Russian Language Blog

This Russian Grammar Round-Up Will Make Your Head Spin Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in language, Russian for beginners

If you are looking for entertaining and helpful takes on some of the stickier problems of Russian grammar, then this post is for you. NOTE: not all the posts mentioned below were written by me. In fact, I wrote just a tiny portion of them. So if you leave comments on those posts (with links in italics), your comments might not appear right away and might take a couple of days to be approved.

Over the years we collected quite a few posts on this blog, 472 to be exact. A few of these posts are grammar posts. In case you don’t like digging through the archives and don’t have time to search by keywords, this is a round-up of our grammar posts:

As a warm-up, read a quick review of «части речи» [parts of speech]. Once your grammar juices are flowing and you are ready, dive right in!

One part of speech that Russian language doesn’t have is «артикль» [article]. How do Russians get by without all those “a/an” and “the”? Quite famously, thank you very much! Seriously, find out how to make your Russian friends understand that you’re talking about THIS blog and not about another blog.

Russian verbs can be very confusing and time-consuming to learn. The «глаголы русского языка» [Russian verbs] overview post might help you get oriented in the verb maze.

Once you’re done with the overview, you might want to start digging deeper. If you always thought Russian verbs of motion to be tricky and confusing, this post on «глаголы движения» [verbs of motion ] is for you and so is this one.

Tired of «глаголы» [verbs] yet? If not, then I have some good news for you. Russian verbs don’t just have the three tenses, but two aspects as well – perfective and imperfective.

Another topic that is difficult for many Russian learners is that of «склонения» [the Russian cases]. We’ve tried to demystify and simplify them through the years:

«Именительный падеж» [Nominative case] – «так просто и полезно» [it’s so easy and useful]

«Родительный падеж» [Genitive case] is such a trouble-maker that it required 3 posts to cover it – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

«Дательный падеж» [Dative case] – lots of examples in the post make this case an easy one to crack.

«Винительный падеж» [Accusative case] – with «кто виноват?» [who is to blame?] being one of the two eternal Russian questions, this case merits a post of its own. (By the way, what’s the other eternal Russian question?)

«Творительный падеж» [Instrumental case] – a must-know for when you want to congratulate your Russian friends with something, whether it’s a holiday, «новоселье» [housewarming], «новая машина» [a new car] or «прибавка в семье» [new family member]. You might also need it to make plans for your own and your children’s future. Plus we have more examples here, here and here.

Wow, looks like we haven’t covered «предложный падеж» [prepositional case] at all! Good to know as it gives us something to work on.

After dealing with the cases and the verbs, learning how to use prepositions and pronouns will be easy-peasy. By the time you get to adverbs, you’ll be a grammar guru. Don’t let your newfound confidence be shattered once you get to the posts on homonyms, homophones, homographs andparonyms.

You know by know that Russian is a hard, but rewarding language to learn, maybe even one of the hardest and most rewarding in the world. If you are not sure how to say “hard”, “harder”, “the hardest” in Russian, then it’s time to review «сравнительные степени прилагательных» [comparative adjectives]. If you want even more examples, you can find them here.

Did I hear you saying you want to know even more about adjectives? No problem! Here’s a post about short form adjectives that will either enlighten you or confuse you. Either way make sure to read the comments… all 35 of them.

Moving onto sentence-building, find out how to use a marvelous little word «ли» to ask tru-ly great questions in Russian.

Speaking of questions, how easy is it to ask a “why” question in Russian? Turns out, it can be quite tricky since there are two words for “why”. Find out the rules so you never «попадать впросак» [put one’s foot in one’s mouth] when being «любознательный» [inquisitive].

One of the most famous questions of all times is, of course «быть или не быть» [to be or not to be]. Find out all about using the verb «быть» [to be] in Russian sentences.

Some other, no less dramatic, but more language-specific questions, are “how to form a plural of a Russian word” and “where is stress in this word?” Needless to say, we provide answers to both these vexing questions and, unlike Shakespeare we write in a much more readable «проза» [prose]. By the way, irregular plurals are covered in a separate post.

As you know, real life isn’t always about «не могли бы вы» [could you, would you]. Sometimes you have to put your foot down, bark orders and act «по-командирски» [as a commander]. Find out how you can make others do your bidding without sounding rude with «повелительное наклонение» [imperative].

Of course, you might still get a response along the lines of «умерь свой энтузиазм» [curb your enthusiasm]. And that’s (“your”) is just one meaning of the word «свой». It’s a very important word for anyone who’s trying to speak Russian «как свой родной язык» [as one’s native language]. Naturally, we are happy to help figure it out with a post on possessive pronouns.

So at this point, if your head is not spinning with all the Russian grammar, then I just don’t know! Seriously though, this post is meant as a reference – favorite it, bookmark it, or tag it for future use. And let us know what other sticky points of Russian grammar you’d like us to write about. Actually, we tend to procrastinate, so go ahead and use that «повелительное наклонение» [imperative] after all.

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  1. Richard:

    Great post Yelena! Thanks! A very good page to bookmark! It’ll take a while to explore all of the links.

    Also, I love those old Soviet posters, especially the early ones which showed some artistic creativity. One that promoted literacy in the 1920s had a blindfolded man walking to the edge of a cliff:

  2. HUGO LY: