”

  • Зарядка (zaryadka) — “charger”
    • У тебя есть зарядка для телефона? (U tebya yest’ zaryadka dlya telefona?) — “Do you have a phone charger?”

  • Сайт (sayt) — “website”
    • Искать на сайте (iskat’ na sayte) — “to search on the website”

  • Приложение (prilozheniye) — “app”
    • Открой приложение (Otkroy prilozheniye) — “Open the app.”

  • Игра (igra) — “game”
    • Крутая игра (krutaya igra) — “a cool game”

  • Помощь (pomoshch’) — “help”
    • Тебе нужна помощь? (Tebe nuzhna pomoshch’?) — “Do you need help?”

  • Завтрак (zavtrak) — “breakfast”
    • Полезный завтрак (poleznyy zavtrak) — “healthy breakfast”

  • Обед (obed) — “lunch”
    • Перерыв на обед (pereryv na obed) — “lunch break”

  • Ужин (uzhin) — “dinner”
    • Ужин при свечах (uzhin pri svechakh) — “dinner with candle-lights (usually romantic)”


The digital world has already become a huge part of our lives, so for more words needed for the Internet, check out our vocabulary list.

For students, daily life vocabulary will be full of nouns essential for school. Have a look at our vocabulary list on this topic.

Also, if you’re planning to visit Russia, you’ll find a vocabulary list about restaurants useful.

8- Time


A Man Checks the Time on His Watch
  • Время (vremya) — “time”
    • У меня нет времени, говори быстрее (U menya net vremeni, govori bystreye) — “I don’t have time, talk faster.”

  • Минута (minuta) — “minute”
    • Можно тебя на минуту? (Mozhno tebya na minutu?) — “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

  • Час (chas) — “hour”
    • Музей откроется через час. (Muzey otkroyetsya cherez chas.) — “A museum will open in an hour.”

  • День (den’) — “day”
    • Куда ты хочешь пойти завтра днём? (Kuda ty khochesh’ poyti zavtra dnyom?) — “Where do you wanna go during the daytime tomorrow?”

  • Неделя (nedelya) — “week”
    • На следующей неделе я в отпуске (Na sleduyushchey nedele ya v otpuske) — “I’ll have a vacation next week.”

  • Понедельник (ponedel’nik) — “Monday”
    • Понедельник – день тяжёлый (Ponedel’nik – den’ tyazhyolyy) — “Monday is a hard day.”
    • Russians say this expression a lot when it’s hard to go back to work or study on Monday after the weekend.

  • Вторник (vtornik) — “Tuesday”
    • Вечером во вторник у меня тренажёрка (Vecherom vo vtornik u menya trenazhyorka) — “I’m going to the gym on Tuesday night.”

  • Среда (sreda) — “Wednesday”
    • В среду у меня свидание (V sredu u menya svidaniye) — “I have a date on Wednesday.”

  • Четверг (chetverg) — “Thursday”
    • Четверг – это маленькая пятница. (Chetverg – eto malen’kaya pyatnitsa.) — “Thursday is a small Friday.”
    • This is a famous Russian saying. It refers to the fact that there’s not that many days left until the weekend on Thursday, so it may be compared to Friday.

  • Пятница (pyatnitsa) — “Friday”
    • Пятница-развратница (pyatnitsa-razvratnitsa) — “fun Friday”
    • Literally, old ladies call young women развратница (razvratnitsa) if they dress up too provocatively or go out with a lot of different men. In the expression пятница-развратница (pyatnitsa-razvratnitsa), the word started to be used because it rhymes nicely with Пятница (pyatnitsa), or “Friday.”

  • Суббота (subbota) — “Saturday”
    • В субботу я ходил с друзьями в кино. (V subbotu ya khodil s druz’yami v kino.) — “On Saturday, I went to the cinema with my friends.”

  • Воскресенье (voskresen’ye) — “Sunday”
    • В воскресенье я убирался дома (V voskresen’ye ya ubiralsya doma) — “On Sunday, I cleaned up my apartment.”

  • Будни (budni) — “weekdays”
    • В будни скидка на обед – 20%. (V budni skidka na obed – dvadtsat’ protsentov.) — “There is a twenty percent discount for lunch on weekdays.”

  • Выходные (vykhodnyye) — “weekend”
    • На выходных мы поедем на шашлыки (Na vykhodnykh my poyedem na shashlyki) — “We are gonna go out to make a barbecue on the weekend.”

  • Месяц (mesyats) — “month”
    • В этом месяце (v etom mesyatse) — “in this month”

  • Год (god) — “year”
    • В следующем году (v sleduyushchem godu) — “in the next year”

  • Ночь (noch’) — “night”
    • Это была длинная ночь. (Eto byla dlinnaya noch’.) — “This was a long night.”

  • Жизнь (zhizn’) — “life”
    • Это жизнь. (Eto zhizn’.) — “This is life.”
    • Russian people use this phrase to say that bad things happen along with the good during life.

  • Утро (utro) — “morning”
    • Доброе утро! (Dobroye utro!) — “Good morning!”

  • Вечер (vecher) — “evening”
    • Добрый вечер! (Dobryy vecher!) — “Good evening!”
    • If you want to learn more Russian greetings, check out our article.

  • Начало (nachalo) — “beginning; start.” Please, note that the noun that follows the word начало (nachalo) should be in the Genitive case:
    • Начало фильма в 8. (Nachalo fil’ma v vosem’.) — “The film’s start is at eight.”
    • Мне не понравилось начало книги. (Mnye nye ponravilos’ nachalo knigi) — “I didn’t like the beginning of the book.”

  • Конец (konets) — “end.” Please, note that the noun that follows the word конец (konets) should also be in the Genitive case:
    • Это конец сериала. (Eto konets seriala) — “This is the end of the series.”


If you feel that you need to deepen your knowledge of this topic, read our article where we’ve prepared a full guide on the most common nouns in the Russian language about time.

9- Body Parts


Nouns 4
Here, you’ll find the most common nouns in the Russian language related to body parts.

  • Голова (golova) — “head”
    • Что это у тебя на голове? (Chto eto u tebya na golove?) — “What’s on your head?”

  • Лицо (litso) — “face”
    • У неё лицо не видно. (U neyo litso ne vidno) — “Her face isn’t seen.”

  • Глаз (glaz) — “eye”
    • Закрой глаза. (Zakroy glaza.) — “Close your eyes.”

  • Нос (nos) — “nose”
    • Не суй свой нос куда не следует. (Ne suy svoy nos kuda ne sleduyet)—”Mind your own business.”
    • Literally: “Don’t stick your nose into where it isn’t supposed to be stuck.”

  • Ухо (ukho) — “ear”
    • Быть влюблённым по уши (byt’ vlyublyonnym po ushi) — “to be over head and ears in love.”
    • Literally: “In love till ears.”

  • Голос (golos) — “voice”
    • А почему голос такой сонный? (A pochemu golos takoy sonnyy?) — “Why is your voice so sleepy?”

  • Тело (telo) — “body”
    • Худое тело (khudoye telo) — “a thin body”

  • Рука (ruka) — “arm; hand”
    • Дай мне руку. (Day mne ruku) — “Give me (your) hand.”
    • It’s interesting to know that Russians call arms and hands the same thing: рука (ruka).

  • Нога (noga) — “leg”
    • У тебя на ноге комар. (U tebya na noge komar) — “There is a mosquito on your leg.”

  • Палец (palets) — “finger”
    • У него кольцо на пальце. (U nego kol’tso na pal’tse) — “He is married.”
    • Literally: “He has a ring on his finger.”

  • Спина (spina) — “back”
    • У меня спина болит. (U menya spina bolit) — “My back hurts.”

  • Сердце (serdtse) — “heart”
    • У меня сердце колотится. (U menya serdtse kolotitsya) — “My pulse hammers.”

  • Кровь (krov’) — “blood”
    • У тебя кровь из носа идёт. (U tebya krov’ iz nosa idyot) — “There is blood coming from your nose.”


10- Language


[Four Friends Are Talking
  • Слово (slovo) — “word”
    • Это всё слова (Eto vsyo slova) — “Those are just words.”

  • Вопрос (vopros) — “question”
    • У меня вопрос (U menya vopros) — “I have a question.”

  • Ответ (otvet) — “answer”
    • Кто знает ответ? (Kto znayet otvet?) — “Who knows the answer?”

  • Разговор (razgovor) — “talk; conversation”
    • У меня к тебе серьёзный разговор (U menya k tebe ser’yoznyy razgovor) — “I’m having a serious conversation with you.”

  • Язык (yazyk) — “language; tongue”
    • Русский язык (russkiy yazyk) — “Russian language”


3. Conclusion



Now you know the top 100 most common Russian nouns. A good way to practice these words is to make word cards to learn them with. As these nouns are the core of Russian vocabulary, you can’t afford to skip out on really learning them! Make sure to learn the nouns in Russian phrases and sentences, as well. This way, you’ll be able to use every noun correctly in context, start to build the base for Russian noun declension, and use nouns in Russian sentences correctly.

To practice your listening skills, watch our fun video on the top twenty-five nouns in the Russian language. You’ll find more example sentences there.

To dig deeper into Russian noun declension and to get a full understanding of it, try out RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian learners. Native Russian teachers with impressive teaching backgrounds will help you to understand all the rules as quickly as possible, and boost your language-learning process. Just take a trial lesson to see how it works for you. ;-)

Before you go, let us know in the comments what new Russian nouns you’ve learned today! Are there any you still want to know? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Learn the Most Common Russian Prepositions

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Russian prepositions are the glue of a sentence, connecting pronouns, nouns, and other words in order to convey the most accurate meaning and describe how things relate to each other. If you don’t know the main prepositions of the Russian language and have no idea how to use prepositions in Russian grammar, then you can’t write or speak the language correctly.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to master Russian prepositions and Russian prepositional cases. If you study properly, your Russian speech will become much richer and clearer.

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Preposition?
  2. Prepositions of Time
  3. Prepositions of Location
  4. Prepositions of Relation
  5. Quiz
  6. Conclusion

1. What is a Preposition?

Group of college students chatting on a university lawn

Learn Russian prepositions & grammatical cases and communicate easily!

Russian prepositions are small words that precede a phrase and connect that phrase to the rest of the sentence. Russian language prepositions work the same way as they do in English, but with one significant difference: they put the phrase that follows into one of the six grammatical cases.

In turn, this influences the endings; for example, there are special Russian prepositional case endings. If you don’t use these endings correctly, you make serious mistakes. Of course, you’ll still be understood by native speakers, but it’s better for you to avoid mistakes when possible.

In our Russian prepositions list, we won’t focus too much on these grammatical cases. Instead, we’ll simply outline the most common Russian prepositions for time, location, and relations, and provide a little information on what case to use for each word. And at the end, we’ll quiz you!

Woman who's not impressed

It’s not cool to make mistakes with Russian endings.

2. Prepositions of Time

The most common preposition of time in the Russian language is В (“At”). We use it when we want to express that something happened at an exact time. In most cases, this Russian preposition is used with a numeral and the genitive case afterwards. For example:

  • Я прихожу на работу в 11 утра
    Ya prikhozhu na rabotu v 11 utra.
    “I start my work at 11 a.m.”

Another time-related preposition is C (“Since”). It allows us to say that something started, or starts, at a definite time. This preposition is also combined with a numeral, and is another one of the Russian genitive case prepositions. For example:

  • Я работаю с 11 утра
    Ya rabotayu s 11 utra.
    “I’ve been working since 11 a.m.”

The next important Russian preposition of time is До (“Until”). We use it to declare that something finishes (or finished) at a certain time. Like in the examples above, it’s used together with a numeral and the genitive case:

  • Я работаю до 7 вечера
    Ya rabotayu do 7 vechera.
    “I work until 7 p.m.”

Russians often combine the prepositions С (“Since”) and До (“Until”) as follows:

  • Я работаю с 11 утра до 7 вечера
    Ya rabotayu s 11 utra do 7 vechera.
    “I work since 11 a.m. till 7 p.m.” (Or: “I work from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.”)

There’s another Russian preposition of time you should know, though it’s not very popular. It’s called Назад (“Ago”). This preposition means that something happened, or was happening, in the past. It’s usually preceded by the genitive case and a numeral. For example:

  • Я работал в офисе 3 месяца назад
    Ya rabotal v ofise 3 mesyatsa nazad.
    “I was working in the office 3 months ago.”

Also keep in mind the preposition К (“By”). It helps us express that something will happen by some time in the future. Be attentive: This one is followed by a numeral and the dative case. For instance:

  • Я приду в офис к 11 утра
    Ya pridu v ofis k 11 utra.
    “I’ll be in the office by 11 a.m.”

Finally, try to remember the preposition В течение (“During”), which is used together with the genitive case. This preposition will help you say that you’ve been doing something for some period of time. For example:

  • Я работаю в этой компании в течение полугода
    Ya rabotayu v etoy kompanii v techeniye polugoda.
    “I’ve been working in this company during [for] six months.”

Woman holding an alarm clock in her hand and pointing to it

If you know Russian prepositions of time, then you can talk about work without any problems.

3. Prepositions of Location

The main Russian preposition of location is В (“In”). You should use it if you want to say that you’re inside (a building, for example). This preposition is used with the Russian prepositional case. Look at these Russian prepositional case examples:

  • Я в офисе
    Ya v ofise.
    “I’m in the office.”
  • Она в магазине
    Ona v magazine.
    “She’s in the shop.”
  • Он в парикмахерской
    On v parikmakherskoy.
    “He’s in the barbershop.”

There’s also a popular preposition named На (“At”). It means the same as “In” and we use it in the same cases (and also with the Russian prepositional case). However, we use it with different words. Have a look at these Russian prepositional case examples:

  • Я на работе
    Ya na rabote.
    “I’m at work.”
  • Она на вечеринке
    Ona na vecherinke.
    “She’s at the party.”
  • Он на пляже
    On na plyazhe.
    “He’s on the beach.”

In Russian, we don’t have specific rules on when to use В and when to use На. We recommend that you use В anytime you’re not sure, because it’s much more popular.

Another Russian preposition of location for you is Из (“From”). Use this one to say that you come from somewhere or have traveled from one place to another. The noun used after Из must be in the genitive case. Here are two good examples of this combination for you:

  • Я из Москвы
    Ya iz Moskvy.
    “I’m from Moscow.”
  • Я приехал сюда из Москвы
    Ya priyekhal syuda iz Moskvy.
    “I came here from Moscow.”

У, Возле, and Около (“Near” / “By”) are very commonly used Russian prepositions of location. You need them if you want to show that something isn’t far away from you, another person, or another object. These prepositions are followed by the genitive case only:

  • Я сейчас у / возле / около реки
    Ya seychas u / vozle / okolo reki.
    “I’m near / by the river now.”

If you’re going to talk about the location of something in space, use the Russian prepositions Позади (“Behind”) and Впереди (“In front”) together with the genitive case, like in the examples below:

  • Позади стола стояли два стула
    Pozadi stola stoyali dva stula.
    “There were two chairs behind the table.”
  • Он ехал впереди всех
    On yekhal vperedi vseh.
    “He was riding in front of everyone.”

Other important prepositions of location you should know are Под (“Under”) and Над (“Above”). Of course, there are many more Russian language prepositions of this type, but they’re used less frequently. Check out these examples:

  • Кот под столом
    Kot pod stolom.
    “The cat is under the table.”
  • Над нами солнце
    Nad nami solntse.
    “The sun is above us.”

Man and woman looking at a map together

Prepositions of location will help you express your simple observations.

4. Prepositions of Relation

The most widely used Russian preposition of relation that you should definitely know is О / Об (“About”). It’s always followed by the Russian prepositional case endings. In addition to using prepositional case Russian endings, remember another important thing: We use О when the first letter of the word next to it is a consonant, and Об when it’s a vowel. Russian prepositional case examples are:

  • Я хочу рассказать тебе о Джейн
    Ya khochu rasskazat’ tebe o Dzheyn.
    “I want to tell you about Jane.”
  • Я хочу рассказать тебе об Эмме
    Ya khochu rasskazat’ tebe ob Emme.
    “I want to tell you about Emma.”

The next preposition of relation for you is От (“From”). It’s connected with the genitive case. This one is used to express that you’ve heard about something from somebody, like in the following example:

  • Я узнала об этом от Джейн
    Ya uznala ob etom ot Dzheyn.
    “I knew about it from Jane.”

Another Russian preposition of relation is Из-за (“Because of”). We use it to mention a reason for something, and connect it with the genitive case. For instance:

  • Это случилось из-за меня
    Eto sluchilos’ iz-za menya.
    “It happened because of me.”

If you want your Russian speech to be really rich, remember the preposition Согласно (“According to”). It helps us refer to something or somebody, and is another one of the Russian dative case prepositions. Look at this example:

  • Согласно отчёту, он уволен
    Soglasno otchyotu, on uvolen.
    “According to the report, he’s fired.”

The preposition Кроме (“Apart from”) is not very common, but you’d better remember it if you want to make slightly more complex sentences. You should combine it with the genitive case like this:

  • Кроме меня там никого не было
    Krome menya tam nikogo ne bylo.
    “There was nobody there apart from me.”

Group of team members high-fiving each other

Prepositions of relation are not easy, but they’re definitely worth knowing!

5. Quiz

We’ve prepared a quick quiz on Russian prepositions to help you check your knowledge. Fill in the blanks with the right prepositions:

1. Она ___ баре (Ona ___ bare).

a) в
b) на
c) около
d) c

2. Марк ___ работе (Mark ___ rabote).

а) в
b) на
с) около
d) с

3. Завтра я буду гулять с 10 ___ 12 утра (Zavtra ya budu gulyat s 10 ___ 12 utra).

a) в
b) до
c) около
d) кроме

4. Рейс отменили ____ погоды (Reys otmenili ____ pogody).

a) от
b) с
c) об
d) из-за

5. ____ книге, это случилось в 2009 году. (____ knige, eto sluchilos v 2009 godu).

a) под
b) возле
c) согласно
d) на

The right answers are a, b, b, d, c. If you’ve done everything correctly, receive our congratulations. If you’ve made one or more mistakes, don’t worry. Just look at our explanations:

  1. This sentence is translated as “She’s at the bar,” so we put the preposition of location В before the noun.
  2. The translation of this sentence is “He is at work.” As we mentioned above, the Russian word Работа (“Work”) is combined with На, not with В.
  3. In this sentence, we show the duration of something by combining two Russian prepositions: C and До. If you need the translation, here it is: “Tomorrow, I’ll be out since [from] 10 a.m. until 12 a.m.”
  4. This sentence translates to “The flight was canceled because of the weather.” The Russian equivalent of the English “Because of” is Из-за, so it’s easy.
  5. The fifth sentence is translated into Russian as: “According to the book, it happened in 2009.” The only Russian translation of the English preposition “According to” is Согласно.

6. Conclusion

We’ve given you all the basic information about Russian prepositions, and Russian prepositional case examples. We’re sure that this will greatly improve your further studies of the Russian language.

On the other hand, there’s still a lot of information about Russian prepositions and Russian prepositional case endings that you don’t know. We’re ready to help you fix that!

You can check out some of the free lessons on RussianPod101, or get our Premium PLUS service and use our MyTeacher program. If you choose the second option, then you’ll be taught individually by a native Russian speaker. It’s the most effective way to learn Russian prepositions and so much more. You can try it right now!

In the meantime, let us know in the comments how you feel about prepositions in Russian so far. Did we answer your questions, or are you still unsure about something? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in Russian & More

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Did you know that there’s a Russian holiday called Крещение (Kreshcheniye), or “Baptism,” when everyone jumps into прорубь (prorub’), or an “ice hole” in just their underwear? This holiday is in January, so it might be -10°C or -20°C, or even -50°C outside. Russian people believe that it washes off their sins and improves health. This holiday salutes the end of Russian winter holidays, each of which contains even more peculiar traditions. (You thought you were just going to learn Happy Birthday in Russian, didn’t you?)

To feel confident in living in Russia and communicating with Russian people, it’s important to know these traditions, especially how people congratulate each other. So, let’s dig into the festive side of life and learn how to become a part of it while in Russia.

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Table of Contents

  1. Happy Holidays in Russian
  2. How to Say Happy Birthday in Russian
  3. How to Say Merry Christmas in Russian & A Happy New Year in Russian
  4. Russian Congratulations: Baby News & Pregnancy
  5. Happy Graduation in Russian
  6. Congratulations for a New Job or Promotion
  7. Russian Congratulations for Retirement
  8. Russian Congratulations: Weddings & Anniversaries
  9. Death and Funerals: Russian Condolence Messages
  10. Bad News
  11. Injured or Sick
  12. Other Holidays and Life Events
  13. Conclusion

1. Happy Holidays in Russian

Basic Questions

No matter what holiday or life event you’re observing, you can always say “I congratulate you,” and most of the time, this is enough. In Russian, it can be said with just one word: Поздравляю! (Pozdravlyayu!). If you’re representing a group of people—or just somebody other than yourself—change the word into Поздравляем! (Pozdravlyayem!).

Make sure to use it instead of the full congratulation when it’s obvious what you’re congratulating someone on. For example, in social networks, when a lot of people are posting congratulations for a birthday or New Year, posting Поздравляю! (Pozdravlyayu!) will be enough; it’s obvious what you’re celebrating.

If it’s not obvious enough, be ready for the person to ask you: С чем? (S chem?), meaning “With what?”

You might also be wondering about greetings and best wishes in Russian. As for greetings, there’s a big article prepared by RussianPod101 for you. As for best wishes, there’s a nice way to say that: Всего наилучшего! (Vsyego nailuchshego!), which simply means “Best wishes!”

2. How to Say Happy Birthday in Russian

Happy Birthday

Birthdays in Russia are very important. Many people take the day off from work and go on vacation; most people wait until the nearest weekend to gather all their friends and close relatives for a party. Birthday gifts to friends are usually more expensive compared to gifts for the New Year. If you’re wondering what kind of gifts would be most appropriate, here are a few examples for you:

  • Chocolate and a cute souvenir to a coworker
  • A book, a box of nice candies, and a flower to a girlfriend
  • A bottle of expensive alcohol to your boss (just make sure that he actually drinks alcohol beforehand)
  • Two tickets to a theatre/reality quest/concert for your friend (ask in advance if that evening or day is free)

The closer your relationship is, the more expensive the present becomes. For example, a wife or girlfriend can congratulate her husband or boyfriend with an expensive watch.

Now, how do you wish someone a happy birthday in Russian?

1- С днём рождения!

  • Romanization: S dnyom rozhdeniya!
  • English Translation: “Happy Birthday!”

This is a basic congratulation that will sound great both for formal and informal situations, in speaking and in writing. To make it sound more solemn, you can say Поздравляю с днём рождения! (Pozdravlyayu s dnyom rozhdeniya!), which means “I congratulate you on your birthday!”

Besides the main congratulatory phrase, you can also add some wishes. For example, Всего самого наилучшего! (Vsyego samogo nailuchshego!), which means “All the best” in Russian.

2- С прошедшим!

  • Romanization: S proshedshim!
  • English Translation: “Belated Happy Birthday!”

If you just found out that someone had a birthday during the last week, it would be great to congratulate him even though you’re a little late. The Russian phrase for congratulations С прошедшим! (S proshedshim!), meaning “Belated Happy Birthday!” in Russian, sounds great in informal situations. For formal situations, make it longer: С прошедшим днём рождения! (S proshedshim dnyom rozhdeniya!), or “Belated Happy Birthday!”

3- Ещё раз с днём рождения!

  • Romanization: Yeshchyo raz s dnyom rozhdeniya!
  • English Translation: “Once again Happy Birthday!”

Usually, Russian people enjoy making congratulations more personal by wishing a lot of different blessings. At the end of such a congratulation, they sum it up by saying Ещё раз с днём рождения! (Yeschyo raz s dnyom rozhdeniya!), which means “Once again Happy Birthday!” in Russian.

These are the most basic birthday congratulations in Russian. If you’re texting it to your friends, you might need text slang modifications to sound more natural. For that, check out our article on Russian Internet slang. Also, we’ve prepared special podcasts on how to ask “When is your birthday?” in Russian and how to make a post on social network about your own birthday.

3. How to Say Merry Christmas in Russian & A Happy New Year in Russian

New Year.

The New Year in Russia is the biggest and longest holiday. Official holidays last from seven to ten days. People spend time with their families and friends, travel, and enjoy winter sports.

Christmas in Russia is celebrated after the New Year, on January 7 according to the Gregorian calendar. It’s a smaller holiday compared to New Year, and is mostly celebrated by religious people.

Let’s see how to say Merry Christmas in Russian and look at some Russian New Year congratulations!

1- С наступающим!

  • Romanization: S nastupayushchim!
  • English Translation: “With the upcoming New Year!”

So, how do you say “Happy New Year” in Russian? First of all, there’s a very common phrase to congratulate people with before New Year, such as colleagues or friends that you won’t be able to see during the holidays. It’s С наступающим! (S nastupayushchim!), which means “With the upcoming New Year!” This is one of the most popular New Year wishes in Russian for before the New Year holidays.

    An interesting fact. One of the meanings of the word наступать (nastupat’) is “to step on (someone’s foot).” That’s why there’s a pretty cheesy Russian joke when a person intentionally steps on your foot and says С наступающим! (S nastupayushchim!), or “With the upcoming New Year!”

2- C новым годом!

  • Romanization: S novym godom!
  • English Translation: “Happy New Year!”

After the Kremlin clock has tolled twelve times and a new year has begun, you can change your congratulatory words from С наступающим! (S nastupayushchim!), or “With the upcoming New Year!”, to C новым годом! (S novym godom!). That is how to say “Happy New Year!” in Russian. Though literally, it means “With New Year!” You can also say, more solemnly, Поздравляю с новым годом! (Pozdravlyayu s novym godom!), which means “I congratulate you with a happy New Year!” in Russian.

Some older people love to say C новым годом, с новым счастьем! (S novym godom, s novym schast’yem!), which means “With New Year, with new happiness!” That’s one of the old New Year wishes in Russian and may sound a bit cliche.

After saying this phrase, you can add some New Year wishes in Russian. For example: Я желаю тебе здоровья, счастья и удачи в новом году (Ya zhelayu tebe zdorov’ya, schast’ya i udachi v novom godu), meaning “I wish you health, happiness, and good luck in the new year.”

You can also add Всего самого наилучшего! (Vsyego samogo nailuchshego!), which means “All the best” in Russian.

3- C Рождеством!

  • Romanization: S Rozhdestvom!
  • English Translation: “Merry Christmas!”

In Russian, “Christmas” is Рождество (Rozhdestvo). So, here’s how to say Merry Christmas in Russian: C Рождеством! (S Rozhdestvom!). Don’t worry whether they’re religious or not; it’s still one of the traditional holidays.

To improve your listening skills on this topic, listen to our podcast “How Will You Spend New Year’s in Russia?”.

4. Russian Congratulations: Baby News & Pregnancy

Talking About Age

In Russia, baby showers aren’t really common. Usually, people celebrate and give presents to happy parents when the child is already born. So, there are no actual Russian baby shower traditions. If Russians put on a baby shower, they copy traditions from English-speaking countries.

1- Поздравляю с беременностью!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s beremennost’yu!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on the pregnancy!”

This is a basic phrase that you can tell a woman when you see that she is pregnant. It’s more common to omit the word беременность (beremennost’), or “pregnancy,” and just say Поздравляю! (Pozdravlyayu!), meaning “Congratulations!”

2- Поздравляю с рождением ребёнка!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlayu s rozhdeniyem rebyonka!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on the baby’s birth!”

This a formal congratulation suitable for writing (e.g. in a card or a message), or for a toast.

3- Поздравляю с рождением мальчика/девочки!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlayu s rozhdeniyem mal’chika/devochki!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on the birth of the boy/girl!”

If you want to specify the gender and congratulate upon a gender, then this phrase will suit your needs the best. It’s great both for speaking and writing in formal and informal situations.

To learn the most common phrases to talk about a baby, watch our free educational video lesson.

5. Happy Graduation in Russian

Graduation.

Like everywhere in the world, graduation in Russia is an important occasion, especially if it’s graduation from a school or university. Learn how to give graduation congratulations in Russian to your friends or friends’ kids.

1- Поздравляю с окончанием школы!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s okonchaniyem shkoly!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) school graduation!”

This may sound a bit too official, though. If you want to sound more casual, omit the word Поздравляю (Pozdravlyayu), or “Congratulations.”

2- Поздравляю с окончанием университета!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s okonchaniyem universiteta!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) university graduation!”

Like with the previous congratulation, omitting Поздравляю (Pozdravlyayu), or “Congratulations,” will make the phrase sound more casual.

3- Добро пожаловать во взрослую жизнь!

  • Romanization: Dobro pozhalovat’ vo vzrosluyu zhizn’!
  • English Translation: “Welcome to an adult life!”

This phrase should come from someone older than the graduate himself. Usually, this congratulatory phrase comes from older relatives.

6. Congratulations for a New Job or Promotion

Promotion.

Promotions aren’t a very common cause for celebration or giving congratulations, but it will be considered very attentive and kind of you if you do congratulate your colleagues or friends on a promotion. Usually, promotions are celebrated by having a family dinner, so if you have a Russian spouse or parents-in-law, the following congratulations in Russian will be a great choice.

1- Поздравляю с новой работой!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s novoy rabotoy!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on a new job!”

This is a general phrase that will sound good whether you’re saying it to your colleague—or wait, ex-colleague—or a friend. Don’t hesitate to use it.

2- Поздравляю с повышением!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s povysheniyem!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) promotion!”

This is another general phrase that can be used in any situation.

3- Успехов на новой работе!

  • Romanization: Uspekhov na novoy rabote!
  • English Translation: “Have success in your new job!”

This is an addition to the main congratulation. It sounds a bit formal, so it’s better to use it only for toasts or cards.

7. Russian Congratulations for Retirement

Usually, colleagues organize a big celebration when somebody retires. You can write the following congratulations in Russian on a card or just say them personally.

1- С выходом на пенсию!

  • Romanization: S vykhodom na pensiyu!
  • English Translation: “Congratulations on (your) retirement!”

This is a general congratulation that will sound great in both formal and informal situations.

2- Здоровья и долголетия!

  • Romanization: Zdorov’ya i dolgoletiya!
  • English Translation: “Have great health and a long life!”

This is a good addition to the previous congratulation. You can also use it for birthday congratulations in Russian if the person who’s birthday is being observed is up there in years.

3- Пусть ваша жизнь будет долгой, счастливой и наполненной самыми добрыми событиями!

  • Romanization: Pust’ vasha zhizn’ budet dolgoy, schastlivoy i napolnennoy samymi dobrymi sobytiyami!
  • English Translation: “Let your life be long, happy, and filled with the kindest occasions!”

This is a nice and long congratulations phrase suitable for a toast or a card.

8. Russian Congratulations: Weddings & Anniversaries

Marriage Proposal

Russian weddings are full of peculiar traditions. It would be a great experience if you could get to a real Russian wedding to see it with your own eyes. But first, let’s learn some expressions and congratulations that would be useful during a Russian wedding.

1- Совет да любовь!

  • Romanization: Sovet da lyubov’!
  • English Translation: “May you live happily!”

Literally, these words mean: “Advice and love!” The thing is that, in the past, the word совет (sovet) had another meaning, “friendship,” so basically this phrase is a wish of friendship and love between the newlyweds.

2- Поздравляю с днём вашей свадьбы! От всей души желаю семейного счастья, искреннего взаимопонимания, любви и благополучия!

  • Romanization: Pozdravlyayu s dnyom vashey svad’by! Ot vsey dushi zhelayu semeynogo schast’ya, iskrennego vzaimoponimaniya, lyubvi i blagopoluchiya!
  • English Translation: “I congratulate you on your wedding day! I wish your family happiness, true understanding, love, and prosperity.”

After you say this, you can also add: Всего самого наилучшего! (Vsyego samogo nailuchshego!), which means “All the best” in Russian.

Usually, Russians give a whole speech when congratulating a marriage. This is a short version of it that you can still use though. And to distract attention from how short it is, once you finish, shout the congratulation below. :)

3- Горько!

  • Romanization: Gor’ko!
  • English Translation: “Bitter!”

This is a famous phrase that you’ll hear at all Russian weddings. Guests love to finish their congratulations with it. After this word is pronounced, all other guests start chanting it. To stop it, newlyweds need to kiss—that is metaphorically sweet, so the guests don’t feel bitter anymore. :)

Also, listen to our special podcasts on how to give a wedding toast in Russian and what wedding gift to choose for a Russian couple.

9. Death and Funerals: Russian Condolence Messages

If you get invited to a Russian funeral, it’s good to know the most common phrases Russian people say regarding the deceased.

1- Пусть земля ему/ей будет пухом

  • Romanization: Pust’ zyemlya yemu/yey budyet pukhom.
  • English Translation: “May the earth rest lightly on him/her.”

This is a very famous phrase said during funerals. You can also address it directly to the deceased: Пусть земля тебе будет пухом (Pust’ zyemlya tyebye budyet pukhom), which means “May the earth rest lightly on you.” The etymology of this phrase is very interesting as it’s a translation from Latin: Sit tibi terra levis. It was first used in Roman times. Some historians believe that it was a curse to deceased people, but there is no definite proof for that hypothesis.

2- Помним, любим, скорбим

  • Romanization: Pomnim, lyubim, skorbim.
  • English Translation: “We remember, love, and mourn.”

This official phrase is great in writing. You can use it for a card.

3- Ты навсегда останешься в моей памяти

  • Romanization: Ty navsegda ostanesh’sya v moyey pamyati.
  • English Translation: “I will always remember you.”

This phrase sounds really sincere when you’re talking with a deceased person one last time.

10. Bad News

Bad situations can happen suddenly to anyone, and it’s good to know how to react when they do happen. Let’s learn the most-used condolences phrases in Russian.

1- Сочувствую

  • Romanization: Sochuvstvuyu.
  • English Translation: “I feel for you (for your feelings).”

This is a great phrase to show that you care about the person when something less serious than death happened. It’s great to use in all situations.

2- Сожалею об утрате

  • Romanization: Sozhaleyu ob utrate.
  • English Translation: “My condolences for your loss.”

This is a good phrase to express your condolences. Nowadays, it’s usually shortened to Я сожалею (Ya sozhaleyu), or “My condolences!”

3- Мои соболезнования

  • Romanization: Moi soboleznovaniya.
  • English Translation: “My condolences.”

This is an official phrase that will definitely fit any situation when you don’t know people well, or when you are talking with older people. It’s also great for a message or a letter.

11. Injured or Sick

Sick.

When Russian people know that someone is sick, they usually want to cheer that person up by saying one of the following phrases.

1- Поправляйся!

  • Romanization: Popravlyaysya!
  • English Translation: “Get better!”

This phrase is good for informal situations. It will make a great message to a friend.

2- Не болей!

  • Romanization: Nye boley!
  • English Translation: “Don’t be ill!”

This might sound weird, but Russian people actually say that to cheer someone up and show that they care. It’s also an informal phrase.

3- Скорее выздоравливай!

  • Romanization: Skoryeye vyzdoravlivay!
  • English Translation: “Recover faster!”

This phrase is more formal, but if you want to be very respectful, change it to Скорее выздоравливайте! (Skoreye vyzdoravlivaytye!), which also means “Recover faster!”

Sickness is an important topic in any language. If you want to dig deeper, start with our special podcasts on how to ask for medical assistance and what words and expressions to expect from a Russian doctor.

12. Other Holidays and Life Events

There are many other different national holidays and life events in Russia. Here are the biggest ones.

1- How to Say Happy Mother’s Day in Russian

Mother’s Day is celebrated on the last Sunday of November in Russia. It will be really considerate of you to congratulate women with children on this wonderful holiday. Here’s a common phrase:

  • С днём матери! (S dnyom materi!) — “Happy Mother’s Day!”

2- Defender of the Fatherland Day

This day is an official holiday in Russia, celebrated on February 23. Originally, it was a holiday for people who serve, or served, in the military forces, but modern people congratulate all men with it. Girls prepare surprises and give presents to all the men around them. Here is how you can congratulate men around you:

  • С 23 февраля! (S dvadtsat’ tret’im fevralya!) — “Congratulations on February 23!”
  • С днём Защитника Отечества! (S dnyom Zashchitnika Otechestva!) — “Happy Defender of the Fatherland Day!”

3- Happy International Women’s Day in Russian

A couple of weeks after the Defender of the Fatherland Day, International Women’s Day became a holiday for all women. It’s the men’s turn to prepare surprises and presents. Here are some common congratulations:

  • С 8 марта! (S Vos’mym marta!) — “Congratulations on May 8!”
  • С Международным женским днём! (S Mezhdunarodnym zhenskim dnyom!) — “Happy Women’s Day!”
  • С праздником весны! (S prazdnikom vesny!) — “Congratulations on the spring holiday!”

We’ve prepared a special educational video lesson about International Women’s Day in Russia. Have a look!

4- Happy Anniversary in Russian

It would be nice of you to remember your friends’ wedding anniversary and congratulate them, especially if you attended their wedding. The first wedding anniversary is a big day, and some people even celebrate it with some of their guests from the wedding.

Here’s how you could wish them a happy anniversary in Russian:

  • С годовщиной свадьбы! (S godovshchinoy svad’by) — “Happy wedding anniversary!”

5- Happy Valentine’s Day in Russian

Valentine’s Day became a pretty big holiday in Russia. So, it will be useful to learn the most popular phrases for how to say Happy Valentine’s Day in Russian:

  • С днём Святого Валентина! (S dnyom Svyatogo Valentina!) — “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
  • С днём всех влюблённых! (S dnyom vsekh vlyublyonnykh!) — “Congratulations on the day of all people who are in love!”

These phrases are great both for writing and speaking, and for formal and informal situations.

If you want to know more about Valentine’s Day in Russia, watch our free educational video lesson.

13. Conclusion

So, now you won’t be empty-handed in any life situation—you know how to say Merry Christmas in Russian, Happy New Year in Russian, Happy Birthday in Russian, and loads more. To learn more about national holidays in Russia, listen to our audio lesson.

If you feel excited about the Russian language, or simply need it for work or travel, consider participating in RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian learners. We have impressively experienced native Russian teachers who will explain all grammar points so that you can understand them easily. They can also help you enrich your vocabulary, overcome a language barrier, and, of course, make sure that you start talking with Russians in Russian in no time. Just try it. ;-)

And before you go, let us know in the comments which of these Russian life event messages you plan on trying out first, or if we missed any. We’d love to hear from you!

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Top 100 Russian Adjectives: Grammar, Vocabulary & Examples

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It’s великолепная идея (velikolepnaya ideya)—”a great idea”—to learn Russian adjectives ahead of nouns and verbs. They can be used as a whole sentence when speaking, so once you have the most essential Russian adjectives down, you can start characterizing objects, people, and occasions right away. For advanced learners, Russian adjectives will make your speech richer, wittier, and more expressive.

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Table of Contents

  1. Russian Grammar: Adjectives & How They Work
  2. Top 100 Russian Adjectives Every Language Learner Should Know
  3. Conclusion

1. Russian Grammar: Adjectives & How They Work

Reading

The declension of Russian adjectives might seem difficult at first, but after seeing some example sentences and getting deeper into the language as a whole, you’ll start to feel the logic and beauty of how everything is thought through.

Before you learn Russian adjectives themselves, you need to become familiar with some Russian grammar. The endings of Russian language adjectives change depending on the nouns that they describe. In order to change an adjective correctly, you need to know what case the noun is, its grammatical gender (for singular nouns), and if it’s singular or plural.

Usually, in a dictionary, Russian adjectives are given in the singular, nominative, masculine form. You’ll notice that adjectives in Russian have four different endings: -ый, -ий (not stressed), -ий (stressed), and -ой. Adjectives with –ый and -ий (not stressed) endings will change one way, and adjectives with -ий (stressed) and -ой endings will change another way.

Here’s a table to use so you can better see the changing form of Russian adjectives:

Singular Plural
Masculine Neutral Feminine All genders
Nominative -ый / -ий (not stressed)

-ой / -ий (stressed)

-ое

-ее

-ая

-яя

-ые

-ие

Genitive -ого

-его

-ой

-ых

-их

Dative -ому

-ему

-ой

-ей

-ым

-им

Accusative

Animate

Not animate

As in Genitive

As in Nominative

As in Nominative -ую

-юю

As in Genitive

As in Nominative

Instrumental -ым

-им

-ой

-ей

-ыми

-ими

Prepositional -ом

-ем

-ой

-ей

-ых

-их

Russian adjectives exercises: Don’t memorize the endings themselves. If you don’t have an absolutely perfect memory, that would probably take a really long and boring time. :) The best way to learn the table is to make whole sentences for each adjective ending and memorize these sentences.

For example:

Мне нравятся русские девушки
Mne nravyatsya russkiye devushki
“I like Russian girls.”

In the above sentence, the noun девушки (devushki), meaning “girls,” is the plural, accusative case.

Я поеду в Южную Корею
Ya poyedu v Yuzhnuyu Koreyu
“I will go to South Korea.”

In the above sentence, the noun Корея (Koreya), meaning “Korea,” is the singular, accusative case, feminine gender.

Я не привык к острой еде
Ya ne privyk k ostroy yede
“I am not used to spicy food.”

In the above sentence, the noun еде (yede), meaning food,” is the singular, dative case, feminine gender.

In Russian grammar, adjectives can be full and short. Short adjectives are used only in the nominative case:

Singular Plural
Masculine Neutral Feminine All genders
No ending

In terms of Russian word order, adjectives that are full usually stand before the noun:

Маленький котёнок мяукает
Malen’kiy kotyonok myaukayet
“A small kitten mews.”

Short adjectives are part of the predicate and stand after the noun:

Он стар
On star
“He is old.”

2. Top 100 Russian Adjectives Every Language Learner Should Know

Most Common Adjectives

For this Russian adjectives lesson, we’ve analyzed different lists of the most-used Russian words, took the adjectives from there, and have prepared a nice guide for you. All adjectives are grouped according to their meaning, and adjectives with opposite meanings follow each other.

Russian adjectives exercises: To learn Russian adjectives, make a sentence with each of them. Afterwards, you can check this sentence with our MyTeacher program for Russian-learners to get feedback from professional Russian teachers.

Let’s get started with our Russian adjectives list!

1- Describing Appearance, Sizes & Weight

A Big and a Small Elephant.

Маленький (malen’kiy) — “small; little”

Маленькая игрушка (malen’kaya igrushka) — “a small toy”

Большой (bol’shoy) — “big”

Большой дом (bol’shoy dom) — “a big house”

Огромный (ogromnyy) — “huge”

Огромная комната (ogromnaya komnata) — “a huge room”

Высокий (vysokiy) — “tall; high”

Высокое дерево (vysokoye derevo) — “a tall tree”

Высокий балл (vysokiy ball) — “a high score”

Низкий (nizkiy) — “low; short”

Низкий стул (nizkiy stul) — “a low chair”

Новый (novyy) — “new”

Новый рюкзак (novyy ryukzak) — “a new backpack”

Полный (polnyy) — “full”

Полная чашка (polnaya chashka) — “a full cup”

Пустой (pustoy) — “empty”

Пустой кошелёк (pustoy koshelyok) — “an empty wallet”

Тяжёлый (tyazholyy) — “heavy”

Тяжёлая коробка (tyazhyolaya korobka) — “a heavy box”

Лёгкий (lyogkiy) — “light; easy”

This Russian adjective is used to talk about weight and levels of difficulty.

Лёгкая сумка (lyogkaya sumka) — “a light bag”

Лёгкий диктант (lyogkiy diktant) — “an easy dictation, quiz”

Длинный (dlinnyy) — “long”

Длинный провод (dlinnyy provod) — “a long cable”

Короткий (korotkiy) — “short”

Короткая юбка (korotkaya yubka) — “a short skirt”

Широкий (schirokiy) — “wide; broad”

Широкая дорога (schirokaya doroga) — “a wide road”

Узкий (uzkiy) — “narrow; tight”

Узкие джинсы (uzkiye dzhinsy) — “tight jeans”

Чистый (chistyy) — “clean”

Чистый пол (chistyy pol) — “a clean floor”

Грязный (gryaznyy) — “dirty”

Грязная одежда (gryaznaya odezhda) — “dirty clothes”

Грязные шутки (gryaznyye shutki) — “dirty jokes”

Тонкий (tonkiy) — “thin”

Тонкие колготки (tonkiye kolgotki) — “thin tights”

Тонкий юмор (tonkiy yumor) — “a witty humor”

2- Russian Adjectives to Describe a Person

A Grandfather and a Grandson.

Молодой (molodoy) — “young”

Молодой человек (molodoy chelovyek) — “a young man”

Старый (staryy) — “old”

Старый дед (staryy ded) — “an old granddad”

Сильный (sil’nyy) — “strong”

Сильный мужчина (sil’nyy muzhchina) — “a strong man”

Сильное желание (sil’noye zhelaniye) — “a strong desire”

Слабый (slabyy) — “weak”

Слабые руки (slabyye ruki) — “weak arms”

Страшный (strashnyy) — “scary”

Страшный сон (strashnyy son) — “a scary dream; nightmare”

Красивый (krasivyy) — “beautiful; handsome; pretty”

Красивая девушка (krasivaya devushka) — “a beautiful girl”

Прекрасный (prekrasnyy) — “splendid; fine; great”

Прекрасная погода (prekrasnaya pogoda) — “great weather”

Милый (milyy) — “cute; dear”

Милый ребенок (milyy rebyonok) — “a cute kid”

Худой (khudoy) — “skinny”

Худая девушка (khudaya devushka) — “a skinny girl”

Толстый (tolstyy) — “fat”

Толстый кот (tolstyy kot) — “a fat cat”

Богатый (bogatyy) — “rich”

Богатый сосед (bogatyy sosed) — “a rich neighbor”

Бедный (bednyy) — “poor”

Бедный официант (bednyy ofitsiant) — “a poor waiter”

Больной (bol’noy) — “ill; aching; hurting”

Больное горло (bol’noye gorlo) — “an aching throat”

Здоровый (zdorovyy) — “healthy”

Здоровая еда (zdorovaya yeda) — “healthy food”

Старший (starshiy) — “older; elder”

Старший брат (starshiy brat) — “an elder brother”

Младший (mladshiy) — “younger”

Младшая сестра (mladshaya sestra) — “a younger sister”

Детский (detskiy) — “kids’”

Детская спальня (detskaya spal’nya) — “kids’ bedroom”

Взрослый (vzroslyy) — “adult”

Взрослый человек (vzroslyy chelovek) — “an adult person”

3- Describing Personalities and Feelings

Happy People

Добрый (dobryy) — “kind”

Добрый доктор (dobryy doktor) — “a kind doctor”

Злой (zloy) — “angry”

Злая собака (zlaya sobaka) — “an angry dog”

Верный (vernyy) — “loyal”

Верный друг (vernyy drug) — “a loyal friend”

Уверенный (uverennyy) — “confident”

Уверенный ответ (uverennyy otvet) — “a confident answer”

Серьёзный (ser’yoznyy) — “serious”

Серьёзный разговор (ser’yoznyy razgovor) — “a serious talk”

Счастливый (schastlivyy) — “happy”

Счастливая семья (shchastlivaya sem’ya) — “a happy family”

Опасный (opasnyy) — “dangerous”

Опасное приключение (opasnoye priklyucheniye) — “a dangerous adventure”

Весёлый (vesyolyy) — “funny”

Весёлый друг (vesyolyy drug) — “a funny friend”

Скучный (skuchnyy) — “boring”

Скучный урок (skuchnyy urok) — “a boring lesson”

For more adjectives for describing personality, check out our dictionary list.

4- Describing Colors

Colored Pencils.

Белый (belyy) — “white”

Белый снег (belyy sneg) — “white snow”

Красный (krasnyy) — “red”

Красная кровь (krasnaya krov’) — “red blood”

Чёрный (chyornyy) — “black”

Чёрный костюм (chyornyy kostyum) — “a black suit”

Зелёный (zelyonyy) — “green”

Зелёная трава (zelyonaya trava) — “green grass”

Жёлтый (zhyoltyy) — “yellow”

Жёлтая футболка (zhyoltaya futbolka) — “a yellow T-shirt”

Синий (siniy) — “intense blue”

Синие глаза (siniye glaza) — “intense blue eyes”

Голубой (goluboy) — “light blue”

Голубое небо (goluboye nyebo) — “a light blue sky”

Серый (seryy) — “gray”

Серый волк (seryy volk) — “a gray wolf”

Тёмный (tyomnyy) — “dark”

Тёмный цвет (tyomnyy tsvet) — “a dark color”

Светлый (svetlyy) — “light; bright”

This Russian adjective is used to talk about the light, as well as colors.

Светлая комната (svetlaya komnata) — “a bright room”

5- Evaluating Things

Важный (vazhnyy) — “important”

Важный звонок (vazhnyy zvonok) — “an important call”

Хороший (khoroshiy) — “good”

Хорошая рубашка (khoroshaya rubashka) — “a good shirt”

Плохой (plokhoy) — “bad”

Плохой пловец (plokhoy plovets) — “a bad swimmer”

Любимый (lyubimyy) — “favorite”

Любимый цвет (lyubimyy tsvet) — “a favorite color”

Настоящий (nastoyashchiy) — “real; true”

Настоящая любовь (nastoyashchaya lyubov’) — “a real love”

Нужный (nuzhnyy) — “necessary”

Нужная вещь (nuzhnaya veshch’) — “a necessary/important thing”

Известный (izvestnyy) — “famous”

Известный актер (izvestnyy aktyor) — “a famous actor”

Знакомый (znakomyy) — “known; familiar”

Знакомая песня (znakomaya pesnya) — “familiar song”

Похожий (pokhozhiy) — “similar”

Похожая проблема (pokhozhaya problema) — “a similar problem”

Следующий (sleduyushchiy) — “the next”

Следующая книга (sleduyushchaya kniga) — “the next book”

Личный (Lichnyy) — “personal”

Личные вещи (Lichnyye veshchi) — “personal belongings”

Простой (prostoy) — “easy; simple”

This Russian adjective is used to talk about a level of difficulty.

Простое решение (prostoye resheniye) — “a simple solution”

Сложный (slozhnyy) — “difficult; complicated”

Сложная задача (slozhnaya zadacha) — “a difficult task”

Единственный (yedinstvennyy) — “the only”

Единственный ребёнок в семье (yedinstvennyy rebyonok v sem’ye) — “the only child in the family”

Последний (posledniy) — “the last; the latest”

Последняя песня (poslednyaya) — “the last/the latest song”

Лучший (luchshiy) — “the best”

Лучший учитель (luchshiy uchitel’) — “the best teacher”

Основной (osnovnoy) — “primary; first; basic”

Основная идея (osnovnaya ideya) — “the initial idea”

Главный (glavnyy) — “main; chief; head”

Главный бухгалтер (glavnyy bukhgalter) — “Chief accountant”

Бывший (byvshiy) — “ex-; last”

Бывшая девушка (byvshaya devushka) — “ex-girlfriend”

Особый (osobyy) — “special”

Особый день (osobyy den’) — “a special day”

Обычный (obychnyy) — “usual”

Обычный день (obychnyy den’) — “a usual day”

Поздний (posdniy) — “late”

Поздний ужин (posdniy uzhin) — “a late dinner”

Ранний (ranniy) — “early”

Ранний подъем (ranniy pod’yom) — “an early wakeup”

6- Describing Tastes and Temperatures

Different Foods.

Острый (ostryy) — “spicy”

Острое мясо (ostroye myaso) — “a spicy meat”

Солёный (solyonyy) — “salty”

Солёный суп (solyonyy sup) — “salty soup”

Сладкий (sladkiy) — “sweet”

Сладкое яблоко (sladkoye yabloko) — “a sweet apple”

Кислый (kislyy) — “sour”

Кислый лимон (kislyy limon) — “a sour lemon”

Холодный (kholodnyy) — “cold”

Холодные руки (kholodnyye ruki) — “cold hands”

Тёплый (tyoplyy) — “warm”

Тёплый салат (tyoplyy salat) — “a warm salad”

Горячий (goryachiy) — “hot”

This Russian adjective is used to talk about this temperature in all cases, except for weather.

Горячая ванна (goryachaya vanna) — “a hot bath”

Жаркий (zharkiy) — “hot”

This one is used to talk about the weather or the temperature of the air.

Жаркая страна (zharkaya strana) — “a hot country”

Usually, Russians go to hot countries for their summer vacations.

Learn more about how to describe weather conditions with our list, and study up on Russian food with our Russian food vocabulary list.

7- Describing Places

Долгий (dolgiy) — “long”

Долгая поездка (dolgaya poyezdka) — “a long trip”

Быстрый (bystryy) — “fast; quick”

Быстрая уборка (bystraya uborka) — “a quick cleanup”

Медленный (medlennyy) — “slow”

Медленный бег (medlennyy beg) — “a slow run”

Глубокий (glubokiy) — “deep”

Глубокая река (glubokaya reka) — “a deep river”

Московский (moskovskiy) — “Moscow’s”

This adjective refers to something that belongs to Moscow, the capital of Russia.

Московский зоопарк (moskovskiy zoopark) — “a Moscow zoo”

Русский (russkiy) — “Russian”

Русская кухня (russkaya kukhnya) — “a Russian cuisine”

Российский (rossiyskiy) — “Russian Federation’s”

This is a more official word than Русский (russkiy), or “Russian.” It refers to something that belongs to the Russian Federation as a modern government.

Российское гражданство (rossiyskoye grazhdanstvo) — “Russian citizenship”

Военный (voyennyy) — “military”

Военный лагерь (voyennyy lagyer’) — “a military camp”

Местный (mestnyy) — “local”

Местные достопримечательности (mestnyye dostoprimechatel’nosti) — “local places of interest”

Рабочий (rabochiy) — “working”

Рабочий день (rabochiy den’) — “a working day”

8- Describing Shapes and Materials

Different Shapes.

Мягкий (myagkiy) — “soft”

Мягкая подушка (myagkaya podushka) — “a soft pillow”

Твёрдый (tvyordyy) — “hard; rigid; firm”

Твёрдое решение (tvyordoye resheniye) — “a firm decision”

Круглый (kruglyy) — “round”

Круглая монета (kruglaya monyeta) — “a round coin”

Квадратный (kvadratnyy) — “square”

Квадратный стол (kvadratnyy stol) — “a square table”

Гладкий (gladkiy) — “smooth”

Гладкая кожа (gladkaya kozha) — “smooth skin”

Золотой (zolotoy) — “golden; gold”

Золотая корона (zolotaya korona) — “a gold crown”

Золотая середина (zolotaya seredina) — “the golden mean,” literally “the golden middle”

Железный (zheleznyy) — “iron”

Железный трон (zheleznyy tron) — “an iron throne”

That’s right, the one from Game of Thrones. ;)

3. Conclusion

Improve Pronunciation

So, how many Russian adjectives did you manage to remember? Ten? Twenty? All 100 Russian adjectives?

Don’t worry if you suddenly can’t recall some Russian adjectives in your memory. There are two types of vocabulary: passive and active. Active vocabulary means that you can easily remember a word and use it, and passive vocabulary means that you can recognize it when you read or hear it. To move more words from your passive vocabulary to your active one, make sure to have more speaking practice! That’s the best way to learn Russian adjectives.

Want to practice Russian adjectives even more? Then also check out our list of the top 30 adjectives with pronunciation and examples, to repeat the most important Russian adjectives one more time. And here’s a nice video with the top 25 Russian adjectives to practice your listening skills.

And if you’re already a master jedi in Russian adjectives, we’ve prepared an audio blog with slang adjectives for you! Make sure to check out our article about Russian text slang, as well.

To practice using Russian adjectives, changing them according to grammar rules, and pronouncing them correctly, you can use RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian-learners. Native Russian teachers with an impressive teaching background will help you understand all the rules as quickly as possible and boost your language-learning progress. Just try it. ;-)

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Top 10 Russian Movies on Netflix to Improve Your Russian!

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The best way to learn any language is to immerse yourself in the culture of the target language. Such as reading in Russian, watching movies and TV shows in Russian, listening to Russian podcasts, chatting with Russian friends, and learning new words with Russian teachers. Russian series on Netflix will be a great step in creating this true Russian atmosphere for boosting the learning process.

Yes, you really can learn Russian on Netflix! And when it comes to Russian TV, Netflix is a gold mine.

So, what’s the best way to learn from Netflix Russia? Here are some tips on how to watch Russian Netflix for language-learning purposes:

First, don’t translate every single word. You’ll get tired and lose interest pretty fast. Instead, either translate the first episode or translate the first few minutes of every episode. Write down the translations in a notebook and look in there every time you hear a familiar word. Once you hear it ten or twenty times, you’ll naturally start to recognize the meaning!

To help you with that, RussianPod101.com has prepared a list of words and expressions that you’ll hear a lot in Russian movies on Netflix. You can write them down in your “show-notebook” as well. ;)

Without further ado, our list of some of the best Netflix Russian content for language-learners!

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Table of Contents

  1. Фарца (Fartsa)—Fartsa, 2015
  2. Хождение по мукам (Khozhdeniye po mukam)— The Road to Calvary, 2017
  3. Спарта (Sparta)—Sparta, 2018
  4. Троцкий (Trotsky)—Trotsky, 2017
  5. Нюхач (Nyukhach)—The Sniffer, 2017
  6. Смешарики (Smeshariki)—Kikoriki, 2010
  7. Машины Сказки (Mashiny skazki)—Masha’s Tales, 2017
  8. Саранча (Sarancha)—Locust, 2014
  9. Метод (Method)—Method, 2015
  10. Мажор (Mazhor)—Silver Spoon, 2015
  11. Conclusion

1. Фарца (Fartsa)—Fartsa, 2015

Genre: Crime TV Show
This show is: Emotional; suspenseful

This is one of the best Russian shows on Netflix, and it tells a story about four Russian friends who grow up in the early ‘60s in Moscow. Kostya Germanov gambles away a huge sum of money that he needs to find and give to bandits. Three of his friends decide to help him, so he can get that money in time. As they become фарцовщик (fartsovshchik — see below), they start to make a lot of money and their life changes…

Interesting fact:

When it comes to Russian history, Netflix shows like this can be a great learning tool.

The movie title comes from a Russian slang term фарцовка (fartsovka) which is simply “fartsovka” in English. The Soviet Union was a closed country, so foreign goods were scarce and it was illegal to trade them. But scarcity makes things even more desirable, which is how фарцовка (fartsovka) appeared. A number of clever people started to acquire foreign goods from foreigners and sell them to Soviet people. They were called фарцовщик (fartsovschik).

The most popular goods were clothes, accessories, phonograph records and other sound storages, cosmetics, and books. Ownership of foreign goods gave prestige, which was the basic principle of the arisen subculture – стиляги (stilyagi). Cтиляги were the main buyers of foreign goods. There’s a great Russian musical about this subculture called Cтиляги (Stilyagi).

For language learners. This Russian Netflix show contains a handful of Soviet Union vocabulary and historic terms, so it will give you a great chance to dig into exciting Russian history. Though the show is about history, language is pretty easy and modern, so you’ll be able to find a lot of useful expressions.

The vocabulary.

  • Гражданин (grazhdanin) — “Citizen” or “Mister” (in the Soviet Union)
    • This was the common form of address to another person in the Soviet Union. гражданин (grazhdanin) was used outside to address an unknown person, while гражданин (grazhdanin) plus the person’s surname were used to officially address someone. The first phrase of the first episode is гражданин Рокотов (grazhdanin Rokotov), meaning “Mister Rokotov.” Find it and remember this word. You’ll hear it a lot in the series. By the way, “Miss” or “Mrs.” will be гражданка (grazhdanka).
  • Поехали! (Poyekhali!) — “Let’s go!”
    • This is a famous phrase that belongs to Yurii Gagarin, the first human to go to outer space. He said it right before the launch. This phrase became a symbol of a new era in the history of Russia.
  • Спектакль окончен. Занавес. (Spektakl’ okonchen. Zanaves.) — “The show is over. The end.”
    • Literally, занавес (zanaves) refers to a curtain on the scene in the theater. The curtain goes up at the beginning of the show and goes down at the end of the show. In this phrase, it’s used as a synonym of “the end.”
  • Костыль (kostyl’) — “crutch”
    • What is this word doing on the list? The thing is that some Russian names get turned into specific nicknames. For example, the name Константин (Konstantin), or the shorter version Костя (Kostya), is often turned into Костыль (kostyl’). You’ll hear this nickname throughout the show because he’s one of the main heroes. In the first episode, when the main hero gets off the train and meets his friends, he asks: А где Костыль? (A gde Kostyl’?) meaning “And where is Kostyl?” His friends joke: Сломался (Slomalsya) meaning “Broken.”
  • Жить взахлёб (Zhit’ vzakhlyob) — “To live excitedly/effusively”
    • This is a poetic expression that the main hero often quotes and tries to build his life off of. It essentially means “to seize the moment” or “to enjoy every moment of life.” If you’re a person who lives like that, then you can say about yourself: Я живу взахлёб (Ya zhivu vzakhlyob), which means “I live excitedly/effusively,” or Я люблю жить взахлёб (Ya lyublyu zhit’ vzakhlyob), which means “I love to live excitedly/effusively.”
  • Твою ж мать! (Tvoyu zh mat’!) — “Darn it!”
    • Literally, it means “Your mother!” and is the ending of a Russian obscene phrase. But as it’s used quite often in Russia, Твою ж мать! (Tvoyu zh mat’!) has lost its negative meaning and can now be translated as “Darn it!”
  • Бегом! (Begom!) — “Run!”
    • This word is used when people are late and need to hurry up.
  • Давай! Давай! (Davay! Davay!) — “Go! Go! Go!”
    • Literally, it means “Give! Give!” but it has another meaning depending on the context. By the way, there’s one more meaning of Давай! (Davay!) — “Let’s do it!”
  • Счастливо! (Shchactlivo!) — “Goodbye!”
    • This word comes from the noun счастье (shchast’ye), which means “happiness.” So literally it means “be happy,” and is used to say “goodbye.”
  • Пошёл вон отсюда! (Poshyol von otsyuda!) — “Go away!”
    • Russian people can use this expression when they’re really angry. Of course, people can also use it as a joke. Always mind the context and facial expression of the person saying it.

2. Хождение по мукам (Khozhdeniye po mukam)— The Road to Calvary, 2017

Best Ways to Learn

Genre: Political TV Show based on the book
This show is: Emotional; suspenseful

This Russian Netflix TV series covers the life of two sisters during political changes in 1914 through 1919. The old imperial Russia is dying, and the revolution is rising. The show is based on a book trilogy by the Russian classical author Alexey Tolstoy. The language is really literal and the dialogue is truly deep. If you enjoy solving language puzzles and trying to find the meaning underneath every phrase, this Russian Netflix series will become an exciting nut to crack. It’s best for advanced language learners or for those who want to immerse themselves in the great Russian Revolution.

The vocabulary.

  • Да здравствует революция! (Da zdravstvuyet revolyutsiya!) — “Viva revolution”
    • During revolution times, this was a popular phrase to cry out loud in the crowd.
  • Хороших снов тебе (Khoroshikh snov tebe) — “Sweet dreams to you.”
    • This is a really sweet phrase to say to a friend, or someone who is more than a friend. You can say it without тебе (tebe), or “to you” at the end, but this little word makes the phrase sound smarter and more intellectual. Use it. ;-)
  • Я хочу выпить за вашу смелость (Ya khochu vypit’ za vashu smelost’) — “I want to have a drink for your bravery.”
    • As you probably know, Russians rarely drink alcohol without making a toast. This is one of the ways to make a toast: Я хочу выпить за… (Ya khochu vypit’ za…), meaning “I want to have a drink for…” You can put pretty much anything after that: …ваше здоровье (…vashe zdorov’ye) meaning “…your health,” …мир во всем мире (…mir vo vsyom mire) meaning “…peace in the whole world,” …красоту женщин (…krasotu zhenshchin) meaning “…women’s beauty,” etc. Use your imagination. :-)
  • Чем могу быть полезен? (Chem mogu byt’ polezen?) — “How can I be useful?”
    • This is an old-fashioned phrase used when you’ve been called by someone you don’t know. You will often hear it during this show.
  • Барышня (baryshnya) — “young lady”
    • This is another old-fashioned way for older people to address a young lady. As there are many heroines in the show, you’ll hear this address pretty often.
  • Слово хозяина – закон (Slovo khozyaina – zakon) — “The word of a host is a law.”
    • This is a very interesting phrase, in that you can actually change the noun хозяин (khozyain) meaning “host” for начальника (nachal’nika) or “boss,” мужа (muzha) or “husband,” and Кати (Kati) or “Katya” (a girl’s name, though you can put any name here).
  • Вы что себе позволяете? (Vy chto sebe pozvolyayete?) — “What do you think you are doing?” (What are you daring?)
    • This is an old-fashioned phrase to ask someone who’s acting inappropriately.
  • Это безобразие! (Eto bezobraziye!) — “It’s a disgrace!”
    • Famous phrase to use in the Soviet Union to comment on anything that’s out of order or scandalous. Now it’s used very occasionally and mostly by people born in the Soviet Union.
  • Это издевательство! (Eto izdevatel’stvo!) — “That’s an insult/mockery!”
    • A nice way to comment on something when you feel that someone is intentionally doing something bad.
  • Милости прошу (Milosti proshu) — “Welcome”
    • An old-fashioned way to welcome someone. Though it’s old-fashioned, nowadays this expression is very popular. It’s used as a mocking or cool way to greet guests into a home.

3. Спарта (Sparta)—Sparta, 2018

Improve Pronunciation

Genre: Mystery; Thriller
This show is: Dark

In this Netflix Russian language series, a crime investigator starts to uncover the mysterious death of a young high school teacher. He finds out about a video game that all the kids in that school love to play. The more he knows about the game, the more he realizes that what happens in the game happens in real life as well… All dark fantasies become real.

This Russian Netflix series contains great vocabulary that modern teenagers use, making this one of the best Russian Netflix series for improving your informal communication skills.

The vocabulary.

  • Самоубийство (samoubiystvo) — “suicide”
    • As the story takes place around the suicide of a school teacher, you’ll hear this word quite often. It’s interesting to know that “murder” is убийство (ubiystvo), so cамоубийство (samoubiystvo) can literally be translated as “self-murder.”
  • Не перебивай (Ne perebivay) — “Don’t interrupt.”
    • You can tell this phrase to your friend who’s trying to say something while you’re still speaking.
  • Да пошёл ты (Da poshyol ty!) — “F*ck you.” [Literally “You go away.”]
    • This is a short version of the phrase with obscene words, which is why even without obscene lexic, it still sounds harsh.
  • Да ладно, не парься! (Da ladno, ne par’sya!) — “It’s fine, don’t worry.”
    • This phrase was popular when todays’ adults were teenagers. It’s still pretty commonly used between friends.
  • Мне б твои проблемы (Mne b tvoi problemy) — “I’d love to have your problems.”
    • This means that your problems are very small compared to mine, so I’d gladly switch them. This is a great and very common phrase, so don’t hesitate to use it in a friendly conversation.
  • Чё смотрим? (Chyo smotrim?) — “Stop staring.” [Literally “Why are you looking?”]
    • This is a rude question to ask, and it may result in a conflict.
  • Британские учёные доказали, что… (Britanskiye uchyonyye dokazali, chto…) — “British scientists have proved…”
    • You’ll hear this phrase several times during this series. It refers to the highly valued authority of British scientists. Kids in the series use it as a joke to “prove” random facts.
  • А чё так? (A chyo tak?) — “Why?”
    • This alternative of the question Почему? (Pochemu?) or “Why?” is used a lot in spoken language between friends. Try to use it in your next conversation.
  • Тянуть кота за хвост (Tyanut’ kota za khvost) — “To pull a cat by his tail.”
    • It means that something takes a longer time than it should.
  • Это в прошлом (Eto v proshlom) — “It is in the past.”
    • You can use this phrase to emphasize that even though you did something in the past, you’re not doing it now.

The story is about modern high school students, so they use a lot of slang words and abbreviations. We’ve prepared an awesome article on this topic for you.

4. Троцкий (Trotsky)—Trotsky, 2017

Genre: Political drama
This show is: Cerebral

This is a great Russian period drama Netflix currently has. Lev Trotskiy was a powerful political figure. It was he who influenced the minds of Russian people, headed the Russian Revolution, and destroyed the Russian Empire. This Russian Netflix series contains a lot of revolution-related words that would be exciting vocabulary to learn for advanced learners.

The vocabulary.

  • Приятного вечера (Priyatnogo vechera) — “Have a nice evening.”
    • This is a very polite phrase that you can use toward someone you respect.
  • Пошёл вон! (Poshyol von!) — “Get out of here!”
    • This phrase is used by people who have a different kind of authority, such as teachers or parents toward kids.
  • Всего хорошего (Vsego khoroshego) — “I wish you well.”
    • A very polite thing to say as an alternative to До свидания (Do svidaniya) meaning “Goodbye.”
  • Есть! (Yest’!) — “Yes, sir!” and Так точно! (Tak tochno!) — “Yes, sir!”
    • These replies to commands are used in Russian military forces.
  • Вы свободны (Vy svobodny) — “You can go.” [Literally “You are free.”]
    • Very official phrase used by people with authority.
  • Позвольте представиться (Pozvol’te predsatvit’sya) — “Let me introduce myself.”
    • Follow it with your name. It’s a nice and intelligent way to introduce yourself. It was mainly used in XIX-XX centuries by the aristocracy, so you’ll bring some noble manners into your speech by using it.
  • Я знаю, кто вы (Ya znayu, ko vy) — “I know who you are.”
    • This phrase is often used in series as a reply to someone’s introduction.
  • Я никогда ни о чём не жалею (Ya nikogda ni o chyom ne zhaleyu) — “I never regret anything.”
    • One of the phrases that the main hero likes to use.
  • Строить новый мир (Stroit’ novyy mir) — “To build a new world.”
    • You’ll hear this phrase many times in the series. Revolutionists built their propaganda around this idea.
  • Управлять людьми можно единственно страхом (Upravlyat’ lyud’mi mozhno edinstvenno strakhom) — “You can rule people only by fear.”
    • A famous phrase of Trotsky.

5. Нюхач (Nyukhach)—The Sniffer, 2017

Genre: Mystery; Thriller
This show is: Dark

A genius detective with a nasty character has a keen sense of smell. Just by smell, he can tell everything and even more about any person: what he ate, with whom did he sleep, if he has an alibi.

The vocabulary in this series is pretty simple, so it’s great for beginners. But do be warned it may have the most interesting vocabulary of the other Russian shows on Netflix… ;) You’ll see.

The vocabulary.

  • Чёрт! (Chyort!) — “Darn it!”
    • Literally, it means “Devil!” Often used as an interjection.
  • Я вызову полицию (Ya vyzovu politsiyu) — “I’ll call the police.”
    • In the context of this series, the phrase is used as a threat.
  • Совершенно верно (Sovershenno verno) — “Absolutely right.”
    • This phrase is often used by the main hero of the series.
  • Посмотрим (Posmotrim) — “We’ll see.”
    • It has the same meaning as the English phrase.
  • Ладно (Ladno) — “Okay.”
    • This is a nice and very Russian alternative to Окей (Okey) meaning “okay” and Хорошо (Khorosho) meaning “good.”
  • Отпечатков нет (Otpechatkov net) — “There are no fingerprints.”
    • All crimes that the main hero will come across are complicated, so this phrase will come up pretty often.
  • Убитый (Ubityy) — “Murdered person”
    • Well, this word will come up even more often.
  • Убийца (Ubiytsa) — “Murderer”
    • This one as well.
  • Труп (Trup) — “Corpse”
    • You’re going to get pretty interesting Russian words in your memory after watching this series, right? :)
  • Да? (Da?) — “Yes?”
    • In the series, the main hero uses this reply as an alternative to Алло (Allo) or “hello,” which is used to reply to phone calls. You can also start your phone call reply this way, as it’s very common in Russia.

6. Смешарики (Smeshariki)—Kikoriki, 2010

Genre: Kids’ cartoon
This show is: Funny

Cute animals live, get into adventures, and build friendships in this funny animation series.

The vocabulary is simple but very diverse, like most Netflix Russian programs for kids. This is one of the best Russian Netflix shows for beginner language learners, as they’ll find a great deal of useful words here.

The vocabulary.

  • Ёжик (Yozhik) — “Yozhik”
    • That’s the name of the hedgehog hero. It was made from the word Ёж (Yozh) meaning “hedgehog” by adding the suffix -ик (-ik) that usually shows that the thing referred to is small.
  • Бараш (Barash) — “Barash”
    • That’s the name of the ram hero. The name comes from the word Баран (Baran) that actually means “ram” or “sheep.”
  • Нюша (Nyusha) — “Nyusha”
    • That’s the name of the pig hero. It’s interesting to know that нюша (nyusha) is a cute way to refer to a “pig.”
  • Что это у тебя? (Chto eto u tebya?) — “What’s that you have?”
  • Не мешайте (Ne meshayte) — “Don’t distract (me).”
    • A very often-used phrase to stop someone from interfering.
  • Это как-то само собой получилось (Eto kak-to samo soboy poluchilos’) — “It happened by itself.”
    • A nice way to remove guilt from yourself. :)
  • Я чуть не умерла от страха! (Ya chut’ ne umerla ot strakha!) — “I’ve almost died from fright!”
    • You can say this phrase after you’ve been suddenly very frightened by someone or something.
  • Ёлки-иголки! (Yolki-igolki!) — “Fir tree needles!”
    • Actually, the translation of this phrase isn’t that important. It’s an interjection which is used by some people, and can be translated as “Wow!”
  • Спасайся, кто может! (Spasaysya, kto mozhet!) — “Save yourself, everyone who can!”
    • The short version of this phrase is Спасайся! (Spasaysya!) meaning “Save yourself!” It’s used in the same situations as the English phrase.
  • Какая прелесть! (Kakaya prelest’!) — “So cute!”
    • You can say this phrase if a kid is gifting you with something cute that he made himself, or if you get an amazing and pretty gift. The phrase can also be cut to Прелесть! (Prelest’!)
  • Чего нет, того нет (Chego net, togo net) — “What I don’t have, I don’t have,” or “What there isn’t, there isn’t.”
    • This phrase gives an interesting emphasis on regret about something that you don’t have. For example, if someone asks you if you have a video camera, you can sadly shake your head and say Чего нет, того нет (Chego net, togo net).

7. Машины Сказки (Mashiny skazki)—Masha’s Tales, 2017

Genre: Kids’ cartoon
This show is: Funny

Another one of the best Russian Netflix TV shows for beginners, where the most famous Russian tales are interpreted and told by a cute little Russian girl.

The vocabulary that you learn from this series will help you to read Russian tales. Good for both beginners and advanced language learners.

The vocabulary.

  • Голубчики мои (Golubchiki moi) — “My darlings”
    • Usually, this address is used by grannies to their grandkids. It has a patronizing connotation.
  • Жили были… (Zhili byli…) — “Once upon a time there lived…”
    • The most common beginning of Russian tales.
  • Заяц (Zayats) — “Hare”
    • In Russian tales, he’s often named as Зайчик-попрыгайчик (Zaychik-poprygaychik), meaning “Hare the Jumper.”
  • Медведь (Medved’) — “Bear”
    • One of the most often-met characters in Russian tales.
  • Волк (Volk) — “Wolf”
    • Another one of the most often-met characters in Russian tales.
  • Лиса (Lisa) — “Fox”
    • Another one of the most often-met characters in Russian tales.
  • Мышка-норушка (Myshka-norushka) — “Mouse the Burrow”
    • A lot of Russian tales refer to a mouse hero by that name.
  • Лягушка-квакушка (Lyagushka-kvakushka) — “Frog the Croaker”
    • A lot of Russian tales refer to a frog hero by that name.
  • Баба-яга (Baba-yaga) — “Baba Yaga”
  • Проще простого (Proshche prostogo) — “Easier than easy.”
    • You can say this phrase when someone asks you to do a job for them, and you want to show that the job will be really easy for you—even if it’s really not. :)

8. Саранча (Sarancha)—Locust, 2014

Movie Genres

Genre: Thriller; Drama
This show is: Steamy; romantic

This is an exciting thriller and Russian Netflix drama with intense love between a rich girl and a poor guy. The language is quite simple, and there are a lot of useful modern expressions for language learners—both beginners and advanced.

The vocabulary.

  • Саранча (Sarancha) — “Locust”
    • This is a metaphorical name of the series. But we won’t spoil why it’s named that way. :)
  • Я ничего не слышу! (Ya nichego ne slyshu!) — “I don’t hear anything!”
    • Use this phrase when you really don’t hear a word that another person is saying.
  • Ладно, давай, пока (Ladno, davay, poka) — “Okay, well, bye.”
    • You might wonder why the main heroine can’t just say Пока (Poka), or “Bye.” Well, won’t it be too simple and short? :) By the way, a lot of Russians use this expression, so make sure to remember it and use it at the end of a first conversation.
  • Приятных снов (Priyatnykh snov) — “Sweet dreams.”
    • A nice way to wish goodnight.
  • Хватит на сегодня (Khvatit na segodnya) — “Enough for today.”
    • This phrase can be used in many situations. For example, to send your employees home. :)
  • За тебя! (Za tebya!) — “For you!”
    • A really short and meaningful toast when nothing else comes into your mind.
  • Иди ты! (Idi ty!) — “F*ck you.” [Literally: “Go away.”]
    • Can be used when you have nothing witty to say in reply to an insult or a joke.
  • Пока. Целую (Poka, Tseluyu) — “Bye. Kissing you.”
    • It’s a nice way to say goodbye to someone. Though it may seem to be okay only for relationship goodbyes, in Russia it’s very popular between girlfriends and family members.
  • Заткнись! (Zatknis’!) — “Shut up!”
    • Use this rude phrase when somebody is really annoying.
  • Не заводись (Ne zavodis’) — “Don’t start.”
    • This is a popular phrase to calm down a wife or a girlfriend when she’s starting to shower you with negative emotions.

9. Метод (Method)—Method, 2015

Genre: Crime drama
This show is: Emotional; suspenseful

Do you like genius maniacs with perverted minds, and even more genius detectives? Then this Russian crime drama Netflix series would be a great addition for your Russian language study process. The language is pretty simple and modern, so the series will be good for beginners.

The vocabulary.

  • Метод (Metod!) — “Method”
    • The word means pretty much the same as in English.
  • Чем занимаешься? (Chem zanimayesh’sya?) — “What are you up to? What are you doing right now?”
    • This is a famous and really common question to start a casual conversation on the phone or via Messenger.
  • Глянь! (Glyan’!) — “Have a look!”
    • You probably know the alternative word for it: Смотри! (Smotri!) meaning “Look!” Глянь! (Glyan’!) sounds more common.
  • Я не понимаю (Ya ne ponimayu) — “I don’t understand.”
    • Pretty useful phrase even when you do understand. :)
  • Маньяк (Man’yak!) — “A maniac”
    • Well, you’ll get to know a lot of maniac heroes while watching this series. :) At least, now you know what they’re called in Russian. By the way, you can say: Ну ты маньяк! (Nu ty man’yak!) or “You’re a maniac!” when somebody is overdoing something (e.g. they learned a crazy amount of foreign words). How about you? How many Russian words have you already learned? 10? 100? What??? 1000??! Ну ты маньяк! (Nu ty man’yak!)
  • Помогите! (Pomogite!) — “Help me!”
    • This is a phrase you need to cry out loud in case you face a guy we talked about earlier, Маньяк (Man’yak!) or “A maniac.” And since we’re talking about maniacs…
  • Ты меня не поймаешь (Ty menya ne poymayesh) — “You won’t catch me.”
    • That’s the nickname of the first maniac in the series.
  • Тело (Telo) — “A body.”
    • In the context of the series, this word often means a dead body.
  • Ничего страшного (Nichevo strashnovo) — “It’s fine.” [Literally “Nothing bad.”]
    • You’ll hear this phrase a lot, both in the series and in real life in Russia. People say this phrase when somebody is apologizing to them.
  • Внешность обманчива (Vneshnost’ obmanchiva) — “Looks can be deceiving.”
    • This is a popular expression in Russia. Use it to characterize a person whose appearance doesn’t match his character.

10. Мажор (Mazhor)—Silver Spoon, 2015

Genre: Thriller; Drama
This show is: Exciting; suspenseful

A rich boy that had everything since birth seems not to understand what’s right and what’s wrong anymore. After one of his drunken adventures, his father gets so pissed that he cuts all his bank cards and makes him take a job as a simple investigation officer. A rich boy has to face a simple life with its ups and downs in order to become respected among his colleagues and find himself. His witty humor and positive life attitude seem to change the life of his colleagues for the better, as well.

There’s a lot of modern jargon in this Netflix Russian series, so if you’d like to learn some juicy Russian expressions to impress your Russian friends, this series is a great choice.

The vocabulary.

  • Вали отсюда! (Vali otsyuda!) — “Be off with you!”
    • The word валить (valit’), meaning “to go,” comes from a criminal slang word, so every usage of it has this spicy feeling of something illegal. A milder version of it that you’ll hear in one of the episodes is: Иди отсюда! (Idi otsyuda!) meaning “Go away.” Also, in this series, you’ll hear the phrase Валим! (Valim!), meaning “Time to go!” which is used when people have been doing something restricted and now it’s time to go.
  • Вопросы остались? (Voprosy ostalis’?) — “Any questions left?”
    • This question can be used by someone who has just given instructions.
  • Погоны не жмут? (Pogony ne zhmut?) — “Shoulder boards are not tight?”
    • Shoulder straps in Russia usually indicate a military rank. This phrase is used when a person with shoulder boards is overusing his power (and thus risking the loss of his shoulder straps).
  • Пистолет (Pistolet) — “Gun; pistol”
    • This word will be used often in the series. Make sure to memorize it.
  • Мажор (Mazhor) — “Silver spoon”
    • This is how Russians describe a person with a lot of money. In spoken language, they call someone this if they spend a lot of money on something that’s very expensive or exclusive. In that situation, you can say, with admiration on your face, Ну ты мажор! (Nu ty mazhor!) meaning “What a silver spoon you are!”
  • Ты чего? (Ty chego?) — “Why are you behaving like that?”
    • It’s a quick way to ask what’s going on with someone who’s behaving oddly or not like they usually do.
  • Здравствуйте. А вы к кому? (Zdrastvuyte. A vy k komu?) — “Hello. Whom did you come for?”
    • This phrase is often used by secretaries or employees of companies when they see an unknown visitor.
  • Проставиться (Prostavit’sya) — “To buy drinks to celebrate.”
    • This is an interesting Russian word that doesn’t have an exact translation in English. There’s a tradition that a person who’s celebrating something should buy a round of drinks for his friends or coworkers (depending on the event). That’s what Russians call Проставиться (Prostavit’sya), or “To buy drinks to celebrate.” That way, a Russian person kind of shares his good luck or happiness with others. If you want to know more such words, go ahead and check out our article with the top ten untranslatable Russian words.
  • Не таких кололи (Ne takikh kololi) — “We’ve cracked tougher ones.”
    • This phrase is used by policemen when they’re trying to get the truth from somebody who doesn’t want to tell it. You can use the word колоться (kolot’sya), meaning “to crack,” in a popular phrase used in spoken language: Колись давай (Kolis’ davay), or “Come on, tell me.” It’s used when a person is hiding some secret and you want to know it.
  • Издеваешься? (Izdevayesh’sya?) — “Are you mocking me?”
    • This phrase can be used when someone is proposing or talking about something irritating. Another way to say it, with the same meaning: Ты издеваешься, что ли? (Ty izdevayeshsya, chto li?).

11. Conclusion

Now you have a list with the most relevant Netflix Russian series for language learners. Choose one you like and start your new exciting step in your language-learning journey!

Have you already watched any of these Russian series on Netflix? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments!

If you’ve watched one or several series and realized that you want to learn Russian more profoundly with professional tutors, check out our MyTeacher program for Russian learners. Our teachers are all native speakers with an impressive teaching background. They’ll make sure that you start talking in Russian very soon. ;-) And Russian series on Netflix will be a great help in the learning process.

RussianPod101.com also has several other practical learning tools for the aspiring Russian learner! Read more insightful blog posts like this one, study our free vocabulary lists, and chat with fellow students on our community forums!

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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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Russian Etiquette: 7 Do’s and Don’ts in Russia

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Did you know that it’s considered good etiquette in Russia to bring something к чаю (k chayu) or “for the tea?” That means something sweet: cake, chocolate, candies, or a sweet pastry. There are many interesting and exciting Russian customs which may not seem obvious, but definitely are to native Russians. Knowing even basic Russian etiquette for tourists can go a long way during your visit to the country!

Let’s start this exciting journey. Learn Russian etiquette with RussianPod101.com’s Russian tourist etiquette guide!

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Table of Contents

  1. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #1: Basic Russian Etiquette
  2. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #2: Russian Dining Etiquette
  3. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #3: Russian Drinking Etiquette
  4. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #4: What to Expect from a Date with a Russian Girl or Russian Guy
  5. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #5: So, You’re Going to Visit a Russian House
  6. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #6: How Russians Behave in a Public Transport
  7. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #7: Russian Business Etiquette Tips
  8. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #8: Russian Gift Giving Etiquette
  9. Conclusion: How RussianPod101 Can Help You Learn Russian Better

1. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #1: Basic Russian Etiquette

1- Russian Greeting Etiquette

Someone Putting Their Hand Out to Shake

1. Cheek kiss.

There’s a well-known Russian greeting tradition: the triple cheek-kiss. It’s usually common between close relatives. Sometimes, it’s shortened to two kisses.

One cheek kiss is often used by girls to greet friends, or even close female coworkers.

2. Russian handshake etiquette.

This is a usual greeting between men—regardless of how close they are—who are meeting for the first time, or for the 100th time.

Important advice! If you’re wearing gloves, make sure to take them off before a handshake. If you don’t take them off when another person has prepared to give you a handshake with his bare hands, he might think that you’re disrespecting him.

Another piece of important advice! Don’t give a handshake across a doorway. Walk inside the apartment or wait for someone to come outside, but don’t stick your hand across a threshold immediately after you see a person. This is considered very bad luck in Russia, and a lot of people will refuse to shake your hand in this situation.

For girls, a handshake works in business settings where this American tradition has become popular. But still, most girls prefer just to smile and nod instead of shaking hands.

When you leave a place where you’ve spent some time—a party, a house, or an office—make sure to shake hands as a goodbye with everyone you previously greeted with a handshake. If you leave without saying goodbye, people call this Уходить по-английски (Ukhodit’ po-angliysky) meaning “To leave as Englishmen do.” In England, people can leave without saying goodbye; but in Russia, it would be considered rude to do so. Always be mindful of this Russian meeting etiquette rule.

3. Smile and nod.

This is a basic solution for all other situations. If you feel awkward with other greetings, just stick with this one and you’ll be fine.

4. Hug.

This greeting is often used when greeting close friends, family members, or family members of close friends.

To learn greeting words and phrases, check out our article on how to say “Hello” in Russian.

2- Asking for Forgiveness

There are no specific Russian traditions or gestures for a formal apology. Just use formal Russian apology expressions and you’ll be fine.

If the situation isn’t formal or serious, look into the other person’s eyes. Note that, in Russian culture, looking down during the apology will make it look more sincere.

Learn how to say “I’m sorry” in Russian in our relevant article.

3- Gratitude

Thanks

Спасибо (spasibo) means “thank you” in Russian. You can use it in any situation, both formal and informal.

In informal situations, you can add a hug if you’re feeling extremely grateful. Men are most likely to add a handshake (yes, pretty much the same one they use in greeting).

For additional information on this topic, listen to our audio lesson on how to say “You are welcome” in Russian. By listening to this audio lesson, you can also practice using etiquette interjections.

4- Forms of Address for Different People

When you talk with an elder person or a person you don’t know, don’t use an informal way of speaking. It will be considered extremely rude. Well, of course, not if you’re addressing your own granny who happens to be Russian.

You can use an informal way of speaking only with kids or school children.

2. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #2: Russian Dining Etiquette

Hygiene

1- Paying for Food

First on our list of Russian etiquette at restaurants: paying.

If you’re visiting Russian friends for a short period of time, they’ll most likely pay for your food to show hospitality.

But normally, if you go to a restaurant with your Russian friends, you’ll notice that when it comes to payment, everyone takes a look at the bill and pays for their own food.

Splitting the bill is an option if Russians buy some food to be shared, like pizza or Japanese rolls.

2- When Should You Start Eating?

Don’t start eating your food before everyone gets to the table. According to Russian meal etiquette, this is considered rude.

Before eating, people usually wish Приятного аппетита (Priyatnogo appetita) which means “Enjoy your meal,” in Russian. This phrase is used both in formal and informal situations.

3- Going to the Toilet

It’s perfectly fine Russian table etiquette to leave the table to go to the toilet in Russia. Just say Извините, сейчас вернусь (Izvinite, seychas vernus’) which means “I’m sorry, I’ll be back soon,” and go. However, if you go more than once, it may be considered rude (or cause people to question your digestion). :-)

To learn even more about table manners in Russia, listen to our audio lesson about basic table etiquette.

3. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #3: Russian Drinking Etiquette

Friends Drinking at Lunch

1- Making a Toast

In Russia, no one should drink at the table without making a toast. It’s a famous Russian tradition that shows that they’re aware of the people around them and want to share the moment.

Usually, after making a toast, people clink glasses. Then, everyone drinks.

2- Pouring

There’s a tradition that a man should pour alcohol for the women sitting next to him. This is especially relevant during big occasions such as weddings or funerals, so that women won’t spoil their pretty dresses with a clumsy glass refill.

3- Don’t Put Empty Bottles on the Table

Russia is full of traditions and superstitions, especially about alcohol. One of the famous ones is that keeping empty bottles on the table is considered bad luck, and is thought to make you poor. That’s why, as soon as the bottle gets empty, it should be passed to the waiter, removed to the trash bin, or at least put under the table to be thrown away later.

4. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #4: What to Expect from a Date with a Russian Girl or Russian Guy

Couple at Dinner

In this section, we’ll go over the basic Russian social etiquette that’s expected when dating a Russian. Let’s get started.

1- Dating a Russian Woman Etiquette

1. Bringing Flowers

Bringing flowers on a date with a girl—even on a first date—has become popular in Russian etiquette and customs for dates. It shows that the guy has romantic feelings toward the girl. If you follow this dating tradition, you’ll score a couple of points already, at the beginning of the date.

But make sure that:

  • You don’t bring an even number of flowers. This is REALLY important. Russians bring an even number of flowers only to funerals or when they visit a tomb.
  • Gifting carnations is also associated with funerals—Soviet ones. If you happen to be in Russia on a Victory Day (9th of May) you’ll see a lot of carnations that commemorate war heroes.
  • Don’t gift yellow roses. According to Russian superstition, yellow roses will bring a couple apart.

2. Russian Girls on the Date

Russian girls are famous for being really girly. They put on makeup and dress up even when going out to the supermarket or to throw away the garbage. One of the things that makes them more “girly” are high heels.

Sometimes it’s inconvenient to wear high heels all the time. So they just bring them along to wear when they arrive at the place (the cinema, theatre, or party, for instance).

3. Being a Gentleman

If you go out on a date with a Russian girl, behave like a gentleman. Open the doors for her, let her sit on public transport if there’s only one free seat left, and pay for her food in a restaurant.

Russian girls believe that they spend a lot of money and time to stay pretty—makeup, nails, eyelashes, eyebrows, clothes, etc., so it’s only natural that the guys pay for them on the date.

2- Dating a Russian Man Etiquette

If you want to date a Russian guy, then you should be aware of things that Russian men expect from their dates:

1. Act Like a Lady

While Russian guys, since childhood, are expected to act like gentlemen around girls, Russian girls are expected to accept that. Don’t fight for your life if a guy wants to pay for you on a date. You can take out your purse to show that you’re ready to pay, and if a guy offers to pay for you, just accept that; put your purse back in your pouch and warmly thank him.

2. Be Ready for High Expectations

While women and men in Russia have equal rights, relationships are still built with a specific division of responsibilities.

In a dating phase, women are expected to show good knowledge of doing simple house chores. Girls should clean a messy place of her beloved one and cook some food. In exchange, men will be paying for her when going out.

Of course, this isn’t set in stone, and you can always negotiate your responsibilities. But just know that your boyfriend’s mother is probably very traditional, and she’ll accept you only if you show that you’re good at performing household duties.

5. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #5: So, You’re Going to Visit a Russian House

Bad Phrases

Now, for some Russian guest etiquette so that you can be a great visitor in a friend’s home.

1- Take Your Shoes Off

Once you enter a Russian house, take your shoes off unless you’re told not to. Many Russian houses are decorated with big rugs that are difficult to clean. You may be offered to wear slippers instead.

2- Don’t Show up Empty-handed

It’s considered rude not to bring something along when you come as a guest to a Russian house. A perfect gift is something sweet like a cake, candies, chocolate, pastry, etc., that can be eaten during a tea-time. There’s even a special expression—Что-нибудь к чаю (Chto-nibud’ k chayu) meaning “something for tea”—that you’ll probably hear as an answer if you ask Что купить? (Chto kupit’?) or “What should I buy?”

3- Don’t Whistle Indoors

Russians are very superstitious. Whistling indoors means that you’ll become poor. So, as in many European countries, whistling indoors is considered unacceptable.

4- Offer to Help Clean Dishes After the Meal

This is a really nice thing to do to get extra points for being a good guest in Russia, as it is in many other countries. A Russian hostess would probably refuse your help, but she will for sure remember how considerate you were and will gladly invite you the next time.

It’s especially beneficial if you’re visiting your future parents-in-law. ;-)

5- Russian Food Etiquette

Russian people are extremely hospitable. They’ll feed and feed you until you feel like you’ll blow up from inside from food. It’s considered rude to refuse food when the hostess offers you something.

But there’s a small secret about how to avoid being overfed. When you feel that you’re almost full, leave a small portion of food on your plate to show the hostess that you’re full. It shouldn’t be too much, or the hostess will think that you didn’t like the food, but it shouldn’t be extremely small, or you’ll be offered some more food. About 1/8 of a plateful is fine.

And don’t forget that drinking tea with a cake or sweets is a must after the main course. Leave some free room in your stomach for that.

6. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #6: How Russians Behave in a Public Transport

1- Offering a Seat

There’s an etiquette rule that Russians teach their kids from childhood. You should offer your seat to elder people, pregnant women, women with a child up to seven years old, and disabled people.

There’s a nuance in offering a seat to older people. Do it only when you see that they’re bringing really heavy bags or when it’s hard for them to walk (e.g. they’re really old or bring along a crutch). If you offer a seat to a perfectly normal woman, she might think that she looks too old and even get angry. :-)

If you’re a guy, offer your seat to a girl. This is considered to be a gentlemanly behavior.

2- Pushing in a Crowd and Public Lines

If you get to the Moscow underground, you’ll see that there are no lines to enter a train. People will push to get inside and catch a better spot for a ride.

If you feel uncomfortable around crowds, wait until people get onto the train before getting on the train yourself.

Also, try to avoid rush hour. Usually, people go to work at 8-9 a.m. and go back at 6-7 p.m.

3- Staring at Women

In Russia, it’s rude to stare at people you don’t know. In some countries it’s considered normal to stare at women who walk by themselves, but in Russia, a girl who’s being stared at will feel offended and disrespected.

Of course, quick looks are okay, so don’t walk around trying not to meet some girl’s eyes by accident. :-)

7. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #7: Russian Business Etiquette Tips

People Shaking Hands in a Meeting Room

1- Business and Alcohol

Business

Russian business etiquette is closely connected with alcohol traditions. Russians tend to have greater trust in those with whom they’ve gotten drunk. In a drunken condition, people loosen up and say what they really think. And Russians use this.

Another tradition is to celebrate a sealed business deal with alcohol. Very often, Russians go to баня (banya) or a “banya; Russian sauna” for that. This may look weird to foreigners, but it’s one of the famous Russian etiquette business traditions that you should just accept.

2- Don’t Keep Your Hands in Your Pockets

This is another etiquette point that Russians teach their kids: not keeping hands in pockets during official events. Doing so shows disrespect to the person you’re speaking with.

This is due to psychological logic that comes from old times. When people show their empty hands, it’s considered a gesture of peace; when you keep your hands in your pockets, it indicates that you might be ready to use a weapon.

3- Don’t Spread Your Legs Wide Apart

This is an important Russian office etiquette rule. This posture is popular among men as it allows them to occupy more space and thus show their dominance. But in Russia, it’s also considered a sign of a man with bad etiquette. Showing dominance that way is considered vulgar.

Instead, keep your legs together, or at a natural distance.

If you’re interested in finding a job in Russia, here’s our useful article for you on that very topic.

8. Do’s and Don’ts in Russia #8: Russian Gift Giving Etiquette

1- Gift Superstitions

There are famous superstitions that have naturally converted into Russian gift etiquette:

1. Don’t gift an empty wallet. In Russia, giving an empty wallet as a present is like wishing financial hardships to that person. Just put some cash inside to make it a great gift.

2. Don’t give a knife as a gift. Giving a knife as a present is believed to cause the breakup of a relationship. Just give them money to buy a knife with to avoid that.

3. Pay for a pet. When Russians receive a cat or a dog, they need to pay some money even though the pet is a present. Russians believe that if they do, the animal will grow up happy and healthy.

2- First Refusing the Gift and Then Accepting it

Russians tend to refuse any gift that you try to give them. They can say Что ты, это слишком дорого (Chto ty, eto slishkom dorogo) meaning “No-no, it’s too expensive,” or Нет, спасибо, тебе не стоило (Net, spasibo, tebe ne stoilo) meaning “No, thank you, you didn’t need to.”

Just insist on giving them the gift. You’ll get a gush of gratitude.

3- Gifts to Women

If you want to give a gift to a woman on her birthday or another important date, bring along a flower or a flower bouquet. It’s an etiquette tradition that’s followed both in the business world and in personal life.

Some women may not even like flowers that much, but they still gladly accept them as it’s a tradition.

9. Conclusion: How RussianPod101 Can Help You Learn Russian Better

So, now you know the most common Russian traditions and etiquette. Of course, if you don’t follow them, people will understand. But you’ll be much more welcomed and appreciated if you’re aware of Russian etiquette and follow it as much as you can.

Did you learn anything new in our Russian etiquette guide? Are there similar etiquette rules in your own country? Or is etiquette very different? Let us know in the comments!

Once you’ve learned Russian etiquette, it would be a great help to learn basic Russian vocabulary to be polite around Russians. Our teachers will gladly help you with that. Check out our MyTeacher program for Russian-learners. Our teachers are all native speakers with an impressive teaching background. They’ll make sure that you start talking in Russian very soon. ;-)

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