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How to Say Goodbye in Russian

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When you’ve just started studying a foreign language, you may not be able to keep up conversations in it, but you should at least know the basic rules of politeness. Greeting and saying goodbye are the most essential aspects of day-to-day communication, and they can make or break your future encounters with native speakers.

Today, RussianPod101.com will teach you how to say goodbye in Russian for a variety of life situations. After learning the following ten phrases, you’ll be much more confident when meeting and speaking with Russians.

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Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. До свидания (Do svidaniya)
  2. Пока (Poka)
  3. Прощай (Proshchay)
  4. До встречи (Do vstrechi)
  5. До скорого (Do skorogo)
  6. Увидимся (Uvidimsya)
  7. Спокойной ночи (Spokoynoy nochi)
  8. Мне пора (Mne pora)
  9. Счастливо (Schastlivo)
  10. Давай (Davay)
  11. Conclusion

1. До свидания (Do svidaniya)

Most Common Goodbyes

До свидания (Do svidaniya) is the most popular way to say goodbye in Russian. The literal translation of this expression is “Until we meet again.” Its English equivalent is “Goodbye.”

This versatile Russian phrase for goodbye is suitable for any formal situation. Keep in mind that it may sound a little too formal if you’re chatting with good friends or family.

Feel free to implement this expression while talking to someone who is older than you or anyone you’re not very close with. Look at the following example:

  • До свидания, Мария Ивановна, спасибо вам за всё!
    Do svidaniya, Mariya Ivanovna, spasibo vam za vsyo!
    “Goodbye, Maria Ivanovna, thank you for everything!”

Here, we put the pronoun Вам (Vam) instead of Тебе (Tebe). Anytime you say До свидания (Do svidaniya), you need to use the polite forms of any other words in that sentence.

A Grandson Offering His Grandfather a Cup of Coffee

You should definitely learn more about Russian forms of address in order to be polite while talking to older people (and to avoid awkward situations)!

2. Пока (Poka)

Пока (Poka) is the most popular informal expression for saying goodbye in Russian. Its literal translation is “For now,” but it’s just like saying “Bye” in English. 

You may use Пока (Poka) in any everyday situation, toward anyone you would address informally as Ты (Ty). This kind of goodbye in Russian is appropriate for ending conversations with friends and close relatives. For instance:

  • Пока, дружище!
    Poka, druzhishche!
    “Goodbye, buddy!”

You may also say Пока-пока (Poka-poka). The meaning won’t change at all, but your farewell will be longer, warmer, and friendlier.

3. Прощай (Proshchay)

This Russian word for goodbye isn’t very common, so you probably won’t hear it in everyday conversations. The literal translation of this word is “Forgive me.” By saying it, you mean “Farewell” or “Goodbye forever.”

Прощай (Proshchay) is used when the speaker knows that he or she won’t see the other person again. It’s suitable to use when somebody is moving away, lying on their deathbed, or breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend.

This is the perfect parting word to use when you want to say goodbye and ask for the other person’s forgiveness at the same time. This word carries the additional weight of admitting guilt, and it sounds really sad. Here’s an example:

  • Прощай, моя любовь.
    Proshchay, moya lyubov’.
    “Farewell, my love.”

You’ve probably noticed that the example above uses informal language. If the situation was formal, you would use the polite form Прощайте (Proshchayte).

A Girl Misses Someone

Sometimes saying goodbye is heartbreaking… And you need special words for it.

4. До встречи (Do vstrechi)

До встречи (Do vstrechi) is one of the safest expressions for saying goodbye in Russian. We say this because it’s appropriate for both formal and informal conversations with people of different ages.

The literal translation of this phrase is “Until the next meeting,” but it’s more like saying “See you soon” in English. Of course, you should only use this phrase to part ways with people you’ll definitely be seeing again. Check this example:

  • Мне нужно идти, до встречи!
    Mne nuzhno idti, do vstrechi!
    “I have to go, see you soon.”

5. До скорого (Do skorogo)

Another phrase you should know for saying goodbye to close friends and family is До скорого (Do skorogo). Its literal meaning is “Until soon,” but it’s really just another way to say “See you soon.”

This is a shortened version of До скорого свидания (Do skorogo svidaniya), which is translated into English as “Until we meet again soon.” For your information, the long version isn’t used in modern Russian.

Here’s an example of how to use this Russian informal goodbye phrase: 

  • Ну, мы пойдём, до скорого!
    Nu, my poydyom, do skorogo!
    “We’re going now, see you!”

The most appropriate situation for using this expression is when you know you’ll see the person again very soon. For example, if you’re working, studying, or even living together.

A Dad Is Saying Bye to His Family

Saying goodbye is not sad when you know that you’ll see the person again soon!

6. Увидимся (Uvidimsya)

This expression means almost the same thing as the previous one. Увидимся (Uvidimsya) is literally translated into English as “See each other.” It’s like saying “See you soon” in English.

This phrase is a good way to say goodbye in Russian in more casual situations. You may say Увидимся (Uvidimsya) to your friends if you know you’ll see them again in the near future, like in the following example:

  • Увидимся на неделе.
    Uvidimsya na nedele.
    “See each other again this week.”

You may also say the longer version: Ещё увидимся (Eshchyo uvidimsya). The meaning will stay the same.

7. Спокойной ночи (Spokoynoy nochi)

Спокойной ночи (Spokoynoy nochi) is a good phrase for ending a conversation late in the evening. The literal translation of it is “Have a calm night,” and it’s like saying “Goodnight” in English.

This phrase is very versatile, and you can use it in both formal and informal situations. This language construction is appropriate for when it’s late, and you know that the person whom you’re talking to is going to bed. Look at this simple example:

  • Спокойной ночи, выспись хорошенько!
    Spokoynoy nochi, vyspis’ khoroshen’ko!
    “Goodnight, get enough sleep!”

There are some Russian equivalents for this phrase, as well:

  • Доброй ночи.
    Dobroy nochi.

This one sounds good in both formal and informal situations.

  • Сладких снов.
    Sladkikh snov.

This one sounds very informal and even romantic, so you’d better save it for use with really close friends or your sweetheart.

Texting Someone a Good Night

If someone wishes you goodnight every day, you’re happier than many people.

8. Мне пора (Mne pora)

This is a great example of how to say goodbye in Russian when leaving a formal conversation. Мне пора (Mne pora) may be literally translated as “It’s time for me,” but it actually means “It’s time for me to go.”

Using this phrase implies that you not only need to cut the conversation short, but that you also need to leave your current location. It’s a good idea to elongate it with a more traditional way of saying goodbye in Russian, like in the example below:

  • Мне пора, до свидания!
    Mne pora, do svidaniya!
    “It’s time for me to go, goodbye!”

You may also say:

  • Боюсь, что мне пора.
    Boyus’, chto mne pora.
    “I’m afraid it’s time for me to go.”

9. Счастливо (Schastlivo)

Счастливо (Schastlivo) is a colloquial phrase for ending everyday conversations. The literal translation of it is “Happily,” and it’s like saying “All the best” in English.

We recommend that you use this phrase with people whom you know pretty well—otherwise, it would sound overly familiar. This is a good example of how it should be used:

  • Классно провели время. Счастливо!
    Klassno proveli vremya. Schastlivo!
    “We’ve had a cool time. All the best!”

Pay attention to the stress. In this case, it falls on the vowel И, not on А like in all of the other cases.

10. Давай (Davay)

The literal translation of this word is “give” or “let’s,” but people often use it to mean something like “Bye-bye” in Russian. 

Russians often use this word to say goodbye after a phone call or Skype chat with friends. Here’s an example:

  • Давай, ещё созвонимся.
    Davay, eshchyo sozvonimsya.
    “We’ll talk later, byе.”

You should only use this goodbye phrase with your friends, acquaintances of your age, and close relatives.

People Waving Goodbye

Most Russian Skype sessions end with the word Давай. Russians really love this way of saying goodbye!

11. Conclusion

All of the words and phrases we covered in this article are used regularly in Russia. If you’re only a beginner, it’ll be sufficient for you to learn one formal, one informal, and one universal phrase from this article. If you’re an intermediate or advanced student, you’d better learn all ten of them (or even more!).

Please remember that if you need more help saying goodbye in Russian—or any other aspect of the Russian language—we have a Premium PLUS service called MyTeacher. One-on-one tutoring with your personal teacher will help you succeed at any point of your language-learning journey.

Do you know any other ways to say bye in Russian that we didn’t mention in this article? If yes, please leave a comment below.

Happy learning with RussianPod101.com!

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Is Russian Hard to Learn?

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If you’re thinking about learning Russian but are hesitant to get started, you may be asking yourself: “Is Russian hard to learn?” 

You’ve read in the language forums that it is, and maybe you’ve even heard this firsthand from someone you know who’s learned the language. But here’s a spoiler: it’s not that bad. And even though I’m a native Russian myself, and learned how to speak Russian at the same time as I learned how to walk (oh, a double struggle!), I can sympathize with the experience of my students and apply my own language-learning observations to help them combat common issues.

So if you still haven’t decided whether you want to include Russian in your daily schedule or not, I might be able to help you decide. In this article, we’ll talk about why you would want to learn Russian in the first place, how easy it is to learn, and what you should start with to get onboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Russian Table of Contents
  1. Why Should You Learn Russian?
  2. Is it Hard to Learn Russian?
  3. I Want to Learn Russian. Where Should I Start?
  4. What’s Next?

1. Why Should You Learn Russian?

Let’s start with the most obvious reasons. Just in case you weren’t aware, Russian is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Worldwide, it’s almost as popular as French and Arabic, and even more widespread than German. 

There are around 260 million people speaking Russian around the globe. According to recent statistics, Russian is still widely spoken in Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Estonia, and some other neighboring countries. And that makes learning the language a good investment for travel enthusiasts. You can experience freezing winters, enjoy boiling hot steam baths, try shchi and pelmeni, and see for yourself that there are no bears walking in the streets (if anybody still believes in this stereotype).

Many of my students learn Russian for business or study. Whether you have a business trip to Russia or work with Russian partners, some Russian might help in your working relations and networking. A person working in tourism who has basic Russian language knowledge is a real gem: Russians often travel abroad without knowing any English. 

As for studies, higher education is affordable in Russia, and the vibrant student life will definitely leave a trace in your memory—that is, if you decide to assimilate with locals and not just hang out with your English-speaking friends.

Also, Russia has lots to offer in terms of culture. You might not see lots of Russian movies in theaters or hear Russian songs on every corner, but they exist in abundance. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find Russian movies with subtitles, so this is a good incentive to learn the language. Not to mention the benefits that literature-lovers can experience: you’ll find peace in Tolstoy’s elaborate descriptions, enjoy the witty nature of Krylov’s fables, and relish in the emotional styling of Yesenin’s poems.

Learning Russian is also a good choice for those craving a challenge. English-speakers tend to learn languages similar to their own: Spanish, German, French, etc. But Russian is hard for English-speakers compared to most Germanic and Romance languages. It’s something different and totally unusual, but at the same time, not as drastically “alien” as Japanese, for example. 

But if the motivation comes from inside, no logical reasoning is necessary to convince you to learn the language. Whether you just like the sound of Russian, want to enjoy the Trans-Siberian journey, or understand what Dima Bilan is singing about, if it truly makes you excited, then just go for it!

Russian Pastry

Russian cuisine is definitely worth trying! Guess if it’s savory or sweet.

2. Is it Hard to Learn Russian?

I believe that by now, you’re secretly hoping to hear a strong “no.” I would lie if I said that Russian is the easiest language to learn; it has its own specificities, but it’s still easier than many people say it is. Let’s start with the easy parts.

A- The Good News

1. Cyrillics is not too different from the Latin alphabet. There are even some familiar letters (like е, а, м, с, р, etc.). Yes, some of them are pronounced differently from what you would expect, but they’re easy to write, and you can start reading Russian words in literally one day.

2. Many words are borrowed from English. Yes, they are written with the Russian alphabet, but when you learn to read it, you’ll recognize the words in a heartbeat. Try:

  • футбол (futbol)
  • телефон (telefon)
  • маркетинг (marketing)
  • компания (kompaniya)
  • лампа (lampa)

    ➢ You can check the meanings of these words in a dictionary to see if you were right.

3. Genders are easy to determine. Russian categorizes words into one of three genders: feminine, masculine, and neuter. Usually, you just have to check the ending of the noun to see what gender category it belongs to.

4. There are fewer tenses than in English. We only have three tenses in Russian: past, present, and future. That’s enough; three is a good number.

    ➢ Read more about the tenses and other properties of verbs in our article about Verb Conjugation.

5. Questions are simple. For Yes/No questions, we use intonation. For open questions, we just place the question word at the beginning, and that’s it. No special question structures or word order changes.

  • Сегодня мы смотрим кино. (Segodnya my smotrim kino) — “Today we’re watching a movie.”
  • Сегодня мы смотрим кино? — “Are we watching a movie today?”
  • Где ты был? (Gde ty byl?) — “Where have you been?”
  • Что ты купил? (Chto ty kupil?) — “What did you buy?”
  • Почему торт не купил? (Pochemu tort ne kupil?) — “Why didn’t you buy the cake?” 

6. It’s easy to say “no.” In most cases, to make a negative sentence in Russian, you simply add не (ne) before the word you want to make negative.

  • Я не курю. (Ya ne kuryu) — “I don’t smoke.”
  • Мы не дома. (My ne doma) — “We aren’t home.”
  • Она не такая. (Ona ne takaya) — “She isn’t like that.”

7. Russians appreciate the initiative. It’s rare to hear a foreigner speak Russian, so any attempt to do so will evoke praise and excitement. No need to wait for a pint of beer to untie your tongue; feel free to proudly demonstrate your Russian skills right away. No sarcasm intended.

8. Speakers of other Slavic languages have an (un)fair advantage. If your mother tongue is Polish, Czech, Serbian, or a similar language—congratulations! You have a free upgrade of three times the speed in learning Russian right from the start. These languages come from the same language family, so many words sound similar, and even the grammar can be familiar in some aspects. I believe this is why, in some remote parts of Serbia, Bosnia, and Macedonia, locals prefer foreigners to speak Russian rather than English.

Woman Holding Out Hand to Say Stop

Стой. Торт купил? (Stoy. Tort kupil?)
“Stop. Did you buy the cake?”

B- The (Not So) Bad News

Even taking into account the easier aspects mentioned earlier, the Russian language is hard to learn for many people, particularly English-speakers. Here are some things you can prepare for in advance:

1. Pronunciation. If learning the alphabet takes one evening, mastering the sounds themselves is a bit trickier. Many sounds are similar to those in English, but some are unusual, like [щ], [ы], [р] (and the last one is not an English “p”!).

    ➢ If you want to work on your pronunciation, check out our Ultimate Pronunciation Guide. You’ll learn about the Russian sounds and how to pronounce them without twisting your tongue.

2. Verb conjugations. In Russian, we only have three tenses, but the verb conjugation is also affected by grammatical mood, person, aspect, etc.

Here are some examples:

  • Я пою. (Ya poyu) — “I sing.” (present, 1st person singular)
  • Мы поём. (My poyom) — “We sing.” (present, 1st person plural)
  • Вы бы спели? (Vy by speli?) — “Would you sing?” (conditional, 2nd person plural)

3. Verbal aspects. In Russian, we use verbal aspects to indicate the difference between an action that is complete (perfective aspect) and an action that is habitual or ongoing (imperfective aspect). It’s similar to the English perfect and simple / continuous aspect.

  • Я ужинал. (Ya uzhinal) — “I was dining.” (ongoing > imperfective)
  • Я поужинал. (Ya pouzhinal) — “I’ve had dinner.” (complete > perfective)

Have you spotted the difference?

4. Declensions and cases. Russian has six cases—technically five, if you don’t count the dictionary form (the nominative case). Cases help you see the relationship between words (it’s not just to make you memorize extra endings!):

  • кот (kot) — “a cat” (Nominative singular)
  • У меня нет кота. (U menya net kota) — “I don’t have a cat.” (Genitive singular)
  • Но я люблю котов. (No ya lyublyu kotov) — “But I love cats.” (Accusative plural animate)

The good thing about cases is that each of them has a function and some markers (typical prepositions and verbs they go with). When you learn to distinguish cases by their function, your life becomes easier. Anyway, if you use the wrong case, it won’t be the end of the world. Patience is the key—and practice.

The prospect of learning endings for six cases and three genders might seem intimidating, but you can definitely manage it if you don’t try to swallow the whole cake at once. Instead, slowly savor it piece by piece. 

5. Verbs of motion. You can find countless ways of translating the verb “to go” into Russian. The choice depends on what means of transport you’re talking about:

  • идти (idti) — “to go on foot”
  • ехать (yekhat’) — “to go by car / by bus / by bike / etc.”
  • лететь (letet’) — “to go by plane”
  • плыть (plyt’) — “to go by boat”

Motion verbs with prefixes can seem even more confusing:

  • лететь (letet’) — “to go by plane”
  • прилететь (priletet’) — “to arrive by plane”
  • улететь (uletet’) — “to leave by plane”

“How do I deal with that and not get crazy?”

  • Learn the four basic translations for the verb “to go” listed above. This way, you’ll be able to distinguish between the means of transport.
  • Analyze the prefixes and try to find the logic behind them. For example, the prefix у- usually means “departure” and при- indicates “arrival.”
    ➢ Wikipedia has a nice table of prefixes with their meanings for your verbs of motion.
    ➢ If you don’t know how to say “train” or “bus” in Russian, check out our Vehicles vocabulary list.
Plane Flying Past Clouds

Ехать или лететь?

3. I Want to Learn Russian. Where Should I Start?

The alphabet. A no-brainer. At RussianPod101, we want to support you from the earliest stages, so we provide the English transliteration for almost every word and phrase you see. However, you’ll find no romanization in authentic Russian sources like books or articles. You’ll also need to learn writing (or at least typing) to be able to send messages in Russian, or even to look up words in your dictionary.

    ➢ Start exploring the Russian letters with our series of lessons titled The Russian Alphabet Made Easy. You can even try your hand at writing cursive!

Survival phrases. If you travel to a Russian-speaking place soon, learning some basic phrases would help you immensely. Based on my observations, many young people in the big cities would know enough English to help you find the Red Square or accept your order in a restaurant, but not enough to discuss climate change or politics. However, I wouldn’t have much hope for English while interacting with people of the older generations.

The following series of lessons will be a good start:

Your own sentences. When you master your introductory speech about yourself and your dog, it’s time to combine new chunks of words into meaningful phrases. Analyze how words cooperate with each other, and try to make similar sentences yourself. Start simple. Don’t dive into grammar right away: learning the rules without having the vocabulary to apply them is pointless. 

Send the sentences you make to your RussianPod101 tutor for proofreading (subscribed users only) and receive feedback from a native speaker. Your tutor would also help you find the right path for your further studies if you can’t figure out what to do next.

Russian Calligraphy Handwriting

Russian calligraphy handwriting (created by VectorSR and licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

4. What’s Next?

As a language-learner myself, I have established three important rules that always help me stay on track:

  • Quality over quantity. Make sure you’re comfortable with the topic before moving on to something else. It’s also important to review the material from time to time.

  • Consistency. It’s better to practice ten minutes every day than two hours once a week. Consistency is necessary to create strong neural connections in your brain, and this means repetition. If you skip several days of learning, especially if you’re a beginner, chances are that the connections will already be lost when you’re back, and you’ll have to learn everything again.

  • Patience. Don’t compare yourself to other learners. Don’t judge yourself by the number of words that you’ve learned or the grade you’ve received on your recent language test. Take your time and remember the first two rules.

Like learning any other language, learning Russian isn’t that difficult if you have some discipline and patience. There are plenty of resources for you to get started, and many enthusiastic people ready to help. In our premium service, MyTeacher, you can get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. You’ll receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and also voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. And if you have any questions about Russian, feel free to ask your tutor; they’re there to help you!

Useful links for those who want to learn more:

Before you go, let us know if you have any questions or concerns about learning (or continuing to learn) Russian. We’d be glad to help! 

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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The 10 Most Common Questions in Russian & How to Answer Them

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Being able to ask questions is a very important communication skill that makes conversation sound lively and interesting. If you’re going to chat with a native Russian speaker, or if you want to travel to Russia one day, you should definitely know some basic questions in this language. 

In this guide, we’ll help you learn ten of the most common questions in Russian. We’ll also give you some information about how to use these Russian questions and answers depending on the age of the person you’re speaking to, and teach you some Russian question words. 

Let’s begin!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Как тебя зовут?
  2. Откуда ты?
  3. Сколько тебе лет?
  4. Ты говоришь на ___?
  5. Сколько ты учишь ____?
  6. Ты был в ___?
  7. Как дела?
  8. Что делаешь?
  9. Что случилось?
  10. Сколько стоит?
  11. Conclusion

1. Как тебя зовут?

First Encounter

Как тебя зовут? (Kak tebya zovut?), meaning “What’s your name?” is usually the first question in Russian you’ll ask when getting to know someone. 

The first word here, как (kak), meaning “how,” is an adverb; it’s also one of the most commonly used Russian question words. The next word, тебя (tebya), is the pronoun “you” in the accusative case. The last word, зовут (zovut), is the present tense form of the verb звать (zvat’), meaning “to call.” So, Как тебя зовут? is literally translated as “How are you called?”

Remember that this question is appropriate only in informal conversations with people who are your age or younger. If the situation is formal, or if you’re talking to an older person, use the following form:

  • Как вас зовут? (Kak vas zovut?) – “What’s your name?”

Вас (vas) is the formal version of тебя (“you” in the accusative case).

Possible Answers

The reply to this question in Russian would be:

  • Меня зовут Джон. (Menya zovut Dzhon.) – “My name is John.”

Or

  • Моё имя – Джон. (Moyo imya – Dzhon.) – “My name is John.”

Simply replace “John” with your own name.

A Man Shaking Hand with a Client

The question Как вас зовут? is the simplest way to establish contact, no matter who you’re trying to get to know.

2. Откуда ты?

Откуда ты? (Otkuda ty?) is the easiest way to say “Where are you from?” in Russian. 

Like many other questions in Russian, this one begins with the adverb откуда (otkuda). The next word, ты (ty), is a pronoun in the nominative case. Like in the example above, this pronoun is applicable only to conversations with people who are your age or younger.

If you’re talking to somebody older, always say вы (vy). For example:

  • Откуда вы? (Otkuda vy?) – “Where are you from?”

Possible Answer

The best way to answer is with:

  • Я из Нью-Йорка. (Ya iz N’yu-Yorka.) – “I’m from New York.”

Keep in mind that you need to use your country, state, or city in the genitive case, like in the example given above.

Introducing Yourself

3. Сколько тебе лет?

Сколько тебе лет? (Skol’ko tebe let?), meaning “How old are you?” is a good question in Russian to keep a conversation going.

 Сколько (skol’ko) is a pronoun here. Тебе (tebe) is also a pronoun, in the dative case. Лет (let) is the plural form of the noun “year.”

If you’re speaking to an older person, you’ll need to say this instead:

  • Сколько вам лет? (Skol’ko vam let?) – “How old are you?”

Possible Answer

The answer is short and simple:

  • Мне 40 лет. (Mne 40 let.) – “I’m 40 years old.”
Woman Disgusted by Her Date

Keep in mind that asking a woman about her age is impolite, even if she looks young!

4. Ты говоришь на ___?

Of all the Russian questions and answers for beginners, this may be the most important: Ты говоришь на ___? (Ty govorish’ na ___?), meaning “Do you speak ___?” It will help you find out if the person you’re talking to speaks your language. 

The first word here is ты (ty), which is the Russian pronoun “you” in the nominative case. The second word is говоришь (govorish’), which is the present tense form of the verb говорить (govorit), meaning “to speak.” After these two words, you’ll need to use the preposition на (na), which means “on” in English. Then comes the name of the language you’re asking about.

Make sure you use the prepositional case, like in this example:

  • Ты говоришь на английском? (Ty govorish’ na angliyskom?) – “Do you speak English?”

The formal variant of this Russian question is:

  • Вы говорите на ___? (Vy govorite na ___?) – “Do you speak ___?”

Possible Answers

You can give an affirmative answer like this:

  • Да, я говорю на ___. (Da, ya govoryu na ___.) – “Yes, I speak ___.”

Or a negative answer:

  • Нет, я не говорю на ___. (Net, ya ne govoryu na ___.) – “No, I don’t speak ___.”
A Couple Frustrated due to Lack of Understanding

One of the most unfair things in life is to meet a wonderful person and not to be able to communicate with him or her because of the language barrier.

5. Сколько ты учишь ____?

The Russian question Сколько ты учишь ___? (Skol’ko ty uchish’ ___?), meaning “How long have you been studying ___?” turns out to be really helpful in conversations with other students. 

The first word, сколько (skol’ko), is a typical adverb used in questions. Ты (ty) is a pronoun, as mentioned previously. The last word is the present tense form of the verb учишь (uchish’), which means “to study.”

The polite form of this question is:

  • Сколько вы учите ___? (Skol’ko vy uchite ___?) – “How long have you been studying ___?”

This Russian question requires the name of the field of study you’re asking about in the accusative case:

  • Сколько ты учишь информатику? (Skol’ko ty uchish’ informatiku?) – “How long have you been studying programming?”

Possible Answer

  • Я учу информатику два года. (Ya uchu informatiku dva goda.) – “I’ve been studying programming for two years.”

 6. Ты был в ___?

There are two variants for asking “Have you been to ___?” in Russian. The first one is appropriate if you’re asking a man:

  • Ты был в ___? (Ty byl v ___?)

The second one is applicable when asking a woman:

  • Ты была в ___? (Ty byla v ___?)

Of course, if you’re going to ask someone older than you, you must say:

  • Вы были в ___? (Vy byli v ___?)

Following the pronoun ты (ty) is был (byl) or была (byla), which is the verb “to be” in the past tense. В is a preposition which requires the prepositional case for the name of the place used after it. For example:

  • Ты был в Париже? (Ty byl v Parizhe?) – “Have you been to Paris?”

Possible Answers

  • Да, я был в Париже. (Da, ya byl v Parizhe.) – “Yes, I’ve been to Paris.”

Or

  • Нет, я не был в Париже. (Net, ya ne byl v Parizhe.) – “No, I haven’t been to Paris.”
A Woman Taking a Photo of Something

Travel is a perfect topic for a conversation.

7. Как дела?

Как дела? (Kak dela?), meaning “How are you?” is one of the most important questions to ask a Russian. 

Как (kak) is an adverb, and дела (dela) is the plural form of the noun дело (delo), meaning “matter.”

Here are a couple of alternative ways to ask this question in Russian:

  • Как ты/вы? (Kak ty/vy?) – “How are you?”

Or

  • Как жизнь? (Kak zhizn?) – “How’s life?”

Possible Answers

The most typical answers are:

  • Всё хорошо. (Vsyo khorosho.) – “Everything is good.”
  •  Отлично. (Otlichno.) – “Excellent.”

8. Что делаешь?

Что делаешь? (Chto delayesh’?), meaning “What are you doing?” is one of those basic Russian questions that you can use both in your real life and while communicating online

Что (chto) is a pronoun that’s very often used for asking questions in Russian. Делаешь (delayesh’) is the present tense form of the verb делать (delat’), meaning “to do.” 

The formal variant of this question is:

  • Что делаете? (Chto delayete?) – “What are you doing?”

Possible Answers

The answer fully depends on what you’re busy with. For example:

  • Я работаю. (Ya rabotayu.) – “I’m working.”
  • Я на учёбе. (Ya na uchyobe.) – “I’m studying.”

9. Что случилось?

Что случилось? (Chto sluchilos’?), meaning “What happened?” is one of those good questions to ask a Russian to find out if something has gone wrong. 

Что (chto) is a common pronoun in Russian questions. Cлучилось (sluchilos’) is the past tense form of the verb случиться (sluchit’sya), which means “to happen.”

Possible Answers

There’s no definite response to this question. It may be something like:

  • Ничего особенного. (Nichego osobennogo.) – “Nothing special.”
  • Всё плохо. (Vsyo plokho.) – “Everything is bad.”
One Girl Comforting Another

The question Что случилось? shows that you care for what’s going on in another person’s life!

10. Сколько стоит?

Сколько стоит? (Skol’ko stoit?), meaning “How much is it?” is an absolutely essential question for you if you’re going to visit Russia. 

Сколько (skol’ko), as mentioned, is a pronoun and one of the most widely used Russian question words. Стоит (stoit) is the present tense form of the verb стоить (stoit’), meaning “to cost.”

You may add the name of the thing that you want to know the price of. Also remember that you should use it in the subjective case. For example:

  • Сколько стоит авиабилет? (Skol’ko stoit aviabilet?) – “How much is the air ticket?”

Possible Answer

The answer depends on the situation. For example:

  • Это стоит два доллара. (Eto stoit dva dollara.) – “It costs two dollars.”

11. Conclusion

We sincerely hope that you’ve learned the basics of asking questions in Russian. Of course, this topic is enormous, and one article isn’t enough to cover it fully. Moreover, there are so many situations in day-to-day life which require their own sets of questions. That’s why memorizing questions in Russian isn’t as effective as understanding how to make them. This is especially true if you’ve been learning the language for a while.

We really recommend that you learn how to ask questions in Russian by reading articles on our website, RussianPod101.com, or with the help of our premium service MyTeacher. The second option is perfect for those who want to start using questions and answers in Russian as soon as possible. Your native Russian-speaking teacher will guide you through all the ins and outs of this topic during private lessons, so it will be really effective. You can try out our service right now, and be 100% satisfied with its quality!

What other questions in Russian would you like to learn? Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section below!

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Our Preparation Guide for the TORFL Russian Language Exam

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At some point in your Russian-learning journey, you’ll probably want to test your mettle and see how far you’ve come. After all, few things are as motivating as tangible progress! 

To establish your proficiency in Russian, you have to pass the international TORFL test. If you don’t know much about this examination, read our article to learn the basics. If you’ve already decided to take the main Russian test for foreigners, you should stick around too, because we’ll help you prepare for the big day!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Russian Table of Contents
  1. General Info on the TORFL Russian Language Test
  2. Who Needs to Take the TORFL Russian Exam?
  3. What’s Inside the TORFL?
  4. How to Pass the TORFL Russian Language Test
  5. Where to Take the TORFL Practice Test
  6. What is the Minimum Score to Get the TORFL Certificate?
  7. What if I Fail the Test?
  8. Conclusion

1. General Info on the TORFL Russian Language Test

TORFL, created in 1998, stands for “Test of Russian as a Foreign Language.” The TORFL is the most authoritative test for foreigners studying Russian.

The main goal of this famous language examination is to determine a person’s level of language proficiency. We’ll talk about each of the possible levels in the following sections.

Elementary Level / A1

Achieving a good score on the Elementary Level of the TORFL shows that a student has a basic competence in Russian. It clearly demonstrates that this student is able to satisfy the elementary needs of communication in a restricted number of daily situations. In addition, successfully passing the TORFL A1 means that a foreigner can:

  • Use a minimal set of linguistic resources
  • Read very short and easy texts
  • Understand slow and simple speech with long pauses

Basic Level / A2

A person who has successfully passed the Basic Level test can satisfy his elementary communication needs without any problems. If you’ve performed well on this level, you may not be afraid of going to Russia and having small conversations with native speakers. Achieving a satisfactory score on this level is also enough to get citizenship in Russia.

Do note, however, that the A2 level is NOT the minimum for acceptance into Russian universities; you’ll need to attain a higher level for this. Preparatory faculties and schools are the exception here, and they often teach students Russian as part of their training. 

This TORFL level is also insufficient for establishing deep connections with Russian people who use only their mother tongue.

A Woman Reading a Book on a Bus

If you dream of studying in Russia, you have to start learning and mastering the language. There is no other way.

The First Certification Level / B1

If you’ve passed the TORFL B1 exam, it means that you have an intermediate level of Russian language competence. You may support conversations about your life, culture, education, and profession. At the same time, you’re still not ready to communicate in Russian freely, because you’ll sometimes need help or preparation for it.

Attaining the B1 certificate for this Russian language test gives you the opportunity to go to any Russian university you’d like. But remember that there are still many things related to the Russian language that you don’t know, and you’ll have to continue studying hard in the future.

The Second Level Certificate / B2

People who manage to perform well on the B2 exam and attain the Second Level Certificate can gratify their needs for communication with other people in a broad range of spheres. They can understand natives talking and writing about culture, politics, and other more-complex themes without using a dictionary.

The certificate of the Second Level of the main Russian foreign language test allows a person to receive a degree from a Russian university. This person may also perform professional activities related to:

  • Humanitarian sciences (not including philology)
  • Engineering
  • Natural sciences

The Third Level Certificate / C1

If a foreigner successfully attains the Third Level Certificate, then this foreigner has excellent skills in communication with native speakers. Moreover, he can definitely:

  • Read and understand long texts
  • Capture details and hidden meanings in complex texts and speeches, even if they have nothing to do with his own specialty
  • Fluently talk about abstract topics for a long time with ease

Such deep knowledge of Russian, proven by this language certificate, gives a person many opportunities. For example, having this level of Russian allows someone to work in difficult spheres and fields such as linguistics.

A Woman Raising Her Hand in Class

There are a few foreigners working as linguists in Russia. You can be one of them if you study Russian really hard!

The Fourth Level Certificate / C2

Excellent performance on the C2 exam represents a real proficiency in understanding and speaking Russian. If someone has gotten to this level, it means that his competence in the language is not far away from the level of a native speaker.

The Fourth Level Certificate also gives its owner an opportunity to receive a Master of Arts degree in philology. With this, a foreigner can choose any kind of work in the sphere of philology.

2. Who Needs to Take the TORFL Russian Exam?

Language Skills

Not everyone who learns Russian needs to take this test, though it can be really helpful for those who:

  • Are going to receive education in a Russian-speaking country
  • Need to be licensed or certified in a particular sphere (in most cases, connected to languages)
  • Need to show their language mastery for immigration purposes
  • Simply want to check their Russian language skills in a formal setting

3. What’s Inside the TORFL?

The TORFL foreign Russian language test is composed of five parts. The difficulty and duration of each part varies depending on the level. These five parts are:

Reading

In this part, a student must demonstrate his ability to read a text (or various texts), perfectly understanding it or them. The reading portion of the test is normally composed of three tasks. The duration of this section is 50 minutes for levels A1, A2, and B1; for levels B2, C1, and C2, it is 90 minutes.

Writing

Here, students must reproduce the context of a given text and write a unique composition. It may be a letter, a card, or anything else. During this stage, students are usually asked to complete three different tasks. The duration of this section is 50 minutes for levels A1 and A2; levels B1 and C1 suggest 60 minutes for the writing section; for B2, it’s 55 minutes; for C2 it’s 80 minutes.

Listening

The number of tasks varies depending on the level. Keep in mind that this portion of the test can use both audio and video items. The listening sections for levels A1 and C1 will require 30 minutes, while the same section for levels A2 and B1 will take 35 minutes. The duration for level B2 is 40 minutes; for level C2, it’s 50 minutes.

Oral Competence

This part of the Russian proficiency exam looks at how a student participates in conversations with other people. The oral competence part may consist of two or four different sections, depending on the level. The duration of this section is 25 minutes (levels A2, B1, B2, and C1), 30 minutes for level A1, and 45 minutes for level C2.

Structural Competence

Here, students must be ready to show their knowledge of the Russian linguistic system. To pass it, they need to know structural rules, grammar points, and other aspects of the language’s linguistic system. The student will also need to know a lot of Russian vocabulary to pass. The grammar and vocabulary section will last 50 minutes for levels A1 and A2, 60 minutes for levels B1 and C2, and 90 minutes for levels B2 and C1.

A Woman Thinking while Doing Homework

All of the parts are important and ranked equally.

4. How to Pass the TORFL Russian Language Test

If you’re a foreigner, you probably won’t pass the exam without good preparation. This is especially true if you’re trying to get the Certificate for the Third or even the Fourth level. Be ready to begin preparing for your Russian proficiency exam at least a month in advance.

There are several ways to prepare:

  • Regularly do TORFL tests online
  • Regularly do paper-based tests
  • Get support from a teacher or tutor
  • Find other people preparing for the test and study with them
  • Find native speakers and talk with them as much as possible
A Group of People Chatting at a Table

Native speakers are the best help in learning a language.

5. Where to Take the TORFL Practice Test

You may test your Russian language level through any organization that’s authorized for handling the TORFL examination. Such organizations are located not only in Russia and other CIS countries, but also in Europe and the USA; you won’t have any difficulties finding them and taking a practice test!

6. What is the Minimum Score to Get the TORFL Certificate?

If you want to pass this Russian test and get the certificate, you need to score no less than sixty-six percent for every section. Keep in mind that this exam is made with some security features to prevent cheating. But once you pass, your certificate will be valid forever.

A Woman Shaking Hands with Someone and Getting a Certificate

This certificate may be yours!

7. What if I Fail the Test?

If you don’t receive the minimum score in one or two of the sections, you may retake that part of the test again for the full price of the exam. And if you failed more than two of the sections, you can retake the entire test for the full price. 

If you fail only one of the sections, you’ll receive a certificate that’s valid for just two years. Of course, in the future, you’ll be able to retake your Russian language test for the full price and get the non-expiring certificate.

8. Conclusion

In this helpful guide, you’ve learned everything you need to know about the TORFL. If you want to test successfully and receive the certificate, be sure to use the free audio recordings and other useful resources on RussianPod101.com. They’ll help you master Russian while having fun.

If you want to increase your chances of passing the TORFL, use our premium service MyTeacher. You’ll get personal one-on-one coaching with a private tutor. Your teacher will help you prepare for your future Russian language examination in accordance with your current level of knowledge. Don’t waste your time; start preparing right now!

What level of Russian proficiency do you think you have right now? Do you feel prepared for the TORFL now? Please, let us know in the comments section below.

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Essential Russian Sentence Patterns to Know

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

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

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

1. Linking Nouns: A is B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Whispering Something in a Woman’s Ear

Don’t skimp on compliments!

3. Expressing “Want”: I Want (to)…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Expressing “Like”: I Like (to)…

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something: Please…

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

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

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

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

Being polite in Russian is as easy as in English.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Talking on a Date

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

9. Asking About Time: When is…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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100 Must-Know Russian Adverbs List

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Why learn about Russian adverbs and Russian adverb rules?

Imagine you’re in a city you’ve never been to and you’re asking for directions. The person knows exactly where you should go, but they just keep repeating “Go, then turn, then go.” You’re stunned. What’s going on? 

This is what life without adverbs would look like. As soon as you include “straight,” “left,” and “right” in the conversation with that passer-by, the interaction suddenly makes much more sense. This is what adverbs do: they add minor and major nuances to our everyday life.

So, you actually have a solid reason to be interested in adverbs, and you’re in the right place to learn more about adverbs in Russian! In this article, we’ll cover Russian adverbs placement, their formation, and—more importantly—we’ll provide you with an extensive list of the 100 most useful Russian adverbs you should know. 

This article is aimed at intermediate Russian learners. However, beginners will also benefit from learning the basics about Russian adverbs, and advanced students will improve their vocabulary and understand more complex Russian structures by reading through our examples.

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  1. Tell Me More About Russian Adverbs
  2. The 100 Most Useful Russian Adverbs
  3. A Bonus from RussianPod101

1. Tell Me More About Russian Adverbs

Top Verbs

1 – What is an Adverb?

Adverbs are words that specify the meaning of verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They can completely change the meaning, or simply make it more precise. Unlike the majority of words in Russian, adverbs do not have gender, case, or number. They never change, but they can have comparative and superlative forms. We’ll talk about them in a minute.

Let’s have a look at some examples of Russian adverbs:

  • Медленно (medlenno) — “Slowly”
  • Быстро (bystro) — “Fast”
  • Прямо (pryamo) — “Straight”

And this is how these adverbs can be used with the verb идти (idti), meaning “to walk”:

  • Я иду медленно. (Ya idu medlenno.) — “I walk slowly.”
  • Я иду быстро. (Ya idu bystro.) — “I walk fast.”
  • Я иду прямо. (Ya idu pryamo.) — “I walk straight.”

As you can see, the first two adverbs change the way I walk, the speed. As for the third one, it’s specifying the direction: I’m walking straight, not left or right. By the way, some Russian adverbs are not adverbs in English; sometimes they don’t even have a direct equivalent, so be ready for surprises!

2 – How Do I Spot an Adverb?

Woman with Magnifying Glass

Russian adverbs are formed from various parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, and so on. However, deriving adverbs from adjectives is the most common way, just like in English. So how does it work in Russian?

Here’s how to form Russian adverbs this way:

хорош ИЙ  (khorishiy) >> хорош +O = хорошО (khorosho)

“Good” >> “Well”

Did you understand what happened? We removed the ending of the adjective and added “o” instead. Basically, an adverb derived from an adjective coincides with the neuter short form of this adjective. You can learn more about short adjectives with RussianPod101.com (available to signed-up users only).

Let’s consider an example:

  • Adjective: Это хороший фильм. (Eto khoroshiy fil’m.) — “This is a good movie.”
  • Adverb: Она хорошо поёт. (Ona khorosho poyot.) — “She sings well.”

As the word order is pretty flexible in Russian, adverbs can go either before or after the word they modify, preferably before.

Look at the different adverb positions:

  • Саша весело смеётся. (Sasha veselo smeyotsya.) — “Sasha is joyfully laughing.”
  • Саша смеётся весело. (Sasha smeyotsya veselo.) — “Sasha is laughing joyfully.”

You might be wondering, “So if you say that an adverb derived from an adjective looks exactly like its short neuter form, how do I know the difference between adverbs and adjectives?” 

Easily. First, adjectives usually answer questions like “What kind?” or “Which?”, and adverbs answer questions such as “How?”, “Where?”, “When?”, “How much?”, “Why?”, and “What for?” Second, the neuter adjective agrees with the noun in gender and number; the adverb, as mentioned above, does not. 

Compare: 

  • Он красиво играет на гитаре. (On krasivo igrayet na gitare.) — “He plays the guitar beautifully.”
  • Кольцо красиво. (Koltso krasivo.) — “The ring is beautiful.”

I’m pretty sure you can tell which one is the adverb and which one is the adjective even without the translation. Look at these two sentences and explain your choice using the rule above. Give it a go!

Just like in English, there are also some adverbs that look like prepositions. And there is a way to distinguish between them as well! A preposition can’t be separated from the noun, while an adverb is an independent word and it’s not going to hide behind anyone’s back when you ask “How?”, “Where?”, “When?”, “How much?”, “Why?”, and “What for?”

Compare:

  • Вокруг дома растут деревья. (Vokrug doma rastut derev’ya.) — “There are trees growing around the house.”
  • Вокруг было тихо. (Vokrug bylo tikho.) — “It was quiet around.”

So in the first sentence, вокруг дома (vokrug doma), meaning “around the house,” is an inseparable union,  and if you want to ask the question “Where?”, the answer is going to feature both words: вокруг дома (vokrug doma). However, in the second sentence, вокруг (vokrug) can answer the question “Where?” alone.

3 – Any Interesting Features of Russian Language Adverbs?

Remember how I mentioned that adverbs can have comparative and superlative forms? Indeed, most adverbs derived from adjectives keep their ability to form degrees of comparison. 

The comparative degree, or Russian comparative adverbs, can be formed in two ways:

  1. By adding -ее (-eye) to the end of the adverb (with some exceptions)
  • Весело (veselo) >> веселее (veseleye) — “Fun” >> “funner”
  • Быстро (bystro) >> быстрее (bystreye) — “Fast” >> “faster”
  1. By adding the words более (boleye) meaning “more” and менее (meneye) meaning “less”
  • Глубоко (gluboko) >> более глубоко (boleye gluboko) — “Deep” >> “deeper”
  • Глубоко (gluboko) >> менее глубоко (meneye gluboko) — “Deep” >> “less deep”

As a rule of thumb, you can choose whichever scheme you like; they’re pretty much equal. 

It’s a bit more complicated with the superlative form. The scheme is as follows:

Simple comparative form (ending with -ее) + words всех (vsekh) or всего (vsego) meaning “of all”

  • Интересно (interesno) >> интереснее всех (interesneye vsekh) —
    “Interesting” >> “the most interesting of all”
  • Далеко (daleko) >> дальше всех (dal’she vsekh) — “Far” >> “the farthest of all”

So now you have some solid background knowledge about what Russian adverbs are, what purpose they serve, and how they can change their form. You’re now ready for our comprehensive list of the 100 most common Russian adverbs! Let’s dive in!

2. The 100 Most Useful Russian Adverbs

There are many ways to classify adverbs, each one with its own purpose and reason. For this article, we’ve chosen the classification based on what question each adverb answers. It will be easier to remember the Russian adverbs divided by their functions.

1 – Russian Adverbs of Place (Where?)

East and West

Have you been to Russia? What’s the main attraction every tourist knows about? Let’s see if your guess was correct. Read the dialogue between a tour guide and a tourist.

1

Далеко (daleko)
“Far”
А далеко Красная площадь
A daleko Krasnaya ploshchad’?
“Is the Red Square far?”

2

Близко (blizko)
“Close”
Нет, совсем близко.
Net, sovsem blizko.
“No, it’s really close.”

3

Здесь (zdes’)
“Here”
Мы на месте. Посмотрите, здесь у нас храм.
My na meste. Posmotrite, zdes’ u nas khram.
“That’s the place. Look, here we have the church.”

4

Там (tam)
“(Over) there”
А там — Мавзолей.
A tam — Mavzoley.
“And the mausoleum is over there.”

5

Справа (sprava)
“To the right”
Справа от храма Кремль.
Sprava ot khrama Kreml’.
“The Kremlin is to the right of the church.”

6

Слева (sleva)
“To the left”
Слева от Кремля ГУМ. Это торговый центр.
Sleva ot Kremlya GUM. Eto torgovyy tsentr.
“GUM is to the left of the Kremlin. GUM is a shopping mall.”

7

Наверху (naverkhu)
“On the top”
Кремль легко узнать. У него наверху звезда.
Kreml’ legko uznat’. U nego naverkhu zvezda.
“It’s easy to recognize the Kremlin. It has a star on the top.”

8

Внизу (vnizu)
“At the bottom”
Внизу у Кремля стоит охрана.
Vnizu u Kremlya stoit okhrana.
“There are guards at the bottom of the Kremlin.”

9

Где-нибудь (gde-nibud’)
“Somewhere”
А здесь где-нибудь можно купить матрёшку?
A zdes’ gde-nibud’ mozhno kupit’ matryoshku?
“Can I buy a Russian doll somewhere here?”

10

Нигде (nigde)
“Nowhere”
“No… anywhere”
Тут только красивые здания, а сувениров нигде нет.
Tut tol’ko krasivyye zdaniya, a suvenirov nigde net.
“There are only beautiful buildings around, but I don’t see souvenirs anywhere.”

11

Везде (vezde)
“Everywhere”
И везде люди с фотоаппаратами.
I vezde lyudi s fotoapparatami.
“And people with cameras are everywhere.”

12

Дома (doma)
“At home”
Хочу матрёшку. Дома похвастаюсь, что был в России.
Khochu matryoshku. Doma pokhvastayus’, chto byl v Rossii.
“I want a Russian doll. I want to boast at home that I’ve been to Russia.”
Note: Just like in English, дома (doma), meaning “at home,” doesn’t necessarily imply “in your house.” It can also refer to your neighborhood, city, or country.

Even if you haven’t been to Russia yet, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard about the Red Square. Do you know what it looks like? Have a look at this 360° panorama of the Red Square in Moscow. Can you find the church? Where is the Kremlin? Is it справа (sprava) or слева (sleva)?

By the way, we have a similar dialogue example with audio on RussianPod101.com. If you want more practice, check it out (available to signed-up users only)!

2 – Russian Adverbs of Direction (Where to?)

Have you read Russian fairy-tales? If yes, you should remember a very prominent inanimate character—a stone that gives you a hard choice of where to go at the junction. Which direction should I go? There is no good choice. Well, actually, there is. You can get familiar with the well-known Russian fairy-tale about the Firebird, read about the stone, and see what choice the main character makes. 

And then proceed through our list of adverbs!

13

Куда-то (kuda-to)
“Somewhere”
Снится мне сон, что я куда-то иду.
Snitsya mne son, chto ya kuda-to idu.
“I had a dream that I was going somewhere.”

14

Вперёд (vperyod)
“Forward”
Смотрю вперёд и вижу камень, как в русских сказках.
Smotryu vperyod i vizhu kamen’, kak v russkikh skazkakh.
 “I look forward and see a stone like the one in Russian fairy-tales.”

15

Налево (nalevo)
“(To the) left”
На камне написано: «Налево пойдёшь — счастье найдёшь».
Na kamne napisano: «Nalevo poydyosh’ — shchast’ye naydyosh’».
“The stone says, ‘If you go left, you will find your happiness.’”

16

Направо (napravo)
“(To the) right”
«Направо пойдёшь — богатство найдёшь».
«Napravo poydyosh’ — bogatstvo naydyosh’».
“‘If you go right, you will find wealth.’”

17

Назад (nazad)
“Back(wards)”
«Назад пойдёшь — беду встретишь».
«Nazad poydyosh’ — bedu vstretish’».
“’If you go back, you will only find misfortune.’”

18

Обратно (obratno)
“Back”
Я понял, что обратно идти нельзя.
Ya ponyal, chto obratno idti nel’zya.
“I realized that I can’t go back.”

19

Туда (tuda)
“There”
Счастье — это хорошо, но справа деньги обещают. Пошёл туда.
Shchast’ye — eto khorosho, no sprava den’gi obeshchayut. Poshyol tuda.
“Happiness is good, but I was promised money on the right. So I went there.”

20

Вверх (vverkh)
“Up”
Долго я шёл вверх по горам.
Dolgo ya shyol vverkh po goram.
“I was going up the mountains for a long time.”

21

Сюда (syuda)
“Here”
Думал: «Зачем я сюда пошёл?»
Dumal: «Zachem ya syuda poshyol?»
“I was thinking, ‘Why did I ever go here?’”

22

Вниз (vniz)
“Down”
С вершины холма заметил дом и пошёл вниз.
S vershiny kholma zametil dom i poshyol vniz.
“I spotted a house from the top of the hill, so I went down.”

23

Домой (domoy)
“Back home”
Зашёл в него: оказалось, вернулся домой к жене. 
Zashyol v nego: okazalos’, vernulsya domoy k zhene.
“I entered the place. It turned out I returned back home to my wife.”

24

Никуда (nikuda)
“Nowhere” = “Anywhere”
Понял, что семья — моё богатство, никуда за ним ходить не надо.
Ponyal, chto sem’ya — moyo bogatstvo, nikuda za nim khodit’ ne nado.
“I realized that my family is my wealth, and that I don’t need to go anywhere to find it.”

Note: Some adverbs of place and adverbs of direction might sound similar in English. However, there is a distinction in Russian. The difference is that the adverbs of direction indicate the process of moving somewhere, while adverbs of place actually imply that the subject is already at the place. 

3 – Russian Adverbs of Time (When? and How?)

Now, Tomorrow, Yesterday Signs

What is your reason for learning Russian? Do you feel like you need a push sometimes? Get a burst of motivation while reading through these Russian time adverbs! 

25

Недавно (nedavno)
“Recently”
Недавно ты решил начать изучать русский язык.
Nedavno ty reshil izuchat’ russkiy yazyk.
“Recently, you have decided to learn Russian.”

26

Ещё (yeshchyo)
“Yet” = “Still”
Ты ещё не знаешь всех слов.
Ty yeshchyo ne znayesh’ vsekh slov.
“You don’t know all the words yet.”

27

Уже (uzhe)
“Already”
Но уже что-то понимаешь.
No uzhe chto-to ponimayesh’.
“But you already understand something.”

28

Когда-нибудь (kogda-nibud’)
“One day”
Когда-нибудь ты точно заговоришь по-русски.
Kogda-nibud’ ty tochno zagovorish’ po-russki.
“One day, you will definitely speak Russian.”

29

Пока (poka)
“For now”
Пока давай вспомним правила эффективного изучения языка.
Poka davay vspomnim pravila effektivnogo izucheniya yazyka.
“For now, let’s review the rules of effective language learning.”

30

Заранее (zaraneye)
“In advance”
Заранее реши, чего ты хочешь достичь в изучении языка.
Zaraneye reshi, chego ty khochesh’ dostich’ v izuchenii yazyka.
“Decide in advance what you want to reach in language learning.”

31

Сразу (srazu)
“At once”
Не учи сразу по 100 слов.
Ne uchi srazu po 100 slov.
“Don’t learn 100 words at once.”

32

Быстро (bystro)
“Quickly”
Ты их быстро забудешь.
Ty ikh bystro zabudesh’.
“You will quickly forget them.”

33

Сначала (snachala)
“First”
Сначала выучи простые и нужные слова.
Snachala vyuchi prostyye i nuzhnyye slova.
“First learn simple and necessary words.”

34

Потом (potom)
“Later”
Уже потом можно выучить «отвёртка» и «материнская плата».
Uzhe potom mozhno vyuchit’ «otvyortka» i «materinskaya plata».
“And later, you can learn the words ‘screwdriver’ and ‘motherboard.’”

35

Скоро (skoro)
“Soon”
А то скоро сможешь обсуждать мировые проблемы, а еду в ресторане заказать не сможешь.
A to skoro smozhesh’ obsuzhdat’ mirovyye problemy, a edu v restorane zakazat’ ne smozhesh’.
“Otherwise, you will soon be able to discuss global problems but not order food in a restaurant.”

36

Долго (dolgo)
“For a long time”
Учить язык долго, но интересно.
Uchit’ yazyk dolgo, no interesno.
“You can learn a language for a long time, but it’s fun.”

37

Всегда (vsegda)
“Always”
Всегда узнаёшь что-то новое.
Vsegda uznayosh’ chto-to novoye.
“You always learn new stuff.”

38

Обычно (obychno)
“Usually”
Обычно хватает шести месяцев, чтобы начать понимать и говорить.
Obychno khvatayet shesti mesyatsev, chtoby nachat’ ponimat’ i govorit’.
“Usually, six months is enough to start understanding and speaking.”

39

Впервые (vpervyye)
“For the first time”
Главное — не опускать руки, когда впервые столкнёшься с трудностями.
Glavnoye — ne opuskat’ ruki, kogda vpervyye stolknyosh’sya s trudnostyami.
“It’s important to not give up when you face difficulties for the first time.”

40

Постоянно (postoyanno)
“Regularly”
Чтобы выучить язык, нужно постоянно практиковаться.
Chtoby vyuchit’ yazyk, nuzhno postoyanno praktikovat’sya.
“To learn a language, you need to practice regularly.”

41

Часто (chasto)
“Often”
Часто нам не хватает времени.
Chasto nam ne khvatayet vremeni.
“Often, we don’t have time.”

42

Некогда (nekogda)
“To have no time”
Ты можешь найти 15 минут, даже если тебе постоянно некогда.
Ty mozhesh’ nayti 15 minut, dazhe yesli tebe postoyanno nekogda.
“You can spare 15 minutes, even if you seem to have no time at all.”

43

Никогда (nikogda)
“Never”
Никогда не ленись.
Nikogda ne lenis’.
“Never allow yourself to be lazy.”

44

Редко (redko)
“Rarely”
Редко кому удаётся достичь желаемого без усилий.
Redko komu udayotsya dostich’ zhelayemogo bez usiliy.
“One can rarely achieve their goal effortlessly.”

45

Иногда (inogda)
“Sometimes”
Иногда хочется всё бросить. Вспомни, зачем ты начал.
Inogda khochetsya vsyo brosit’. Vspomni, zachem ty nachal.
“Sometimes you feel like giving it all up. Remember why you started.”

46

Снова (snova)
“Once again”
Давай снова повторим известные принципы продуктивности.
Davay snova povtorim izvestnyye printsipy produktivnosti.
“Let’s repeat the well-known rules of productivity once again.”

47

Рано (rano)
“Early”
Говорят, что лучше вставать рано, ведь утро — самое продуктивное время суток.
Govoryat, chto luchshe vstavat’ rano, ved’ utro — samoye produktivnoye vremya sutok.
“People say it’s better to get up early: the morning is considered to be the most productive time of the day.”

48

Поздно (pozdno)
“Late”
И лучше не ложиться поздно.
I luchshe ne lozhit’sya pozdno.
“And it’s better not to go to bed too late.”

49

Давно (davno)
“Long (time ago)”
Хотя давно известно, что у каждого свой ритм.
Khotya davno izvestno, chto u kazhdogo svoy ritm.
“Even though it has long been recognized that everybody’s got their own rhythm.”

50

Завтра (zavtra)
“Tomorrow”
Перестань откладывать дела на завтра.
Perestan’ otkladyvat’ dela na zavtra.
“Stop putting it off till tomorrow.”

51

Сегодня (segodnya)
“Today”
Через год ты пожалеешь, что не начал сегодня.
Cherez god ty pozhaleyesh’, chto ne nachal segodnya.
“In a year from now, you will regret not starting today.”

52

Вчера (vchera)
“Yesterday”
Каждый день старайся быть лучше, чем вчера.
Kazhdyy den’ staraysya byt’ luchshe, chem vchera.
“Every day, try to be better than yesterday.”

53

Однажды (odnazhdy)
“One day”
Однажды ты будешь благодарен себе за терпение.
Odnazhdy ty budesh’ blagodaren sebe za terpeniye.
“One day, you will be grateful for your patience.”

54

Сейчас (seychas)
“Now”
Начни действовать прямо сейчас! Выучи 10 новых наречий.
Nachni deystvovat’ pryamo seychas! Vyuchi 10 novykh narechiy.
“Start acting right now! Learn 10 new adverbs.”

By the way, here’s a helpful guide about how to learn foreign words effectively. It could be useful for you!

4 – Russian Adverbs of Degree (How much?)

More Essential Verbs

It would be useful to know these adverbs if you go to the market to buy some food. Otherwise, how would you stop that nice lady from putting more and more green peppers into your bag? Or prevent your friend from drinking too much? Look at how our two friends are dealing with this issue.

55

Много (mnogo)
“Much”
Ты зачем столько много пил вчера?
Ty zachem stol’ko mnogo pil vchera?
“Why did you drink so much yesterday?”

56

Мало (malo)
“Little,” “not enough”
Мало тебе проблем с женой?
Malo tebe problem s zhenoy?
“Don’t you have enough problems with your wife?”

57

Чуть-чуть (chut’-chut’)
“Tiny bit”
Да я выпил-то совсем чуть-чуть.
Da ya vypil-to sovsem chut’-chut’.
“But I drank just a tiny bit.”

58

Примерно (primerno)
“Approximately”
Примерно пять бутылок пива.
Primerno pyat’ butylok piva.
“Five bottles of beer, approximately.”

59

Достаточно (dostatochno)
“Enough”
Достаточно, чтобы сегодня болела голова.
Dostatochno, chtoby segodnya bolela golova.
“Enough to have a headache today.”

60

Немного (nemnogo)
“A bit”
Ну, немного перебрал.
Nu, nemnogo perebral.
“Well yeah, I drank a bit too much.”

61

Только (tol’ko)
“Just”
Я ж только расслабиться хотел!
Ya zh tol’ko rasslabit’sya khotel!
“I just wanted to relax!”

62

Больше (bol’she)
“More”
Больше пить не буду!
Bol’she pit’ ne budu!
“I’m not going to drink anymore!”

63

Меньше (men’she)
“Less,” “fewer”
Правильно, меньше будет проблем.
Pravil’no, men’she budet problem.
“That’s right, you’ll have fewer problems.”

64

Слишком (slishkom)
“Too much,” “too many”
Если в жизни слишком много стресса, давай лучше на природу съездим!
Yesli v zhizni slishkom mnogo stressa, davay luchshe na prirodu s’yezdim!
“If you have too much stress in your life, let’s just have a nature trip!”

65

Тоже (tozhe)
“As well”
Прогулки в лесу тоже отлично расслабляют.
Progulki v lesu tozhe otlichno rasslablyayut.
“Walking in the forest can relax you as well.”

66

Очень (ochen’)
“Very”
Свежий воздух и тишина очень полезны.
Svezhiy vozdukh i tishina ochen’ polezny.
“Fresh air and silence are very healthy.”

67

Почти (pochti)
“Almost”
Я почти каждую неделю езжу туда отдыхать от шумного города.
Ya pochti kazhduyu nedelyu ezzhu tuda otdykhat’ ot shumnogo goroda.
“I go there almost every week to take a break from the buzzing city.”

5 – Russian Adverbs of Manner (How?)

This is the biggest category of all, by far. The variety of sentences here includes all possible adjectives converted into adverbs. Can you identify which adverbs used to be adjectives?

68

Хорошо (khorosho)
“Nicely,” “well”
Она хорошо справилась с тестом.
Ona khorosho spravilas’ s testom.
“She did well on the test.”

69

Плохо (plokho)
“Bad”
Он плохо воспринял новости. 
On plokho vosprinyal novosti.
“He reacted badly to the news.”

70

Вместе (vmeste)
“Together”
Давай сходим на концерт вместе?
Davay skhodim na kontsert vmeste?
“Let’s go to the concert together?”

71

Наоборот (naoborot)
“Vice versa”
Пиццу — в духовку, пиво — в холодильник, а не наоборот!
Pitstsu — v dukhovku, pivo — v kholodil’nik, a ne naoborot!
“Pizza goes in the oven, beer goes in the fridge, not vice versa!”

72

Легко (legko)
“Easily”
Да я легко 100 метров за 14 секунд пробегу!
Da ya legko 100 metrov za 14 sekund probegu!
“I will easily run a hundred meters in 14 seconds!”

73

Сложно (slozhno)
“Difficult”
Сложно быть умнее всех. 
Slozhno byt’ umneye vsekh.
“It’s difficult to be the smartest one.”

74

Специально (spetsial’no)
“On purpose”
Я специально несколько банок купил, чтоб на дольше хватило!
Ya spetsial’no neskol’ko banok kupil, chtob na dol’she khvatilo!
“I bought several jars on purpose so that they last longer!”

75

Зря (zrya)
“For nothing”
Магазин закрыт, зря ходил.
Magazin zakryt, zrya khodil.
“The shop is closed, I’ve been there for nothing.”

76

По-русски (po-russki)
“In Russian”
Как сказать это по-русски?
Kak skazat’ eto po-russki?
“How do you say it in Russian?”

77

По-английски (po-angliyski)
“In English”
Я свободно говорю по-английски.
Ya svobodno govoryu po-angliyski.
“I’m fluent in English.”

78

Наизусть (naizust’)
“By heart”
Я выучил стихотворение наизусть.
Ya vyuchil stikhotvoreniye naizust’.
“I’ve learned the poem by heart.”

79

Правильно (pravil’no)
“Rightly” = “Correctly”
Мы правильно решили пример.
My pravil’no reshili primer.
“We have solved the equation correctly.”

80

Случайно (sluchayno)
“Accidentally”
Он случайно наступил мне на ногу.
On sluchayno nastupil mne na nogu.
“He accidentally stepped on my foot.”

81

Пешком (peshkom)
“On foot”
Я решил идти на работу пешком.
Ya reshil idti na rabotu peshkom.
“I’ve decided to go to work on foot.”

82

Медленно (medlenno)
“Slowly”
Старушка медленно спускалась по лестнице.
Starushka medlenno spuskalas’ po lestnitse.
“The old lady was slowly walking down the stairs.”

83

Обязательно (obyazatel’no)
“Definitely,” “necessarily”
В Москве обязательно посетите Красную площадь.
V Moskve obyazatel’no posetite Krasnuyu ploshchad’.
“You should definitely visit the Red Square in Moscow.”

84

Бесплатно (besplatno)
“For free”
На YouTube можно смотреть видео бесплатно.
Na YouTube mozhno smotret’ video besplatno.
“You can watch videos on YouTube for free.”

85

Вкусно (vkusno)
“Deliciously”
Мой папа вкусно готовит.
Moy papa vkusno gotovit.
“My father cooks deliciously.”

86

Особенно (osobenno)
“Especially”
Мне часто хочется спать, особенно после обеда.
Mne chasto khochetsya spat’, osobenno posle obeda.
“I’m often sleepy, especially after lunch.”

87

Осторожно (ostorozhno)
“Carefully,” “with caution”
Он осторожно открыл дверь.
On ostorozhno otkryl dver’.
“He opened the door with caution.”

6 – Russian Adverbs of State

The following list doesn’t include adverbs, technically. However, these words—adverbs of state—behave (and look!) like adverbs of manner, so they deserve a separate section in our article. The adverbs of state indicate feelings and states of people and animals. 

Compare:

  • Adverb of state: Ему холодно. (Yemu kholodno.) — “He’s cold.”
  • Adverb of manner: На улице холодно. (Na ulitse kholodno.) — “It’s cold outside.”
Snowy Scene

We use pronouns and nouns in the dative case with adverbs of state. To review the forms of personal pronouns in dative, you can check this link (available to signed-up users only).

88

Холодно (kholodno)
“Cold”
Мне холодно.
Mne kholodno.
“I’m cold.”

89

Жарко (zharko)
“Hot”
Тебе жарко?
Tebe zharko?
“Are you hot?”

90

Скучно (skuchno)
“Boring,” “bored”
Нам скучно.
Nam skuchno.
“We are bored.”

91

Интересно (interesno)
“Interesting,” “interested”
Ей очень интересно.
Yey ochen’ interestno.
“She’s really interested.”

92

Грустно (grustno)
“Sad,” “sadly”
Вам грустно?
Vam grustno?
“Are you sad?”

93

Весело (veselo)
“To have fun”
Им весело.
Im veselo.
“They are having fun.”
Весело (veselo)
“To have fun”

7 – Russian Adverbs as Questions

Remember we discussed the questions that Russian adverbs answer? The truth is, the questions themselves are actually adverbs! Surprised? Have a look at the example sentences. 

94

Где (gde)
“Where”
Где ты живешь? 
Gde ty zhivesh?
“Where do you live?”

95

Когда (kogda)
“When”
Когда ты начал изучать русский язык? 
Kogda ty nachal izuchat’ russkiy yazyk?
“When did you start learning Russian?”

96

Куда (kuda)
“Where to”
Куда бы ты хотел поехать в отпуск? 
Kuda by ty khotel poyekhat’ v otpusk?
“Where would you like to go on vacation?”

97

Откуда (otkuda)
“Where from”
У тебя есть друзья из других стран? Откуда они? 
U tybya yest’ druz’ya iz drugikh stran? Otkuda oni?
“Do you have international friends? Where are they from?”

98

Зачем (zachem)
“What for”
Зачем ты учишь русский язык? 
Zachem ty uchish’ russkiy yazyk?
“What do you learn Russian for?”

99

Почему (pochemu)
“Why”
Почему ты ещё не достиг желаемого уровня?
Pochemu ty eshchyo ne dostig zhelayemogo urovnya?
“Why haven’t you reached the desired level yet?”

100

Как (kak)
“How”
Как ты будешь достигать своей цели? 
Kak ty budesh dostigat’ svoyey tseli?
“How are you going to reach your goal?”

How many questions can you answer? We would love to hear from you!

3. A Bonus from RussianPod101

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about Russian adverbs, their formation, their placement in a sentence, and you’ve been through our list of the 100 most useful Russian adverbs. How many new adverbs did you learn? Are you ready to add the new adverbs to your speech and sound more advanced?

Good job! RussianPod101 is offering you a bonus: a free list of Must-know Adverbs to Connect Your Thoughts. Make sure to check it out! 

Remember that you can also use our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, to get personal one-on-one coaching to practice adverbs and more with a private teacher. This teacher will use assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recordings to improve your pronunciation and overall language skills! Happy learning with RussianPod101!

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

Russian Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Russian

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Russian! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Russian keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Russian Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Russian
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Russian
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Russian on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Russian Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Russian Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Russian

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Russian

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Russian language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Russian websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Russian teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Russian

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Russian. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Russian, so all text will appear in Russian. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Russian on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Russian language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Russian.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Русский with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “Русский” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Russian – Русский.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Russian.”

4. Expand the option of “Russian” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Russian.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Russian,” and add the “Russian – Phonetic” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Russian Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Russian will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Russian keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Russian” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Русский” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Russian Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Russian can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Russian keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

There are two main keyboard types:

1.) Standard (ЙЦУКЕН) is what we actually use on Russian laptops/PCs, and what is usually used on tablets/smartphones.

2.) A phonetic keyboard (say, ЯВЕРТЫ) sort of matches Russian letters to

Latin letters close in pronunciation. This may be fine if you’re moderately interested in Russian, but that’s it. Also, a phonetic keyboard has an obvious advantage if your physical keyboard doesn’t have Russian letters.

7. How to Practice Typing Russian

As you probably know by now, learning Russian is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Russian typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a RussianPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Russian keyboard to do this!

Log in to Download Your Free Russian Alphabet Worksheet

Everything You Need to Know About Russian Verb Conjugation

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Russian verb conjugation… If you’re a beginner, you must be looking for your first conjugation tables to finally see what those proficient Russian learners have been intimidating you with. Or maybe you’re an intermediate learner who’s already mastered basic Russian conjugation rules and are now looking for more of a challenge. Maybe you’re an advanced learner who wouldn’t mind going over the basics again or learning new verb conjugation nuances you’ve never heard of? In any case, I’m happy to reveal some secrets to you that will help you tame the Russian verbs.

It’s not a secret that Russian grammar (and verb conjugation, in particular) are demanding. It’s a long and complicated adventure, but I’m happy to guide you through the dark forests of Russian verb conjugation tables and hold your hand while hiking up the peak of language mastery. 

What are we going to see on our way? I’ll tell you what conjugation is, what factors affect verb conjugation in Russian (tense, mood, aspect, etc.), show you some conjugation tables, and give you a handful of useful tools so that you can continue the journey alone. 

Ready for a big adventure?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Russian Table of Contents
  1. What is Conjugation?
  2. Conjugation Examples
  3. Irregular Verbs
  4. Test Your Knowledge!
  5. A Bonus from RussianPod101

1. What is Conjugation?

Top Verbs

So what is conjugation? It sounds like a complicated linguistic term, but we face this phenomenon daily.  

Conjugation means changing the basic form of a verb. The basic form of the verb—the infinitive—is what you see in the dictionary. In many conjugation tables, you can find so-called “verb derivatives”: participles, verbal adverbs, etc. They are, indeed, derived from verbs, but behave differently. They either decline like adjectives or don’t change their form at all. So in this article, we will mainly focus on verbs.

To conjugate a verb in Russian, you need to keep several features in mind:

  • Person
  • Number
  • Tense
  • Conjugation group
  • Aspect
  • Mood
  • Gender

As you can see, Russian verb conjugation differs significantly from the verb conjugation in English. I’m pretty sure you’re already familiar with some of these features, but we will brush up on all of them!

1- Person and Number

1st person singularя (ya)“I”
2nd person singularты (ty)“you” (casual)
3rd person singularон, она, оно (on, ona, ono)“he” / “she” / “it”
1st person pluralмы (my)“we”
2nd person pluralвы (vy)“you” (plural), “you” (formal)
“you” (plural), “you” (formal)они (oni)“they”

Russian verbs conjugate differently with each person.

For example: 

  • Я рисую (Ya risuyu) — “I draw.”
  • Мы рисуем (My risuyem) — “We draw.”

You can find the Russian conjugation table with the endings for each person a bit later in this article. Also, don’t hesitate to revisit the most common Russian pronouns!

2- Tense

As complicated as Russian conjugation and grammar seem overall, here’s a big relief. There are only three tenses in Russian: present, past, and future. Not difficult to guess what each of them represents!

The Present Tense

Have a look at this example:

  • покупать (pokupat’) — “to buy”
  • я покупаю (ya pokupayu) — “I buy”
  • мы покупаем (my pokupayem) — “we buy”

Did you notice what happened? We’ve changed the ending of the verb. And I’d be happy to tell you that this is just what you need to do—remove the last letters of the infinitive, and you’re golden. But, unfortunately, it’s not that easy. So grab a cup of tea and some cookies, and get comfy.

There are two sets of endings for Russian verbs, and therefore, two conjugation groups. We didn’t come up with insanely complicated names for them; we just called them “Group 1” and “Group 2.” Quite often, you can predict which group a verb belongs to by looking at the ending of the infinitive.

Russian verbs: first and second conjugation groups

Group 1Group 2
Endings -еть, -ать, -ять, -уть, -ти
(-yet’, -at’, -yat’, -ut’, -ti)

For example:

Богатеть (bogatet’) — “to get richer”
Играть (igrat’) — “to play”
Гулять (gulyat’) — “to stroll”
Гнуть (gnut’) — “to bend”
Ползти (polzti) — “to crawl”
Most verbs ending with -ить (-it’)

For example: 

Говорить (govorit’) — “to speak”
Учить (uchit’) — “to learn” / “to teach”

+ 11 exceptions, verbs that seemingly belong to Group 1:
  • Дышать (dyshat’) — “to breathe”
  • Держать (derzhat’) — “to hold”
  • Гнать (gnat’) — “to drive fast”
  • Ненавидеть (nenavidet’) — “to hate”
  • Слышать (slyshat’) — “to hear”
  • Вертеть (vertet’) — “to spin something”
  • Смотреть (smotret’) — “to look”
    Видеть (videt’) — “to see”
  • Обидеть (obidet’) — “to offend”
  • Терпеть (terpet’) — “to tolerate”
  • Зависеть (zaviset’) — “to depend”
  • PRO TIPS: 

1. You can easily identify the group by keeping in mind that eleven exceptions, and most verbs ending with -ить, belong to Group 2. The rest belong to Group 1.

2. Many infinitives end with -ть, but sometimes -ться can pop up. It’s a typical ending for reflexive verbs like одеваться (odevat’sya), meaning “to dress.”

“So, now I know about the conjugation groups. Can I finally see the endings?” 

I hope you still have some cookies left! Even though you can try to guess the Russian verb conjugation type by the infinitive endings (with a pretty high success rate!), the endings for the present tense are added onto the present tense verb stem. You can find the stem by cutting off the ending of its third person plural form (“they”). 

Confusing? Read it once again, your eyes are not deceiving you: to find the stem, you need a verb that is already conjugated. This is the only sure way to get the rest of your conjugations right. Does it seem like a lot of unnecessary steps? Spoiler: This stem will be used for other conjugations, such as the future and imperative forms. 

  • Here’s a tool that will help you tackle verb conjugations and support you until you feel confident conjugating them yourself: Context Conjugator.
  • What part of the verb do I add the endings to? 
  • The present tense stem: Remove the last two letters in third person plural + add new endings


“To play”: играть (infinitive) > играют (third plural) > игра (stem)
 

  • The infinitive: Remove the last two letters from the infinitive (usually -ть or -ти)

“To learn”: учить (infinitive, Group 2) > учи (stem)

Again, finding the stem from the third plural form is more reliable. 

Now, let’s have a look at the endings that we use for each conjugation group.

Group 1

играть (igrat’) — “to play”

я играю* (ya igrayu) — “I play”
ты играешь (ty igrayesh’) — “you play” (inf.)
он играет (on igrayet) — “he plays”
мы играем (my igrayem) — “we play”
вы играете (vy igrayete) — “you play” (f./pl.)
они играют* (oni igrayut) — “they play”
Group 2

учить (uchit’) — “to learn”, “to teach”

я учу* (ya uchu) — “I learn”
ты учишь (ty uchish’) — “you learn”
она учит (ona uchit) — “she learns”
мы учим (my uchim) — “we learn”
вы учите (vy uchite) — “you learn”
они учат* (oni uchat) — “they learn”
* Use the endings -ю, -ют after vowels or the soft sign (e.g.: я думаю, они читают).


Use -у, -ут after consonants (e.g. я расту).
* Use the endings and -ат after the letters 
Ж, Ш, Ч, Щ, and all hard consonants.


Use and -ят after soft consonants
and vowels.

As you can see, the Russian verb conjugation endings are pretty similar. The biggest difference is that changes into , and -у/ю is replaced with -а/я

  • Impatient to see all possible conjugations without getting into the details or the logic behind it? You can jump right to the Russian verb conjugation chart!

Also feel free to check this grammar section on RussianPod101.com about the conjugation of verb groups (logged-in users only).

Woman Doing Something on a Tablet

Она учится или играет? (Ona uchitsya ili igrayet?)
“Is she learning or playing?”

The Past Tense

To form Russian verbs in past tense, you need to drop the infinitive endings -ть, -ти, -чь, and add the following endings:

  • masculine: (-l)
  • feminine: -ла (-la)
  • neuter: -ло (-lo)
  • plural: -ли (-li)

Examples:

  • думать (dumat’) — “to think”
  • он думал (on dumal) — “he thought”
  • она думала (ona dumala) — “she thought”
  • мы думали (my dumali) — “we thought”
  • This is the only tense where gender plays a role.

The Future Tense

So far so good. The past tense was super-easy, wasn’t it? Back to the real business! There are two ways to create the future form in Russian:

Way 1: Appropriate form of the verb быть (byt’), meaning “to be,” + the infinitive 

писать (pisat’), meaning “to write.”

  • я буду писать (ya budu pisat’) — “I will write”
  • ты будешь писать (ty budesh’ pisat’) — “you will write” (inf.)
  • он будет писать (on budet pisat’) — “he will write”
  • мы будем писать (my budem pisat’) — “we will write”
  • вы будете писать (vy budete pisat’) — “you will write” (f./pl.)
  • они будут писать (oni budut pisat’) — “they will write”

Way 2: The perfective form of the verb + the present tense endings.

  • писать (pisat’) — “to write”
  • я напишу (ya napishu) — “I will write”

“Wait, what? What perfective form are you talking about? How do I know if I should choose Way 1 or Way 2?” 

These are really smart questions! Without further ado…the verb aspects!

3- Aspect

Due to the simplicity of the tense system in Russian, we had to come up with the idea of aspects. There are two verb aspects in Russian: imperfective and perfective. Aspects are only used when talking about the past and the future; we don’t differentiate the verbs by their aspect in the present tense!

Aspects are used to indicate the difference between an ongoing / repeating action (the imperfective aspect) and an action that was completed successfully (the perfective aspect). Doesn’t it remind you of anything? That’s right, the continuous / simple tenses in English versus the perfect tenses. The only difference is that the English present perfect is going to be considered past in Russian.

Compare:

  • я ел (ya yel) — “I was eating”
  • я поел (ya poyel) — “I’ve eaten”

What is the difference in English? What form of the verb is perfective? Which one is imperfective? I’m pretty sure you can answer these questions yourself!

Please look at those two phrases again. Have you noticed what happened to the Russian verb? We added a prefix to the verb! A prefix is a set combination of letters added before the stem of the verb. So, outfitting Russian verbs with prefixes is the most frequent way of making perfective forms. In some cases, we can make them with a suffix instead, but it’s not as common. 

The good news is that you can easily spot a perfective form by its prefix (with some minor exceptions). The bad news is that there are many prefixes to remember, and sometimes they change the meaning of the verb completely. I suggest that you memorize the prefix of the verb together with the meaning it brings.

Compare:

  • он шёл (on shel) — “he was going”
  • он пришёл (on prishel) — “he has arrived”
  • он ушёл (on ushel) — “he has gone”
  • он отошёл (on otoshel) — “he has left, but will come back soon”
  • Again, we don’t use the perfective form in the present, only in the past or in the future. So, depending on what idea you want to convey, you choose the appropriate form. 

Look at these two verbs in the past tense:

  • я видел (ya videl) — “I saw”
  • я увидел (ya uvidel) — “I have seen” / “I had seen”

And now check out these two verbs in the future:

  • я буду петь (ya budu pet’) — “I will sing” (regularly)
  • я спою (ya spoyu) — “I will sing” (once, like a promise)

Can you see the difference? The perfective form usually carries the idea of a one-time action. The imperfective form indicates that the process is ongoing or that the action repeats.

4- Mood

Just in case, this section is going to be about the grammatical mood (and not about how your mood affects the verb conjugation). Well, people tend to use more imperatives when they’re angry!

We define the mood by the intention of what we say. Do we want to talk about something that’s happening in reality? Are we imagining a hypothetical situation? Do we want to give an order to another person?

MoodExampleIntention
IndicativeЯ говорю (Ya govoryu) — “I speak”Expressing facts and reality
ImperativeГовори! (Govori!) — “Speak!” (informal)
Говорите! (Govorite!) — “Speak!” (formal)
Giving orders or instructions
ConditionalЯ бы сказал (Ya by skazal) — “I would say”Talking about a condition or a possibility

The Indicative Mood 

This is what beginners start learning first. This is by far the most common mood in Russian. The indicative mood is usually combined with three tenses, and that creates a specific set of endings for each verb group.

The Imperative Mood

In an informal situation, the imperative form usually ends in -и, -ай, or .

  • The verbs ending in -ать in the infinitive mainly take -ай. For example: играть (igrat’) >> играй (igray) — “Play!” 
  • The verbs ending in -ить mainly take . For example: говорить (govorit’) >> говори (govori) — “Speak!” 

In a formal situation, or when we speak to more than one person, we take the informal imperative form and add -те. For example: играть (igrat’) >> играйте (igrayte) — “Play!” (formal / plural).

You can learn more about the imperative mood from our relevant article (logged-in users only). 

Conditional Mood 

We use бы (by) + the past tense of the verb.

Example: 

  • я бы подумал (ya by podumal) — “I would think”
  • он бы написал (on by napisal) — “he would write”

Бы doesn’t have a fixed place in the sentence. I would say it’s pretty common to place it closer to the subject (noun or pronoun) rather than the verb.

  • The imperative and conditional moods do not have tenses.
Someone Erasing Something on Notebook Paper

Сначала написал, потом подумал. (Snachala napisal, potom podumal.)
“First wrote, then thought.”

2. Conjugation Examples

Now let’s try to summarize everything we’ve learned and put it into practice. Again, four main features to keep in mind:





Let’s finally dive into the Russian conjugation charts! You’ll notice that some cells have the abbreviations (m) and (f). They stand for “male” and “female” respectively.

GROUP 1: Part 1
думать
(dumat’)
“to think”

Indicative
PresentPast
(imperfective / perfective)
Future
(imperfective / perfective)
я
“I”
думаю*(m) думал 

(f) думала
(m) подумал 

(f) подумала
буду думатьподумаю*
ты
“you” informal
думаешь(m) думал 

(f) думала
(m) подумал 

(f) подумала
будешь думатьподумаешь
он “he”

она “she”

оно “it”
думаетдумал 

думала

думало
подумал 

подумала

подумало
будет думатьподумает
мы 
“we”
думаемдумалидумалибудем думатьподумаем
вы 
“you” formal /
plural
думаетедумалиподумалиподумалиподумаете
они 
“they”
думают*думалиподумалnmjhбудут думатьподумают*
GROUP 1: Part 2
думать
(dumat’)
“to think”
Imperative
(imperfective / perfective)
Conditional
(imperfective / perfective)
я
“I”
(m) бы думал 

(f) бы думала
(m) бы подумал 

(f) бы подумала
ты
“you” informal
думайподумай(m) бы думал 

(f) бы думала
(m) бы подумал 

(f) бы подумала
он “he”

она “she”

оно “it”
бы думал 

бы думала

бы думало
бы подумал 

бы подумала

бы подумало
мы 
“we”
бы думалибы подумали
вы 
“you” formal /
plural
думайтеподумайтебы думалибы подумали
они 
“they”
бы думалибы подумали
* Use the endings , -ют after vowels or the soft sign (e.g.: я думаю, они читают
   Use -у, -ут after consonants (e.g. я расту).
  • Still confused about these perfective and imperfective forms? Not sure which one to choose? Please refer to the “Aspect” section once again.

Carefully analyze the table. Do you see the similarities between some forms? Try to remember the Russian conjugation patterns.

Woman Thinking Hard about a Homework Question

What verb would you use to describe her:
подумала? думает? будет думать?
(podumala? dumayet? budet dumat’?)

Let’s have a look at how other verbs behave.

GROUP 2: Part 1
говорить
(govorit’)
“to talk”
Indicative
PresentPast
(imperfective / perfective)
Future
(imperfective / perfective)
я
“I”
говорю*(m) говорил 

(f) говорила
(m) поговорил 

(f) поговорила
буду говоритьпоговорю*
ты
“you” informal
говоришь(m) говорил 

(f) говорила
(m) поговорил 

(f) поговорила
будешь говоритьпоговоришь
он “he”

она “she”

оно “it”
говоритговорил 

говорила

говорило
поговорил 

поговорила 

поговорило
будет говоритьпоговорит
мы 
“we”
говоримговорилипоговорилибудем говоритьпоговорим
вы 
“you” formal /
plural
говоритеговорилипоговорилибудете говоритьпоговорите
они 
“they”
говорят*говорилипоговорилибудут говоритьпоговорят*
GROUP 2: Part 2
говорить
(govorit’)
“to talk”
Imperative
(imperfective / perfective)
Conditional
(imperfective / perfective)
я
“I”
(m) бы говорил 

(f) бы говорила
(m) бы поговорил 

(f) бы поговорила
ты
“you” informal
говорипоговори(m) бы говорил 

(f) бы говорила
(m) бы поговорил 

(f) бы поговорила
он “he”

она “she”

оно “it”
бы говорил 

бы говорила

бы говорило
бы поговорил 

бы поговорила 

бы поговорило
мы 
“we”
бы говорилибы поговорили
вы 
“you” formal /
plural
говоритепоговоритебы говорилибы поговорили
они 
“they”
бы говорилибы поговорили
* The endings and -ат are used after the letters Ж, Ш, Ч, Щ, and all hard consonants 
and -ят are used after soft consonants and vowels.

Now let’s have a look at how reflexive verbs conjugate (pay special attention to their form in the past tense).

I have chosen a verb that takes a suffix to create a perfective form, not a prefix. Can you spot it?
REFLEXIVE VERB GROUP 1: Part 1
улыбаться
(ulybat’sya)
“to smile”
Indicative
PresentPast
(imperfective / perfective)
Future
(imperfective / perfective)
я
“I”
улыбаюсь(m) улыбался 

(f) улыбалась
(m) улыбнулся 

(f) улыбнулась
буду улыбатьсяулыбнусь
ты
“you” informal
улыбаешься(m) улыбался 

(f) улыбалась
(m) улыбнулся 

(f) улыбнулась
будешь улыбатьсяулыбнёшься
он “he”

она “she”

оно “it”
улыбаетсяулыбался 

улыбалась

улыбалось
улыбнулся 

улыбнулась

улыбнулось
будет улыбатьсяулыбнётся
мы 
“we”
улыбаемсяулыбалисьулыбнулисьбудем улыбатьсяулыбнёмся
вы 
“you” formal /
plural
улыбаетесьулыбалисьулыбнулисьбудете улыбатьсяулыбнётесь
они 
“they”
улыбаютсяулыбалисьулыбнулисьбудут улыбатьсяулыбнутся
REFLEXIVE VERB GROUP 1: Part 2
улыбаться
(ulybat’sya)
“to smile”
Imperative
(imperfective / perfective)
Conditional
(imperfective / perfective)
я
“I”
(m) бы улыбался 

(f) бы улыбалась
(m) бы улыбнулся 

(f) бы улыбнулась
ты
“you” informal
улыбайсяулыбнись(m) бы улыбался 

(f) бы улыбалась
(m) бы улыбнулся 

(f) бы улыбнулась
он “he”

она “she”

оно “it”
бы улыбался 

бы улыбалась

бы улыбалось
бы улыбнулся 

бы улыбнулась

бы улыбнулось
мы 
“we”
бы улыбалисьбы улыбнулись
вы 
“you” formal /
plural
улыбайтесьулыбнитесьбы улыбалисьбы улыбнулись
они 
“they”
бы улыбалисьбы улыбнулись
Man Giving an Exaggerated Smile

My face when I’ve finally understood how to conjugate verbs!

3. Irregular Verbs

I believe you were hoping not to see this section in the article. Nobody likes exceptions. But irregular verbs are featured in many languages, including English, and Russian is not an exception. The curse of irregular verbs is that the most common verbs usually fall into this category. But if you just pay close attention to how they conjugate, you might see the pattern to follow as well. 

So, how are they irregular? It really depends on the verb. Sometimes they might insert an extra vowel in the stem:

  • брать (brat’) — “to take”
  • The present tense: я беру, ты берёшь, мы берём (ya beru, ty beryosh’, my beryom) — “I take, you take, we take”


However, the same verb behaves normally in the past tense:

  • я брал, мы брали, она брала (ya bral, my brali, ona brala) — “I was taking, we were taking, she was taking”

As long as it keeps its imperfective form! The verb in its perfective form changes beyond recognition! 

  • я взял, он взял, ты взяла (ya vzyal, on vzyal, ty vzyala) — “I’ve taken, he’s taken, you’ve taken (f)”

You can find similar examples in English: “go — went — gone.” The middle word is totally different!

Sometimes, irregular verbs can “misbehave” only in first person singular (“I”). 

Compare: я люблю, ты любишь, мы любим (ya lyublyu, ty lyubish’, my lyubim) — “I love, you love, we love.”

This happens when the infinitive of a verb has features of a Group 2 verb and its stem ends in Б, В, Д, З, П, С, Т, or СТ. In this case, it undergoes a spelling change for the first person singular (“I”) in the present.

Similar verbs:

  • готовить (gotovit’) — “to cook” >> я готовлю (ya gotovlyu) — “I cook”
  • летать (letat’) — “to fly” >> я лечу (ya lechu) — “I fly”
  • терпеть (terpet’) — “to tolerate” >> я терплю (ya terplyu) — “I tolerate” etc.

This is not an exhaustive list of tricks that irregular verbs use to stand out. And while learning how to spot them, or remembering all the exceptions, can indeed be exhausting, seeing irregular verbs as a challenging adventure can be motivating! Every language is a secret code that you’re about to decipher, and this is just an extra layer of security. But a true detective should know how to solve this mystery!

  • Again, here’s a tool that will help you tackle complicated verb conjugations and support you until you feel confident conjugating them yourself: Context Conjugator.

Now let’s try to unscramble the behavior of an irregular verb.

IRREGULAR VERB
давать
(davat’)
“to give”
IndicativeImperative
(imperf / perf)
Conditional
(imperf / perf)
PresentPast
(imperf / perf)
Future
(imperf / perf)
я
“I”
даю(m) давал 

(f) давала
дал

дала
буду даватьдам(m) бы давал 

(f) бы давала
дал

дала
ты
“you” informal
даёшь (m) давал 

 (f) давала
дал 

дала
будешь даватьдашьдавайдай(m) бы давал 

(f) бы давала
дал

дала
он “he”

она “she”

оно “it”
даётдавал 

давала

давало
дал

 дала 

 дало
будет даватьдастбы давал 

бы давала 

бы давало
 дал

дала 

дало
мы 
“we”
даёмдавалидалибудем даватьдадимбы давалидали
вы 
“you” formal /
plural
даётедавалидалибудете даватьдадитебы давалидали
они 
“they”
даютдавалидалибудут даватьдадутбы давалидали

Have a look at this table and try to analyze it: Does the conjugation of this irregular verb have anything in common with how regular verbs conjugate? What is it? And what exactly is different? 

  • You can find a pretty detailed list of Russian irregular verbs here. Conjugation tables will keep you good company at first, but learn not to rely on them too much. Practice makes perfect!

4. Test Your Knowledge!

More Essential Verbs

Now I feel like you’re ready to impress me with your newly acquired skills! Prepare your conjugation tables, your irregular verbs table, your attentiveness, and your desire to succeed!

For this Russian conjugation quiz, please conjugate the verbs in parentheses. Don’t worry if you can’t find all the answers. I will help you!

  1. Я (жить) _______ в Екатеринбурге. Где вы (жить) _______?
    I live in Ekaterinburg. Where do you live?”
  1. (Рассказывать)______ мне о своих увлечениях.
    “Tell me about your hobbies.”
  1. Мы с друзьями (любить)______ (путешествовать)_______ и (изучать) _____ иностранные языки.
    “My friends and I, we love to travel and learn new languages.”
  1. Если бы я больше времени (проводить)______ дома, я бы с радостью (взять) ______ кошку или собаку.
    “If I spent more time at home, I would gladly take a cat or a dog.”
  1.  В следующем году мои друзья (ехать) _____ в Японию. 
    Конечно же, я тоже (хотеть) _____ !
    “Next year, my friends are going to Japan. Of course, I want to go too!”

Alright, let’s analyze each of them.

  1. Я живу в Екатеринбурге. Где вы живёте?
    “I live in Ekaterinburg. Where do you live?”

First, it’s an irregular verb in the indicative mood (it’s just a fact), the present tense, the first person. And even though this is an irregular verb, and it’s hard to guess that another letter is going to appear in the stem, the endings are standard.

  1. Расскажи / расскажите мне о своих увлечениях.
    “Tell me about your hobbies.”

Both options are possible depending on who you’re addressing (informal or formal interaction), and it’s the imperative mood because we ask somebody to give us some information.

  1. Мы с друзьями любим путешествовать и изучать иностранные языки.
    “My friends and I, we love to travel and learn new languages.”

Here, we can see the indicative mood, the present tense, and the third person plural for the first verb (also irregular, by the way). Unlike in English, where you should decide if a gerund or an infinitive should go after the verb, in Russian, it’s always the infinitive. This is why the next two verbs are in their initial form. 

  1. Если бы я больше времени проводил / проводила дома, я бы с радостью взял / взяла кошку или собаку.
    “If I spent more time at home, I would gladly take a cat or a dog.”

Finally, some conditional! It’s pretty common to use the word если (yesli), meaning “if,” in conditional sentences. So, the verb проводить (provodit’), meaning “to spend (time),” is also irregular, but behaves normally in the past tense (Group 2, imperfective form). Why the past tense? Because conditional is just бы + past tense. It also means that we can choose between the masculine (проводил) and the feminine form (проводила). The same goes for the verb брать (brat’), meaning “to take.” It’s irregular, and I’ve mentioned it before, in Irregular Verbs. 

Do you know why the verb “to take” is in its perfective form? (Think before reading next!) Because perfective forms usually convey a one-time action. It means I would take a cat or a dog once. If I were to keep taking a new dog every week, it would be imperfective: брала бы.

  1.  В следующем году мои друзья поедут в Японию. Конечно же, я тоже хочу !
    “Next year, my friends are going to Japan. Of course, I want to go too!”

So, the verb “to go” (for travel in general) is in the future tense, indicative mood, perfective form. I’m sure now you can explain why! The verb хотеть (khotet’), meaning “to want,” is irregular (oh, not again!), so it has changed one consonant in the middle. By the way, you may wonder why the conjugation table says the ending for “I” is, and here it’s . If you forgot, please get back to the comment right under the table. ;)

Man Tired After a Long Hike

After the journey to the land of verb conjugation

5. A Bonus from RussianPod101

In this guide, you’ve learned everything about Russian verb conjugation, endings, aspect, mood, tenses… Ah, so many new linguistic terms! Maybe you’ve learned something new about the English language as well? Bookmark this guide to refer to it from time to time—learning everything at once is hard, which is why you should get back to it sometimes to review and learn something new. Are you sure you haven’t skipped any piece of information? ;)


Good job! RussianPod101 is offering you a bonus: a free list of Must-Know Verbs! Make sure to check it out! Remember that you can also use our premium service, MyTeacher. You’ll  get personal one-on-one coaching to practice verb conjugation and more with a private teacher, using assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recordings to improve your pronunciation! Happy learning with RussianPod101!

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

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!

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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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