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Lesson Transcript

Oksana: Привет всем!
Erik: Erik here. All about. Lesson 4 - Confusing Pairs. Hello and welcome back to the RussianPOD101.com, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn Russian! I'm joined in the studio by...
Oksana: Hello everyone. Oksana here.
Erik: In this lesson we’re going to be looking at five pairs of words that are most often confused by non-native speakers as they learn Russian and we’ll give you tips on how to use them correctly. Unfortunately, very often, there isn't a direct word-for-word translation between English and Russian.
Oksana: No, very far from it! Quite often an English word can be translated by a dozen Russian words and vice versa. When two (or more) Russian words are translated by the same word in English, it creates confusion. For example, we sometimes tend to remember just one translation and stick to it.
Erik: Or we don’t understand the difference in meaning because in English it’s just one word! What’s the first example, Oksana?
Oksana: ‘В’ versus ‘на’. As a beginner, you are often taught that ‘в’ means ‘in’ or ‘at’, and that ‘на’ means ‘on’.
Erik: That sounds straight forward.
Oksana: Indeed it does, however, the more you learn the more you will realize that it doesn’t really work like that. You’ll hear someone say, ‘Я был на почте’ (I was at the post office)…
Erik: Hang on, didn’t you just refer to being ON the post office? The person didn’t climb on top of the post office, did they?
Oksana: Exactly! See we already have confusion. The issue is that, ‘на’ does mean, ‘on top of’, but it’s just ONE of its meanings. It can also mean, ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘to’… exactly like ‘в’!
Erik: Actually, I know I’m not alone because even those who speak Russian fluently often make mistakes when it comes to the choice between, ‘в’ and ‘на’. So what can be done to learn this correctly from the start?
Oksana: Well, the only way to use the prepositions correctly is to learn which nouns are used with, ‘в’ and which ones are used with ‘на’. If you learn this it’ll really help you.
Erik: OK, so what depends on what?
Oksana: Well, the choice of the preposition depends on the noun that goes after it.
Erik: Are they pretty much split 50/50?
Oksana: Actually, most nouns take ‘в’, so it's probably safer to use ‘в’ when in doubt. Here are a few of the nouns that take ‘на’
- На работе - at work
- На улице - in the street
- На заводе (на фабрике) - at the factory
Erik: That’s so useful because as you say, if you’re not careful you may think someone is asking you to climb on top of a Post Office whereas they’re just asking you for directions!
Oksana: Not quite but something like that!
Erik: What’s next?
Oksana: ‘Ходить’ versus ‘идти’.
Erik: Right, and if you already know some Russian, you’ll have noticed how confusing words of motion can be!
Oksana: There are at least twenty different Russian verbs that are all translated as ‘to go’ in English!
Erik: Wow, that’s a lot of movement! Let’s just concentrate on a pair that beginners find particularly confusing.
Oksana: Yes, in which case we’ll concentrate on those used in the present tense which are, ‘ходить’ and ‘идти’.
Erik: Both of which mean, ‘to go’ right?
Oksana: Yes, but if your friend asks you, ‘Ты ходишь в бассейн?’, he doesn't mean the same thing as if he were to ask, ‘Ты идёшь в бассейн?’.
Erik: He doesn’t?
Oksana: ‘Ходить’ is used when the action is repeated (you go somewhere regularly). For example, ‘Я часто хожу в кино.’ - I often go to the movies. ‘Идти’, on the other hand, is used for a singular action (you go somewhere once), such as, ‘Сегодня я иду в кино.’ - Today I’m going to the movies.
Erik: OK so to recap by going back to our example, when your friend asks you, ‘Ты ходишь в бассейн?’, he means, ‘Do you go to the swimming pool?’ (regularly) and when he asks, ‘Ты идёшь в бассейн?’ he means, ‘Are you going to the swimming pool ?’ meaning now or in the near future.
Oksana: You got it!
Erik: Thanks!
Oksana: So, what’s next from our list of confusing pairs.
Erik: Тext we’ll look at, ‘направо’ versus ‘cправа’.
Oksana: These two words can be translated as ‘right’, which often leads to students learning Russian not knowing which they should use. For example:
- Поверни направо! - Turn right!
- Магазин справа. - The store is on your right.
Erik: So which should you use and when?
Oksana: We use, ‘направо’ to talk about the direction of movement (it's often used after the verbs ‘поворачивать’ (to turn), ‘идти’ (to go) and other verbs of motion. Here is an example.
- На перекрёстке поверните направо. -Turn right at the crossroads.
Erik: Oh so, it`s all about motion again.
Oksana: Exactly, and we use, ‘справа’ to talk about motionless objects. After, ‘справа’ we often use ‘от’ + the Genitive Case, for example: Гостиница находится справа от почты. - The hotel is to the right of the post office.
Erik: Actually it isn’t like the rules themselves are difficult, it’s just getting the hang of it right from the beginning.
Oksana: You’re exactly right. And we’ve mentioned before, bad habits are difficult to break so always make that extra effort right from the offset.
Erik: So the 4th one in this series of confusing pairs is: ‘oстановиться’ versus, ‘перестать’. These two verbs are often confused because in English they both mean ‘to stop’.
Oksana: Interestingly, they are not interchangeable. ‘Остановиться’ means to stop while you're walking, riding a bicycle, driving a car etc. For example, ‘Сергей остановился перед домом.’ - Sergey stopped in front of the house. And ‘перестать’ means to stop doing something (other than walking, riding etc.).
Erik: Can you give us an example?
Oksana: Sure. ‘Перестаньте шуметь!’ - Stop making noise!
Erik: Is that comment aimed at me?
Oksana: Not at the moment.
Erik: OK, and the last pair of confusing words for this lesson?
Oksana: ‘Положить’ versus, ‘поставить’. Both verbs mean ‘to put’ so it's quite difficult for someone learning Russian to distinguish between them.
Erik: Give us a couple of examples.
Oksana: Well, положить means, ‘to put something horizontally’ so for example
- “Положи книгу на стол”, means ‘Put the book on the table.’
- “Куда ты положил хлеб?” means, ‘Where did you put bread?’
Erik: I see and for, ‘поставить’?
Oksana: “Поставить” means, ‘to put something vertically, usually on a hard surface’. For example
“Куда ты поставил бутылку?” - Where did you put the bottle?
“Поставь книгу на полку.” - Put the book on the shelf.
Erik: Even though we just have one way to say, ‘to put’ in English, this explanation of what is used in Russian is quite logical and with a little practise should be second nature in no time.
Oksana: Yes, get it right from the very beginning and the rest will fall into place.
Erik: Great! Thanks so much for listening. These five examples of confusing pairs are the key that will help your future learning as you progress in Russian with RussianPod101.That just about does it for today. Have a good time, thanks for listening.
Oksana: До встречи! Пока!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

RussianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 10:48 AM
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Hello Aria,

We are here to help you!

Please let us know if you have any questions ?


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Sunday at 10:54 PM
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it is a little fun for me :) cause I am a Slovak, so in many things it is similar. I never mind this things can by so hard, or confusing for english speaker.

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Wednesday at 05:02 PM
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Hello Elijah,

Thank you for posting.

We appreciate your advice. :thumbsup:



Team RussianPod101.com

Tuesday at 10:22 AM
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This message is primarily for other users, but also for the staff so they can easily assist others without any emailing back and forth!

Any issues with PDF's not downloading via drop-down menu link can be fixed by right-clicking on "lesson notes," "lesson transcripts," etc, and selecting "open link in new tab/new window." Every so often I will have the issue, and as stated before by another user, a computer reset or web page reload won't fix it!

Hope that helps at least one other person! I can't do this stuff without the notes and transcripts!


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Monday at 11:53 AM
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Hi tarek,

Thank you for your comment and feedback.

This All About lessons are meant just to introduce you to the Russian language and culture, it is just an overview of what you will be learning :wink:

We will take you little by little from the beginning. We suggest you to start here, with the most basic, Russian-Survival Phrases,:


By the way, have you checked the lesson notes from this lesson? There you can find a complete explanation. It might help!

Let us know if you have questions.



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Wednesday at 03:05 AM
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i don't know how you put this comparison while we don't know them from the beginning this lesson let me feel like i am professional in Russian language also the examples i don't understand the meaning you should move slowely slowly we still in zero level really i am confused now

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Thursday at 11:37 AM
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Hi Jeroen,

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Tuesday at 10:02 PM
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Hi, I just upgraded from basicmember to premium member and suddenly I can not acces the PDFs anymore. clicking does not do anything, except when clicking on Download MP3. I restarted the computer, reloaded the lesson page (several) but still the same problem.

Kind regards,


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Monday at 10:36 PM
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Hello Ken,

The last word is pronounced: "счету́".


Team RussianPod101.com

Ken Caviness
Monday at 06:19 AM
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In the pdf notes file, how is the phrase "на банковском чету" pronounced? Specifically, is the last word чёту, че́ту, or чету́ ?