Russian Language Blog

Believe It Or Not: Верить And Related Words in Russian Posted by on Mar 15, 2017 in language

Верить (to believe) and other related words cover various concepts having to do with confidence, reliability, and loyalty in Russian. Let us look at seven of these concepts.

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The most basic word is верить (to believe). There are two ways you can use it:

  • верить + в + accusative case — to believe in something/someone
  • верить + dative case — to believe something/someone

The related adjective is вера (faith), which is also a popular name.

Я не верю в добро, я верю в доброту.
I don’t believe in good; I believe in kindness.
[Василий Гроссман. Жизнь и судьба, ч. 1 (1960)]

Но почему же вы не верите своему народу?
But why don’t you believe your people?
[Ю. О. Домбровский. Факультет ненужных вещей, часть 1 (1978)]



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Another related concept is the adjective верный (loyal). The abstract noun for loyalty/faithfulness is верность.

Самой верной, самой преданной его ученицей была Варя.
His most faithful, most loyal student was Varya.
[И. Грекова. Фазан (1984)]


Note that the adjective верный can also mean “correct.” This adjective often appears in its short form: верен, верна, верно, верны. The adverb верно, as you would expect, means “correctly,” and неверно means “incorrectly.”

Насколько верны эти прогнозы?
How correct are these forecasts?
[Янис Астафьев. Кто будет работать в России в 2015 году? // «Отечественные записки», 2003]


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Проверить (perf.)/проверять (imperf.) means “to make sure.” This is the word used for homework or any other graded assignment. Where other languages may say “grade” or “correct” homework, Russian says “проверить домашние задания.”

The noun is проверка (a check).

Она проверила четыре тетради, когда снова раздался звонок.
She had corrected four notebooks when the phone rang again.
[Токарева Виктория. Своя правда // «Новый Мир», 2002]


Уверeнный is the word for “sure,” “confident.” To ask someone if they are certain, you can say “Ты уверен/ты уверена/вы уверены?” Russians often talk about уверенность в завтрашнем дне (confidence in the future) as the desire to know that no unforeseen misfortune will befall you tomorrow.

Уверенность в себе (confidence) is a favorable trait, whereas самоуверенность (overconfidence; adjective самоуверенный) is not.

― Ты уверен, что сюда никто не войдёт?
“Are you sure no one is going to enter here?”
[Андрей Геласимов. Фокс Малдер похож на свинью (2001)]


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Доверить (perf.)/доверять (imperf.) means “to trust.” The noun “trust” is доверие. Interestingly, доверенность (power of attorney) is a very common legal instrument in Russia that allows one to act in an official capacity on behalf of another person — to sell property or to make payments, for example.

Основные дебаты идут вокруг вопроса о том, стоит ли доверять пенсионные средства банкам.
The main debates concern whether you can trust banks with your retirement savings.
[Алексей Полухин, Сергей Рябов. Очередь у копилки (2003) // «Время МН», 2003.08.09]


Finally, заверить (perf.)/заверять (imperf.), “to notarize,” is another verb important for bureaucratic purposes. Most official business in Russia will require notarized copies or documents (“нотариально заверенные”).

Для доверенного лица также готовится полный пакет документов и нотариально заверенная доверенность.
The proxy will also need a complete document package and a notarized power of attorney.
[Три самых распространенных вопроса абитуриента // «За науку», 2014]

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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. Dave:

    If you do a follow-up on this, could you include ‘веровать’?

    • Maria:

      @Dave As far as I know, веровать is used in religious/spiritual contexts and is followed by в + acc. It is conjugated like рисовать: верую, веруешь…

  2. Robert Macala:

    Очень хорошо…enjoying practicing my rusty Russian…

  3. Mike:

    Useful post, I especially appreciate the many forms based on the root.

    Are you sure about the stress for adj. and noun to go with уверить? My dictionaries say уве’ренный and уве’ренность

    • Maria:

      @Mike Good catch; I’ll fix it. Thanks!