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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!

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

Russian Pronouns: Pronunciation, Grammar & Exciting Facts

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Psss, psss, you. 

Yes, you. 

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

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

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

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

Are you ready? The fun is about to begin.

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

1. Russian Personal Pronouns

Introducing Yourself

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

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

The Russian personal pronouns are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some examples:

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

2. Russian Possessive Pronouns

This is Your Book.

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

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

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

Here are a couple more Russian pronouns declension tables:

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

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

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

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

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

3. Russian Reflexive Pronouns

Smiling Woman Pointing to Herself.

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

 себя (sebya) — “-self” 

свой (svoy) — “one’s own” 

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

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

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

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

2- The Reflexive Possessive Pronoun Свой

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

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

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

3- The Emphatic Pronoun Сам

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

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

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

4. Russian Demonstrative Pronouns

Man Pointing to Something in the Distance

The Russian demonstrative pronouns are:

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

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

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

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

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

5. Russian Determinative Pronouns

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

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

For example:

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

6. Russian Interrogative-Relative Pronouns

Basic Questions

The Russian interrogative-relative pronouns are: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Russian Indefinite Pronouns

Mystery Man

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

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

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

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

  • не- (ne-) — “not” 

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

  • кое- (koye-) — “some-” 

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

  • -либо (-libo) — “any-” or “some-“

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

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

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

  • -то (-to) — “some-” 

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

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

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

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

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

  1. кое-кто (koye-kto) — “someone” 

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

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

  1. кто-либо (kto-libo) — “anyone” 

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

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

  1. кто-то (kto-to) — “somebody” 

This is a very common word in speech. 

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

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

This word is used a lot in spoken language. 

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

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

This is a very bookish word. 

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

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

This is a very common pronoun in spoken language. 

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

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

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

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

  1. что-то (chto-to) — “something” 

This is a very common word in spoken language. 

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

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

This word is used a lot in spoken language. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tebya u dverey zhdyot kakoy-to muzhchina.

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

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

On nekotoroye vremya molchal.

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

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

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

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

Rasskazat’ v neskol’kikh slovakh

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

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

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

Ch’ya-to zabytaya kniga lezhit na stole.

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

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

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

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

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

Mne nekogda.

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

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

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

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

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

Mne negde zanimat’sya.

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

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

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

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

Ya khochu kuda-nibud’ v otpusk.

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

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

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

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

On koye-kak pomyl posudu.

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

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

откуда-либо (otkuda-libo)
  • From somewhere

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

On tol’ko chto otkuda-to priyekhal.

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

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

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

On pochemu-to ne prishyol.

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

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

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

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

Tebya zachem-to vyzyvayet nachal’nik.

“The boss calls you for something.”

8. Russian Pronouns Exercises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Conclusion

Improve Listening

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

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

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

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“Where do you live?”

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Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

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eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

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Learn the Correct Russian Sentence Structure

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Have you ever had difficulties with combining Russian words? We’re sure you know what we’re talking about. Russian word order is important because it makes sentences make sense. Without understanding the main principles of combining words, you won’t be able to communicate with native speakers while, let’s say, vacationing in Russia over the holidays or chatting on social media.Russian sentence structure is one of the most significant parts of learning the grammar rules of this language. If you learn how to make sentences word by word now, you probably won’t have problems with more difficult themes in the future. So let’s start studying!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Overview of Word Order in Russian
  2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object
  3. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases
  4. Word Order with Modifiers
  5. How to Change Your Sentence into a Yes-or-No Question
  6. Translation Exercises
  7. Conclusion

1. Overview of Word Order in Russian

The Russian language word order is SVO, but the existing grammar rules allow us to change it. So, sometimes, the typical SVO Russian word order can become VSO. That’s why we can say that word order in Russian sentences is quite flexible.

So, does word order matter in Russian? When comparing word order in English and Russian, we can notice one big difference. Russian word order doesn’t matter grammatically as much as English word order does.

Before having Russian sentence structure practice, you should definitely learn the most popular Russian phrases and words. It’s impossible to make sentences without knowing them by heart.

An Open Book with Glasses Resting on Top

If you’re an advanced speaker, you may read Russian books and learn new words from them.

2. Basic Word Order with Subject, Verb, and Object

According to the basic Russian word order, you must start your sentence with the subject. Then comes the verb, followed by the object. If you use this word order in Russian sentences, you’ll never make a mistake. For example:

  • Я читаю книгу. (Ya chitayu knigu.) — “I read a book.”

There are also some cases when you can use VSO instead of SVO. It’s appropriate if the sentence contains two verbs, and you want to emphasize the first one. It sounds good if you’re telling a story. For example:

  • Читаю я книгу и вдруг… (Chitayu ya knigu i vdrug…) — “I’m reading a book, and suddenly…”

Be careful with VSO in Russian, though. It may sound really weird if you use it while making an order in a restaurant, talking to a stewardess during your flight to Russia, in an emergency, or in other formal situations.

3. Word Order with Prepositional Phrases

Improve Listening

Prepositional phrases answer the following questions:

  • Where?
  • When?
  • In what way?

Prepositional phrases that answer the question “Where?” are typically used at the end of the sentence, after the object:

  • Я читаю книгу дома. (Ya chitayu knigu doma.) — “I read a book at home.”

In Russian sentence structure, prepositional phrases that answer the question “When?” are put either at the very beginning or at the end of a sentence. The meaning of the phrase will change a bit, though. For example:

  • Сегодня я читаю книгу. (Segodnya ya chitayu knigu.) — “Today, I read a book.” 
    • In this case, this sentence answers the question “What did I do today?”
  • Я читаю книгу сегодня. (Ya chitayu knigu segodnya.) — “I read a book today.” 
    • This one answers the question “When did I read a book?”

Prepositional phrases that answer the question “In what way?” can be used right after the noun or at the end, after the verb. Both variants are grammatically correct, but the first one sounds more natural:

  • Я увлеченно читаю книгу. (Ya uvlechyonno chitayu knigu.) — “I enthusiastically read a book.”
  • Я читаю книгу увлеченно. (Ya chitayu knigu uvlechyonno.) — “I read a book enthusiastically.”

When there are two (or even more) prepositional phrases, you should use them in the following order:

  • Put the prepositional phrase of time in the first place, before the noun.
  • Add the prepositional phrase that answers the question In what way? after the noun.
  • Use the prepositional phrase of place after the object, at the end.

Here’s an example:

  • Сегодня я увлеченно читаю книгу дома. (Segodnya ya uvlechyonno chitayu knigu doma.) — “Today, I enthusiastically read a book at home.”

If you don’t want to learn all these rules about building sentences in Russian, you may always put the prepositional phrase at the end of the sentence. Of course, doing so is appropriate only for beginners. Advanced students must know and use more complex rules regarding sentence structure in Russian.

4. Word Order with Modifiers

In most cases, the modifier is an adjective which describes something. In Russian word order, adjectives are always used before nouns:

  • Я читаю интересную книгу. (Ya chitayu interesnuyu knigu.) — “I read an interesting book.”

If there are two or more adjectives in the sentence, you should:

  • Firstly, use the one which expresses your own opinion about the subject or marks something about the subject that’s not very stable.
  • Use the adjective which denotes a very stable aspect as close to the noun as possible.

For example:

  • Я читаю интересную научную книгу. (Ya chitayu interesnuyu nauchnuyu knigu.) — “I read an interesting scientific book.”

Note that Russian sentence structure with adjectives is more or less flexible. There are no actual Russian word order rules that say you must use one type of adjective before another (e.g. shape before color). Try not to think too hard about how to order words in Russian when it comes to adjectives.

Other modifiers include the determiner, the numeral, and the possessive. According to the most typical word order in Russian, all modifiers like these come before the noun:

  • Я читаю эту книгу. (Ya chitayu etu knigu.) — “I read this book.”
  • Я читаю одну книгу. (Ya chitayu odnu knigu.) — “I read one book.”
  • Я читаю его книгу. (Ya chitayu yego knigu.) — “I read his book.”

5. How to Change Your Sentence into a Yes-or-No Question

Typical Russian sentence structure makes it really easy to change affirmative constructions into yes-or-no-questions. If you want your Russian question word order to be correct, follow our instructions:

  • Put the verb at the beginning.
  • Add the conjunction ли (li) after the verb.
  • Then use the noun and the object.

Here’s an example:

  • Читаю ли я книгу? (Chitayu li ya knigu?) — “Do I read a book?”

6. Translation Exercises

We hope that you’ve read the information above thoroughly and understand the basic Russian sentence structures. Now we need to practice a bit with new sentences. We’ll use the most common Russian word order: SVO.

Man Scratching His Head in Confusion

Please, stop comparing Russian sentence structure to that of English. They are both easy and comprehendible, believe us.

First of all, try to translate this phrase using your knowledge about how Russian sentences are structured:

  • “I watched a movie.”

You may use the Russian dictionary if you don’t know the translations of some words. 

If it’s difficult for you, think about Russian sentence structure compared to that in English. What do you know about them? They’re both SVOs! That’s why you can translate the simplest sentence word by word without the fear of making mistakes.

The correct Russian translation of the sentence above is:

  • Я посмотрел фильм. (Ya posmotrel fil’m.)

Now let’s translate a slightly more difficult variant of this sentence:

  • “I watched a good movie.”

If you’re struggling, look at our Russian sentence structure examples. There you’ll see that the adjective always comes before the noun:

  • Я посмотрел хороший фильм. (Ya posmotrel khoroshiy fil’m.)

Now it’s time to make our English sentence more difficult. Translate this one:

  • “I watched a good movie yesterday.”

Don’t panic! There are two ways to make this sentence:

  • Вчера я посмотрел хороший фильм. (Vchera ya posmotrel khoroshiy fil’m.)
  • Я посмотрел хороший фильм вчера. (Ya posmotrel khoroshiy fil’m vchera.)

Now try to translate the question:

  • Did I watch a good movie yesterday?

There are two correct ways to translate it:

  • Посмотрел ли я вчера хороший фильм? (Posmotrel li ya vchera khoroshiy fil’m?)
  • Посмотрел ли я хороший фильм вчера? (Posmotrel li ya khoroshiy fil’m vchera?)
Two Women Talking about a Project at Work

Sometimes there’s more than one appropriate way to express your thoughts in Russian.

7. Conclusion 

Improve Pronunciation

You’ve learned a lot about Russian sentence structure and word order. We gave you not only the basic rules, but also some advanced techniques to build complex Russian sentences. Of course, it may seem too difficult right now. But don’t forget that Russian people don’t even think about how to combine words while speaking or writing. You only need some practice to do the same.

No one can fully cover the theme of sentence structure in Russian in one article, because this language is too rich. We’re sure you still have some questions: how to structure a sentence in Russian if there are two subjects and two verbs, how to form complex questions, how Russian sentence structure works in sentences with relative clauses, etc.

If you want to know more about this theme and find the answers to the above-mentioned questions, explore RussianPod101.com. Here you’ll find lots of free materials regarding vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. You’ll be able to download some useful information about Russian sentence structure.Do you want to try personal coaching? You can check our Premium PLUS service MyTeacher and take the assessment test to get started.

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Telling Time in Russian: Words, Phrases & Exciting Facts

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting, isn’t it?

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

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

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

1. How to Ask the Time in Russian

How to Ask for the Time in Russian.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or this question:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2- Который час? (Kotoryy chas?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Russian Hours

Time

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

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

1- Twelve-hour Clock in Russian

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

утра (utra) — “of the morning” 

дня (dnya) — “of the day” 

вечера (vechera) — “of the evening” 

ночи (nochi) — “of the night” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2- Twenty-four-hour Clock in Russian

24-hour Clock.

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

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

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

Here are some examples for you:

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

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

3. Minutes in Russian 

Minutes in Russian.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some examples:

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

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

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

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

Here are some examples:

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

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

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

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

4. Useful Patterns

Improve Listening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ровно (rovno) — “exactly” 

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

  • Почти (pochti) — “almost” 

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

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

5. Conclusion

Basic Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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A Complete Guide to Directions in Russian: Phrases & More



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When you’re taking a cab, asking for the nearest toilet, and making sure that the bus goes where you need it to go, being able to understand directions in Russian is essential for tourist survival in Russia.

Of course, you can always use translation apps, but sometimes it’s just inconvenient to do that. The taximeter is counting ruble by ruble, a full bladder doesn’t want to lose a second more, and the bus is already at the bus stop ready to take off—and you have no idea when the next one is.

Learning all about directions in Russian will help you save time, money, and nerves. Also, knowing how to say basic things—such as the cardinal directions in Russian, the words for “far” and “close,” “straight,” “left” and “right” in Russian, etc.—is essential in improving your Russian language skills.

So, let’s get a smooth journey prepared right now and learn about directions in Russian! A complete guide to directions in Russian is waiting for you.

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Table of Contents
  1. On the Map
  2. On the Road: Right and Left in Russian & More
  3. Talking about Landmarks
  4. Asking for Directions in Russian: Must-know Phrases
  5. How to Give Directions in Russian: Must-know Phrases
  6. Conclusion

1. On the Map


The Compass.

The words for compass directions in Russian are really useful when it comes to navigation. Let’s learn them.

1- “East” in Russian Language


Восток (vostok) is “east” in Russian. You can also make it an adjective: восточный (vostochnyy) meaning “eastern.”

Usage in a sentence or phrase:

  • Восточные страны (vostochnyye strany) — “eastern countries”; “oriental countries”
  • Озеро находится к востоку от города (Ozero nakhoditsya k vostoku ot goroda) — “The lake is to the east of the city.”
  • Владивосток находится в восточной части России (Vladivostok nakhoditsya v vostochnoy chasti Rossii) — “Vladivostok is in the eastern part of Russia.”

2- “West” in Russian Language


Запад (zapad) is “west” in Russian. As an adjective, it will be западный (zapadnyy) meaning “western.”

Usage in a sentence or phrase:

  • Западные страны (zapadnyye strany) — “western countries”
  • Россия западнее Китая (Rossiya zapadneye Kitaya) — “Russia is to the west of China.”
  • Санкт-Петербург западнее Москвы (Sankt-Peterburg zapadneye Moskvy) — “Saint Petersburg is to the west of Moscow.”

3- “South” in Russian Language


Юг (yug) is “south” in Russian. As an adjective, it will be южный (yuzhnyy) meaning “southern.”

In Russian, юг (yug) has one more meaning. When someone is going on vacation to the warm seaside, he says Я поеду на юга (Ya poyedu na yuga), meaning “I will go to the south.” That’s a classic Russian vacation—lying on the beach and swimming in the sea. Yeah, during the whole week or even two. Having a nice and even suntan on the whole body is really valued by Russians, as it shows off that they had a vacation (read: had enough money to have a vacation!). :)

Usage in a sentence or phrase:

  • Юг России (Yug Rossii) — “the south of Russia”
  • Сочи находится на юге России (Sochi nakhoditsya na yuge Rossii) — “Sochi is in the southern part of Russia.”

4- “North” in Russian Language


Север (sever) is “north” in the Russian language. You can also make it an adjective: северный (severnyy) meaning “northern.”

Usage in a sentence or phrase:

  • Северная столица (severnaya stolitsa) — “northern capital” (referring to the famous Russian city of Saint-Petersburg)
  • Деревня находится к северу от нас (Derevnya nakhoditsya k severu ot nas) — “The village is to the north of us.”
  • Мы идем на север (My idyom na sever) — “We are going to the north.”

5- Southeast, Southwest, Northeast & Northwest in Russian


All compound directions start with either “north” or “south,” like in English. Starting them with “east” or “west” is a mistake and will confuse native speakers.

To make a compound direction, add the letter “o” and a hyphen to север (sever) or юг (yug):

  • Юго-запад (yugo-zapad) — “southwest”
  • Юго-восток (yugo-vostok) — “southeast”
  • Северо-запад (severo-zapad) — “northwest”
  • Северо-восток (severo-vostok) — “northeast”

2. On the Road: Right and Left in Russian & More


Directions

Okay, say you need to tell your cab driver where to stop. Let’s equip you with the most useful phrases for giving directions in Russian: “left” and “right” in Russian, front and back, far and close, “straight,” and more.

1- “Right” in Russian Language


There are several ways to say “right” in the Russian language depending on the context. If you wanna say that something is located “to the right,” then you need to use the word справа (sprava):

  • Справа от меня – рынок. (Sprava ot menya – rynok) — “There is an open market to the right of me (to my right).”
  • Банк находится справа. (Bank nakhoditsya sprava) — “The bank is located to the right.”

If you’re turning to the right or going to the right, then you need to use the word направо (napravo):

  • На первом перекрестке поверните направо. (Na pervom perekryostke povernite napravo) — “On the first crossroads, turn to the right.”
  • Туалет направо (Tualet napravo) — “The toilet is to the right.”

So, just keep in mind that “right” can be expressed in two ways. Make sure that you pick the right one for the context.

2- How to Say “Left” in Russian


Just like “right,” “left” in the Russian language can be said differently depending on the context. To say that something is located “to the left,” use слева (sleva):

  • Что ты видишь слева от себя? (Chto ty vidish’ sleva ot sebya?) — “What do you see to the left of you (to your left)?” This is a very useful phrase to use if you’re talking on the phone with your Russian friend who’s gotten lost.
  • Магазин находится слева от парикмахерской. (Magazin nakhoditsya sleva ot parikmakhersoy) — “The shop is to the left of the hairdresser’s.”

If you’re turning or moving to the left, then use the word налево (nalevo):

  • За светофором поверните налево (Za svetoforom povernite nalevo) — “Turn to the left after the traffic light.”
  • Идите по коридору налево (Idite po koridoru nalevo) — “Go to the left in this corridor.”

Now you know how to say “right” and “left” in Russian.

3- Useful Words and Phrases in a Taxi or Car


In the Taxi.

In addition to knowing how to say “left” and “right” in Russian, you need to know how to say other basic “taxi” words. Here are some words you’ll probably need when giving directions in Russian to your taxi driver:

  • Такси (taksi) — “taxi”
    • Я вызову такси (Ya vyzovu taksi) — “I’ll call a taxi.”

  • Переднее сиденье (peredneye siden’ye) — “front seat”
    • Я сяду на переднее сиденье. (Ya syadu na peredneye siden’ye) — “I’ll sit in the front seat.”

  • Заднее сиденье (zadneye siden’ye) — “back seat”
    • Я сяду на заднее сиденье (Ya syadu na zadneye siden’ye) — “I’ll sit in the back seat.”

  • Спереди (speredi) — “in the front”
    • Садитесь спереди. (Sadites’ speredi) — “Take a seat in the front.”

  • Сзади (szadi) — “in the back”
    • Садитесь сзади (Sadites’ szadi) — “Take a seat in the back.”

  • Далеко (daleko) — “far”
    • Далеко ехать? (Daleko yekhat’?) — “Is it far to ride from here?”

  • Близко (blizko) — “close”
    • Магазин уже близко (Magazin uzhe blizko) — “The shop is already close.”

  • Рядом (ryadom) —”next to”
    • Мой дом рядом с торговым центром (Moy dom ryadom s torgovym tsentrom) — “My house is next to the shopping mall.”


And here’s a list of useful road landmarks and how to ask a taxi driver to stop the car right after them:

  • Перекрёсток (perekryostok) — “crossroads”
    • Остановите, пожалуйста, за перекрёстком. (Ostanovite, pozhaluysta, za perekryostkom) — “Please, stop right after the crossroads.”

  • Светофор (svetofor) — “traffic light”
    • Остановите, пожалуйста, за светофором (Ostanovite, pozhaluysta, za svetoforom) — “Please, stop right after the traffic light.”

  • Пешеходный переход (peshekhodnyy perekhod) — “crosswalk”
    • Остановите, пожалуйста, за пешеходным переходом (Ostanovite, pozhaluysta, za peshekhodnym perekhodom) — “Please, stop right after the crosswalk.”

Here are the most simple and useful phrases for how to give directions in Russian when you’re in the taxi:

  • Остановитесь, пожалуйста. (Ostanovites’, pozhaluysta) — “Stop, please.”

  • Тут (tut) — “Here”
    • Use this word if the car is going slowly and the driver is waiting for your signal to stop.

  • Езжайте, езжайте. (Ezzhayte, ezzhayte) — “Keep going.”

  • Побыстрее, пожалуйста. (Pobystreye, pozhaluysta) — “Faster, please. Hurry up, please.”

  • Помедленнее, пожалуйста. (Pomedlenneye, pozhaluysta) — “Not so fast, please.”


Here are advanced sentence patterns for you:

  • До реки ехать десять километров. (Do reki yekhat’ desyat’ kilometrov) — “It’s a 10-kilometer drive to the river.”

  • Я живу через улицу от вкусной и уютной кофейни. (Ya zhivu cherez ulitsu ot vkusnoy i uyutnoy kofeyni) — “I live across the street from a tasty and cozy coffeeshop.”

  • Остановите за углом, пожалуйста (Ostanovite za uglom, pozhaluysta) — “Stop around the corner, please.”


If taxi phrases are essential for you, listen to our audio lesson on riding a taxi and watch our video lesson for absolute beginners on taking a cab.

3. Talking about Landmarks



Basic Questions

When learning about Russian directions, you can’t skip the essential location nouns. Here’s a list of them:

  • Аэропорт (aeroport) — “airport”
    • Мне нужно в аэропорт Шереметьево (Mne nuzhno v aeroport Sheremet’yevo) — “I need to get to the Sheremetyevo Airport.”

  • Станция метро (stantsiya metro) — “metro station”
    • Это какая станция метро? (Eto kakaya stantsiya metro?) — “What metro station is this?”

  • Центр города (tsentr goroda) — “city center”
    • Завтра я хочу погулять в центре города (Zavtra ya khochu pogulyat’ v tsentre goroda) — “Tomorrow I wanna walk in the city center.”

  • Парк (park) — “park”
    • Давай погуляем в парке! (Davay pogulyayem v parke!) — “Let’s have a walk in the park!”

  • Отель (otel’) — “hotel”
    • There is another word for a hotel: гостиница (gostinitsa). They mean the exact same thing.
    • Вы не знаете, где гостиница “Космос”? (Vy ne znaete, gde gostinitsa “Kosmos”?) — “Do you know where the hotel ‘Kosmos’ is?”

  • Больница (bol’nitsa) — “hospital”

  • Банк (bank) — “bank”
    • Подскажите, где ближайший банк? (Podskazhite, gde blizhayshiy bank) — “Please, tell me where the nearest bank is.”

  • Магазин (magazin) — “shop”
    • Магазин одежды (magazin odezhdy) — “clothes shop”
    • Продуктовый магазин (produktovyy magazin) — “food shop”

  • Супермаркет (supermarket) — “supermarket”
    • Вы не подскажете, где ближайший супермаркет? (Vy ne podskazhete, gde blizhayshiy supermarket?) — “Could you tell me, please, where the nearest supermarket is?”

  • Торговый центр (torgovyy tsentr) — “shopping mall”
    • Торговый центр находится прямо у выхода из метро. (Torgovyy tsentr nakhoditsya pryamo u vykhoda iz metro) — “The shopping mall is right near the exit from the underground.”

  • Кафе (kafe) — “cafe”
    • Давай сходим в кафе (Davay skhodim v kafe) — “Let’s go to the cafe.”

  • Ресторан (restoran) — “restaurant”
    • Это хороший ресторан (Eto khoroshiy restoran) — “This is a good restaurant.”

  • Столовая (stolovaya) — “canteen”; “cafeteria”
    • Food here is usually less tasty, but cheaper.

  • Кофейня (kofeynya) — “coffee shop”
    • Это моя любимая кофейня (Eto moya lyubimaya kofeynya) — “This is my favorite coffee shop.”

  • Аптека (apteka) — “pharmacy”
    • Вы не знаете, где аптека? (Vy ne znayete, gde apteka?) — “Do you know where the pharmacy is?”

You can also check out our video lesson to learn more transportation vocabulary.

Once you enter any building, you’ll need the following words:

  • Туалет (tualet) — “restroom”
    • Вы не подскажете, где туалет? (Vy ne podskazhete, gde tualet?) — “Could you tell me where the restroom is?”
    • Извините, вы не знаете, где ближайший туалет? (Izvinite, vy ne znayete, gde blizhayshiy tualet?) — “Excuse me, do you know where the nearest toilet is?”

  • Лифт (lift) — “elevator”
    • Лифт по коридору налево (Lift po koridoru nalevo) — “The elevator is in the corridor to the left.”

  • Лестница (lestnitsa) — “stairs”
    • Поднимитесь по лестнице на второй этаж. (Podnimites’ po lestnitse na vtoroy etazh) — “Climb the stairs to the second floor.”

  • Ворота (vorota) — “gates”
    • Ворота открываются. (Vorota otkryvayutsya) — “The gates are opening.”

  • Парковка (parkovka) — “parking lot”
    • Извините, а где парковка? (Izvinite, a gde parkovka?) — “Excuse me, where is a parking lot?”


4. Asking for Directions in Russian: Must-know Phrases


Asking Directions

  • Извините… (Izvinite…) — “Excuse me…”

  • Разрешите спросить… (Razreshite sprosit’…) — “May I ask…”

  • Где находится…? (Gde nakhoditsya…?) — “Where’s…?”
    • Где находится ближайший туалет? (Gde nakhoditsya blizhayshiy tualet?) — “Where is the nearest toilet?”
    • It’s okay to use the word находится (nakhoditsya), but sometimes Russians just omit it: Где туалет? (Gde tualet?) — “Where is the toilet?”

  • Как добраться до…? (Kak dobrat’sya do…?) — “How can I get to…?”
    • Как добраться до метро? (Kak dobrat’sya do metro?) — “How can I get to the metro station?”
    • Keep in mind that this phrase means that it will be a long way to get there. If the metro station is somewhere nearby, it’s better to ask: Где метро? (Gde metro?) — “Where is a metro?”
    • The Russian Saint Petersburg Metro and the Moscow Metro are very famous tourist attractions—make sure you visit. And don’t miss a chance to practice your Russian vocabulary. :)

  • Сколько ехать до…? (Skol’ko yekhat’ do…?) — “How long will it take to drive to…?”
    • Сколько ехать до аэропорта Домодедово? (Skol’ko yekhat’ do aeroporta Domodedovo?) — “How long will it take to drive to Domodedovo Airport?”

  • … далеко отсюда? (…daleko otsyuda?) — “Is … far from here?”
    • Автобусная остановка далеко отсюда? (Avtobusnaya ostanovka daleko otsyuda?) — “Is a bus stop far from here?”

  • Спасибо за помощь (Spasibo za pomoshch’) — “Thank you for your help.”


5. How to Give Directions in Russian: Must-know Phrases


A Girl with a Map.

  • Идите… (Idite…) — “Go…” or “Walk…” if the person is walking.
    • Идите в комнату (Idite v komnatu) — “Go to the room.”

  • Езжайте… (Ezzhayte) — “Go…” or “Drive…” if the person is using a vehicle.
    • Езжайте вперед (Ezzhayte vperyod) — “Go straight.”

  • Идите прямо (Idite pryamo) — “Go straight.”

  • Идите вперед (Idite vperyod) — “Go straight ahead.”

  • Идите в обратную сторону (Idite v obratnuyu storonu) — “Go in the opposite direction.”

  • Поверните направо (Povernite napravo) — “Turn right.”

  • Поверните налево (Povernite nalevo) — “Turn left.”

  • На … этаже (Na … etazhe) — “On … floor.”
    • На третьем этаже (Na tret’yem etazhe) — “On the third floor.”

  • Поднимитесь по лестнице вверх (Podnimites’ po lestnitse vverkh) — “Go upstairs.”

  • Спуститесь по лестнице вниз (Spustites’ po lestnitse vniz) — “Go downstairs.”

  • Вы его не пропустите (Vy ego ne propustite) — “You won’t miss it.”

6. Conclusion


Now, you have everything you need for a comfortable journey in Russia: how to say “right” and “left” in Russian, how to give and ask for directions in Russian, and so on.

To remember these words and phrases better, make word cards in a word card learning app such as Quizlet; you can also sign up for a free account on RussianPod101 and use our flashcard feature. Make sure to go through these words multiple times, so that they stick in your memory.

Also, use our directions word list to practice your listening and pronunciation skills.

Learning about Russian directions might be tricky, especially figuring out the grammar, so if you feel like you need some help, consider taking RussianPod101’s MyTeacher program for Russian-learners. Native Russian teachers with impressive teaching backgrounds will help you understand the grammar, memorize the words, and use them in real dialogue. Just take a trial lesson to give it a try. ;-)

Before you go, let us know in the comments how confident you feel asking and giving directions in Russian. Very confident, or are there still some things you’re having trouble with? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Top 100 Russian Nouns: Grammar, Vocabulary & Examples

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

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

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

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


1. Nouns in Russian Grammar



Nouns 1

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

1- Russian Grammatical Gender


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

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

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

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

2- Russian Noun Cases


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


3- Russian Noun Declension


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

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

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

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

2. Top 100 Most Common Nouns in the Russian Language



Nouns 2

1- People


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

2- Family


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3- Place


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4- Nature


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5- Animals


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

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

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

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

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

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


6- House


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

7- Daily Life


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

8- Time


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

9- Body Parts


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


10- Language


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

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

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

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

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


3. Conclusion



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

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

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

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

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Russian Compliments: Guide to Giving Compliments in Russian

Thumbnail

Sincere compliments are wonderful! Every person loves to hear about his or her merits. Compliments make people happy, increase self-esteem, and smooth out sharp edges in relationships. Of course, they’re not obligatory, but they are helpful in many situations.

That’s why you should know some Russian compliments if you study this language or simply want to fly to Russia in the future. This article will help you learn about giving compliments in the Russian language.

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Table of Contents

  1. General Information
  2. Compliments on Someone’s Look
  3. Compliments on Someone’s Skills or Abilities
  4. Compliments on Someone’s Personal Traits
  5. Compliments on Someone’s Work
  6. How to Make Sincere Compliments
  7. How to Respond to Compliments
  8. Conclusion

1. General Information

Compliments

First of all, you need to know that Russian people aren’t really enthusiastic about giving compliments. They praise each other from time to time, but not as much as Americans do, for example. Moreover, Russians almost never give compliments to strangers or people they’ve just met.

However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give Russian compliments to people you’re not very close with. Just be relaxed and sincere. Russian people will appreciate your openness.

2. Compliments on Someone’s Look

Do Russian women like compliments? Of course! If you want to compliment a Russian woman, start with her appearance.

Below, we’ll give you the best Russian compliment phrases regarding appearance. Some are suitable only for women, while others are good for men and women.

  • Ты прекрасно выглядишь! (Ty prekrasno vyglyadish!) — “You look nice!”

This is one of the most appropriate Russian compliments for your girlfriend when her makeup is particularly well done or she’s wearing a tastefully chosen outfit. You may also use this phrase to compliment the appearance of your friend or close relative.

A Man complimenting a Woman on a Date

Always be mentally prepared for your dates!

  • Ты так привлекательна! (Ty tak privlekatel’na!) — “You’re so attractive!”

If you aren’t sure how to compliment a Russian woman, use this phrase. Make sure that you say it to a girl you know well enough or who is younger than you. Don’t forget that it’s a flirty compliment in Russian, so try to use it only in informal situations.

  • Эта рубашка тебе идёт. (Eta rubashka tebe idyot.) — “This shirt suits you.”

This remark is universal. You may use it to express your thoughts about your friend’s new shirt or about an old shirt that you see on him or her for the first time.

  • У тебя хороший вкус. (U tebya khoroshiy vkus.) — “You have good taste.”

This is one of the most widespread Russian compliments. If somebody you know looks particularly good in the clothes they’re wearing, feel free to use this phrase.

  • Какие у тебя красивые глаза! (Kakiye u tebya krasivyye glaza!) — “Your eyes are so beautiful!”

While this is one of the best Russian beauty compliments for women, you can also say this to a man. Use this phrase if your male or female friend has charming eyes; for example, if they’re clearly blue or almond-shaped.

  • Вы молодо выглядите. (Vy molodo vyglyadite.) — “You look young.”

This useful expression is one of the most common Russian compliments for women who are older than forty. You may use it in both formal and informal situations.

An Older Woman Holding a Basket of Fruit

There are many Russian women who look younger than they really are.

  • Твоя красота сводит меня с ума. (Tvoya krasota svodit menya s uma.) — “Your beauty drives me crazy.”

You may find this and other beautiful Russian compliments in literature. If you want to compliment a girl in Russian in a unique way, especially if you’re dating, use this phrase.

3. Compliments on Someone’s Skills or Abilities

Knowing Russian beauty compliments isn’t enough. You should also be able to praise a person for his or her abilities. In this section, you’re going to learn about giving compliments in Russian regarding somebody’s skills.

  • Вы здорово танцуете! (Vy zdorovo tantsuyete!) — “You’re a good dancer!”

If you’re going to a party, make sure you remember this expression. You may use it to start a new conversation with someone you don’t know while dancing.

  • Мне нравится, как ты готовишь. (Mne nravitsya, kak ty gotovish’.) — “I like your cooking.”

If you want to compliment a Russian woman for something other than her appearance, try to remember this phrase. Among all compliments for a Russian woman, this one is the most pleasing. If you like the meals your girlfriend cooks, let her know!

  • Ты смешно шутишь. (Ty smeshno shutish’.) — “You’re funny.”

How to compliment a Russian man? This phrase will help you! Russian men adore when women find them funny. This compliment doesn’t sound flirty, so you may use it in conversations with your male or female friends if you really like their jokes.

  • Ты умеешь удивить. (Ty umeyesh’ udivit’.) — “You know how to surprise.”

This is the best compliment you can give to Russian people who are creative. If you’re amazed by your girlfriend’s, boyfriend’s, friend’s, or close relative’s success, express your feelings by using this compliment in Russian.

  • Ты прекрасно водишь машину. (Ty prekrasno vodish’ mashinu.) — “You’re a good driver.”

Use this phrase to praise somebody’s driving skills. If your friend has just started to drive, cheer him or her on with this positive compliment.

Someone Driving a Car

You don’t have to be a professional driver to have good driving skills!

4. Compliments on Someone’s Personal Traits

Some of the best Russian compliments are those that focus not only on appearance and skills, but also personal traits. The phrases below will help you.

  • Вы так добры. (Vy tak dobry.) — “You’re so kind.”

This phrase sounds good in conversations with people whom you don’t know very well, when you feel that they’re nice. For example, you can give such a compliment to a stranger who helped you collect your scattered papers.

  • Ты такой общительный человек. (Ty takoy obshchitel’nyy chelovek.) — “You’re such a sociable person.”

If your friend or close relative is always surrounded by people and easily gets along with them, praise him for it!

A Group of Friends Cooking and Eating Together

Sociable people like when somebody mentions their openness!

  • Ты умён/умна не по годам. (Ty umyon/umna ne po godam.) — “You’re clever beyond your age.”

You may have a friend or a sibling who is young, but has much success in studying and seems wise. Mention his or her mental abilities by using this Russian compliment.

  • Ты силён/сильна духом. (Ty silyon/sil’na dukhom.) — “Your spirit is strong.”

You may use this phrase while having a conversation with someone who does well in sports, for example.

5. Compliments on Someone’s Work

Positive Feelings

If you want to learn about giving compliments in Russian, you can’t do without phrases connected to work. You should definitely master Russian compliments for people with whom you work or study.

  • Вы отлично справились! (Vy otlichno spravilis’!) — “You did a good job!”

This is the highest Russian compliment for your co-worker or employee who has done very well in something.

  • Не знаю, что бы я без вас делал. (Ne znayu, chto by ya bez vas delal.) — “I don’t know what I would do without you.”

If you really appreciate your colleague or any other person for his or her help, show it by giving compliments like this.

  • Я ценю ваш подход к работе. (Ya tsenyu vash podkhod k rabote.) — “I appreciate your approach to work.”

If you like the way a person treats his or her work, say it.

  • Фантастическая работа! (Fantasticheskaya rabota!) — “Fantastic work!”

When the work is finished successfully, don’t forget to praise the person who accomplished it using this Russian compliment.

6. How to Make Sincere Compliments

Are you wondering how to say compliments in Russian and sound sincere? It’s easy! Use the following tips:

1. Don’t lie. If someone wears braces, don’t say that he or she has a beautiful smile. It would sound far-fetched. Never compliment the things that you don’t really like in another person.

A Smiling Woman Giving a Thumbs-up

Honesty is the best policy!

2. Maintain eye contact. If you hide your eyes, the person you’re trying to praise will probably think that you’re not being fully honest with him.

3. Don’t use too many beautiful Russian compliments found in literature. Of course, there are many nice expressions from books, but most of them sound weird in everyday conversations. Let those beautiful Russian compliments stay in literature.

7. How to Respond to Compliments

Now you know how to give compliments in Russian. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough information to communicate with native speakers. Don’t forget to learn how to respond to Russian compliments. There are some easy ways to do it:

  • Спасибо. (Spasibo.) — “Thanks.”
  • Благодарю. (Blagodaryu.) — “Thank you.”
  • Спасибо, вы тоже/ты тоже. (Spasibo, vy tozhe/ty tozhe.) — “Thank you, you too.”
  • Я польщён/польщена. (Ya pol’shchyon/pol’shchena.) — “I’m flattered.”

8. Conclusion

We hope this guide will help you make other people happy. If you want to learn more about compliments in Russian culture, check out RussianPod101.com. Here you’ll find not only many useful compliments, but also other phrases for your everyday communication.

You may also want to sign up for our premium service MyTeacher to enjoy one-on-one coaching, personalized exercises and assignments, and much more. We’re sure that it will help you master the Russian language and make you more confident while speaking!

What’s your favorite Russian compliment? What are some common compliments in your language? Let us know in the comments!

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Express Your Anger without Russian Curse Words

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Everyone experiences anger, regardless of temperament, strength of character, endurance, or other similar factors.

Anger is a biologically programmed feeling. It was one of the first emotional experiences available to primitive man, and contrary to popular opinion, anger is a useful emotion. It was given to humans in order to survive. We get angry when something violates our inner peace, threatens our lives, or damages our self-esteem. Scholars say that those who don’t let their anger out suffer both psychologically and physically.

Thus, if you study Russian, it’ll be useful for you to learn how to talk about your rage in this language. You need to know angry phrases in Russian by heart so you can put your feelings into words in any situation. Don’t think that it’s too difficult! Memorizing five to ten words and phrases will be more than adequate for letting people know you’re angry in Russian.

We don’t want you to suffer in unspoken anger! That’s why we’ve collected the most popular angry Russian words and phrases that you can use anytime, without fear of being misunderstood by native speakers.

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Angry Blames
  4. Describing How You Feel
  5. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry
  6. Conclusion

1. Angry Imperatives

Complaints

Here are the most common angry Russian phrases you can use to tell people what to do (or not to do!).

Заткнись (Zatknis’)

The literal translation of this word is “Shut up,” and it’s one of the most popular Russian curses in the dictionary. When you use this phrase, you’re asking another person to stop talking. Заткнись (Zatknis’) has a very negative connotation, which is why your Russian teacher probably won’t introduce this word to you.

If you’re having an informal conversation with a person the same age as you and they’re rude to you, you can tell him Заткнись (Zatknis’). If you want to be more polite in your conversation with a native speaker, use the word Замолчи (Zamolchi) instead.

Прекрати (Prekrati)

The literal translation of one of the most common angry Russian words—Прекрати (Prekrati)—is “Stop it” or “Cut it out.” If you say this, it means that you don’t want to listen to another person or see what he’s doing.

For instance, a mother can use this word when her child is naughty. You may also try the construction Прекрати это немедленно (Prekrati eto nemedlenno), meaning “Stop it right now,” in your conversations.

Оставь меня в покое (Ostav’ menya v pokoye)

Woman Telling a Man to Leave Her Alone

Оставь меня в покое (Ostav’ menya v pokoye) is an angry Russian phrase that every Russian has used at least once in their life. It literally means “Leave me alone.”

Imagine that somebody is distracting you by giving advice you didn’t ask for or asking too many questions. If you say this phrase to them, you can be almost sure that they won’t take any more of your time.

Проваливай (Provalivay)

This is the literal translation of the English construction “Get lost.” A girl may say Проваливай (Provalivay) to her boyfriend after finding out he’s cheated on her, for example.

There are some other angry phrases in Russian which are synonymous with Проваливай (Provalivai):

  • Исчезни (Ischezni) — “Get lost”
  • Отвали (Otvali) — “Get off”
  • Убирайся с глаз моих долой (Ubiraysya s glaz moikh doloy) — “Get out of my sight”
  • Уходи отсюда (Ukhodi otsyuda) — “Get out of here”

2. Angry Warnings

Я больше не хочу тебя видеть (Ya bol’she ne khochu tebya videt’)

Я больше не хочу тебя видеть (Ya bol’she ne khochu tebya videt’) sounds very offensive in Russian, so you’d better not use it in every conflict you have. It’s similar to “I don’t want to see you again,” in English.

This construction is perfect to use when you’re finishing your relationship with someone. For example, a man may tell his girlfriend Я больше не хочу тебя видеть (Ya bol’she ne khochu tebya videt’) while breaking up with her.

Не лезь ко мне (Ne lezʹ ko mne)

Не лезь ко мне (Ne lezʹ ko mne) is the Russian variation of “Don’t mess with me.” You may use it whenever you don’t want to communicate with another person.

Ты нарываешься (Ty naryvayesh’sya)

The literal translation of Ты нарываешься (Ty naryvayesh’sya) is “You’re asking for trouble.” Feel free to use this phrase when somebody behaves too roughly with you.

These angry Russian sayings may also be helpful in critical situations:

  • Ты напрашиваешься на неприятности (Ty naprashivayeshʹsya na nepriyatnosti) — “You’re asking for trouble.”
  • Ты испытываешь моё терпение (Ty ispytyvayeshʹ moyo terpeniye) — “You’re trying my patience.”

Не заставляй меня повторять это снова (Ne zastavlyay menya povtoryatʹ eto snova)

Strict Teacher

Не заставляй меня повторять это снова (Ne zastavlyay menya povtoryatʹ eto snova) is one of the best angry phrases to make another person meet your requirement or accept your point of view. The literal English translation of this phrase is “Don’t make me say it again.”

You can use this phrase in the middle—or at the end—of your conversation with a Russian person. Angry Russian parents usually say Не заставляй меня повторять это снова (Ne zastavlyay menya povtoryatʹ eto snova) to their children when they’re not behaving even after many warnings.

Это моё последнее предупреждение (Eto moyo posledneye preduprezhdeniye)

If you’re wondering how to curse in Russian, then you should definitely learn the phrase Это моё последнее предупреждение (Eto moyo posledneye preduprezhdenye). The literal meaning is “This is my last warning.”

For example, when a student doesn’t want to keep quiet, a teacher may say Это моё последнее предупреждение (Eto moyo posledneye preduprezhdeniye). It means that if he doesn’t stop being noisy right now, he’ll be given a bad mark or another punishment.

Among many other Russian angry phrases, I want to mark the phrase Это последняя капля (Eto poslednyaya kaplya), meaning “This is the last straw.” It means almost the same thing as Это моё последнее предупреждение (Eto moyo posledneye preduprezhdeniye).

Я этого не потерплю (Ya etogo ne poterplyu)

Я этого не потерплю (Ya etogo ne poterplyu) is translated into English as “I won’t tolerate that.” It’s one of the best Russian phrases for a conversation with a person who’s not treating you right. You may use this phrase toward someone who has lied to you, betrayed you, etc.

3. Angry Blames

О чём ты думал(а)? (O chyom ty dumal[a])

The literal meaning of this phrase is “What were you thinking?” Angry Russian people love to say this when they know that somebody has done something extremely stupid.

Here are other angry phrases in Russian with almost the same meaning:

  • Ты с ума сошёл/сошла? (Ty s uma soshyol/soshla?) — “Are you out of your mind?”
  • Что с тобой не так? (Chto s toboy ne tak?) — “What’s wrong with you?”
  • Кем ты себя возомнил(а)? (Kem ty sebia vozomnil[a]?) — “Who do you think you are?”

Ты сам во всём виноват (Ty sam vo vsyom vinovat)

The closest English translation of Ты сам во всем виноват (Ty sam vo vsyom vinovat) is “It’s all your fault.” For instance, an offended wife may use this phrase toward her husband while they’re going through a divorce.

Have a look at some similar phrases:

  • Ты не прав(а) (Ty ne prav[a]) — “You’re mistaken.”
  • Ты всё напутал(а) (Ty vsyo naputal[a]) — “You messed it up.”

Ты меня не слушал(а) (Ty menya ne slushal[a])

Couple Having An Argument

Ты меня не слушал(а) (Ty menya ne slushal[a]) is the closest Russian equivalent to “You weren’t listening to me.” You may use it in two situations:

  • When a person was inattentive to what you were telling him or he just wasn’t interested in it
  • When a person didn’t follow your instructions or advice

You may replace Ты меня не слушал(а) (Ty menya ne slushal[a]) with the following phrases:

  • Я же говорил(а) (Ia zhe govoril[a]) — “I told you.”
  • Ты пропустил(а) всё мимо ушей (Ty propustil[a] vsyo mimo ushey) — “You ignored everything.”

Ты дурак/дура (Ty durak/dura)

Ты дурак/дура (Ty durak/dura) means “You’re a fool” in English. You can use this one while talking to somebody who has disappointed or annoyed you.

Here are some Russian angry phrases with similar meanings:

  • Ты невыносим(а) (Ty nevynosim[a]) — “You’re impossible.”
  • Ты глуп(а) (Ty glup[a]) — “You’re silly.”
  • Ты туп(а) (Ty tup[a]) — “You’re stupid.”
  • Ты ужасный человек (Ty uzhasnyy chelovek) — “You are an awful person.”

Это не твоё дело (Eto ne tvoyo delo)

Это не твоё дело (Eto ne tvoyo delo) translates into English as “It’s none of your business.” This phrase can be helpful in situations when somebody asks you personal questions or gives unsolicited advice. Make sure you remember this one!

4. Describing How You Feel

Negative Verbs

In addition to knowing angry phrases in Russian, you need to be able to express your emotions. For example, being able to say “I’m angry” in Russian or to clue someone in on your negative emotions will be immensely helpful. Whether you’re sad, frustrated, or just stressed out, the following phrases are really useful for talking about your negative emotions in Russian:

  • Я очень расстроен(а) (Ya ochenʹ rasstroyen[a]) — “I’m very upset.”
  • Меня это достало (Menya eto dostalo) — “I’m fed up with it.”
  • Меня это бесит (Menya eto besit) — “I hate it.”
  • Я не в порядке (Ya ne v poryadke) — “I’m not okay.”
  • Я в депрессии (Ya v depressii) — “I’m depressed.”
  • Я так устал(а) (Ya tak ustal[a]) — “I’m so tired.”
  • Мне плохо (Mne plokho) — “I feel bad.”

5. Bonus: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry

If you’re angry, you may not need to use any of these angry phrases. There are some easy ways to calm yourself down in a matter of seconds or minutes. Just try to:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Take a walk or run
  • Go to the gym
  • Listen to some good music
  • Read your favorite book
  • Write about your rage or pain
  • Reframe your thinking and change your point of view
  • Think of something good from your past
  • Talk to your friend or relative

Woman Reading a Book

6. Conclusion

You’ve just read more than twenty of the best and most versatile Russian angry phrases to help you express your anger. However, don’t forget that this language is a rich one, so this short article can’t give you an entire Russian swear words list. Trust us, there’s a lot more to learn!

If you want to take the first steps toward improving your knowledge of the Russian language, we recommend that you check out RussianPod101.com and study with a variety of lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and more advanced students. You can also study with a private teacher and get personalized feedback to really expedite your learning journey!

Before you go, let us know in the comments what your favorite Russian angry phrase is! We look forward to hearing from you!

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