Describing People in Russian: Appearance

Do you know how to describe your friend, parent, teacher or anyone in Russian? If you don't, just read on and you'll learn some new words and simple examples sentences which help you describe any person's appearance.

Hair (волосы)

Adjectives to describe hair

светлые - blond
темные - dark
рыжие - red
русые - light brown

прямые - straight
кудрявый - curly
короткие - short
длинные - long

Nouns to describe people with different types of hair

блондин/ блондинка - a blond/ a blonde
брюнет/ брюнетка - a brunet/ a brunette
рыжий (рыжеволосый)/ рыжая (рыжеволосая) - red-haired man/woman
лысый (m.)/ лысая (f.) - bald

кудрявый/ кудрявая - curly-haired (man/ woman)
длинноволосый/длинноволосая - long-haired (man/woman)

Note that some words can be both nouns and adjectives at the same time. It is quite common in Russian. For example, рыжий can mean a color of someone's hair and also a person who has red hair.

Face (лицо)

Eyes (глаза)

светлые - light
темные - dark
голубые - blue
зеленые - green
карие - brown
черные - black

большие - big
маленькие - little
узкие - narrow

Нос

длинный - long
маленький - small
большой - big

Lips/mouth (губы/ рот)

Щеки

Уши





Talking about likes and dislikes in Russian

In today's lesson we're going to learn how to express your likes and dislikes in Russian. I'm going to show you some patterns that you can use in any situation when you need to say that you love, like or dislike something.


Expressing likes


If you want to say that you like something, just start the sentence with this phrase "мне нравится" (I like). You won't probably understand this construction cause it's not like a typical subject+object thing. It's something different. Мне literally means "me" or "to me" and нравится is a reflexive verb... Alright, I don't want to scare you. Just remember this combination, it's really useful.  

So, how do I say that I like something in Russian:

Мне нравится + a verb (the infinitive)/a noun (singular)/a phrase.

Examples:

Мне нравится петь/танцевать/рисовать/спать/есть/смотреть телевизор.
I like to sing/dance/draw/sleep/eat/watch TV.

Мне нравится эта машина. - I like this car.
Мне нравится мой компьютер. - I like my computer.
Мне нравится мальчик в синей рубашке. - I like the boy in the blue shirt.

Note: If you are going to say you like something in plural, use "мне нравятся". 

Мне нравятся твои родители.
I like your parents.

Мне нравятся эти носки.
I like these socks.

Мне нравятся умные дети. 
I like smart kids.

For a stronger feeling like love we use the verb любить. I love is "я люблю" in Russian. This is how we use it in a sentence:

Я люблю мороженное. 
I love ice-cream.

Я люблю детей.
I love kids.

Я люблю тебя.
I love you.

Я люблю ходить в кино.
I love to go to the cinema.

So, the pattern is a little different here. It's the same only with verbs. When we use "любить" with a noun, we need to change the form of this noun - put it in the accusative case. So, for inanimate nouns (exept for feminine nouns ending in -a or -я) there's no any change. We just take a word from a dictionary:

Я люблю солнце.
I love the sun.

Я люблю свой свитер. 
I like my sweater.

Я люблю этот город. 
I love this city (town).

Я люблю свою машину (we changed the ending of the word машина). 
I love my car.

If we talk about plural nouns, the verb doesn't change, but the noun does:


Я люблю эту книгу. (I love this book). Я люблю книги. (I love books).
If you want to talk about something that you really really love, a verb обожать (adore) is just what the doctor ordered.  

Я обожаю читать. 
I adore to read.

Я обожаю маленьких котят.
I adore little kittens.

The pattern here is the same as with the verb любить. You just switch "я люблю" to "я обожаю" and leave all the rest the same. 

Expressing dislikes


Now it's time for hating. The first way of saying you don't like something is to take our first construction мне нравится and add the particle не into the middle of it. So, we have the phrase мне не нравится (I don't like).

It's used in the same way as "мне нравится", just with the opposite meaning. You can take the previous examples and make a little change:

Мне не нравится петь/танцевать/рисовать/спать/есть/смотреть телевизор.
I don't like to sing/dance/draw/sleep/eat/watch TV.

Another strong phrase to express dislikes is я ненавижу (I hate) or я терпеть не могу (I can't stand): 

Я ненавижу ждать.
I hate to wait. 

Я ненавижу его.
I hate him.

Я ненавижу этот город.
I hate this city.

In everyday speaking we elliminate the personal pronoun я (same with the verb любить):

Ненавижу рано вставать. 
I hate to wake up early.

Ненавижу, когда отвечают вопросом на вопрос.
I hate it when someone answers a question with another question.

Терпеть не могу его мать.
I can't stand his mother.

Терпеть не могу, когда мой сын плачет.
I can't stand it when my son cries.

And, again, we make sentences following the same rule as we did with the verb любить (to love).

We finish here. Now tell me what you like or dislike. In Russian, of course. Would be great to know 😉



10 Easiest Russian Words for Absolute Beginners

Hello, readers! It's the April fool's day today, the second spring month has just started. But... It is snowing outside here in Siberia, which makes me a little sad 😞 Because I want summer! Or at least I want the warm spring to finally come here. 

Anyway, it's not a case. This post is for those who only started to learn Russian and have some fear of learning it. There's a video for you to learn your first 10 Russian words without any pain! Just watch, listen and repeat. I know you all can do it. If you're a higher level student, it can be hardly interesting for you, maybe just for checking your pronounciation.



What Russian words are easy for you to read and pronounce? Maybe it's a good idea to make a big list of easy Russian words and share it with all the other learners. What would you suggest?

How to compliment in Russian (women or men)

Compliments help us to ingratiate ourselves to other people. It can be used for profit, but most of the time we just want to make someone feel good. Everyone likes to recieve compliments. In this lesson we're going to learn how to compliment a woman or a man in Russian and how to respond when someone gives you a compliment. 

How to compliment a woman in Russian


It's no secret that the best way to make a woman like you is to compliment her. We love to hear beautiful things. We like to hear that someone thinks we look good. We like to know that someone thinks we are very intelligent. So, there are some typical phrases which can help you to make a woman happy:

Ты очень красивая. - You are very beautiful.

Ты очень умная. - You are very smart (intelligent).

У тебя такие красивые глаза. - You have such beautiful eyes.

Мне нравится твое платье. - I like your dress. 

Ты великолепно выглядишь. - You look great.

Тебе идет этот цвет. - That color looks good on you.

Мне нравится твоя новая прическа. - I love your new hairstyle.

Ты прекрасно готовишь. - You are such an amazing cook.


How to compliment a man in Russian


Now we'll try to compliment a man. It's not so easy as it seems. You should choose right words to point out best male features.


С тобой приятно общаться. - It's very nice to talk to you (I like talking to you).

Ты такой умный. - You are so smart.

Ты такой сильный. - You are so strong.

Ты хорошо выглядишь. - You look good.

Мне нравится твой стиль. - I like your style. 

У тебя приятный голос. - You have a lovely voice.


Accepting a compliment 


Here are some expressions you can use to accept a compliment or to react to it in some other way.  

Спасибо. - Thank you.

Ты правда так думаешь? - Do you really think so?

Ты такой милый. - You're so sweet (about a man).

Я так не думаю, но все равно спасибо. - I don't think so, but thanks anyway.

Ты такой подхалим. - You're such a toady.  (he-he)

------------------------------

I hope theses phrases are enough to make someone happy. If you want to know how to say any phrase in Russian, just post a comment below. I'll be glad to answer you as soon as possible.


Talking about weather in Russian

Weather... it is very crazy sometimes. Especially here, in Russia. Because our country is huge and the climate varies in different parts of it. When it's snowing in the north, it can be still warm in the south. 

So, the weather is important in our life and it takes a huge part of our everyday conversation. We talk about the weather with our friends, neighbours, acquaintances even if it doesn't make sense. But how do we talk about weather in Russian? How can we describe a nasty or a good weather? Let's find out!

Weather vocabulary


погода - weather
прогноз погоды - weather forcast
облачность - overcast
солнце - sun
небо - sky
облако - cloud
туча - black cloud (before rain)
ветер - wind
дождь (m.) - rain
ливень (m.) - shower
снег - snow
град - hail
росá - dew
тумáн - fog
грозá - thunderstorm
шторм - storm


Describing good or bad weather

Useful phrases


Хорошая погода. - A good weather.
Плохая погода. - A bad weather.
Солнечно. - It's sunny.
Облачно. - It's cloudy.
Холодно. - It's cold.
Тепло. - It's warm.
Жарко. - It's hot.

Adjectives to describe the weather

холодный - cold
теплый - warm
жаркий - hot
морозный - freezing
туманный - foggy
солнечный - sunny
дождливый - rainy
пасмурный/облачный - cloudy
прохладный - cool

General phrases about the weather and concrete examples

Идет снег. - It's snowing.
Идет дождь. - It's raining.
Дует ветер. - The wind is blowing.
Солнце светит. - The sun is shining.

Notice that we use the verb "идти" with raining and snowing. We literally say that the snow or the rain "goes". It's another funny thing about the Russian language. 

Here are some phrases to describe certain weather conditions:

Сегодня очень сильный ветер. - Today is a very windy day.
Небо так быстро темнеет. Скоро пойдет дождь. - The sky is getting dark so quickly. It's going to rain soon.
Сегодня довольно прохладно. Завтра обещают жаркий день. - Today it is quite cool. The weather forecasters promise a hot day for tomorrow.

Question words in Russian

What? Which? Who? We ask too many questions every day using the same question words. But there are even more question words in Russian. I'll try to list them all with translation and transcription.

Что? [shtoh] - What?
Кто? [ktoh] - Who?
Как? [kak] - How?
Когда? [kag-da] - When?
Сколько? [skol-ka] - How many/ how much?
Почему? [pa-chee-moo] - Why?
Зачем? [za-chem] - Why? (What for?)
Чей? [chey] - Whose?
Куда? [koo-da] - Where to?
Откуда? [at-koo-da] - Where from?
Кому? [ka-moo] - To whom?
Чему? [che-moo] - To what?
Чем? [chem] - By what?
Кем? [kem] - By who?
О чём? [ah chyom] - About what?
О ком? [ah kom] - About whom?
Чего? [chee-vo] - What (Genitive case)?
Кого? [ka-vo] - Whom?
Какой? [ka-koy] - What? Which?
Который? [ka-to-riy] - Which?

OMG. There are so many question words in Russian! I didn't realize that until I wrote this list. But be calm for now, we start with basic question words.

First, I should explain the difference between "Почему?" and "Зачем?", because they both mean why in English. It's what you can find in a dictionary. But we distinguish these two words. Почему corresponds to English "why", while зачем corresponds to "for what" or "what for". Is it difficult to understand so far? OK, let me give you some examples.

Зачем (для чего) тебе эта ручка? - Why do you need this pen? (for what? what are you going to do with it?)

Зачем ты взял мой телефон? - Why did you take my phone? (for what purposes?)

Зачем мы здесь? - Why are we here? (for what? what are we going to do here?)

Почему ты не пришел? - Why didn't you come?

Почему Земля круглая? - Why is the Earth tround?

Почему у нас так мало денег? - Why do we have so little money? 

All the other question words are not so difficult to use. You might notice that какой and который also have the same meaning. It's almost true. But the word какой is much more common than который. The difference between these words exists, but we can ignore it for now. 

Now let's look at some examples of sentences with Russian question words.

Что ты делаешь? - What are you doing?
Кто это? - Who is it?
Как ты сюда попал? - How did you get there?
Какой это этаж? - Which floor is it?
Откуда ты приехал? - Where did you come from?
Откуда ты это знаешь? - How do you know this? (Note that we don't use как [how] in this case, we use откуда [literally: where from?] instead).
Где это? - Where is it?
Куда ты идешь? - Where are you going? (direction)
О чём вы говорите? - What are you talking about?



How to ask for help in Russian

There are many situations where we may need someone's help. Today we're going to learn some important Russian words and expressions to ask for help in any situation. I really hope it will be useful for you and you will learn how to use these words and expressions correctly.

Two important words to ask for help in any situation


Let's start with the common word "help!", which is помогите [pa-ma-gee-te] in Russian. It literally means "help me". It is a very common word, you can use it whenever you're in trouble. For example, you've been just robbed by someone on the street. So, the phrase "Помогите! У меня украли сумку!" (Help me! They stole my bag!) will be suitable for this situation. Another example, "Помогите мне, пожалуйста, обменять валюту." (Hlep me, please, to exchange my money.). So, you can use помогите in every situation when you need someone's help. Well, if you need a help from your friend you use informal word помоги [pa-ma-gee]. It would sound weird if you say "помогите" to your friend.

Another word you can use to ask for someone's help is спасите [spa-see-te] (literally: rescue me!). It is used when you're in danger. For example, you fell in the river but you are not able to swim. You are sinking and screaming спасите, so that people could hear and rescue you.

Asking for help in a polite way 


Now let's talk about less dangerous situations, where you can adress someone in a polite way to ask for help. For example, you're lost in Russian city and want to find a way to the hotel (or to another place). You can ask for help using these phrases:


Извините, пожалуйста. Я потерялся. Как мне попасть в (the name of the place)?
Excuse me, please. I'm lost. How can I get...? 


Простите, не могли бы вы мне помочь? Мне нужно в (the name of the place). Как мне туда попасть? 
Excuse me. May you help me? I need to get to... How can I get there?


Помогите мне, пожалуйста, найти дорогу... 
Help me, please to find a way... 


Phrases to appreciate someone's help


If someone helped you and you want to show gratitude, you can simply use спасибо (thank you) or большое спасибо (thank you very much). There are some other ways to appreciate someone's help:

Вы мне очень помогли. Спасибо.
You helped me a lot. Thank you.

Спасибо за помощь.
Thank you for your help.

Что бы я без вас делал!
What would I do without you!


10 Easy Russian Tongue Twisters to improve your pronunciation


Speaking Russian can be very hard for English speakers, so you need to practice as much as possible to achieve a good result. In this article I've collected 10 easy Russian tongue twisters for practicing your pronunciation. There are some short and quite long tongue twisters. But they all are not so hard to pronunce. These tongue twisters will help you to practice and improve the pronunciation of к, б, п, р, ж, ш, щ, ч, с and also vowel sounds. Gathering together these sounds makes the practice more effective, cause they create many troubles for non-Russian speakers.

Don't try to speed it up from the beginning. At first, you should pronounce every letter clearly and correctly. When you'll get the point, you can increase the speed of speech.

So, good luck!











Don't forget to post a comment of how you managed this. Was it hard for you? What sounds do you find the most difficult to pronounce? 

Telling the time in Russian

In this post we're going to learn a basic topic - asking and telling the time. Imagine, you are alone in the Russian city and you don't have a watch or a mobile phone (I know it's hard to imagine but who knows what can happen) and you need to be in a particular place at a particular time. You'll probably need to ask people around what time is it. But this is not the only case, of course. When talking to a friend you can  also need tot ask or tell the time. Just while walking the street, someone may ask you about time.

Asking the time in Russian: two simple questions


There are two ways of asking time in Russian. The most common is "Сколько времени?". Uneducated people may say "Сколько время?", it is very common in everyday speaking but not grammatically correct because the word время (time) must be used in the genitive case - времени. We literally ask "how much", when asking the time.

The second question is "Который час?", which sounds more formal to me. I rarely hear people saying this. Usually they use the first phrase.

If you want to ask passers-by what time is it, you can use following patterns:

Извините, пожалуйста, вы не подскажете, который час?
Excuse me, please, can you tell me what time is it?

Простите, вы подскажете, сколько сейчас времени?
Excuse me, can you tell me what time is it now?

How to tell the time in Russian 


Well, this will be much harder than asking the time. First of all, you need to be familiar with Russian cardinal and ordinal numerals. If you're not, just follow the link.

So, if it's one, two, three, etc. o'clock (sharp), it's very easy:

- Сколько времени? (What time is it?)

Час. (It's one o'clock)
Два часа. (It's two o'clock)
Три часа. (It's three o'clock)
Четыре часа. (It's four o'clock)
Пять часов. (It's five o'clock)
Шесть часов. (It's six o'clock)
Семь часов. (It's seven o'clock)
Восемь часов. (It's eight o'clock)
Девять часов. (It's nine o'clock)
Десять часов. (It's 10 o'clock)
Одиннадцать часов. (It's 11 o'clock)
Двенадцать часов. (It's 12 o'clock)

We can also tell the time exactly as we see it on the clock. In this case it's also easy if you are familiar with the Russian numbers:

- Сколько времени?- Шесть сорок пять. (6:45) or восемнадцать сорок пять (18:45).

In the first case (шесть сорок пять) we can mean both 6:45 and 18:45. We don't need to clarify this if the part of the day is obvious.

In the following situations the part of the day is essential:

- Когда будет трансляция? (When will it be broadcasted?)
- В 11 вечера. (At 11 pm).
- Когда мне позвонить? (When should I call?)
- В девять утра. (At nine am.)





How to start a conversation in Russian

When you meet the person for the first time, you need to get acquainted before you start talking. We already learned how to get acquainted in Russian in one of my previous posts. But what about you've already met this person? Maybe you are friends or collegues.

How to start a conversation with a friend


Imagine you suddenly met your friend in the shop. The dialogue may follow this way:

- О, Настя, привет! А ты что здесь делаешь? (Oh, Nastya, hi! What are you doing here?)
- Привет! Не ожидала тебя встретить! Я тут выбираю одежду для сына. Он завтра выступает. (Hi! Didn't expect to meet you here! I'm looking for (choosing) the clothes for my son. He's perfoming tomorrow.)

If you and your friend haven't seen each other for a long time, you can start a conversation with the phrase Давно не виделись (Long time no see). And, of course you'd probably like to know what is happening or happend in your friend's life.

- Здорово, Серега! (Hi, Seryoga!)
- О, привет, давно не виделись! Как поживаешь? (Oh, hi, long time no see! How are you doing?)
-  Да неплохо. Ты-то давай рассказывай, какие новости у тебя! Я слышал, ты из Европы вернулся. Ну и как оно? (Well, not bad. You tell me what news do you have! I've heard you're back from the Europe. So, how's it?)

The second dialog is very informal. In this case it is between two old friends, which are males. Notice that I used the word "здорово" as a greeting. It is common among men. In the article about Russian greeting words and phrases I already gave you explanation of each of them.

How to start a conversation with a person you don't know so well

Now imagine you're at work and your collegue is not your friend but you want to have a little conversation with him. You know that he had some troubles with the boss and you want to know more about it (you've just arrived at work):

- Привет! Как все прошло вчера? (Hey! How was it yesterday?)
- Привет. Нормально. Мы поговорили, и меня не будут увольнять. (Hi. It was OK. We had a conversation and they won't dismiss me.)

Another case. You met your neighbor which is older than you. You want to ask something important but before asking you make some polite questions:

- Здравствуйте, Иван Петрович. Как поживаете? (Hello, Ivan Petrovich. How are you doing?)
- Здравствуй, Миша. Да ничего. (Hello, Misha. Well, I'm doing OK [literally:nothing bad is happening to me])
- Я слышал, у нас в доме будут проводить ремонтные работы. Вы не знаете точную дату? (I heard, our house would be renovated. Do you know the exact date of it?)

There are many ways to start a conversation in different situations. Usually we follow the same pattern: greeting + "how are you". But it's not necessary to ask a person how he or she is. It usually means that you really want to know what happend or is happening to this person. We don't use it just as a polite way of talking. Well, maybe we do, but not all the time.