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A comment to a recent post asked me to cover some introductory phrases in Russian. These small words are ubiquitous, especially in argumentative writing like news articles, and they link the ideas in a text to help the reader follow the writer’s logic.
In most cases, introductory words (вво́дные слова́) will be set off by commas. Consult an authoritative reference like Gramota to verify specific use cases.
Коне́чно means “of course” and expresses certainty. It is pronounced коне́шно.
“Конечно” in Russian is fairly neutral and does not sound condescending as an answer.
Some synonyms of конечно include разуме́ется (clearly) and несомне́нно (undoubtedly).
Мо́жет быть literally translates to “may be” and is similar to its English counterpart. It makes the sentence tentative.
You could also say simply “може́т” in the same sense. Other similar words include возмо́жно (possibly) and вероя́тно (probably).
This very useful word means “in my opinion, it seems to me that.”
Can we use it to talk about other people’s opinions? We certainly can for ты and вы.
In other cases, use “по ее/его/на́шему/их мне́нию” (in her/his/our/their opinion).
Вообще́ conveys the sense of “generally.”
Another variation is вообще́-то.
Кста́ти is used to introduce a comment or a related idea, much like “by the way.”
A synonym is между про́чим.
We will continue this list in our next post. Have you come across any of these or other introductory phrases?