Russian III Tutorial
written by Stephen VanZuylen
39. Prepositions in the Accusative
Prepositions are words or particles used to express ideas such as location, destination, origin, and a number of other qualities. There are a number of prepositions for each case, and when applied to a noun, it, and all adjectives, pronouns and the like must take the case ascribed to the preposition itself. I've tried to list as many as possible, particularly those I have found to be most common, but a number are not included, and some purposely left out. Pronunctiation is also important, as monosyllabic prepositions meld into the word that follows them rather than being pronounced separately; в Америке is vah-myer'-ee-kyeh, and not vuh ah-myer'-ee-kyeh. And finally, before a number of consonant clusters, single consonant prepositions add an o, as in во вторнк ("on Tuesday") and the preposition o takes a б before vowels, as in об авторе ("about the author"). For the preposition o, there is also a special form, обо when used with the pronoun мне.
О(б) -- Against (Contact)
Про -- About
Сквозь -- Through
Через -- through, across, after x amount of time
40. Prepositions in the Prepositional Case
О(б) -- About (Same as the accusative про)
При -- Near/close to/on one's person/in the time of*
*There are a number of additional meanings for при; check your dictionary for proper contexts.
41. Prepositions in the Dative Case
Благодаря -- Thanks to
Вопреки -- Despite/in spite of
Наперекор -- Contrary to/
Согласно -- In accordance with, according to
Судя по -- Judging by
42. Prepositions in the Instrumental Case
За -- beyond, behind
Между -- Between
Над -- Over, above
Перед -- In front of
Под -- Under
43. Prepositions in the Genitive Case
Близ -- Close to
Без -- Without
Вместо -- Instead of
Вне -- Outside of
Внутри -- Inside of
Вокруг -- Around (usually a circular area)
Для -- for (use by, for the benefit of)
До -- up to, until
Мимо -- By, past
Около -- Near, around, approximately
Помимо -- Besides, other than
После -- After (event, day, etc.)
Против -- against, in opposition to
44. Prepositions of Motion and Location
While most prepositions are fairly straightforward in their usage, the prepositions which indicate location, destination, or point of origin are more difficult to fully understand, especially for those new to language learning. Each preposition is given individual treatment here, and grouped according to which nouns/pronouns they modify. A summary table is available at the bottom of ths section. Also note that certain verbs may mandate specific prepositions, which may or may not conform to the logic normally applied.
В-(accusative) and В-(prepositional) refer to the motion into a closed space, and the location in it, respectively. As such it is used with nouns such as школа (elementary school), общежитие (dormitory), квартира (appartment), здание (building), and so on.
For instance, if I wanted to to say in Russian "Masha is going to the store," it would be "Маша идёт в магазин," that is, using the accusative case; while we may not always say "into the store" in regular English speech, the implication is that Masha goes into the building. Likewise, if I were to say "Masha is at the store right now," it would be "Маша сейчас в магазине," the implicaton here being that she is inside the building, and not simply at it. If, however, you wished to say that she did not/is not going into/inside the store, but is going to an area near it, then you would use к/у/от, explained further down.
Из-(genitive) refers to the same instances above, only the movement out of -that is, exiting- the place in question. Из can also mean "of" in the sense of "one of them" (один из них) or "of/from" in the sense of "made of chocolate" or "made with chocolate" (сделано из шоколада.)
На-(accusative) and На-(prepositional) work in similar ways to в, but are somewhat harder to learn to use properly. The simplest usage is in the context of being "on" something, such as на столе, ("on the table;") that is resting on top of something. While "on" is a good equivalent, you have to be careful how you apply it; на телевизоре ("on television") wouldn't refer to a program on the TV screen, but rather to an object sitting on top of the TV set. The other major use is to indicate motion towards or location at an event or an activity, such as на концерте ("at the concert") or на занятии (at exercise(s)/class.) And finally there are some words that require the use of На/На/С as a matter of course such as на стадион, ("to the stadium,") не рынке, ("in the market,") or на кухне, ("in the kitchen.") As with most irregulars, you just have to remember them.
С-(gentive) is like из, referring to the going from something, only it works in the situations described for на.
К-(dative) There are generally two situations where this set of prepositions is used; first is situations where in English you would say say a person is "at x's house," going "to x's place" or is "with so-and-so" However, in Russian it is standard to simply say к/у/от plus the person's name in the correct case. Thus I would say "Иду к Александру сегодня днём," (I'm going to Alexander's this afternoon,) "Я был вчера у Марины," (I was at Marina's yesterday,) or "Андрей придёт (к нами) от Лены," (Andrei is coming (to our place) from Lena's.)
The other is for instances when you go "to," be "at" or come "from" and object but to not come into contact with it orpass through it, such as "стоять у окна," (to stand at the window) or "подойдти к доске" (to walk up to the chalkboard.)
45. Summary of Prepositions of Motion
countries, vehicles, "in" places
certain buildings and countries, "on" places
animate objects, approach with no contact, entry
** This can also mean "because of"
46. Countries & Nationalities
|Country||In Russian||Adjective||Citizen (m/f)|
|South Africa||Южная Африка||Южноафриканский||Южноафриканец|Южноафриканка|
|United States of America||Соединённые-Штаты-Америки||Американский||Американец|Американка|
47. Countries & Nationalities (Former USSR)
|Country||In Russian||Adjective||Person (m/f)|
|USSR-Union of Soviet Socialist Republics||СССР-Союз Советских Социалистических Республик||Советский|
Русский & Российский:
While both of these words translate into English as "Russian," their meaning is quite distinct; the former is an ethno-linguistic term and refers to ethnic Russians, regardless of present or past citizenship, whereas the latter refers to citizens of the Russian Federation who may not be ethnic Russians, such as Poles, Ukrainians, Belorusians, Germans, Tatars, Yakuts, Bashkirs, Kazakhs, and others. A similar paradigm is found in the United Kingdom, where there are the ethnic terms English, Welsh, Scottish, Cornish, Manx, etc., and the umbrella term British.
48. Common Adjective-as-State Constructions
The primary usage of short-form adjectives has been discussed elsewhere, but they are also used to describe individual states of being where one would otherwise simply use a long form adjective. Some are used on their own, and others can add additional information through the use of prepositions.
|Болен/больна/больно/больны||Ill (illness takes the instrumental)|
|Виноват/виновата/виновато/виноваты||Guilty, to blame (transgression takes в+prepositional|
|Доволен/довольна/довольно/довольны||Satisfied (source of satisfaction takes instrumental)|
|Женат||Married (said of a man, whom he is married to takes на+prepositional|
|Замужем||Married (said of a woman, whom she is married to takes за+instrumental|
|Занят/занята/занято/заняты||Busy (what you're busy with takes c+instrumental)|
|Похож/похожа/похожо/похожи||Look like, resemble (the person resembled takes на+accusative)|
|Свободен/свободна/свободно/свободны||Free, not busy|
|Согласен/согласна/согласно/согласны||Be in agreement, agree (what is agreed takes c+instrumental)|
|Уверен/уверена/уверено/уверены||Certain (what you're certain of takes в+prepositional)|
All forms agree in gender and number with the sentence subject.
49. Reflexive and Reciprocal Pronouns
In addition to the various personal pronouns, there are a number of additional ones you should know, or at least recognize.
This pronouns translates roughly as "-self" and is usually used with prepositions or in noun phrases (i.e. a sentence without a verb.) There is no plural form, and the pronoun before self, such as my-, your-, one-, her-, and so on, is indicated by the subject of the sentence.
For instance, to say "How come you never talk about yourself" in Russian, you would say, "почему ты никогда не говоришь о себе?" (Notice the declension into the prepositional case.)
This pronoun, свой, is largely unique to the Slavic family of languages, and is used to replace possessive pronouns when the subject and the possessor are the same thing. For instance, compare these two sentences: "Она читает свою книгу" and "Она читает её книгу" Both of these sentences translate into English as "She is reading her book," but there is one important piece of information: whose book it is. In the first case it is obvious that whatever book she may be reading, the girl in question owns it, but in the second, "her" can refer to any female. While it may seem trivial simply looking at it just from these two sentences, in the wider context, it tends to cut down on confusion with possessive pronoun use. Свой declines by case, gender and number in accordance with the word it describes, in the same fashion as мой or твой.
50. Useful Adverbs
Motion and Location
These adverbs generally share the same meanings as in English, though that includes archaic words such as "whence," or "thence." In either case, the roots are the same and the prefixes and suffixes are usually logical if you know your prepositions.
There are others that follow this pattern as well:
|"from the front"
Other Useful Adverbs
In the Evening
From Far Away
By the Way
On the Other Hand
Day After Tomorrow
Then (In that case)
Directly, Straight Ahead
Too (i.e. too many)
Then (At that time)
In the Morning
Тоже &Также -- "Too, As Well, Also"
These two adverbs are a notoriously confusing aspect of learnng Russian, largely because while English has more than one construction to express one concept, they more or less mean the same thing in common usage and can be used more or less interchangeably. Not so in Russian, however, so it is important to remember the uses of each:
Также -- Used when there is only one subject, but more than one object.
-Дедушка говорит со мной только по-английски, но он также знает голландский. -- "My grandfather only speaks to me in English, but he also knows Dutch."
Тоже -- Used when there is more than one subject, but only one object.
-"Я родилась тринадцатого .""Я тоже родился тринадцатого декабря!" -- "I was born on the 13th of December." "I was born on the 13th too!" (In this instance, you could also just say
"Я тоже!" or "А я тоже!" meaning something like "me too" or "so was I.")
51. Additional Pronouns
Such, That kind of
As far/much as
Any kind of
marked * decline like adjectives.
For those pronouns ending in -то and -нибудь, usage is not exactly as the translations here imply; the former is used when you are sure of the existence of something, whereas the latter indicates doubt as to whether or not such a thing exists.
For example, compare the following pairs:
- Ты ему сказала что-нибудь? (Did you tell him anything?)
- Ты ему сказала что-то! (You told him something!)
In the first example, -нибудь is used because the speaker does not know whether or not anything was said, nor what it was if so, whereas in the second, there is certainty on the part of the speaker that something was said, even though what was said may or may not be known. (Note that generally the latter provision, what exactly was said in this context, is not a determining criteria for which ending to use.)
- Кто-нибудь мне сегодня позвонил? (Has anyone called me today?)
- Кто-то мне сегодня позвонил; знаешь ты, кто? (Someone called me today; do you know who?)
Again, in the first instance the speaker does not know whether or not anyone has called them, while in the second instance, the speaker knows that someone has called them, and is instead asking for more information about said person; the determning factor is, to re-iterate, the existence, not specific knowledge, of something.
There is also a specific construction to represent "each other," which while it generally functions much as its English counterpart, is unique in that prepositions go in between the two words instead of in front of them; thus it is друг к другу, "towards each other" or друг с другом "with each other," and so on.
52. Comparative and Superlative Adjectives
The comparative of adjectives, -er edjectives like bigger, darker, smaller, etc. in English, can be formed in one of two ways. The first is to use the comparative больше or более (больше is literally the comparative of большой, or big, though in the comparative can mean "more" as well as более,) plus the adjective you are using.
The second is to use the specific comparative form of the adjective. The individual comparative form usually involves the addition of -ee as the adjective ending, such as with красивее and тяжелее. There are a number of irregulars, some of which, like громче, (louder, from громкий,) дороже, (more expensive, from дорогой,) or богаче, (richer, from богатый,) involve following the consonant palatalization rules outlined in section 24 plus -e, while others like старше, (older,) or дальше (farther) are completely irregular.
For either, there are two ways to say "than," usually depending on the word coming after. Usually, if the word is a noun, adjective, pronoun, or number, then the word in question is simply declined into the genitive case. i.e. Больше одного, (more than one,) старше тебя, (older than you, from старый,) or красивее вашего, (more beautiful than yours.) The other is to use the pronoun чем (not чём!) followed by either a nominative, or, as is most common, a word that cannot be declined as above such as a verb or construction beginning with a preposition.
As you can see, comparative adjectives do not decline by either gender or case.
Like the comparative, there are two ways to form the superlative adjective in Russian. The first and easiest is simply to use the adjective самый (most) plus the adjective in question. This method is most common in spoken Russian. The second is to form the individual superlatives, which unlike those of the comparatives, are highly regular and easy to form; there are two possible forms, which are dependent only on the adjective stem. If the stem ends in к, г, or х, you add -айший after changing these letters to ч, ж, and ш respectively. For the remainder of adjectives, you simply add the ending -ейший, such as богатейший (richest,) быстрейший, (fastest,) светлейший, (lightest,) or вкуснейший, (tastiest.) These are more common in formal or written Russian than in spoken, though the latter does have occasional ones such as ближайший (closest), but even then superlative usage is still rather uncommon.
And finally, as in virtually all Indo-European languages, the comparative and superlative words for the adjectives "good" and "bad" are irregular in Russian:
53. The Passive Voice & Rules of Word Order
The passive voice indicates that the action of a sentence or phrase is performed ON the subject, and not BY the subject. The passive is usually formed by the addition of the reflexive suffix to the end of the verb: -ся (pronounced "-ца") after consonants, or -сь after vowels, while any words that indicate who or what is performing the action take the instrumental case.
So, for instance,
Active: Где продают компьютеры? -- "Where do they sell computers?"
Passive: Где продаются компьютеры? -- "Where are computers sold?"
In theory, most verbs can be used as such, but a number are rarely, if ever seen anywhere.
It should be noted, however, that the use of the suffix -ся/-сь is not primarily for use in the passive voice, even if that is where it is often seen. There are two groups of verbs that also use the same ending. The first are so-called "reflexive verbs" which always have -ся/-сь regardless of logic. The other, and more numerous group are those verbs that are transtive (that must take a direct object) but used in a context that does not have one This does not include cases where the object has been noted in a previous construction.
Usage of the passive voice in Russian versus that of English also brings up the issue of word order, which is much freer in Russian than in English, and so while the passive voice is often used in English to change the word order, you can do the same in Russian while keeping the active voice. That is not to say that pasive constructions are rare in Russian; they are quite often used in regular speech, particularly statements of want, need or like, along with various indirect or impersonal constructions.
Nonetheless, there are a few general rules and trends that may help in deciding what to put where:
-Prepositons must be placed before the noun or pronoun it is tied to; adjectives can be placed in between them, but the preposition must come before the noun/pronoun.
-Information that is emphasized or that is newly introduced by the sentence goes at or near the end.
-If the object of a sentence is a pronoun, word order is usually subject-object-verb; if the object is a noun, order is typically subject-verb-object.
Thus while theoretically more or less any order of words is possible, as noted in the section on inflection, deviation from the subject-verb-object or subject-object-verb structure is rare outside of prose and poetry. As it is in any language, the less complex the sentence structure, the greater chances of being understood in full.
54. The Anthem of the Soviet Union
(These are my translations; others may differ according to the translator)
National Anthem (1977 version)
Союз нерушимый республик свободных
Сплотила навеки Великая Русь
Да здравствует созданный волей народов
Единый, могучий Советский Союз!
Славься, Отечество наше свободное,
Дружбы народов надежный оплот!
Партия Ленина - сила народная
Нас к торжеству коммунизма ведет!
Сквозь грозы сияло нам солнце свободы,
И Ленин великий нам путь озарил:
На правое дело он поднял народы,
на труд и на подвиги нас вдохновил!
В победе бессмертных идей коммунизма
Мы видим грядущее нашей страны,
И красному знамени славной Отчизны
Мы будем всегда беззаветно верны!
Unbreakable union of free republics
Joined for the ages by Great Russia.
Long live the creation of the will of the people,
The one, great, Soviet Union
Hail our free fatherland,
A hopeful future of the friendship of the people!
The Party of Lenin, the force of the people,
Leads us towards the triumph of communism!
Through the storms shone for us the sun of freedom
And great Lenin lit the way for us:
He set the people onto the right path,
Inspired us in labor and achievement!
In the victory of the invincible ideas of communism
We see the future of our country,
And to the red banner of our glorious fatherland,
We will always be selflessly dedicated!
55. The Anthem of the Russian Federation (2000 version)
Россия - священная
Россия - любимая наша страна.
Могучая воля, великая слава -
Твое достояние на все времена!
Славься, Отечество наше свободное,
Братских народов союз вековой,
Предками данная мудрость народная!
Славься, страна! Мы гордимся тобой!
От южных морей до полярного края
Раскинулись наши леса и поля.
Одна ты на свете! Одна ты такая -
Хранимая Богом родная земля!
Широкий простор для мечты и для жизни
Грядущие нам открывают года.
Нам силу даёт наша верность Отчизне.
Так было, так есть и так будет всегда!
our sacred nation,
Russia, our beloved country.
A powerful will, and great glory,
Your possession for all time!
Hail our free fatherland,
Of brotherly of peoples, centuries united
Given the people's wisdom by our ancestors!
Hail country! You make us proud!
From the Southern seas to the open frontiers
Stretch our forests and plains.
You are one in the light! You,
Our one Native land, protected by God!
The wide space to dream, to live,
The future years are open to us.
Our fidelity gives might to the fatherland.
As it was, is, and always will be!