Russian Grammar

Grammar is the foundation of any language, a system of rules that help words come together and make up sentences. Here you will learn about Russian parts of speech. Choose your section!











Nouns reflect objects and concepts around us: The people are running - Люди бегут. Nouns have the following grammatical categories: gender, number, case, and animation/unanimation. Russian nouns are normally formed using the following suffixes: -тель, -щик, -ник, -ость etc. In the sentence they are normally used as Subject or Object. Nouns denote objects like книга (a book), театр (a theater), parts of objects like крышка (a tip), live creatures like лиса (a fox), as well as their actions and states like болезнь (an illness), радость (gladness).

Nominal declension is has six cases - Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Instrumental, and Prepositional and two numbers singular and plural, and gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter).

The category of animacy is relevant in Russian nominal and adjectival declension. Specifically, the accusative form has two possible forms depending on animacy. For animate nouns (people and animals), the accusative form is identical to the genitive form. For inanimate referents, the accusative form is identical to the nominative form. This principle is relevant for masculine singular nouns of the first declension and adjectives, and for plural nouns (no matter which gender).

In Russian there are three declensions - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd declensions. The first declension is used for masculine and most neuter nouns. The second declension is used for most feminine nouns. The third declension is used for feminine nouns ending with and for neuter nouns ending with -мя.


Personal pronouns. There are 2 forms of singular YOU in Russian - Ты and Вы (colloquial and respectful). Demonstrative pronouns : этот "this" and тот "that". Possessive pronoun : мой (my) and твой (your), наш (our) and ваш (your). Interrogative pronouns : кто ('who') and что ('what'), чей ('whose')


There are Cardinals and Ordinals.

0 ноль or нуль
1 один, одна, одно (you say раз when counting).Nouns are used in the nominative case after Один (один человек, one man).
2 два, две (fem.)
3 три
4 четыре
(0) нулевой
1st первый
2nd второй
3rd третий
4th четвёртый
5th пятый


Grammatically Russian verbs have:

  • 2 aspects: imperfective (делать) and perfective (сделать)
  • 3 tenses: present (делаю), past (делал), and future (буду делать)
  • 2 conjunctions in the present tense
  • person and number categories in the present and future tense ()
  • gender and number categories in the past tense
  • 3 moods: indicative(делаю), imperative(делай!), and conditional (делал бы)
  • 2 voices : active and passive, which are constructed by adding a reflexive suffix -ся/сь/- to the active form. An interesting feature is that the past tense is actually made to agree in gender with the subject, for it is the participle in an originally perfect tense formed with the present of быть "to be", which is now omitted. Most verbs have 2 variants(aspects) : with imperfective or continuous connotation and the other with perfective or completed one, usually formed with a prefix, but sometimes with a different root ( кушать 'to eat' is imperfective; скушать 'to have eaten something' is perfective).
Irregular verbs
The following verbs get a stem change. The stem part of the verb is in bold. The endings are normal:
брать (бер-) - to take
беру, берёшь, берёт, берём ,берёте, берут
вести (вед-) - to lead
веду, ведёшь, ведёт, ведём, ведёте, ведут
жить (жив-) - to live
живу, живёшь, живёт, живём, живёте, живут
звать (зов-) - to call
зову, зовёшь, зовёт, зовём, зовёте, зовут
давать (да-) - to give
даю, даёшь, даёт, даём, даёте, дают
идти (ид-) - to go
иду, идёшь, идёт, идём, идёте, идут
писать (пиш-) - to write (notice that с becomes ш)
пишу, пишешь, пишет, пишем, пишете, пишут
The following verbs' endings do not change like those belonging to the 1st or 2nd conjugations:
дать - to give
дам, дашь, даст, дадим, дадите, дадут
есть - to eat
ем, ешь, ест, едим, едите, едят
These ones are irregular in the first person. The letter д becomes ж. This is typical with stems ending with д.
ходить (ход-) - to walk
хожу, ходишь, ходит, ходим, ходите, ходят
ездить (езд-) - to travel
езжу, ездишь, ездит, ездим, ездите, ездят
видеть (вид-) - to see
вижу, видишь, видит, видим, видите, видят

Word formation

Russian has many prefixes (prepositional, adverbial, diminutive and frequentative suffixes and infixes). All of these can be combined in different ways to produce multiple word-forms.They can also convey different connotations. For example:



something to do, business



petty, not very important things to do



something huge to do



to do






something good (advice), worthwhile



a do-nothing lazy person






inventive person (nornally with things at home)

Russian has may compound words: рентгеноэлектрокардиографического and превысокомногорассмотрительствующий(these are Guiness Record holdersSmile). In the 20th century appeared many abbreviated components: завхоз (заведующий хозяйством) manager of a farm or something esle


The basic word order is pretty much not limited. For example, the words in the phrase я читаю газету (I'm reading a paper) can be arranged and remain grammatically correct:


Я читаю газету.
Газету читаю я
Газету я читаю.
Читаю я газету.
Читаю газету я.
Я газету читаю.

The word order expresses the logical stress on some words. The emphasis is normally on the first word.


Unlike English, multiple negatives are typical Russian, as in Никто ничего не понял (No one understood anything). Никому не рассказывай!(Don't tell anybody!) and so on.


The most common types of coordination in compound sentences are conjoining, oppositional, and separative. Conjoining coordinations use conjunctions и, да, ни...ни (negation of 2 things), также, тоже. They express enumeration and immediate sequences. They might also have cause-effect relationships.Oppositional coordination use oppositional conjunctions а, но, да, однако, зато, же and others. They express opposition, comparison, incompatibility, restriction or compensation.Separative coordination uses separative conjunctions или, либо, ли...ли, то...то, etc., and express alternations or incompatibility of things in the coordinated sentences.Complemental and clarifying coordination expresses additional, but not subordinated, information related to the first sentence.Comparative coordination is a semantical flavor of the oppositional one.Common coordinating conjunctions: и (and), а (and / sometimes meaning but), но (but). 'И' expesses a following state that does not oppose the previous idea/thing mentioned while 'А' expresses a following state that opposes the previous one, although not as strong as но "but".


Complementizers (subordinating conjunctions, adverbs, or adverbial phrases): если (if); потому что, так как (because), чтобы (in order to), после того, как (after), хотя (although)





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