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

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

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

Let’s begin!

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

1. Как тебя зовут?

First Encounter

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

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

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

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

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

Possible Answers

The reply to this question in Russian would be:

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

Or

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

Simply replace “John” with your own name.

A Man Shaking Hand with a Client

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

2. Откуда ты?

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

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

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

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

Possible Answer

The best way to answer is with:

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

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

Introducing Yourself

3. Сколько тебе лет?

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

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

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

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

Possible Answer

The answer is short and simple:

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

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

4. Ты говоришь на ___?

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

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

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

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

The formal variant of this Russian question is:

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

Possible Answers

You can give an affirmative answer like this:

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

Or a negative answer:

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

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

5. Сколько ты учишь ____?

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

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

The polite form of this question is:

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

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

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

Possible Answer

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

 6. Ты был в ___?

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

  • Ты был в ___? (Ty byl v ___?)

The second one is applicable when asking a woman:

  • Ты была в ___? (Ty byla v ___?)

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

  • Вы были в ___? (Vy byli v ___?)

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

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

Possible Answers

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

Or

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

Travel is a perfect topic for a conversation.

7. Как дела?

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

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

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

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

Or

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

Possible Answers

The most typical answers are:

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

8. Что делаешь?

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

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

The formal variant of this question is:

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

Possible Answers

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

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

9. Что случилось?

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

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

Possible Answers

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

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

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

10. Сколько стоит?

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

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

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

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

Possible Answer

The answer depends on the situation. For example:

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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Our Preparation Guide for the TORFL Russian Language Exam

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

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

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

1. General Info on the TORFL Russian Language Test

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

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

Elementary Level / A1

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

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

Basic Level / A2

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

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

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

A Woman Reading a Book on a Bus

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

The First Certification Level / B1

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

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

The Second Level Certificate / B2

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

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

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

The Third Level Certificate / C1

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

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

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

A Woman Raising Her Hand in Class

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

The Fourth Level Certificate / C2

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

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

2. Who Needs to Take the TORFL Russian Exam?

Language Skills

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

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

3. What’s Inside the TORFL?

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

Reading

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

Writing

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

Listening

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

Oral Competence

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

Structural Competence

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

A Woman Thinking while Doing Homework

All of the parts are important and ranked equally.

4. How to Pass the TORFL Russian Language Test

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

There are several ways to prepare:

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

Native speakers are the best help in learning a language.

5. Where to Take the TORFL Practice Test

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

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

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

A Woman Shaking Hands with Someone and Getting a Certificate

This certificate may be yours!

7. What if I Fail the Test?

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

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

8. Conclusion

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

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

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

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Essential Russian Sentence Patterns to Know

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

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

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

1. Linking Nouns: A is B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Whispering Something in a Woman’s Ear

Don’t skimp on compliments!

3. Expressing “Want”: I Want (to)…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Expressing “Like”: I Like (to)…

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something: Please…

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

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

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

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

Being polite in Russian is as easy as in English.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man and Woman Talking on a Date

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

9. Asking About Time: When is…?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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Russian Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Russian

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

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

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

A keyboard

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

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

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Russian

A phone charging on a dock

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

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

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

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

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

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

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

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

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

3- Online Keyboards

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

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

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

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

Man looking at his computer

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

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

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

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

2- Windows 7

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

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

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

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

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

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

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

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

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

Adding a system language

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

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

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

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

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

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

3. Select “Russian” from the list.

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

2- Android

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

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

3. Select “Русский” from the list.

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

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

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

6. Russian Keyboard Typing Tips

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

A man typing on a computer

There are two main keyboard types:

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

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

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

7. How to Practice Typing Russian

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

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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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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

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For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
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As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

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As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

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Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

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Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

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Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. RussianPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

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There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

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Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

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Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

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My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

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A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

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It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

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Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

Learning a new language takes dedication and commitment. The Premium PLUS features make learning irresistibly exciting. You’ll look forward to learning daily with your language tutor.

As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new Russian teacher.

Have fun learning your target language in the fastest and easiest way!

Subscribe to Posted by RussianPod101.com in Feature Spotlight, Learn Russian, Russian Language, Russian Online, Site Features, Team RussianPod101

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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