Russian Language Blog

Agree To Disagree: Expressing Opinions in Russian Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in language, Russian for beginners

So you have looked at some basic phrases and know how to introduce yourself and ask how the other person is doing. Exchanging pleasantries may get old pretty quickly, so let’s learn to exchange opinions. Below are some phrases that will help you express your views on a variety of subjects.

Я думаю

This is an indispensable introductory phrase for any argument. Думать is, of course, to think, so “я думаю” means “I think.” It is usually followed by что + a dependent clause.

Я думаю, что лет через пятнадцать максимум дети будут учить не по одному, а по несколько языков в школах. (I think in no more than 15 years children will be learning not one but several languages.) [Запись LiveJournal с комментариями (2004)]

To ask someone’s opinion, you can say “Как ты думаешь?” or “Как вы думаете?” (not “Что ты думаешь?“)

Как ты думаешь, это грех ― любить мужа больше, чем сына? (Do you think it’s a sin to love your husband more than your son?) [Сергей Довлатов. Чемодан (1986)]

A synonym for я думаю is я считаю (“I believe,” pronounced “щитаю”). This is used for making value judgments and has a bit more gravitas than я думаю.

Мне кажется

Казаться is to appear a certain way, so мне кажется means “it seems to me.” Just like “я думаю,” it can be followed by a что-clause.

Мне кажется, что в любом возрасте необходимо иметь друзей старше тебя годами. (It seems to that you should have friends who are older than you at any age.) [И. Э. Кио. Иллюзии без иллюзий (1995-1999)]

“Мне кажется” can also qualify how you see things; in that case, it is followed (or preceded) by a noun in the nominative case and followed by a noun or adjective in the instrumental case.

Вот вы знаете, почему вся эта печальная история кажется мне совершенно достоверной? (Do you know why I find this entire sad story to be completely true?) [Ю. О. Домбровский. Факультет ненужных вещей, часть 3 (1978)]

The person to whom it seems is in the dative case: мне, тебе, вам, ему, маме, etc. The past tense of кажется is казалось; use показалось for one-time impressions.

Я согласна/согласен

Agreeing or disagreeing is an important part of any conversation. We use the short adjective согласен, which has the following forms:

  • feminine: согласна
  • masculine: согласен
  • neuter: согласно
  • plural: согласны

Согласен is followed by either с + noun in the instrumental case, by a что-clause (sometimes preceded by “с тем”), or by an infinitive. The negative form is не согласен, usually spelled as two words.

Со многими его критическими замечаниями мы согласны. (We agree with many of his critical observations.) [В. Л. Гинзбург, И. Л. Фабелинский. К истории открытия комбинационного рассеяния света // «Вестник РАН», 2003]

Согласны вы принять моего ребёнка? (Do you agree to see my child? /At the doctor’s/) [И. Грекова. Перелом (1987)]

Если вы согласны с тем, что я пророк, запишите ещё одно моё предсказание. (If you agree that I am a prophet, write down another one of my predictions.) [Владимир Войнович. Иванькиада, или рассказ о вселении писателя Войновича в новую квартиру (1976)]

There are many other words you can use when expressing your opinion in Russian. Which ones do you use? Should we have another post on the same subject?

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.


  1. Rod:

    Very informative, thank you.

    • Maria:

      @Rod Thank you, Rod!

  2. George:

    This was very good. I look forward to more of your posts.

    • Maria:

      @George Thank you, George. We’ll keep them coming!