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Questions in Russian

To ask a question in Russian you simply need to put a question mark at the end, no need to rearrange a sentence like in English, if you’re speaking simply add a “question tone” to your voice, let’s suppose English was the same as Russian, then you can simply say: you understand? (Ты понимаешь?),  instead of adding “do you understand?”. Or “you are ready?” instead of “are you ready?”…That’s how Russian works when you try to make a question and expect a (yes/no) answer.

To make other kind of questions like: How? When? Why? you need to know the equivalent words in Russian, below is a list of question tools:

Questions in Russian

How much money?

Сколько денег?

 

Who?

Кто?

How much/many?

Сколько?

 

What's the matter?

В чём дело?

How?

Как?

 

What do you need?

Что вам нужно?

What did you say?

Что вы сказали?

 

When?

Когда?

What is this?

Что это?

 

Which?

Какой?/ Который?

What time is it?

Который час?

 

What do you want?

Что вы хотите?

Where from?

Откуда?

 

What are you doing?

Что вы делаете?

Where?

Где?

 

What's happened?

Что случилось?

Who is this?

Кто это?

 

What?

Что?

Why?

Почему?

 

 

Note that some of these tools behave like adjectives, so they must be formed according to the case they’re used under (accusative, nominative, genitive, dative…) and also the gender (masculine, feminine, neuter) for example (Какой? Which?) can also be Какая? (feminine), Какое? (neuter) …

“Whose” can be Чей? (masculine), Чья? (feminine), Чьё? (neuter), Чьи? (plural), also “what?” can be Что? (nominative & accusative case), Чему? (dative case: to what?), Чого? (genitive case: of what?), Чем? (instrumental case), Чём? (prepositional case). Don’t worry it’s not that complicated as it may look, you just need to know the Russian cases to be able to deal with this kind of words.

 

Negation in Russian

The most common way to form negation in Russian is by using (не and нет)

Я вас не знаю (I don't know you). Его здесь нет (He's not here).

In general, не means “no” while нет means “not”.

Unlike English, Russian allows “double negative” expressions, for example you can say in Russian “I didn’t understand nothing” while in English you have to either say “I understood nothing” or “I didn’t understand anything”. The Russian negation rule indicates that if the verb in a phrase is negative, then all indefinite pronouns in that clause should be negative.

 

Below is a table of some Russian negative pronouns that might be used with the negative “не” when necessary.

 

Russian Negative Pronouns

Used in general.

Used before infinitive verbs.

no one

никто

no one to

некто

nothing

ничто (ничего)

nothing to

нечего

never

никогда

no time to

некогда

nowhere

нигде

nowhere to

негде

 

You may have noticed that there are two different forms of Russian negative pronouns, the first example is used in general cases. The second example is used when we have a verb in the infinitive, like “I have nothing to do”. “to do” is in the infinitive and so it is in Russian.

 

Some Russian negative expressions:

 

Russian Negative Expressions

Don't worry!

Не беспокойтесь

I Don't understand!

Я не понимаю

I don't know!

Не знаю

I have no idea.

Понятия не имею

 

Below you will see the change occurring to “nothing/anything”, the first one is the basic form, the second one is because we have an infinitive verb which is “to do”.

 

Russian Negative Epressions (2)

I'm not doing anything.

Я ничего не делаю.

I have nothing to do.

Мне нечего делать.

 

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