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The most comprehensive guide to Russian usage, fully revised and updated.

A Comprehensive Russian Grammar, by Terence Wade, is the definitive resource on Russian usage, providing complete and accurate guidance for students and professionals alike. Now in its fourth edition, this authoritative text continues to be an indispensable reference for English-speaking learners of Russian. Detailed yet accessible chapters cover the essential rules of the Russian language, placing emphasis on the nuances and problems that English speakers find especially difficult.

Thoroughly revised and updated by Russian language experts David Gillespie, Svetlana Gural, and Marina Korneeva, this edition reflects changes in the grammar, the lexis, and the contemporary practice of the language in Russia’s increasingly globalized, market-oriented economy. New content includes coverage of words and phrases from IT and social network terminology that have entered the Russian language, original contributions by leading Russian language scholars, and numerous modern usage examples taken from Russian websites, social media, and post-Soviet literature. The standard Russian language reference for English speakers for more than a quarter of a century, this volume:
• Provides a comprehensive, user-friendly approach to Russian grammar exposition
• Covers every essential aspect of the Russian language, including prepositions, conjunctions, numerals, and word order
• Features updated examples and illustrations, new insights into recent developments in Russian language usage, and more consistent transliteration of Russian names
• Includes a glossary of grammatical terms, word and subject indexes, and a complete bibliography

Part of the successful Blackwell Reference Grammars series, A Comprehensive Russian Grammar, Fourth Edition is the ideal guide and reference text for students and teachers of Russian across the English-speaking world, as well as professionals with knowledge of Russian seeking to keep pace with recent changes in the language.
Год:
2020
Издание:
Fourth Edition
Издательство:
Wiley-Blackwell
Язык:
english
Страницы:
601 / 640
ISBN 13:
9781119520283
Серия:
Blackwell Reference Grammars
Файл:
PDF, 4,57 MB
Скачать (pdf, 4,57 MB)

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A Comprehensive Russian Grammar

Blackwell Reference Grammars
General Editor: Glanville Price
The Blackwell Reference Grammars are essential companions for students of modern
languages at senior secondary school and undergraduate level. The volumes provide a
comprehensive survey of the grammar of each language and include plentiful examples.
Published
A Comprehensive Russian Grammar, Fourth Edition
Terence Wade
Updated, with additional material, by David Gillespie, Svetlana Gural
and Marina Korneeva
Advisory Editor for previous editions: Michael J. de K. Holman
Modern Standard Arabic Grammar: A Learner’s Guide
Mohammad T. Alhawary
A Comprehensive French Grammar, Sixth Edition
Glanville Price
An Introduction to French Pronunciation, Revised Second Edition
Glanville Price
Colloquial French Grammar: A Practical Guide
Rodney Ball
A Comprehensive Spanish Grammar
Jacques de Bruyne
Adapted, with additional material, by Christopher J. Pountain
A Comprehensive Welsh Grammar
David A. Thorne
Grammar Workbooks
A Russian Grammar Workbook, Second Edition
Terence Wade
Updated, with additional material, by David Gillespie
A Spanish Grammar Workbook
Esther Santamaría Iglesias
A French Grammar Workbook
Dulcie Engel, George Evans and Valerie Howells

A Comprehensive
Russian Grammar
Fourth Edition

Terence Wade
Revised and updated by
David Gillespie, Svetlana Gural and Marina Korneeva

This edition first published 2020
© 2020 Terence Wade & John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Edition History
© Terence Wade. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd (1e, 1992 and 2e, 2000, 3e, 2011)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted,
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as
permitted by law. Advice on how to obtain permission to reuse material from this title is available at
http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions.
The right of Terence Wade, David Gillespie, Svetlana Gural and Marina Korneeva to be identified as the
; authors of this work has been asserted in accordance with law.
Registered Offices
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK
Editorial Office
The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK
For details of our global editorial offices, customer services, and more information about Wiley products visit
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representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and
specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation any implied warranties of merchantability or
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Library of Congress Cataloging‐in‐Publication Data
Names: Wade, Terence, 1930–2005, author. | Gillespie, David, 1957– author. |
Gural, S. K., author. | Korneeva, Marina (Marina Aleksandrovna), author.
Title: A comprehensive Russian grammar / Terence Wade ; updated, with additional material,
by David Gillespie, Svetlana Gural and Marina Korneeva.
Description: Fourth edition. | Hoboken, NJ : Wiley-Blackwell, 2020. | Series: Blackwell reference grammars
| Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019045086 (print) | LCCN 2019045087 (ebook) | ISBN 9781119520290 (paperback) |
ISBN 9781119520320 (adobe pdf) | ISBN 9781119520283 (epub)
Subjects: LCSH: Russian language–Grammar.
Classification: LCC PG2106 .W33 2020 (print) | LCC PG2106 (ebook) | DDC 491.782/421–dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019045086
LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019045087
Cover image: Nicki Averill/Wiley
Cover design by Wiley
Set in 10.5/12pt STIXGeneral by SPi Global, Pondicherry, India
Printed in Great Britain by Bell & Bain Ltd, Glasgow
Pb printing  10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

To May

Contents

Preface
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Fourth Edition
Acknowledgements
Acknowledgements to the Second Edition
Abbreviations

xxvi
xxviii
xxx
xxxii
xxxiii
xxxv
xxxvi

Introduction
1 The Cyrillic alphabet
2 The international phonetic alphabet (IPA)

1
2

Pronunciation
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13

Stressed vowels
Unstressed vowels
Hard and soft consonants
Double palatalization
Non‐palatalization of consonants in some loan words
Hard sign and soft sign
The reflexive suffix ‐cь/‐cя
Effect of a soft consonant on a vowel in the preceding syllable
Voiced and unvoiced consonants
The pronunciation of ‐чн‐
Consonants omitted in pronunciation

4
5
7
9
9
10
10
10
11
13
13

viii

Contents

14 The pronunciation of double consonants
15 Stress

13
14

Orthography
16 Spelling rules
17 Use of capital and small letters in titles and names

15
16

Division of Words
18 Division into syllables
19 Splitting a word at the end of a line

18
19

Punctuation
20
21
22
23
24
25
26

Introductory comments
The full stop, exclamation mark and question mark
The comma: introductory comments
Uses of the comma
The colon. The semicolon. The dash
The punctuation of direct speech
́ иe)
Suspension points (многоточ

20
20
21
21
25
28
29

The Noun
Word Formation
27 Word formation in the noun I: general
28 Word formation in the noun II: prefixation
29 Word formation in the noun III: suffixation

30
32
34

Gender
30
31
32
33
34
35
36

Masculine, feminine and neuter gender
Masculine nouns
Feminine nouns
Soft‐sign nouns
Neuter nouns
Common gender
Indeclinable nouns of foreign origin

54
55
56
56
58
58
58

Contents
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45

Indeclinable place names
Titles of books etc.
Acronyms
Alphabetisms
Stump compounds
Compound hyphenated nouns
Differentiation of gender through suffixes
Professions
Animals

ix
60
60
60
61
63
63
64
65
67

Declension
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68

Introduction
Animacy
Nouns which are used only in the singular
Nouns which have a plural form only
Declension chart
First declension: masculine nouns
The fleeting vowel
Partitive genitive in ‐у/‐ю
Prepositional/locative singular in ‐у́/‐ю́
Special masculine plural forms
Nouns whose genitive plural is identical with the
nominative singular
Stress patterns in first‐declension masculine nouns
First declension: neuter nouns in ‐ο
First declension: nouns in ‐e, ‐ье, ‐ë, ‐ьë
Stress patterns in the plural of neuter nouns
Second declension: nouns in ‐a/‐я
Stress patterns in second‐declension nouns
Third declension: soft‐sign feminine nouns
Declension of neuter nouns in ‐мя
Declension of nouns in ‐ия/‐ие
The masculine noun пyть
The neuter noun дитя́
Дéти and лю́ди

67
68
70
72
73
74
75
76
77
79
82
83
84
86
87
88
90
92
94
94
94
95
95

x
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76

Contents
Declension of first names
Declension of surnames
Declension of place names
Apposition in the names of publications, towns etc.
Declension of alphabetisms
Declension of hyphenated noun co‐ordinates
Agreement of pяд, бoльшинcтbó etc.
Constructions of the type bcе пobеpнýли гóлoby

95
96
97
97
99
100
100
102

Case Usage
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100

The nominative
The vocative
The accusative
The genitive: possession and relationship
The genitive: quantity
The genitive with adjectives
The partitive genitive
The partitive genitive in ‐y/‐ю
Genitive in ‐y in set phrases
Genitive and negative
The genitive and accusative after negated verbs
Verbs that take the genitive
The dative as indirect object of a verb
Verbs that take the dative
Adjectives that take the dative
Impersonal constructions using the dative
The dative as the logical subject of an infinitive
The instrumental of function
The instrumental in constructions denoting movements
of the body
The instrumental in passive constructions
The instrumental in adverbial expressions
Use of the instrumental to denote similarity
Verbs that take the instrumental
Adjectives that take the instrumental

103
104
105
106
106
107
107
109
110
111
112
115
118
119
120
120
121
121
122
122
122
124
124
125

Contents
101 The instrumental of dimension
102 The instrumental as predicate
103 Nouns in apposition

xi
125
125
127

Diminutive and Augmentative Nouns
104
105
106
107
108
109

Meanings and functions of the diminutive
Masculine diminutives
Feminine diminutives
Neuter diminutives
Other diminutive suffixes
Augmentative suffixes

128
128
130
131
132
132

The Pronoun
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129

Personal pronouns
Use of personal instead of possessive pronouns
Use of the nominative pronoun with э́тo
The pronoun я
The pronoun мы
The pronouns ты and вы
The third‐person pronouns (oн, oнá, oнó, oни́)
The reflexive pronoun ceбя́
The possessive pronouns мoй, твoй, нaш, вaш
The possessive pronouns eгó, eë, иx
The reflexive possessive pronoun cвoй, cвoя́, cвoë, cвoи́
Declension of the interrogative/relative pronouns
Kтo, чтo, кaкóй, кoтópый, чeй as interrogative pronouns
Koтópый, какóй, чeй, ктo and чтo as relative pronouns
Other functions of the interrogative/relative pronouns
Declension of the demonstrative pronouns э́тoт, тoт,
тaкóй, ceй and э́кий
The demonstrative pronouns э́тoт and тoт
Constructions of the type пpимép тoмý
The demonstrative pronoun тaкóй
The pronouns ceй and э́кий

134
135
136
136
137
137
138
139
141
142
142
144
144
146
149
150
151
153
153
154

xii

Contents

130 Declension of the determinative pronouns caм, cáмый, вecь,
вcя́кий, кáждый, вcя́чecкий
131 Caм and cáмый
132 Becь, цéлый, вcя́кий, кáждый, любóй, вcя́чeский
133 The negative pronouns никтó, ничтó, никaкóй, ничéй.
The negative particle нe
134 Hиктó
135 Hичтó
136 Hикaкóй and ничéй
137 The ‘potential’ negative pronouns нéкoгo, нéчeгo
138 The indefinite pronouns ктó‐тo, ктó‐нибyдь, ктó‐либo;
чтó‐тo, чтó‐нибyдь, чтó‐либo; кaкóй‐тo, кaкóй‐нибyдь,
кaкóй‐либo; чéй‐тo, чéй‐нибyдь, чéй‐либo
139 The indefinite pronouns кòe‐ктó, кòe‐чтó, кòe‐кaкóй
140 Нéктo, нéчтo
141 Нéкoтopый
142 Héкий
143 Other parts of speech which can also function as pronouns

154
155
156
157
157
158
159
159
161
165
165
165
166
166

The Adjective
144 Introduction

168

The Long Form of the Adjective
145
146
147
148
149
150
151
152
153
154
155

The long adjective: hard endings
‘Mixed’ declension
Soft‐ending adjectives
Formation of adjectives from nouns: the suffixes ‐н‐, ‐ск‐
and ‐oв‐/‐eв‐
Adjectival endings with specific meanings
Nouns with more than one adjective
Possessive adjectives
Diminutive adjectives in ‐eнький/‐oнький
Diminutive adjectives in ‐oвaтый/‐eвaтый
Indeclinable adjectives
Attributive use of the long adjective

168
169
170
172
173
174
174
176
177
177
178

Contents
156 Use of the long adjective with predicative meaning
157 Some uses of singular and plural adjectives
158 Adjectival nouns

xiii
179
180
181

The Short Form of the Adjective
159
160
161
162
163
164
165
166
167
168
169
170
171
172
173
174
175

Endings of the short form of the adjective
Adjectives which have long forms only
The buffer vowels ‐e‐, ‐o‐ and ‐ë‐ in the masculine short form
Some special short forms
Masculine short forms of adjectives in ‐eнный
Stress patterns
Divergence in stress between masculine, neuter and
plural long and short forms
The short form: usage. Introductory comments
Use of the short form to denote temporary state
Short forms: pairs of opposites
Adjectives of dimension
Delimitation of meaning by the oblique case
of a noun or pronoun
Delimitation by a prepositional phrase
Delimitation by a subordinate clause or an infinitive
The short form as predicate to infinitives, verbal nouns
and nouns with certain qualifiers
The short form in generalized statements
Position of the short form of the adjective

182
183
184
185
186
186
187
187
188
188
189
190
191
192
192
193
193

The Comparative Degree of the Adjective
176
177
178
179
180
181
182
183
184

The comparative degree. Introductory comments
The attributive comparative with бóлее
One‐word attributive comparatives
Predicative comparative forms in ‐ее
Comparative short forms in ‐e
The short‐form comparative in predicative meaning
Constructions with the comparative
The short‐form comparative in attributive meaning
Other functions of the short‐form comparative

193
194
194
195
196
199
199
201
202

xiv

Contents

The Superlative Degree of the Adjective
185
186
187
188
189

The superlative degree with cáмый
Bы́ cший and низ́ ший
The superlative in ‐eйший and ‐aйший
The superlative with нaибóлee
Other superlatives

202
204
204
205
206

The Numeral
Cardinal, Collective and Indefinite Numerals
190
191
192
193
194
195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202

The cardinal numeral
Declension of cardinal numerals
Ноль/нуль. Meanings and usage
The numeral оди́н, однá, однó, одни́
Полторá/полторы́; двa/две, три, четы́ре; óбa/óбе

Numerals five and above
Agreement of oblique cases of numerals полторá/
полторы ́ to 999 with oblique plural forms of nouns
Ты́ cячa ‘thousand’, миллиóн ‘million’, миллиáрд
‘a thousand million’, биллиóн ‘billion’,
триллиóн ‘trillion’
Declension of compound numerals
Cardinals as numerical ‘labels’
Collective numerals
Indefinite numerals
Agreement of the predicate with a subject which contains
a numeral

207
208
211
212
214
216
216
218
219
220
221
224
226

Ordinal Numerals
203 Formation of ordinal numerals
204 Ordinal numerals: usage

228
230

Special Functions of Numerals
205 Cardinals and ordinals in fractions and decimals
206 Telling the time

230
232

Contents
207
208
209
210
211

Giving the date
Age
Quantitative nouns
Numerals in arithmetic
Numerals in compound nouns and adjectives

xv
235
236
237
238
238

The Verb
Conjugation
212
213
214
215
216
217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
229
230
231
232
233
234

Infinitive‐preterite stem and present‐future stem
The conjugation of the verb
The first conjugation
First‐conjugation verbs with stems ending in a vowel
First‐conjugation verbs with consonant stems I
First‐conjugation verbs with consonant stems II: verbs
in ‐ать with consonant mutation throughout conjugation
First‐conjugation verbs with consonant stems III:
verbs in ‐ти, ‐cть/‐зть, ‐чь
Mobile stress in the conjugation of first‐conjugation verbs
Second conjugation: present‐future stems
Present‐future endings in the second conjugation
Consonant change in the conjugation of
second‐conjugation verbs
Stress change in the second conjugation
Irregular verbs
Deficiencies in the conjugation of certain verbs
The verb ‘to be’
Formation of the imperative
Stress in the imperative
Verbs with no imperative or a little‐used imperative
Formation of the past tense
Verbs with no ‐л in the masculine past tense
Mobile stress in the past tense of verbs
Formation of the future (imperfective and perfective)
The buffer vowel ‐о‐ in conjugation

240
241
241
242
244
246
248
250
251
252
253
254
256
256
257
259
261
261
261
262
264
266
267

xvi

Contents

Aspect
235
236
237
238
239
240
241
242
243
244
245
246
247
248
249
250
251
252
253
254
255
256
257
258
259
260
261
262
263
264
265

The aspect. Introductory comments
Verbs with one aspect only
Bi‐aspectual verbs
Formation of the aspects
Formation of the perfective by prefixation
Functions of the perfective prefixes
Semantic differentiation of aspects
Submeanings of perfectives
Formation of verbal aspects by internal modification
The formation of imperfectives from prefixed
first‐conjugation verbs
Vowel mutation in secondary imperfective verbs
Secondary imperfectives based on second‐conjugation verbs
Consonant mutation in secondary imperfectives based on
second‐conjugation verbs
Secondary imperfectives based on monosyllabic verbs
Submeanings of some prefixed imperfectives
The differentiation of aspect by conjugation
Aspectival pairs with different roots
Verbs which are reflexive in the imperfective aspect only
Compounds of ‐ложить
Meanings of verbal prefixes
The imperfective and perfective aspects
Aspect in the present tense
Aspect in the past tense
Use of the imperfective past to express a ‘statement of fact’
Use of the imperfective past to denote an action and its reverse
Aspectival usage when emphasis is on the identity of
the person performing the action
Use of the imperfective past to denote a forthcoming event
Negated verbs in the past
Aspect in the future
The ‘logical’ future
The future in reported speech

268
269
270
271
272
273
274
274
275
276
277
277
278
279
280
281
282
282
283
283
292
295
297
300
302
303
305
305
306
307
307

Contents
266
267
268
269
270
271
272
273
274
275
276
277
278
279
280
281
282
283

Use of the future to express repeated actions
The perfective future in warnings
Aspect in questions
Some uses of the imperfective imperative
Use of the imperative in the context of a single action
Use of the imperative to exhort and invite
A command arising naturally from context
Negative commands/warnings
Use of the perfective imperative with repeated actions
Use of the future and the infinitive to express
peremptory commands
Aspect in the infinitive. Introductory comments
Use of the infinitive to denote habitual actions
Use of the imperfective infinitive after verbs of beginning,
continuing and concluding
Inadvisable and advisable actions
A request to perform/not to perform an action
Use of the infinitive after не хочу́
Use of the infinitive with порá
Use of infinitives after verbs of motion

xvii
308
309
309
310
311
311
312
313
314
314
314
315
316
317
318
319
319
320

Reflexive Verbs
284
285
286
287
288
289
290
291
292
293

Reflexive verbs: conjugation
The ‘true’ reflexive
Semi‐reflexive verbs
Intransitive reflexives
Reflexive verbs with passive meaning
Reciprocal meanings
Reflexive verbs which express feelings and attitudes
Intense or purposeful action
Reflexive verbs that emphasize thoroughness
Reflexive verbs that denote potential to perform an action

320
321
321
322
323
323
325
325
325
326

Impersonal Constructions
294 Use of impersonal constructions to denote natural processes
295 Impersonal constructions with an animate accusative or dative

326
327

xviii
296
297
298
299

Contents
Impersonal constructions involving an external force
Expression of other meanings (chance, sufficiency etc.)
Constructions with the second‐person singular
Constructions with the third‐person plural

327
328
329
329

The Passive Voice
300
301
302
303

The passive voice. Introductory comments
The passive expressed by imperfective reflexive verbs
Passive meaning expressed by third‐person plural verbs
Perfective reflexives with passive meaning

330
331
331
332

The Conditional and Subjunctive Moods
304 The conditional mood. Introductory comments
305 Formation of the conditional
306 Use of (1) the imperative and (2) the preposition без to express
conditional meanings
307 Use of the particle бы to express desire
308 Use of the subjunctive to express wish or desire
309 The subjunctive of purposeful endeavour
310 Purpose clauses
311 The expression of hypothesis
312 Concessive constructions

333
333
334
335
335
337
337
338
340

Constructions Expressing Obligation, Necessity, Possibility
or Potential
313 The expression of obligation and necessity
314 The expression of possibility or potential

341
343

Verbs of Motion
315
316
317
318
319
320
321

Unidirectional and multidirectional verbs of motion
Conjugation of verbs of motion
Imperatives of verbs of motion
Past tense of verbs of motion
‘To go’: идти/ходить and éхaть/éздить
Functions of unidirectional verbs of motion
Unidirectional verbs in frequentative contexts

345
345
347
347
347
348
349

Contents
322 Functions of multidirectional verbs of motion
323 Use of the past tense of a multidirectional verb to denote
a single return journey
324 The verbs неcти́, ноcи́ть; веcти́, води́ть; везти́, вози́ть
325 Translation of ‘to drive’
326 Perfectives of unidirectional verbs
327 Special meanings of пойти́
328 He пошëл and не ходи́л
329 Perfectives of multidirectional verbs
330 Figurative and idiomatic uses of verbs of motion
331 Compound verbs of motion
332 Stems of compound verbs of motion
333 Spelling rules in the formation of compound verbs of motion
334 Prefixed verbs of motion
335 Use of the imperfective past of a compound verb of motion
to denote an action and its reverse
336 Figurative and idiomatic uses of compound verbs of motion
337 Perfectives in c‐ based on multidirectional verbs
338 Perfectives in зa‐, из‐ and нa‐ based on multidirectional
verbs

xix
350
351
353
354
354
356
356
356
357
358
359
360
360
361
362
363
364

Participles
339
340
341
342
343
344
345
346
347

Participles. Introductory comments
Present active participle. Formation
Stress in the present active participle
The past active participle. Formation
Stress in the past active participle
The imperfective passive participle. Formation
Stress in the imperfective passive participle
Verbs which have no imperfective passive participle
Formation of passive participles from secondary imperfectives
whose primaries have no participle
348 The perfective passive participle. Introductory comments
349 Formation (infinitives in ‐aть/‐ять)
350 Stress in the participles from дaть and its compounds

365
365
366
367
368
368
369
369
370
370
370
371

xx

Contents

351 Formation of the long‐form (attributive) participle from verbs
in ‐aть/‐ять
352 Formation of the short‐form participle from second‐conjugation
verbs in ‐ить/‐еть
353 Consonant mutation in participles from second‐conjugation
infinitives in ‐ить/‐еть
354 Formation of the long‐form (attributive) participle from
second‐conjugation verbs in ‐ить/‐еть
355 Formation of perfective passive participles (short form)
from verbs in ‐ти, ‐чь, ‐зть, ‐cть
356 Long‐form participles from verbs in ‐ти, ‐чь, ‐зть, ‐cть
357 Perfective passive participles in ‐т
358 The long form of participles in ‐т
359 Functions of short‐form participles
360 Functions of long‐form participles
361 Agreement of long‐form participle and noun
362 Participial synonymy
363 Participles as adjectives and nouns
364 Participial adjectives
365 Distinction between short‐form adjectives and short‐form
participles
366 Impersonal function of short‐form participles

371
372
373
374
374
375
375
377
377
378
380
381
382
383
384
385

Gerunds
367
368
369
370
371
372
373
374
375
376
377

The gerund. Introductory comments
Formation of the imperfective gerund
Stress in the imperfective gerund
Verbs with no imperfective gerund
Compensation for the lack of an imperfective gerund
The perfective gerund: formation (verbs in ‐ть, ‐cть
(д‐ stems))
Reflexive perfective gerunds
Perfective gerunds with alternative forms in ‐я/‐a
Gerunds from perfective verbs in ‐ти and ‐cть
Gerunds from perfective verbs in ‐чь and ‐зть
Functions of the gerunds

385
386
387
387
388
388
389
389
389
390
390

Contents
378 Special features of constructions with gerunds
379 Reversal of the sequence of actions expressed by main verb
and gerund
380 Gerunds as other parts of speech

xxi
392
393
393

The Adverb
381
382
383
384
385
386
387
388
389
390
391
392
393
394
395
396
397
398
399
400

Introductory comments
Adverbs derived from adjectives
Adverbs derived from nouns
Adverbs derived from verbs
Adverbs derived from numerals
Adverbs derived from pronouns
Primary spatial adverbs
Primary adverbs of time
Ужé, ужé нe
Eщë, eщë нe
The temporal adverbs дóлгo, дaвнó and нeдáвнo
Primary adverbs of manner and extent
Interrelating adverbs
Tóжe, тáкжe
Indefinite adverbs (adverbs in ‐тo, ‐нибyдь, ‐либo and кòe‐)
The negative adverbs нигдé, никyдá, ниoткýдa, никoгдá,
никáк, нискóлько
The negative adverbs нéгдe, нéкyдa, нéкoгдa, нéoткyдa,
нéзaчeм
Comparative adverbs
Variant forms of some comparative adverbs
The superlative adverb

395
395
398
399
400
400
401
402
403
404
405
406
407
407
409
411
412
413
414
415

The Preposition
401 Introductory comments
402 Primary prepositions and cases
403 Repetition of prepositions

416
416
418

xxii
404
405
406
407

Contents
The buffer vowel ‐o
Stress in primary prepositions
Adverbial prepositions
Prepositions derived from nouns and verbs

418
419
421
422

Spatial Prepositions
408 B and на + prepositional/accusative, из/c + genitive
409 The use of в and на with geographical terminology and
the names of organizations, buildings and parts of buildings
410 Nouns which may be used with в and на, but with different
meanings
411 Special uses of c + genitive
412 Uses of в and на when the dependent noun denotes an
activity, event
413 В and на: extension of the spatial meanings

422
424
426
432
432
433

Prepositions that Denote the Position of an Object in Relation to
Another Object (Behind, in Front of, Below, on Top of etc.), or
Movement to or from that Position
414 За + instrumental/accusative, из‐за + genitive
415 За + instrumental/accusative: extension of the spatial
meanings
416 Пеpед + instrumental, впеpеди́ + genitive
417 Пoд + instrumental/accusative, из‐пoд + genitive
418 Над + instrumental, пoвépх + genitive
419 Мèждy + instrumental, cpед , пocpеди́, напpóтив, пpòтив,
вдòль, внè, внyтp , вн тpь, вoкp г, м мo + genitive

434
436
437
437
439
439

Prepositions that Denote Spatial Closeness to an Object,
Movement Towards or Away from an Object, or Distance
from an Object
420 У + genitive, к + dative, oт + genitive
421 л з, бл зкo oт, вòзле, недалекó oт, непoдалëкy oт,
òкoлo, пòдле + genitive; бл зкo к, бл же к + dative;
pя́дoм c + instrumental
422 Пpи + prepositional
423 Вдали́ oт, далекó oт, пoдáльше oт + genitive

441
443
443
444

Contents

xxiii

Prepositions that Denote Along, Across, Through a Spatial Area
424 Пo + dative; чеpез, cквòзь + accusative; пoпеpëк, вглyбь,
вдòль + genitive

444

Prepositions that Denote Spatial Limit
425 Дo + genitive, по + accusative

447

Temporal Prepositions
426
427
428
429
430
431
432
433

Telling the time
Days
Parts of a day
Weeks, months, years and centuries
General time words
Nouns that denote stages in a process
The weather
Festivals

447
448
449
450
451
453
453
454

The Use of Prepositions to Denote Action in Relation to
Various Time Limits
434 The use of c + genitive, дo + genitive/по + accusative
to denote terminal points in time
435 Use of к + dative and пoд + accusative to denote
temporal approach
436 Use of в/за + accusative to denote the time taken to
complete an action
437 Use of в + accusative to denote the period during which
an action occurs a stated number of times
438 Use of на + accusative to denote the time for which
something has been arranged
439 Use of prepositions to denote sequence in time
(before, after etc.)
440 Temporal prepositional phrases as attributes to nouns:
за + accusative, oт + genitive
441 Positioning an event within a time span: cpед + genitive,
мèждy + instrumental
442 Coincidence in time: пpи + prepositional

454
455
456
457
457
457
460
461
461

xxiv

Contents

Other Meanings
443
444
445
446
447
448

Prepositions with causal meaning
Prepositions that denote the object of feelings and attitudes
Prepositions that denote extent
Prepositions that denote purpose
Concessive meanings expressed by prepositions
Пo + dative/accusative in distributive meaning

462
465
467
470
472
472

Other Important Meanings Expressed by Prepositions
449
450
451
452
453

Prepositions that take the accusative
Prepositions that take the genitive
Prepositions that take the dative
Prepositions that take the instrumental
Prepositions that take the prepositional

474
477
479
481
482

The Conjunction
454 Introductory comments

484

Co‐ordinating Conjunctions
455 Connective conjunctions
456 Adversative conjunctions
457 Disjunctive conjunctions

485
486
488

Subordinating Conjunctions
458
459
460
461
462
463
464
465
466

Explanatory conjunctions
Causal conjunctions
Conjunctions of purpose
Conjunctions of result
Conditional conjunctions
Concessive conjunctions
Comparative conjunctions
Temporal conjunctions. Introductory comments
Temporal conjunctions which render ‘before’, ‘after’,
‘by the time that’, ‘until’, ‘since’
467 Other conjunctions of time

489
492
494
495
496
497
497
498
499
502

Contents

xxv

The Particle
468
469
470
471
472
473
474

The particle. Introductory comments
The position of the particle in the sentence
The use of particles to impart different nuances of meaning
Some of the principal meanings expressed by particles
Modal functions of particles
The meanings of individual particles
The aggregation of particles for increased emphasis

505
506
506
507
508
510
517

Word Order
475
476
477
478
479
480
481

Introductory comments
‘New’ and ‘given’ information
Relative position of subject and verb
Subject, verb, object
The position of the adjective
The position of the adverb
Sentences that contain more than one adverb or
adverbial phrase
482 The position of the noun or pronoun in impersonal
constructions
483 The position of particles in the sentence
484 Word order in expressive styles

521
521
524
525
527
528
529
530
531
531

Appendix: English Words and Phrases in Modern Russian
533
Glossary537
Bibliography544
Subject Index
554
Word Index
571

Preface

The Comprehensive Russian Grammar is meant for English‐speaking
pupils and students of Russian at the post‐introductory stage. It is also a
reference aid for teachers, translators and interpreters and others who use
the language in a professional capacity.
The first new reference grammar of Russian to have been published in
the United Kingdom since the 1950s, it is based on personal research
and observation, long experience of teaching Russian at all levels from
beginners up to the Honours Degree and the Civil Service Interpretership,
and on a close study of reference materials by Russian, British and
American linguists.
The approach is descriptive throughout, and rules of usage are constantly
measured against current practice as reflected in contemporary journalistic
and literary sources. It is entirely practical in conception and design and
has no pretensions to theoretical disquisition. Particular emphasis is laid on
problems which are of especial difficulty for the English speaker.
The grammar provides comprehensive guidance to usage, with exhaustive
tabulated material and succinct explanations. It is presented in 484 sections
which are further subdivided to take account of finer points of usage. It
provides mainstream rules for quick reference, as well as access to the subtleties of the language for those who need more detailed information.
The intention is to provide the essential facts of the language and to tackle
perennial problems such as adverbs and pronouns in ‐то and ‐нибудь,
agreement, animacy, conjugation, declension, gerunds, long and short
adjectives, numerals, participles, the partitive genitive, verbs of motion,

Preface  xxvii
and so on, as well as problems which have often received less attention: the
gender of acronyms, alphabetisms, soft‐sign nouns, the differences between
в/на and other key prepositions, and between тóже and тáкже, the use of
capital letters, particles, the principles of word order etc. Treatment of verbal aspect differentiates usage in the past, future, imperative and infinitive,
thus throwing the rules into sharper relief. Special emphasis is given to
stress patterns.
Ease of reference is assured by comprehensive indexing of subject headings and Russian words, and by general adherence to the alphabetic principle throughout.

Preface to the Second Edition

A Comprehensive Russian Grammar was first published in 1992, since
when the book has been reprinted eight times, on most occasions with
minor amendments. The present, second, edition of the Grammar takes
account of the very considerable changes, both social and linguistic, that
have taken place in the post‐Soviet period.
The transliteration system of the Library of Congress has been added to
those enumerated in section 1, but that of the British Standards Institute
continues to be used throughout the Grammar.
Amendments have been made to sections dealing with all parts of speech,
with pronunciation, the noun, the adjective, the verb and the preposition
most affected.
There are three entirely new, substantial sections on word formation in the
Russian noun. These comprise sections 27 (general), 28 (prefixation) and
29 (suffixation), the sections that formerly bore these numbers having been
conflated with earlier sections to make room for the new material. These
sections have not been curtailed in any way.
Some sections on pronunciation have been amplified by additional examples, sometimes involving new lexis, e.g. при́нтер ‘printer’, Интернéт
‘Internet’ and экстрасéнс ‘psychic’ in section 7. Changes have also been
made to sections 12, 13 and 15 (on the pronunciation of ‐чн‐, consonants
omitted in pronunciation, and stress, respectively).
Section 17 (on the use of capital and small letters in titles and names) has
been completely rewritten in the light of changes that have occurred over
the past few years. Many of the changes involve new names such as

Preface to the Second Edition   xxix
Росси́йская Федерáция ‘Russian Federation’ and Совéт Федерáции
‘Council of the Federation’, but historicisms such as Совéтский Сою́з
‘Soviet Union’ will clearly remain current for some time to come and have
been retained. Other changes result from new official attitudes, affecting,
for example, the spelling of the names of deities.
Other amended sections on the noun take account of recent neologisms, e.g.
флóппи ‘floppy disk’, папарáцци ‘paparazzi’ (section 36), ВИЧ ‘HIV’,
СКВ ‘freely‐convertible currency’ (section 40), забасткóм ‘strike committee’ (section 42), etc. Most amendments have grammatical implications, e.g.
the genitive plurals байт ‘byte’ and бит ‘bit’ (section 56), the plurals
технолóгии ‘technologies’ and эконóмики ‘economies’ (section 48), the
use of the accusative case in заказáл винó ‘ordered some wine’ (section 83),
and so on, others reflect name changes of the past decade (e.g. the replacement of the former place name Ки́ров ‘Kirov’, section 71).
Amendments to the sections on adjectives also reflect changes in nomenclature, e.g. дýмский ‘Duma’ (adj.), or amplify extant categories, e.g.
ли́зинговый ‘leasing’ (adj.) (both section 148).
Changes to the sections on the verb include an increase in the number of
bi‐aspectuals with alternative perfectives (e.g. профинанси́ровать ‘to
finance’, section 237), and the amplification of other sections.
Section 404 on the buffer vowel ‐о in prepositions has been expanded, as
has section 424 on через and по in the meaning ‘across’, and section 451
on по with nouns that denote means of communication (по моби́льному
‘on a mobile’, по фáксу ‘by fax’), including variant usage in conjunction
with телеви́дение ‘television’. The preposition поря́дка in the meaning
‘approximation’ has been added to section 445.
The bibliography has been expanded to include new dictionaries, grammars
and other works of the mid‐ to late 1990s, especially those specifically
describing the language at the end of the twentieth century (Comrie, Stone
and Polinsky, Dulichenko, Karaulov, Kostomarov, Offord, Rakhmanova and
Suzdal’tseva, Ryazanova‐Clarke and Wade, Shaposhnikov and Zemskaya),
as well as new journals, newspapers, magazines and prose works.
A glossary of grammatical terms has also been included in the new edition.
The table of contents and indexes have been revised to take account of new
material and revised pagination.
TW, Glasgow 2000

Preface to the Third Edition

When Professor Terence Wade died in 2005, he was already well advanced
in his plans to produce a third edition of A Comprehensive Russian
Grammar. This would have included appendices on geographical terms,
irregular verbs, irregular noun plurals, indeclinable nouns and
abbreviations.
Since it remains unclear just what form these appendices would take I have
chosen not to attempt to second‐guess. Indeed, it remains my conviction
that Professor Wade’s grammar is the most comprehensive and illuminating of all Russian grammars currently available for student use. It would
not be advisable to make it unwieldy or too detailed for its own good!
My purpose in preparing the third edition is not to seek to emulate Professor
Wade’s ambition, but rather to enhance the status and significance of the
grammar throughout the scholarly world by consolidation and a few select
additions. I have been guided by Professor Wade’s own desire, in planning
the third edition, to ‘ensure that the essential balance of the book is maintained’. I have therefore chosen to expand the sources and reference materials used, including writers and texts from well‐known modern Russian
writers, as well as from the political and journalistic discourse of post‐
Soviet Russia. In only one or two cases have explanations been ‘tweaked’,
but the grammar itself remains largely as Professor Wade presented it in the
first edition in 1992.
I am indebted to colleagues from the Department of European Studies and
Modern Languages of the University of Bath for their advice and support
during my time spent working on this edition, and for their invaluable help

Preface to the Third Edition   xxxi
with recent developments in the language, especially vocabulary. My fellow teachers Natasha Zhuravkina and Elena Kidd have been particularly
helpful. I would also like to thank staff and students of Moscow State
University who have studied on short courses at the University of Bath in
2008 and 2009, especially Lidiia Polubichenko, Elena Aleksandrova and
Maria Guzenko.
David Gillespie
Bath, November 2009

Preface to the Fourth Edition

The fourth edition of Professor Wade’s A Comprehensive Russian Grammar
is intended to reflect recent (i.e. since approximately 2010) changes and
developments in the Russian language, especially with regard to the digital
age and what is commonly termed ‘globalization’. The structure of the
book remains the same, with the same chapter structure, though with some
content amended and examples updated from both literary and socio‐
political sources. Moreover, we have included a short appendix that
­contains words and phrases that have entered the Russian language largely
from English, with regard to IT and social network terminology. We are
deeply indebted to students and colleagues from Tomsk State University,
where DG spent the autumn of 2018 and spring of 2019, especially
Professor Ol’ga Obdalova of the Faculty of Foreign Languages.
We have also made the transliteration of Russian names more consistent,
using a modified version of the accepted ALA‐LC Romanization system
used by the US Library of Congress, Cambridge University Library, the
Modern Humanities Research Association and most other leading Western
academic institutions. The table can be found at www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/
roman.html.
David Gillespie, Svetlana Gural, Marina Korneeva
Tomsk, April 2019

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank the following for advising on aspects of the book: Natalya
Bogoslavskaya (University of Leeds), Sheelagh Graham (University of
Strathclyde), Larissa Ryazanova (Edinburgh University), who also read the
page proofs, Professor Dennis Ward (University of Edinburgh), Nijole
White (University of Strathclyde); also Dr Marina Kozyreva (Moscow and
Leeds Universities) for reading through a late draft and writing a helpful
report. I am particularly grateful to my specialist readers, Dr R. Bivon
(University of Essex, formerly of the University of East Anglia) and
Dr Svetlana Miloslavskaya (Pushkin Institute, Moscow) for writing detailed
reports at an early stage, thus enabling me to make substantial improvements. I also valued a lengthy consultation with Svetlana Miloslavskaya
which allowed me to make amendments to the final draft. My editor,
Professor Michael Holman (University of Leeds), supplied helpful and
detailed critical analyses of each chapter during the writing of the grammar
and I am most grateful to him for his support and encouragement and for
the many insights that he provided. I should also like to thank Professor
Glanville Price (University College of Wales), general editor of Blackwell’s
series of grammars of European languages, for his comments on some
early chapters, particularly that on verbs. Any errors are, of course, entirely
the responsibility of the author.
I wish to thank my late mother, who first encouraged me to learn Russian.
The book is dedicated to my wife, May, who bore with me throughout the
thousands of hours and nine drafts that went into this grammar.

xxxiv  Acknowledgements
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to the publishers of the
books I was able to consult (see bibliography): Akademiya nauk,
Birmingham University, Collets International, CUP, Dover Publications,
Durham University, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Hutchinson, Kniga, MGU,
Nauka, Oliver and Boyd, OUP, Pan Books, Pergamon, Progress Publishers,
Prosveshchenie, Russkii yazyk, Sovetskaya entsiklopediya, University of
East Anglia, University of London Press, Vysshaya shkola.
TW

Acknowledgements
to the Second Edition

I am grateful to Russian colleagues who have helped with the new edition,
particularly Professor V. G. Kostomarov, Rector of the Pushkin Institute,
Moscow, for allowing me to carry out research at the Institute on a number
of occasions.
I wish to thank Professor G. Corbett (University of Surrey) and Professor
B. Scherr (Dartmouth College) for their valuable comments on the first
edition of the Grammar and suggestions for improving the second.
I also wish to express my thanks to Mrs Nijole White, my colleague at the
University of Strathclyde, who read the sections on word formation in the
Russian noun and gave valuable advice on presentation.
I should also like to thank editorial and production staff at Blackwell: Tessa
Harvey, Louise Spencely, Lorna Berrett, Brian Johnson, Helen Rappaport
and proof reader Penny Dole for their work in producing this second e­ dition
of the book.
Above all I am again indebted to my editor, Professor Michael Holman, of
the University of Leeds, who has supplied unstinting supportive and professional assistance throughout, especially in preparing the new sections on
word formation in the Russian noun.

Abbreviations

The following abbreviations are used:
acc.
adj.
adv.
anim.
cf.
dat.
f.
fig.
gen.
imper.
impf.
inan.
indecl.
infin.
instr.
intrans.
lit.
m.
n.
nom.
part.
pej.
pf.
pl.
prep.
sing.
theatr.
trans.

accusative
adjective
adverb
animate
compare
dative
feminine
figurative
genitive
imperative
imperfective
inanimate
indeclinable
infinitive
instrumental
intransitive
literally
masculine
neuter
nominative
participle
pejorative
perfective
plural
prepositional
singular
theatrical
transitive

Introduction

1   The Cyrillic alphabet
(1) The Russian Cyrillic alphabet contains 33 letters, including 20 conso­
nants, 10 vowels, a semi‐consonant/semi‐vowel (й), a hard sign (ъ) and a
soft sign (ь).
(2) There are a number of different systems for transliterating the Cyrillic
alphabet. Three of these, that of the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO), that of the British Standards Institute (BSI) and that
of the Library of Congress (LC), whose system is used throughout this
Grammar, are listed alongside the Cyrillic alphabet, as well as the Russian
names of the individual letters:
Cyrillic letters
Аа
Бб
Вв
Гг
Дд
Ее
Ёё
Жж
Зз
Ии
Йй
Кк
Лл

Letter name
[а]
[бэ]
[вэ]
[гэ]
[дэ]
[е]
[ё]
[жэ]
[зэ]
[и]
[и крáткое]
[ка]
[эль]

ISO
a
b
v
g
d
e
ë
ž
z
i
j
k
l

BSI
a
b
v
g
d
e
ë
zh
z
i
ĭ
k
l

LC
a
b
v
g
d
e
e
zh
z
i
i
k
l

A Comprehensive Russian Grammar, Fourth Edition. Terence Wade, David Gillespie,
Svetlana Gural and Marina Korneeva.
© 2020 Terence Wade & John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Published 2020 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

2  Introduction  1–2
Cyrillic letters
Мм
Нн
Оо
Пп
Рр
Сс
Тт
Уу
Фф
Хх
Цц
Чч
Шш
Щщ
Ъъ
ЬІы
Ьь
Ээ
Юю
Яя

Letter name
[эм]
[эн]
[о]
[пэ]
[эр]
[эс]
[тэ]
[у]
[эф]
[ха]
[цэ]
[че]
[ша]
[ща]
[твёрдый знак]
[ы]
[мя́гкий знак]
[э оборóтное]
[ю]
[я]

ISO
m
n
o
p
r
s
t
u
f
h/ch
c
č
š
šč
”
y
’
e̊
ju
ja

BSI
m
n
o
p
r
s
t
u
f
kh
ts
ch
sh
shch
”
ȳ
’
é
Yu
Ya

LC
m
n
o
p
r
s
t
u
f
kh

ts
ch
sh
shch
”
y
’
ė

iu

ia

Note
(a) Certain letters with diacritics and accents which appear in the stand­
ard BSI system (ё for ё, ĭ for й, é for э, ȳ for ы) are used without dia­
critics and accents here.
(b) The ligaturesused over certain combinations of letters in the standard
 , ia
 ) are often omitted by other users.
LC system (ts, iu
(c) The endings ‐ый/‐ий are rendered as ‐ii in names.
2   The international phonetic alphabet (IPA)
The following symbols from the IPA are used in the Introduction for the
phonetic transcription of Russian words.
Vowels
i
ɨ
ι
ᵼ

as in ил
as in пыл
as the first vowel in иглá
as the first vowel in дырá

[il]
[pɨl]
[ιˈgla]
[dᵼˈra]

2  Introduction  3
ε
e
a
æ
ᴧ
ə
o
ö
u
ü

as in лес
as in весь
as in рад
as in пять
as the first vowel in оди́н
as the first vowel in хорошó
as in мох
as in тётя
as in бук
as in ключ

[ᶅεs]
[ᶌeᶊ]
[rat]
[ᶈæt̡]
[ᴧˈᶁin]
[xərᴧˈʃo]
[mox]
[ˈt̡öt̡ə]
[buk]
[kᶅütʃ]

Semi‐consonant/semi‐vowel
j

as in бой

[boj]

Consonants
p
ᶈ
b
ᶀ
t
t̡
d
ᶁ
k
ᶄ
g
ᶃ
f
ᶂ
v
ᶌ
s
ᶊ
z
ᶎ
ʃ
Ӡ
x
ᶍ
ʆʆ
ts

as in пол
as in пёс
as in бак
as in бел
as in том
as in тем
as in дом
as in день
as in как
as in кем
as in гол
as in гид
as in флóра
as in фен
as in вот
as in винó
as in сам
as in сев
as in зуб
as in зéбра
as in шум
as in жук
as in хам
as in хи́мик
as in щекá
as in цех

[pol]
[ᶈos]
[bak]
[ᶀεl]
[tom]
[̡tεm]
[dom]
[ᶁeᶇ]
[kak]
[ᶄεm]
[gol]
[ᶃit]
[ˈflorə]
[ᶂεn]
[vot]
[ᶌιˈno]
[sam]
[ᶊεf]
[zup]
[ˈᶎεbrə]
[ʃum]
[Ӡuk]
[xam]
[ˈᶍiᶆιk]
[ʆʆιˈka]
[tsεx]

4  Introduction  2–3
tʃ
m
ᶆ
n
ᶇ
l
ᶅ
r
ᶉ
j

as in чин
as in мол
as in мел
as in нос
as in нет
as in лак
as in ляг
as in рак
as in рекá
as in я́ма

[tʃin]
[mol]
[ᶆεl]
[nos]
[ᶇεt]
[lak]
[ᶅak]
[rak]
[ᶉιˈka]
[ˈjamə]

Pronunciation
3  Stressed vowels
Russian has ten vowel letters:
а
я

э
е

ы
и

о
ё

у
ю

(1) А is pronounced with the mouth opened a little wider than in the
­pronunciation of ‘a’ in English ‘father’, e.g. зал [zal] ‘hall’.
(2) Э is pronounced like ‘e’ in ‘end’, but the mouth is opened a little wider
and the tongue is further from the palate than in articulating English ‘e’ in
‘end’, e.g. э́то [ˈεtə] ‘this is’.
(3) У is pronounced with the tongue drawn back and the lips rounded and
protruding. The sound is similar to but shorter than the vowel in ‘school’,
e.g. бук [buk] ‘beech’.
(4) О is also pronounced with rounded and protruding lips, but to a lesser
extent than in the pronunciation of у. The sound is similar to the vowel in
English ‘bought’, e.g. бок [bok] ‘side’.
(5) The vowel ы is pronounced with the tongue drawn back as in the pro­
nunciation of у, but with the lips spread, not rounded or protruding, e.g.
сын [sɨn] ‘son’.
(6) The vowels я [ja], е [jε], ё [jo] and ю [ju] are ‘iotated’ variants of a, э,
o and y (i.e. they are pronounced like those vowels preceded by the sound
[j]). The vowel и resembles ‘ea’ in English ‘cheap’, but is a ‘closer’ sound,
that is, the centre of the tongue is nearer to the hard palate in articulation,
e.g. мир [ᶆir] ‘world, peace’. After a preposition or other word ending in

3–4  Pronunciation  5
a hard consonant, however, stressed initial и is pronounced [ɨ]: от Игоря
[ᴧˈt⁀ɨgəᶉə], cf. also 4 (4) note.
Note
Vowels can be classified as:
back vowels (pronounced with the back part of the tongue raised
towards the back of the palate): у/ю, о/ё;
(b) central vowels (pronounced with the central part of the tongue raised
towards the central part of the palate): ы, а/я;
(c) front vowels (pronounced with the central part of the tongue raised
towards the front of the palate: и, э/е.
(a)

4  Unstressed vowels
(1) Unstressed y, ю, и and ы
The sound of unstressed у/ю is similar to that of English ‘u’ in ‘put’: дугá
[duˈga] ‘arc’, юлá [juˈla] ‘top’. Unstressed и and ы are shorter and pro­
nounced in a more ‘relaxed’ fashion than their stressed equivalents: игрá
[ιˈgra] ‘game’, былá [bı̵ˈla] ‘was’. Ё does not appear in unstressed position.
The other vowels are ‘reduced’ in unstressed position.
(2) Reduction of o and a
(i) The vowels o and a are pronounced as [o] and [a] only when they appear
in stressed position: дом [dom], зал [zal]. In unstressed position they are
reduced, o being the vowel most affected by various forms of reduction
resulting from its position in relation to the stress.
(ii) In pre‐tonic position or as the unstressed initial letter in a word o
and a are pronounced [ᴧ]: потóм [pᴧˈtom] ‘afterwards’, оди́н [ᴧˈᶁin]
‘one’, парóм [pᴧˈrom] ‘ferry’, акýла [ᴧˈkulə] ‘shark’. This also applies
to pre‐tonic prepositions: под мóрем [pᴧˈd⁀m oᶉιm] ‘under the sea’, над
дóмом [nᴧˈd⁀doməm] ‘above the house’. The combinations aa, ao, oa,
oo are pronounced [ᴧᴧ], e.g. сообрази́ть [sᴧᴧbrᴧˈᶎit̡] ‘to comprehend’.
(iii) In pre‐pre‐tonic position (except as initial letters, see (ii)) or in post‐
tonic position both vowels are pronounced [ə]: thus парохóд [pərᴧˈxot]
‘steamer’, молодóй [məlᴧˈdoj] ‘young’, рáно [ˈranə] ‘early’, ви́лка [ˈvilkə]
‘fork’. This also applies to prepositions (под водóй [pəd⁀vᴧˈdoj] ‘under
water’, над головóй [nəd⁀gəlᴧˈvoj] ‘overhead’) and to the initial letters of
words governed by prepositions (в огорóде [v⁀əgᴧˈroᶁι] ‘in the market gar­
den’ (cf. огорóд [ᴧgᴧˈrot] ‘market garden’)).

6  Introduction  4
Note
(a) Unstressed o is pronounced [o] in a number of words of foreign ori­
gin (какáо ‘cocoa’, рáдио ‘radio’, хáос ‘chaos’), with an optional [o]
in вéто ‘veto’, досьé ‘dossier’, шоссé ‘highway’ and some other
words. In certain cases, pronunciation is differentiated stylistically.
The pronunciation [ᴧ] in words such as поэ́т ‘poet’ and шоссé ‘high­
way’, said to be the more colloquial variant, has gained ground in
educated speech and is found even in the pronunciation of foreign
names such as Шопéн [ʃᴧˈpεn]/[ʃoˈpεn] ‘Chopin’, especially where
these have gained common currency (e.g. Толья́тти ‘Togliatti’).
However, [o] is retained in words where it follows another vowel:
три́о ‘trio’.
(b) The vowel а is pronounced [ι] in pre‐tonic position after ч and щ:
thus часы́ [tʃιˈsɨ] ‘clock’, щади́ть [ʆʆιˈᶁit̡] ‘to spare’. The pronuncia­
tion of unstressed а as [ᵼ] after ж, ш is now limited for many speakers
to жалéть [ӡᵼˈᶅet̡] ‘to regret’, к сожалéнию [k⁀səӡᵼˈᶅeᶇιju] ‘unfortu­
nately’ and end‐stressed plural oblique cases of лóшадь ‘horse’, e.g.
gen. pl. лошадéй [ləʃᵼˈᶁej]. Ца is pronounced [tsᵼ] in the oblique
cases of some numerals: двадцати́ [dvətsᵼˈt̡i] ‘twenty’ (gen.).
(3) Reduction of е and я
(i) In pre‐tonic position both е and я are pronounced [(j)ι]: язы́к [jιˈzɨk]
‘language’, перевóд [ᶈιᶉιˈvot] ‘translation’. Thus, разреди́ть ‘to thin out’
and разряди́ть ‘to unload’ have the same pronunciation.
(ii) In post‐tonic position е is pronounced [ι] (пóле [ˈpoᶅι] ‘field’), while я
is usually pronounced [ə] (ды́ня [ˈdɨᶇə] ‘melon’). However, post‐tonic я is
pronounced [ι] before a soft consonant (пáмять [ˈpaᶆιt̡] ‘memory’) and in
non‐final post‐tonic position (вы́глянул [ˈvɨgᶅιnul] ‘looked out’).
(4) Reduction of э
Э is pronounced [ι] in unstressed position (этáп [ιˈtap] ‘stage’).
Note
Unstressed initial и and э and conjunction и are pronounced [ᵼ] after a
preposition or other word ending in a hard consonant (see 3 (6)): в Итáлию
[v⁀ᵼˈtaᶅιju] ‘to Italy’, брат идёт к Ивáну [brat⁀ᵼˈᶁot k⁀ᵼˈvanu] ‘my brother is
on his way to see Ivan’, над эквáтором [nəd⁀ᵼˈkvatərəm] ‘above the equa­
tor’. И is also pronounced [ᵼ] in certain stump compounds, e.g. Госиздáт
[gosᵼˈzdat] ‘State Publishing House’.

5  Pronunciation  7
5   Hard and soft consonants
With the exception of ж, ц and ш, which are invariably hard, and ч and щ,
which are invariably soft, all Russian consonants can be pronounced hard
or soft.
(1) Hard consonants
(i) A hard consonant is a consonant which appears at the end of a word
(e.g. the м in дом [dom] ‘house’, the т in вот [vot] ‘here is’) or is followed
by а, ы, о or у (э appears only as an initial letter, except in acronyms such
as нэп ‘NEP’ (New Economic Policy) and rare words such as сэр ‘sir’).
Thus, the consonants in the words головá [gəlᴧˈva] ‘head’, мы́ло [ˈmɨlə]
‘soap’ and дýма [ˈdumə] ‘thought’ are all hard.
(ii) Most hard consonants, e.g. б, в, г, з, к, м, п, с, ф, are pronounced in
similar fashion to their English counterparts, i.e. ‘b’ in ‘bone’, ‘v’ in ‘van’,
‘g’ in ‘gone’, ‘z’ in ‘zone’, ‘c’ in ‘come’, ‘m’ in ‘money’, ‘p’ in ‘pun’, ‘s’ in
‘sun’, ‘f in ‘fun’. However, к and п (and т; see (iii)) lack the slight aspira­
tion of ‘k’, ‘p’ and ‘t’.
(iii) In pronouncing the dentals д [d], т [t] and н [n], the tip of the tongue
is pressed against the back of the upper teeth in the angle between teeth
and gums.
(iv) Р is a moderately ‘trilled’ [r]. Л is pronounced with the tip of the
tongue in the angle between the upper teeth and the gum, and the middle of
the tongue curved downwards. The ‘l’ sound in English ‘bubble’ is a good
starting‐point for the pronunciation of this letter.
(v) Х sounds as ‘ch’ in ‘loch’ or German ‘acht’, but is formed a little fur­
ther forward in the mouth.
(vi) Unlike other consonants, ж, ц and ш are always pronounced hard
(see, however, note (b), below). This means in practice that the vowels
е and и are pronounced as э and ы after ж, ц and ш (жест [ӡεst] ‘ges­
ture’, жир [ӡɨr] ‘fat’, цех [tsεx] ‘workshop’, цирк [tsɨrk] ‘circus’, шест
[ʃεst] ‘pole’, маши́на [mᴧˈʃɨnə] ‘car’) while ё is pronounced as о after
ж and ш (жёлоб [ˈӡoləp] ‘groove’, шёлк [ʃolk] ‘silk’). A soft sign
(as in рожь [roʃ] ‘rye’) has no softening effect on the pronunciation of
ж or ш.
Note
(a) Neither a soft sign nor the vowel ё can be written after ц.

8  Introduction  5
(b) Ш is sounded hard in the loan words парашю́т [pərᴧˈʃut] ‘parachute’
and брошю́ра [brᴧˈʃurə] ‘brochure’, while ж is pronounced soft in
жюри́ [ʓüˈᶉi] ‘jury’.
(2) Soft consonants
(i) A soft consonant is a consonant (other than ж, ц or ш) followed by a
soft sign, e.g. ль in сталь ‘steel’, or by я, е, и, ё or ю. Thus, the initial
consonants in мя́та [ˈᶆatə] ‘mint’, лес [ᶅεs] ‘forest’, пил [ᶈil] ‘was drink­
ing’, нёбо [ˈᶇobə] ‘palate’ and дю́на [ˈᶁunə] ‘dune’ are all soft.
(ii) Soft consonants are pronounced with the centre of the tongue raised
towards the hard palate, as in articulating и, for example. Correct rendering
of the vowels я [ja], е [jε], и [i], ё [jo] and ю [ju] will assist in the articula­
tion of the preceding soft consonants. Soft [ᶅ] as in тóлько ‘only’ is similar
to ‘ll’ in ‘million’, with the tip of the tongue against the teeth‐ridge and the
front of the tongue pressed against the hard palate.
(iii) Soft consonants may also appear at the end of words, e.g. пь and ть in
топь [toᶈ] ‘swamp’ and мать [mat̡] ‘mother’; the final sounds in these
words are similar to those of the initial consonants in ‘pure’ and ‘tune’
(standard British English ‘Received Pronunciation’).
(iv) Unlike other consonants, ч and щ are always pronounced soft. In prac­
tice this means that the vowels а, о and у are pronounced as [ja], [jo] and
[ju] following these consonants (час ‘hour’, чóпорный ‘prim’, чугýн ‘cast
iron’, пощáда ‘mercy’, щýка ‘pike’).
(v) The consonant щ is pronounced as a long soft ш [ʆʆ] (e.g. защищáть
[zəʆʆιˈʆʆæt̡] ‘to defend’); the pronunciation [ʆtʃ] is falling into disuse.
(vi) The double consonants жч (мужчи́на ‘man’), зч (закáзчик ‘client’),
сч (подпи́счик ‘subscriber’) are pronounced like щ [ʆʆ]. The pronuncia­
tion [ʆtʃ], however, is preferred in prefixed forms such as бесчи́сленный
‘innumerable’, расчлени́ть ‘to dismember’.
(vii) Жж and Зж may be pronounced either as a double soft ж (with
the front of the tongue raised towards the hard palate) in words such as
вóжжи [ˈvoʓʓι] ‘reins’, дрóжжи ‘yeast’, жжёт ‘burns’, жужжáть ‘to
buzz’, бры́зжет ‘sprays’, визжáть ‘to scream’, éзжу ‘I travel’,
поезжáй! ‘go!’, пóзже ‘later’, especially in the speech of the older
generation, as well as in that of actors and professionally trained
announcers, or alternatively as a double hard ж [ˈvoӡӡᵼ], a pronuncia­
tion preferred by very many younger speakers. Зж is invariably pro­
nounced as hard [ӡӡ] across the boundary between prefix and stem:

5–7  Pronunciation  9
изжи́ть ‘to eradicate’. The cluster жд in дождя́ ‘of rain’ etc. is pro­
nounced as soft жж by some speakers and as [ӡᶁ] by others.
(3) Use of hard and soft consonants to differentiate meaning
Hard and soft consonants may be used to differentiate meaning, cf. лук
[luk] ‘onions’ and люк [ᶅuk] ‘hatch’, мат [mat] ‘checkmate’ and мать [mat̡]
‘mother’ etc.

6  Double palatalization
Some words contain two adjacent soft consonants, a phenomenon known
as ‘double palatalization’ or ‘regressive softening’. The following combi­
nations of letters are involved:
(1) [ᶁ], [t̡] and [ᶇ] followed by other soft dentals or by [ᶊ], [ᶎ], [tʃ], [ʆʆ] or
[ᶅ]: óттепель [ˈot̡t̡ιᶈιᶅ] ‘thaw’, дни [ᶁᶇi] ‘days’, кóнчик [ˈkoᶇtʃιk] ‘tip’,
гóнщик [ˈgoᶇʆʆιk] ‘racer’, пя́тница [ˈᶈæt̡ᶇιtsə] ‘Friday’, пéнсия [ˈᶈeᶇᶊιjə]
‘pension’.
(2) [ᶊ] or [ᶎ] followed by a soft dental, [ᶊ], [ᶎ] or [ᶅ]: возни́к [vᴧˈᶎᶇik]
‘arose’, раздéл [rᴧˈᶎᶁεl] ‘partition’, здесь [ᶎᶁeᶊ] ‘here’, снег [ᶊᶇεk] ‘snow’,
стенá [ᶊt̡ιˈna] ‘wall’, вмéсте [ˈvᶆeᶊt̡ι] ‘together’.
Note
In some words, single or double palatalization is possible: две [dᶌε] or
[ᶁᶌε] ‘two’, дверь [dᶌeᶉ] or [ᶁᶌeᶉ] ‘door’, зверь [zᶌeᶉ] or [ᶎᶌeᶉ] ‘wild
animal’, пéтля [ˈᶈetᶅə] or [ˈᶈet̡ᶅə] ‘loop’, свет [sᶌεt] or [ᶊᶌεt] ‘light’, след
[sᶅεt] or [ᶊᶅεt] ‘trace’, чéтверть [ˈtʃetᶌιrt̡] or [ˈtʃet̡ᶌιrt̡] ‘quarter’.
7   Non‐palatalization of consonants in some loan words
(1) The consonants т and д are pronounced hard before е in certain
loan words and foreign names (тéрмос [ˈtεrməs] ‘thermos flask’,
антéнна ‘aerial’, апартеи́д ‘apartheid’, ательé ‘workshop’, бифштéкс
­‘beefsteak’, бутербрóд ‘sandwich’, отéль ‘hotel’, партéр ‘stalls’,
при́нтер ‘printer’, стенд ‘stand’), in words with the prefix интер‐
(Интернéт ‘Internet’), кóдекс ‘legal code’, модéль ‘model’, стюардéсса
‘stewardess’ and in many words with the prefix де‐ (деградáция
‘degradation’).

10  Introduction  7–10
(2) Hard з has been retained in безé ‘meringue’; hard м in консомé
‘­consommé’, резюмé ‘résumé’; hard н in кашнé ‘scarf’, би́знес ‘business’,
кибернéтика ‘cybernetics’, тоннéль ‘tunnel’, турнé ‘tour’, фонéтика
‘phonetics’, энéргия ‘power’; hard п in купé ‘compartment’; hard р in
кабарé ‘cabaret’, релé ‘relay’; hard с in шоссé ‘highway’, экстрасéнс ‘a
psychic’; and hard ф in кафé ‘cafe’.
Note
A hard consonant is more likely to be retained in foreign loan words
immediately preceding the stressed vowel (e.g. тéннис ‘tennis’). Dental
consonants (д, т, н) are more likely to remain hard than labials (б, п, м).
8   Hard sign and soft sign
(1) The hard sign appears only between a hard consonant — usually at the
end of a prefix — and a stem beginning я, е, ё or ю: отъéзд [ᴧˈtjεst] ‘depar­
ture’, объясня́ть ‘to explain’.
(2) A soft sign appearing between a consonant and я, е, ё or ю indicates
that the consonant is soft and that the sound й [j] intervenes between con­
sonant and vowel: семья́ [ᶊιˈᶆja] ‘family’. See also 5 (2) (i) and (iii).
9   The reflexive suffix ‐cь/‐cя
(1) The pronunciation of сь as [ᶊ] is widespread: бою́сь [bᴧˈjuᶊ] ‘I fear’,
боя́сь [bᴧˈjaᶊ] ‘fearing’ etc.
(2) The suffix ‐ся is usually pronounced [sə] in the infinitive (мы́ться ‘to
wash’) and the present tense (мóется ‘he/she washes’), though an alterna­
tive soft pronunciation [ᶊə] is also found in the second‐person singular and
first‐person plural.
(3) [ᶊə] is preferred in participles (смею́щийся [ᶊə] ‘laughing’), the imper­
ative (не смéйся ‘don’t laugh’) and the past tense (он смея́лся ‘he was
laughing’) — except for forms in ‐сся or ‐зся (пáсся [ˈpassə] ‘was
grazing’).
10   Effect of a soft consonant on a vowel in the preceding
syllable
(1) Э and е are pronounced [ε] and [jε] in stressed position when
f­ ollowed by a hard consonant (e.g. э́то [ˈεtə] ‘this is’, лес [ᶅεs] ‘forest’),

10–11  Pronunciation  11
but as [e] and [je] (similar to French ‘e acute’ [é]) when followed by a
soft consonant (e.g. э́ти [ˈet̡ι] ‘these’, весь [ᶌeᶊ] ‘all’).
(2) Я is pronounced as [æ], ё as [ö] and ю as [ü] preceding a soft conso­
nant: мяч [ᶆætʃ] ‘ball’, тётя [ˈt̡öt̡ə] ‘aunt’, ключ [кᶅütʃ] ‘key’.
(3) А, о and ы are also affected as the tongue is raised closer to the palate
in anticipation of a following soft consonant (e.g. мать ‘mother’, ночь
‘night’, пыль ‘dust’, where а, о and ы are pronounced as if followed by a
much‐reduced и sound).

11   Voiced and unvoiced consonants
(1) Some consonants are pronounced with vibration of the vocal cords
(‘voiced’ consonants), and others without such vibration (‘unvoiced’
consonants).
(2) There are six pairs of voiced and unvoiced equivalents:
Voiced
б
г
з
д
в
ж

Unvoiced
п
к
с
т
ф
ш

The eight other consonants include the unvoiced ц, х, ч, щ and the voiced
sonants л, р, м, н.
(3) Б, г, з, д, в, ж are pronounced as their unvoiced counterparts when
they appear in final position or before a final soft sign.
лоб ‘forehead’
луг ‘meadow’
раз ‘time’
сад ‘garden’
лев ‘lion’
муж ‘husband’

is pronounced [lop]
is pronounced [luk]
is pronounced [ras]
is pronounced [sat]
is pronounced [ᶅεf]
is pronounced [muʃ]

(4) When a voiced and an unvoiced consonant appear side by side,
the first assimilates to the second. Thus, voiced consonant + unvoiced

12  Introduction  11
c­onsonant are both pronounced unvoiced, while unvoiced consonant +
voiced consonant are both pronounced voiced.
(i) Voiced + unvoiced (both pronounced unvoiced)
гýбка
загс
рéзко
лóдка
вхóдит
лóжка

‘sponge’
‘registry office’
‘sharply’
‘boat’
‘goes in’
‘spoon’

is pronounced [ˈgupkə]
is pronounced [zaks]
is pronounced [ˈᶉεskə]
is pronounced [ˈlotkə]
is pronounced [ˈfxoᶁιt]
is pronounced [ˈloʃ kə]

Note
(a) Devoicing also takes place on the boundary between preposition and
noun or adjective: в кóмнате [ˈf⁀komnət̡ι] ‘in the room’, под столóм
[pət⁀stᴧˈlom] ‘under the table’.
(b) The devoicing of a final consonant may in turn cause the devoicing of
the consonant which precedes it: визг [visk] ‘scream’, дрозд [drost]
‘thrush’.
(c) Г is pronounced as [x] in лёгкий ‘light, easy’, лéгче ‘easier’, мя́гкий
‘soft’ and мя́гче ‘softer’, as well as in Бог ‘God’ (only in the singular
nominative case, however). The initial consonant in Гóсподи!
‘Lord!’ is now usually pronounced as [g], though [h] is still heard.
The noun бухгáлтер ‘book‐keeper’ is the only word in which хг is
pronounced as [h].
(ii) Unvoiced + voiced (both pronounced voiced)
футбóл
к дóму
прóсьба
тáкже
мàшбюрó

‘football’
‘towards the house’
‘request’
‘also’
‘typing pool’

is pronounced [fuˈdbol]
is pronounced [ˈg⁀domu]
is pronounced [ˈproᶎbə]
is pronounced [ˈtagӡᵼ]
is pronounced [maӡᶀuˈro]

Note
(a) The voicing of consonants also occurs at the boundary between
words, especially when the second word is a particle or other
unstressed form: Я спас бы егó [ˈspaz⁀bᵼ] ‘I would have saved him’.
Ц is voiced as [dz] in such circumstances (Отéц был дóма
[ᴧˈt̡εdz⁀bɨl] ‘Father was in’) and ч as [dӡ] (дочь былá [dodӡ⁀bᵼˈla]
‘the daughter was’).
(b) В has no voicing effect on a preceding unvoiced consonant, e.g.
твой [tvoj] ‘your’.

12–14  Pronunciation  13
12   The pronunciation of ‐чн‐
(1) ‐чн‐ is pronounced [ʃn] in certain words (конéчно [kᴧˈᶇεʃnə] ‘of
course’, нарóчно ‘on purpose’, очéчник ‘spectacle case’, прáчечная
‘laundry’, скýчно ‘boring’, яи́чница ‘fried eggs’), as well as in the
­patronymics Ильи́нична ‘Il’nichna’, Сáввична ‘Savvichna’ and
Ники́тична ‘Nikitichna’.
(2) However, the pronunciation [tʃn] is used in more ‘learned’ words such
as áлчный [ˈaltʃntj] ‘greedy’, анти́чный ‘ancient’, добáвочный ‘addi­
tional’ and конéчный ‘ultimate’.
(3) ‐чн‐ is pronounced either as [ʃn] or [tʃn] in бýлочная ‘bakery’ and
молóчная ‘dairy’. Кори́чневый ‘brown’ is pronounced with [tʃn].
Note
Ч is also pronounced [ʃ] in что ‘that’ and чтóбы ‘in order to’.

13   Consonants omitted in pronunciation
In some groups of three or more consonants one is omitted in pronuncia­
tion. Thus, the first в is not pronounced in здрáвствуйте! ‘hallo!’, чýвство
‘feeling’ (however, it is pronounced in дéвственный ‘virgin’ and
нрáвственный ‘moral’), д is not pronounced in звёздный ‘starry’,
ландшáфт ‘landscape’, пóздно ‘late’, прáздник ‘festival’ or сéрдце ‘heart’
(however, it is pronounced in бéздна ‘abyss’), л is not pronounced in
сóлнце ‘sun’ (however, it is pronounced in сóлнечный ‘solar’) and т is not
pronounced in грýстный ‘sad’, извéстный ‘well‐known’, лéстный ‘flat­
tering’, мéстный ‘local’, окрéстность ‘vicinity’, чáстный ‘private’ and
счастли́вый ‘happy’ (however, the first т in постлáть ‘to spread’ is
pronounced).

14   The pronunciation of double consonants
Double consonants are pronounced as two letters across the boundary
between prefix and stem, e.g. оттащи́ть [tt] ‘to drag away’. When a double
consonant appears within a stem, practice varies, cf. граммáтика [m]
‘grammar’, грýппа [pp or p] ‘group’. A single consonant is pronounced in
final position: грамм [m] ‘gram’, грипп [p] ‘influenza’.

14  Introduction  15
15  Stress
(1) Stress in Russian is ‘free’, that is, in some words it falls on the initial
syllable (дóлго ‘for a long time’), in others on a medial syllable (дорóга
‘road’) and in others on the final syllable (карандáш ‘pencil’). The vowel
ё is always stressed.
(2) A change in stress may indicate a change in meaning: óрган ‘organ of
the body’, оргáн ‘organ’ (musical instrument). A few words have alterna­
tive stress without a change in meaning: творóг (the commoner form)/
твóрог ‘cottage cheese’.
(3) For stress patterns in individual parts of speech see nouns (57, 60, 62,
63 (4)), adjectives (164, 165), verbs (219, 223, 228, 232, 341, 343, 345,
350, 369) and prepositions (405).
(4) Secondary stress (a weaker stress marked here with a grave accent
[`]) is found in some compounds, e.g. машѝностроéние ‘engineering’
(in fast speech, however, the word is pronounced with one full stress
only: машиностроéние). Secondary stress is particularly common in
words with foreign prefixes: àнтикоммуни́зм ‘anti‐communism’,
кóнтрмéры ‘counter‐measures’, трàнсатланти́ческий ‘transatlantic’,
ỳльтракорóткий ‘ultra‐short’; also in words with the prefix свèрх‐:
свèрхурóчные ‘overtime’; in technical terms: морòзоустóйчивый
‘frost‐proof’; in compounds where there is a polysyllabic gap between
the natural stresses in the components: врèмяпрепровождéние ‘pas­
time’; and in compounds consisting of a truncated word and a full word:
гòсбюджéт (= госудáрственный бюджéт) ‘state budget’. The use of
secondary stresses is sometimes optional, varying with speaker and
speech mode. Generally speaking, the newer a compound word is, the
more likely a secondary stress (e.g. кѝносценáрий ‘film script’).
Tertiary stresses are found in some compounds: àвтомòтоклýб ‘car and
motor‐cycle club’.
(5) Some primary‐stressed adverbs take secondary stress when used as
prepositions: внутри́/внутрѝ ‘inside’, вóзле/вòзле ‘near’, вокрýг/вокрỳг
‘around’, ми́мо/мѝмо ‘past’, óколо/òколо ‘close (to)’, пóсле/пòсле
‘after’.
Note
Stresses are marked in a Russian text only:
(a)

to resolve ambiguity, cf. Я знаю, что он говорит ‘I know that he is
speaking’ and Я знаю, чтó он говорит ‘I know what he is saying’,
большáя часть ‘a large part’, бóльшая часть ‘a larger part’;

15–16  Orthography  15
(b) to denote archaic pronunciations (e.g. библиóтека for contemporary
библиотéка ‘library’);
(c) in rendering certain professional words, non‐Russian words, dialect
and slang words;
(d) in verse, where normal stress is sometimes distorted in the interests of
rhythm.

Orthography
16  Spelling rules
Spelling rule 1
ы is replaced by и, я by а and ю by у after ж, ч, ш, щ and г, к, х:
ногá, ‘leg’, gen. sing. ноги́
молчáть, ‘to be silent’, first‐person sing. молчý, third‐person pl.
молчáт
Note
Exceptions are found in some non‐Russian words and names: брошю́ра
‘brochure’, Кызылкýм ‘Kyzylkum Desert’, Кя́хта ‘Kiakhta’.
Spelling rule 2
о is replaced by е in unstressed position after ж, ч, ш, щ, ц:
нéмец ‘German’, instr. sing. нéмцем, gen. pl. нéмцев
Spelling rule 3
Initial и is replaced by ы following a prefix ending in a consonant:
impf. игрáть/pf. сыгрáть ‘to play’
интерéсный ‘interesting’, небезынтерéсный ‘not uninteresting’ (for
exceptions see 28 (3)(c))
Spelling rule 4
The prefixes без‐/бес‐; вз‐, воз‐/вс‐, вос‐; из‐/ис‐; раз‐/рас‐ are spelt
with з before voiced consonants, voiced sonants or vowels and with с
before unvoiced consonants: беззýбый ‘toothless’ but бесконéчный
‘infinite’; взлетáть ‘to take off’ but всходи́ть ‘to rise’; изби́ть ‘to beat
up’ but испи́ть ‘to sup’; разобрáть ‘to dismantle’ but расцепи́ть ‘to
uncouple’.

16  Introduction  16–17
Spelling rule 5
Prefixes ending in a consonant (e.g. под‐, от‐, раз‐, с‐) are spelt подо‐,
ото‐, разо‐, со‐:
(i) In compounds of ‐йти (подойти́ ‘to approach’, подошёл ‘I approached’
etc.) (see 333 (2)).
(ii) Before consonant + ь (сошью́ ‘I shall sew’) (see 234 (5)).
(iii) Before certain consonant clusters (разогнáть ‘to disperse’) (see 234
(1–4)).
Note
For spelling rules relating to prepositions see 404.
17   Use of capital and small letters in titles and names
(1) In the names or titles of most posts, institutions, organizations,
books, newspapers and journals, wars, festivals etc., only the first word
is spelt with a capital letter: Всеми́рная федерáция профсою́зов
‘World Federation of Trade Unions’, Европéйский сою́з ‘European
Union’, Министéрство трáнспорта ‘Ministry of Transport’,
Москóвский госудáрственный университéт ‘Moscow State
University’, Политехни́ ч еский музéй ‘Polytechnical Museum’,
Росси́йская акадéмия наýк ‘Russian Academy of Sciences’, Тверскóй
муниципáлый суд ‘Tver’ Municipal Court’, Худóжественный теáтр
‘Arts Theatre’, «Войнá и мир» ‘War and Peace’, Нью‐Йорк mаймс
‘New York Times’, Семилéтняя войнá ‘Seven Years’ War’ (but
Вели́кая Отéчественная войнá ‘Great Patriotic War’), Нóвый год
‘New Year’, Пéрвое мáя ‘May Day’, Нóбелевская прéмия ‘Nobel
Prize’.
Note
Any word spelt with a capital letter in its own right retains the capital in
extended titles: Госудáрственный академи́ческий Большóй теáтр ‘The
State Academic Bolshoi Theatre’.
(2) In geographical names, the names of administrative areas, local
features and so on, the generic terms are spelt with a small letter and the
descriptive words with a capital: óзеро Байкáл ‘Lake Baikal’, Бéлое
мóре ‘the White Sea’, пусты́ня Гóби ‘the Gobi Desert’, мыс Дóброй
Надéжды ‘the Cape of Good Hope’, трóпик Рáка ‘the Tropic of
Cancer’, Сéверный Ледови́тый океáн ‘the Arctic Ocean’, полуóстров

17  Orthography  17
Таймы́р ‘the Taimyr Peninsula’, Ю́жный пóлюс ‘the South Pole’,
Тверскáя ýлица ‘Tverskaia Street’, Зи́мний дворéц ‘the Winter Palace’,
Исаáкиевский собóр ‘St Isaac’s Cathedral’, Крáсная плóщадь ‘Red
Square’, Ми́нский автомоби́льный завóд ‘Minsk Car Factory’.
Note
Generic terms are spelt with a capital letter, however, if used in a non‐literal
sense: Золотóй Рог ‘the Golden Horn’ (a bay), Óгненная Земля́ ‘Tierra
del Fuego’ (an archipelago).
(3) Some titles consist of words, all of which have capital letters. These
include the names of exalted governmental institutions and organizations,
as well as a number of international bodies (and certain geographical
names, e.g. Бéлый Нил ‘the White Nile’, Дáльний Востóк ‘the Far East’,
Нóвая Земля́ ‘Novaia Zemlia’): Генерáльная Ассамблéя ОÓН ‘the
General Assembly of the UN’, Междунарóдный Крáсный Крест
‘the International Red Cross’, Совéт Федерáции ‘the Council of the
Federation’, including, as a rule, the names of states: Объединённые
Арáбские Эмирáты ‘the United Arab Emirates’, Респýблика Татарстáн
‘the Republic of Tatarstan’, Росси́йская Федерáция ‘the Russian
Federation’, Совéтский Сою́з ‘the Soviet Union’, Соединённое
Королéвство ‘the United Kingdom’, Соединённые Штáты Амéрики
‘the United States of America’.
Note
(a) Госудáрственная дýма or Госудáрственная Дýма ‘the State
Duma’.
(b) Пáртия ‘party’ is not usually spelt with a capital letter:
Коммунисти́ческая пáртия Росси́йской Федерáции [КПРФ]
‘Communist Party of the Russian Federation’, Либерáльно­
демократи́ческая пáртия Росси́и [ЛДПР] ‘the Russian Liberal
Democratic Party’.
(4) Unofficial titles, the names of foreign parliaments and some other titles
consist of words, all of which are spelt with a small letter: москóвский
аэропóрт ‘Moscow Airport’ (cf. official titles, now also used colloquially,
e.g. аэропóрт Внýково ‘Vnukovo Airport’), пáртия большевикóв ‘the
Bolshevik Party’ (cf. official Росси́йская социáлдемократи́ческая
рабóчая пáртия (большевикóв) ‘Russian Social Democratic Workers’
Party (of Bolsheviks)’), палáта óбщин ‘House of Commons’, бундестáг
‘the Bundestag’, сейм ‘the Sejm’.
(5) Nouns denoting nationality, town of origin etc., are also spelt with a
small letter (англичáнин ‘Englishman’, москви́ч ‘Muscovite’), as are

18  Introduction  17–18
the corresponding adjectives (англи́йский ‘English’, москóвский
‘Moscow’), except where they form part of a title (Англи́йский банк ‘the
Bank of England’, Москóвский цирк ‘Moscow Circus’). This principle is
also applied to the names of months, thus март ‘March’, октя́брь ‘October’,
октя́брьский ‘October’ (adj.), but 8 Мáрта ‘8 March’ (International
Women’s Day), Октя́брь/Октя́брьская револю́ция ‘the October
Revolution’; and to days of the week, thus пя́тница ‘Friday’, but Страстнáя
Пя́тница ‘Good Friday’.
(6) The words земля́ ‘land’, лунá ‘moon’, сóлнце ‘sun’ are spelt with cap­
itals when they denote heavenly bodies: Земля́ ‘the Earth’, Лунá ‘the
Moon’, Солнце ‘the Sun’.
(7) (i) Names of deities are spelt with capital letters: Аллáх ‘Allah’, Бог
‘God’, Брáхма ‘Brahma’, Ши́ва ‘Shiva’.
Note
Of heathen gods, one of a number of gods, or figuratively, бог is spelt with
a small letter: бог Аполлóн ‘the god Apollo’, бóже мой! ‘my God!’ In
certain contexts, however, a capital is possible:
“Как хорошó — сказáла женá, мéдленно натя́гивая на себя́ шёлковое
одея́ло. — Слáва Бóгу, слáва Бóгу . . .” (Nabokov) ‘“That is good,”
said his wife, slowly drawing a silken blanket about her. “Thank God,
thank God . . .”’
(ii) Capitals are also used for religious festivals: Пáсха ‘Easter’,
Рождествó ‘Christmas’, holders of exalted ecclesiastical offices:
Святéйший Патриáрх Москóвский и всея́ Руси́ ‘His Holiness the
Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia’, Пáпа Ри́мский ‘The Pope’, and
sacred texts: Би́блия ‘the Bible’, Корáн ‘the Koran’, Tópa ‘the Torah’,
Талмýд ‘the Talmud’, Вéды ‘the Vedas’.

Division of Words
18   Division into syllables
(1) Each syllable in a Russian word contains a vowel and, in most cases,
consonants peripheral to it, e.g. пáспорт.
(2) Russian distinguishes ‘open’ syllables, which end in a vowel
(го‐ло‐вá) from ‘closed’ syllables, which end in a consonant (нос).

18–19  Division of Words  19
(3) The principles of syllabic division are different in English and
Russian, cf. E doc‐tor/R дó‐ктор, E her‐o/R ге‐рóй. Russian non‐initial
syllables are formed on the basis of an ascending level of ‘sonority’, vow­
els being the most sonorous letters, the voiced sonants (р, л, м, н) the
next most sonorous and noise‐consonants (the other sixteen consonants)
the least sonorous.
(4) In practice, this means that the syllable boundary occurs either:
(i) between a vowel and a following consonant: со‐лó‐ма, сте‐пнóй, кá‐
ска, ко‐стю́м, ста‐ле‐вáр, стра‐нá, о‐тбрó‐сить, вра‐ждá etc.;
or:
(ii) between a sonant and a following consonant (including another
sonant): сýм‐ка, кон‐вéрт, боль‐шóй, кáр‐та, вол‐нá, чёр‐ный, кар‐мáн.
Note
Non‐initial syllables cannot begin with the sequence sonant + noise‐
consonant (this sequence is possible, however, in an initial syllable, e.g.
мши́‐стый). Note, however, the sequences sonant + sonant (вó‐льный),
consonant + consonant (мé‐сто) and noise‐consonant + sonant (ме‐тлá).
The syllabic boundary may occur before or between two sonants (ка‐рмáн
or кар‐мáн, во‐лнá or вол‐нá).
Syllabic division in a text
Я встал и на‐дéл паль‐тó. Же‐нá ре‐ши́‐ла, что я по‐шёл за си‐га‐рé‐та‐
ми, и ве‐лé‐ла не су‐тý‐ли‐ться при хо‐дьбé. О‐нá ска‐зá‐ла, что ко‐гдá
я хо‐жý, то ны‐ря́‐ю вниз го‐ло‐вóй, как при‐стя‐жнá‐я лó‐шадь. Е‐щё
о‐нá ска‐зá‐ла, что я всё врé‐мя смо‐трю́ вниз, бý‐дто хо‐чý най‐ти́ на
а‐сфáль‐те мо‐нé‐тку (Tokareva).
19   Splitting a word at the end of a line
(1) Two basic criteria are observed in splitting a word at the end of a line:
(i) Syllabic division: го‐ловá or голо‐вá.
(ii) Word structure: it is desirable, for example, not to disrupt monosyl­
labic prefixes etc. (под‐бежáть, со‐глáсен) (cf. пе‐ревóд and note that
the rule does not apply when a prefix is no longer perceived as such:
рá‐зум, разо‐ря́ть).

20  Introduction  19–21
(2) A word is normally split after a vowel: гó‐род, гó‐лоден or гóло‐ден,
ребя́‐та or ре‐бя́та. Sometimes this involves splitting a two‐vowel
sequence: читá‐ете.
(3) A sequence of two or more consonants may also be split: мéд‐ленно,
рóд‐ственники, проб‐лéма, и́стин‐ный etc.
(4) Other conventions include the following:
(i) A hard or soft sign must not be separated from the preceding consonant
(подь‐éзд, боль‐шóй) and й must not be separated from the preceding
vowel (вой‐нá).
(ii) A single vowel should not appear at the end of a line or be carried over
onto the next: аги‐тáция (not *а‐гитáция or *агитáци‐я).
(iii) Two identical consonants appearing between vowels should be split:
жуж‐жáть, мáс‐са, кóн‐ный.
(iv) A monosyllabic component of a stump compound should not be split
(спèцодéжда); nor should abbreviations (ОÓН, и т.д.).
(5) Some words can be split in different ways, e.g. се‐стрá, сес‐трá or
сест‐рá.

Punctuation
20  Introductory comments
Rules of punctuation are, in general, more rigorously applied in Russian
than in English. Differences of usage between the two languages relate in
particular to the comma (especially in separating principal from subordi­
nate clauses), the dash and the punctuation of direct speech.
21   The full stop, exclamation mark and question mark
Usage of the full stop, exclamation mark and question mark is comparable
in the two languages:
Лю́ди и́щут счáстья в любви́.
Какáя прекрáсная погóда!
Кудá вы идёте?

‘People seek happiness in love.’
‘What magnificent weather!’
‘Where are you going?’

21–23  Punctuation  21
Note
(a) There is a tendency to use exclamation marks more frequently in
Russian than in English.
(b) An exclamation mark may appear in the middle of a sentence: Так
мне бы́ло плóхо, так гóрько и посты́ло! — хýже вся́кой болéзни
(Rasputin) ‘I felt so bad, so bitter and wretched! — it was worse than
any illness’.
(c) Exclamation marks are also used in commands expressed other than
by a grammatical imperative: Молчáть! ‘Shut up!’, За мной!
‘Follow me!’, Встáли! ‘On your feet!’
(d) An exclamation mark enclosed in parentheses (!) may be used to indi­
cate irony or indignation.
(e) Exclamation and question marks may appear together for special
emphasis: Да что же э́то такóе?! ‘Now what’s all this?!’
22   The comma: introductory comments
The comma is more frequently used in Russian than in English. In extreme
examples a series of commas in a Russian sentence may have no English
equivalents at all:
Макáренко пи́шет, что дéти, котóрые умéют труди́ться, уважáют
труд други́х людéй, стремя́тся прийти́ на пóмощь тем, кто в э́той
пóмощи нуждáется (Beliakova)
‘Makarenko writes that children who know how to work respect the
labour of other people and strive to come to the assistance of those
who need it’
23  Uses of the comma
Correspondence with English usage
Commas are used, in Russian and English, to perform the following
functions:
(1) To separate:
(i) two or more adjectives which define one noun:
Он шёл по тёмной, гря́зной, шýмной ýлице
‘He was walking down the dark, dirty, noisy street’
(ii) two or more adverbs qualifying one verb:

22  Introduction  23
Мéдленно, мучи́тельно он встал с постéли
‘Slowly, painfully he rose from the bed’
(2) To separate items in a list:
Плáта за кварти́ру, электри́чество, газ составля́ет òколо 20
рублéй (Beliakova)
‘The rent, electricity and gas bills amount to about 20 roubles’
(3) To mark off words and phrases which stand in apposition:
Валенти́на Терешкóва, рабóчая девчóнка из стари́нного
тексти́льного городкá, стáла пéрвой жéнщиной‐космонáвтом
‘Valentina Tereshkova, a working girl from an ancient textile town,
became the first woman in space’
(4) To mark off words which serve to define and specify:
Здáние дéтского сáда двухэтáжное, с больши́ми свéтлыми
óкнами, с верáндами для дневнóго сна (Beliakova)
‘The building of the kindergarten is two‐storey, with large light win­
dows and verandas for a daytime nap’
(5) After да ‘yes’ and нет ‘no’:
Да, я соглáсен с вáми/Нет, я не соглáсен
‘Yes, I agree with you/No, I don’t agree’
(6) In addressing people:
Здрáвствуйте, Ивáн Ивáнович!
‘Hallo, Ivan Ivanovich!’
(7) After interjections:
— Ой, как неудáчно. Вчерá упáл ѝли сегóдня? (Rasputin)
‘Oh, what bad luck. Did you fall over yesterday or today?’
(8) Between repeated words:
Ничегó, ничегó, утешáл он себя́, сáмое трýдное позади́ (Abramov)
‘Never mind, never mind, he consoled himself, the worst is over’
(9) To mark off participial phrases:
По равни́не, освещённой пóздним сóлнцем, скакáл табýн ди́ких
лошадéй
‘Over the plain, (which was) illuminated by the late sun, galloped a
herd of wild horses’

23  Punctuation  23
(10) To mark off gerundial phrases:
Я молчáл, не знáя, что дéлать (Rasputin)
‘I was silent, not knowing what to do’
Note
In English, ‘and’ is often used as an alternative to a comma before the final
element in enumerations and when two or more adjectives qualify a single
noun or two adverbs a single verb (cf. (1) and (2) above).
Differences in usage between Russian and English
Russian requires the use of a comma in the following contexts, where usage
in English is optional or inconsistent:
(1) Between clauses linked by co‐ordinating conjunctions (see 454 (2)
(i) and 455–457):
Óля знáет бýквы, но я покá помогáю ей читáть (Beliakova)
‘Olia knows the letters, but for the time being I help her to read’
Note
(a) While a comma always appears before но (except when it is the first
word in a sentence), the insertion of a comma before English ‘but’
depends largely on the length of the pause required by the context,
cf. ‘He is young but experienced’ and ‘He is young, but everyone
trusts him’.
(b) A comma is used between clauses linked by и if the clauses have dif­
ferent subjects (Но волк был мёртв, и егó сейчáс никтó не боя́лся
(Abramov) ‘But the wolf was dead, and no one was afraid of him any
more’), but not if they have the same subject (Разожгли́ костёр и
свари́ли грибнóй суп (Beliakova) ‘They lit a fire and made mush­
room soup’). In such contexts и may be replaced by a comma: Два
дня он не пил, не ел (= не пил и не ел) (Abramov) ‘For two days he
did not drink or eat’.
(2) Between clauses linked by the conjunctions и . . . и ‘both . . . and’, ни . . .
ни ‘neither . . . nor’, ѝли . . . ѝли ‘either . . . or’, то . . . то ‘now . . . now’:
На вéчере выступáли и мáльчики, и дéвочки
‘Both boys and girls performed at the party’
Нельзя́ ни спокóйно почитáть, ни сосредотóчиться (Beliakova)
‘You can neither do a little quiet reading, nor concentrate’
Э́то ѝли собáка, ѝли волк
‘That is either a dog or a wolf’

24  Introduction  23
Онá то смеётся, то плáчет
‘Now she laughs, now she weeps’
(3) Between a principal and a subordinate clause (see 458–467):
Я знáю, что конéц бýдет не скóро
‘I know the end is still some way off’
Мы не отдавáли детéй в я́сли, хотя́ такáя возмóжность былá
(Beliakova)
‘We didn’t put the children into a day‐nursery, even though we had the
opportunity to do so’
Дени́с стал с нетерпéнием ждать лéта, чтòбы поéхать с бáбушкой к
Чёрному мóрю
‘Denis waited impatiently for the summer, in order to go with his grand­
mother to the Black Sea’
Он рабóтал бы, éсли бы мог
‘He would work if he could’
Онá ухóдит, потомý что онá опáздывает
‘She is leaving because she is late’
Note
The appearance of a comma between потомý and что in Мы победи́м
потомý, что мы сильнéе throws the element of cause into sharper relief:
‘We shall win because we are stronger’ (i.e. and for no other reason). This
effect can be intensified by distancing потомý from что (Потомý мы
победи́м, что мы сильнéе), or by the addition of лишь, тóлько or other
intensifying words before потомý.
(4) To separate main from relative clauses (see 123):
Я посещáл гóрод, в котóром (где) провёл дéтство
‘I was visiting the town in which (where) I had spent my childhood’
Note
English distinguishes relative clauses (which are marked off by com­
mas) — ‘Cats (i.e. all cats), who have excellent night vision, are nocturnal
predators’ — from adjective clauses (which are not marked off by com­
mas): ‘Cats (i.e. only those cats) who have no tails are called Manx cats’. In
Russian, however, both types of clause are marked off with commas.
(5) To mark off parenthetical words:
во‐пéрвых/во‐вторы́х
допýстим ‘let us assume’

‘in the first place/in the second place’
напримéр ‘for example’

23–24  Punctuation  25
кáжется
конéчно
к сожалéнию
мèжду прóчим
мóжет быть
навéрное

‘it seems’
‘of course’
‘unfortunately’
‘incidentally’
‘perhaps’
‘probably’

пожáлуйста
по‐мóему
скáжем
с однóй, другóй
стороны́

‘please’
‘in my opinion’
‘let us say’
‘on the one, the
other hand’

Он, должнó быть, ушёл
‘He must have left’
Нам, конéчно, удóбнее, что дéти сидя́т ти́хо (Beliakova)
‘Of course, it’s more convenient for us if the children are sitting
quietly’
Не спорь, пожáлуйста, со мной, я знáю (Rasputin)
‘Please don’t argue with me, I know best’
Он сказáл, что, к сожалéнию, нам придётся идти́ без негó
‘He said that unfortunately we would have to go without him’
(6) In comparisons:
Он лáзит по дерéвьям, как обезья́на
‘He scrambles about in the trees like a monkey’
Ктó‐то научи́л своегó малышá плáвать рáньше, чем тот стал ходи́ть
(Beliakova)
‘Someone taught his baby to swim before he could walk’
Он спал беспробýдным сном, бýдто егó ничтó не тревóжило
‘He was sound asleep, as though without a care in the world’

24   The colon. The semicolon. The dash
The colon
The colon is used to perform the following functions:
(1) To introduce a list, in which case the colon is usually preceded by a
generic term:
Моя́ семья́ состои́т из четырёх человéк: мой муж Ви́ктор, двóе
детéй и я (Beliakova)
‘My family consists of four people: my husband Victor, the two children
and myself’

26  Introduction  24
(2) To introduce a statement which elaborates on, supplements or indicates the cause of the statement which precedes the colon:
И тут их ожидáла нóвая бедá: отéц пропáл (Abramov)
‘And now a new misfortune awaited them: father had disappeared’
В наýке всегдá должнá быть тóчность: кáждому наýчному тéрмину
должнó соотвéтствовать однó поня́тие (Vvedenskaia)
‘There should always be accuracy in science: a single concept should
correspond to each scientific term’
У́тром я со стрáхом смотрéл на себя́ в зéркало: нос вспух, под
лéвым глáзом синя́к (Rasputin)
‘In the morning I gazed at myself in the mirror in horror: my nose had
swollen up, there was a bruise under my left eye’
(3) To introduce direct speech, thought or other communication:
В кинофи́льме «Доживём ∂о поне∂éльника» подрóсток пи́шет:
«Счáстье — э́то когдá тебя́ понимáют!» (Kovaleva)
‘In the film We’ll survive till Monday a teenager writes, “Happiness is
when people understand you!”’
(4) To introduce a quotation:
Пóмните, в «Евƨéнии Онéƨине»:
Привы́чка свы́ше нам данá:
Замéна счáстию онá
‘Do you remember, in Evgenii Onegin:
“Habit is granted us from on high:
It is a substitute for happiness”’
The semicolon
The semicolon is used to separate extensive clauses which are not
linked by conjunctions, especially if each clause is itself broken up by
commas:
В Ленингрáде все хотя́т посмотрéть на легендáрную «Аврóру»,
побывáть в пýшкинских местáх, в многочи́сленных дворцáх; в
Улья́новске познакóмиться с местáми, где жил и учи́лся В. И.
Лéнин; в Нáбережных Челнáх проéхать по огрóмному молодóму
гóроду, посмотрéть Камáз (Vvedenskaia)
‘In Leningrad everyone wants to see the legendary “Aurora”, visit
places associated with Pushkin, the numerous palaces; in Ul’ianovsk to
get to know the places where V. I. Lenin lived and worked; and in

24  Punctuation  27
Naberezhnye Chelny to drive through the enormous new town, see the
Kamaz truck factory’
Note
In 1991 Ленингрáд ‘Leningrad’ reverted to Санкт‐Петербýрг
‘St Petersburg’ and Улья́новск ‘Ul’ianovsk’ to Симби́рск ‘Simbirsk’.
The dash
The dash is extremely widespread in Russian. It not only has a number of
specific uses of its own but in some contexts substitutes for other punctua­
tion marks, in particular the comma, the colon and parentheses.
(1) Specific uses of the dash.
(i) It separates subject noun from predicate noun, replacing the verb
‘to be’:
Мой отéц — преподавáтель вýза, а мáма — врач (Beliakova)
‘My father is a college lecturer, and my mother is a doctor’
Сáмое глубóкое óзеро ми́ра — э́то пресновóдный красáвец Байкáл
(Vvedenskaia)
‘The deepest lake in the world is the beautiful fresh‐water Lake Baikal’
Note
(a) The subject may sometimes be an infinitive:
Сáмое тяжёлое при прощáнии — не огля́дываться (Ogonek)
‘The hardest thing on parting is not to look back’
(b) The dash is not normally used to replace the verb ‘to be’ when the
subject is a pronoun: Он водолáз ‘He is a diver’.
(ii) In elliptical statements it replaces a word, usually a verb, which is
‘understood’:
Студéнт смотрéл на профéссора, профéссор — на студéнта
(Shukshin)
‘The student was looking at the professor, and the professor (was look­
ing) at the student’
(2) The dash is also used as a substitute for:
(i) The comma (when, for example, introducing an unexpected turn of
events or sharp contrast):

28  Introduction  24–25
Онá сдéлала ещё попы́тку посади́ть меня́ за стол — напрáсно
(=, но напрáсно) (Rasputin)
‘She made another attempt to seat me at the table, but in vain’
Note
Generally speaking, the dash indicates a more pronounced pause than the
comma, for example, in expressing apposition: Со мной был грузи́нский
чай — моё еди́нственное удовóльствие (=, моё еди́нственное
удовóльствие) ‘I had with me some Georgian tea, my only pleasure’.
(ii) The colon:
(a)

in introducing an enumeration, following a generic term:

Иногдá клуб приглашáет гостéй — учёных, педагóгов, врачéй
(Beliakova)
‘Sometimes the club invites guests — scientists, teachers and doctors’
(b) in elucidating a statement:
В Таджикистáне граждáнская войнá — бегýт в Росси́ю таджи́ки
(Solzhenitsyn)
‘There is a civil war in Tadzhikistan, (and so) Tadzhiks flee into Russia’
(iii) Parentheses:
На территóрии Росси́йской Федерáции — не забывáйте о том, что
онá занимáет однý седьмýю часть всей сýши Земли́! — ты́сячи
рек и речýшек
‘On the territory of the Russian Federation (do not forget that it occu­
pies one‐seventh of the Earth’s surface!) there are thousands of rivers
and streams’

25   The punctuation of direct speech
(1) If the introductory verb precedes the direct speech, the verb is followed
by a colon, and the direct speech either
(i) appears on a new line, preceded by a dash:
Я промя́млил:
— Прáвда (Rasputin)
‘“It is true,” I mumbled’
(ii) or runs on after the colon and is enclosed in guillemets (« »):

25–26  Punctuation  29
Сам хозя́ин рáза два кричáл с крыльцá: «Эй, кто там?»
‘The master himself shouted a couple of times from the porch,
“Hey, who’s there?”’
(2) If, however, the verb follows the direct speech, the latter is flanked
by dashes:
— Уснýл, — услýжливо отвéтила Си́ма (Rasputin)
‘“He’s fallen asleep,” answered Sima obligingly’
(3) A conversation may be rendered as follows:
— Я знáю, почемý ты все ещё живёшь со мнóй. Сказáть?
— Ну, почемý?
— Да прóсто лень тебé купи́ть раскладýшку. (S. Dovlatov)
‘“I know why you still live with me. Shall I tell you?”
“Well, why?”
“You’re just too lazy to buy a camp bed.”’
Note
(a) A full stop, comma, semicolon or dash follow inverted commas.
(b) Quotes within quotes may be distinguished as follows: «Крéйсер
“Аврóра” стоя́л на я́коре» ‘The cruiser “Aurora” lay at anchor’.
(c) In cursive script, inverted commas are rendered as follows: «Привém!»
‘Greetings!’
26   Suspension points (mнoгotóчиe)
Suspension points (. . .) indicate one of the following.
(1) Hesitation:
— Прои́грываешь, навéрное?
— Нет, вы . . . выи́грываю (Rasputin)
‘“I suppose you lose?”
“No, I – I win”’
(2) An unfinished statement:
Знать бы нам, чем э́то всё кóнчится . . . (Rasputin)
‘Had we but known how it would all end . . .’

The Noun

Word Formation
27   Word formation in the noun I: general
(1) Nouns in Russian may be basic irreducible stems (e.g. лec ‘forest’) or
form the basis of compound nouns (e.g. лecopýб ‘wood cutter’). Compounding
takes a number of different forms, involving initial components which may be
the stems of:
(i) nouns: лeдoкóл ‘ice‐breaker’ (лёд ‘ice’, кoлóть ‘to split’)
(ii) adjectives: чepнoзём ‘black earth’ (чёpный ‘black’, зeмля́ ‘earth’)
(iii) numerals: двуóкиcь ‘dioxide’ (дву‐ ‘two’, óкиcь ‘oxide’)
(iv) adverbs: гpòмкoгoвopи́тeль ‘loud speaker’ (гpóмкo ‘loudly’,
гoвopи́ть ‘to speak’);
and second components which may be:
(i) nouns: тяжeлoвéc ‘heavy weight’ (тяжёлый ‘heavy’, вec ‘weight’)
(ii) of verbal origin: ceнoкóc ‘haymaking’ (céнo ‘hay’, кocи́ть ‘to mow’).
Note
(a) Compounds may also be based on phrases: инoплaнeтя́нин ‘extra‐
terrestrial’ (cf. инáя плaнéтa ‘another planet’), oднoфaми́лeц
‘namesake’ (cf. oднá фaми́лия ‘the same name’).
A Comprehensive Russian Grammar, Fourth Edition. Terence Wade, David Gillespie,
Svetlana Gural and Marina Korneeva.
© 2020 Terence Wade & John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Published 2020 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

27  Word Formation  31
(b) The components of a compound are usually linked by the infixes
‐o‐: cнeгoпáд ‘snow fall’, мaши́нoпиcь ‘typing’, caмoлёт
‘­aeroplane’, or (where the stem of the first component ends in a soft
consonant or in ж, ч, ш, щ or ц) ‐e‐: oбщeжи́тиe ‘hostel’, oвцeвóд
‘sheep‐breeder’, пулeмёт ‘machine gun’ (cf. пу́ля ‘bullet’),
cтaлeвáp ‘steel founder’ (cf. cтaль ‘steel’), пeшexóд ‘pedestrian’.
However, ‐o‐ sometimes appears as an ‘illogical’ link‐vowel when
the stem of the first component of a compound ends in soft в (e.g.
кpoвooбpaщéниe ‘circulation of the blood’, cf. кpoвь ‘blood’), soft
н (e.g. бacнoпи́ceц ‘fabulist’, cf. бácня ‘fable’), soft p (звepoлóв
‘trapper’, cf. звepь ‘animal’), or soft т (чecтoлю́биe ‘ambition’,
cf. чecть ‘honour’).
(2) A group of compounds with second components that denote persons or
places is particularly common. Some of the elements are indigenous: ‐вeд,
as in литepaтуpoвéд ‘literature specialist’, ‐вoд, as in cкoтoвóд ‘stock‐
breeder’, others international: ‐гpaф, as in гeóгpaф ‘geographer’, ‐дpoм,
as in дeльтaдpóм ‘hang‐glider launch site’, ‐лoг, as in биóлoг ‘biologist’,
‐мaн, as in бaлeтoмáн ‘balletomane’, ‐тeкa, as in фoнoтéкa ‘sound
library’, ‐фил, as in cлaвянoфи́л ‘Slavophile’, ‐фoб, as in aнглoфóб
‘Anglophobe’.
(3) While most second components in compounds tend to be truncated
forms: вoдoпáд ‘waterfall’, пapoвóз ‘steam engine’, пчeлoвóд ‘apiarist’, etc., some are suffixed: мoнeтopaзмéнник ‘change machine’,
пивoвápня ‘brewery’, paбoтocпocóбнocть ‘efficiency’, cудocтpoéниe
‘ship‐building’.
(4) The relationships between initial and second components may be as
follows:
(i) the first component may denote the object of the second: бeнзoвóз
‘petrol tanker’ (cf. вoзи́ть бeнзи́н ‘to transport petrol’), книгoлю́б ‘book
lover’, нeфтeпpoвóд ‘oil pipeline’, пылecóc ‘vacuum cleaner’;
(ii) the second component may denote an object designed for the first:
бeнзoбáк ‘petrol tank’ (cf. бaк для бeнзи́нa ‘tank for petrol’), дèтcáд
‘kindergarten’;
(iii) the action denoted by the second component may be performed in or
over the area designated by the first: вeздexóд ‘cross country vehicle’ (cf.
xoди́ть вeздé ‘to go everywhere’), дoмocéд ‘stay‐at‐home’, мopeплáвaтeль
‘seafarer’;

32  The Noun  27–28
(iv) the first component may qualify the second: нoвocтpóйкa ‘new
building’ (cf. нóвaя cтpóйкa ‘new building’), oбщeжи́тиe ‘hostel’,
пятибópьe ‘pentathlon’;
(v) the first component may denote the means by which the second is
accomplished: вepтoлёт ‘helicopter’ (cf. вepтéть(cя) ‘to rotate’, лёт
‘flight’), гàзocвápщик ‘gas welder’, пapoxoд ‘steamer’.
Note
For the formation of compound abbreviations, see 39 (acronyms), 40
(alphabetisms), 41 (stump compounds), 42 (compound hyphenated
nouns).
28   Word formation in the noun II: prefixation
(1) Prefixes, while fewer in number than suffixes, effect more radical
change than suffixes are capable of. Thus, in the word бecкoнфли́ктнocть
‘absence of conflict’ the suffix ‐ocть merely denotes the abstract nature of
the noun, while the prefix бec‐ fulfils a semantic role in denoting the
absence of the quality denoted by the root noun (кoнфли́кт ‘conflict’).
(2) The following prefixes used with nouns are also commonly used with
verbs (for the full range of their meanings, see sections 254 and 331; for
spelling rules see 16, rules 3–5):
в‐ ‘into’:
вз‐/вc‐ ‘upwards’:
вoз‐/вoc‐ (i) ‘upwards’:
(ii) ‘re‐’:
вы‐ ‘outwards’:
дo‐ ‘addition’:
зa‐ (i) ‘beyond’:
(ii) ‘closing’:
из‐/иc‐ ‘ex‐, out’:
нa‐ (i) ‘on, onto’:
(ii) ‘quantity’:
нaд‐ ‘above’:
нeдo‐ ‘shortfall’:
o‐/oб‐ (i) ‘encompassing’:
(ii) ‘avoidance’:
oт‐ ‘away from’:
пepe‐ (i) ‘across’:
(ii) ‘repeat’:

влoжéниe ‘investment’
взлёт ‘take‐off’
вocxóд cóлнцa ‘sun‐rise’
вoccoeдинéниe ‘reunification’
вы́пуcк ‘output’
дoпoлнéниe ‘supplementation’
зapубёжьe ‘foreign countries’
зaкpы́тиe ‘closure’
иcключéниe ‘expulsion’
нaýшник ‘earphone’
нaдóй ‘milk yield’
нaдcмóтpщик ‘supervisor’
нeдooцéнкa ‘underestimate’
oxвáт ‘scope, range’
oбъéзд ‘detour’
oтъёзд ‘departure’
пepexóд ‘crossing’
переигрóвка ‘replay’

28  Word Formation  33
под‐ (i) ‘support’:
(ii) ‘sham’:
пре‐ (i) ‘trans‐’:
(ii) ‘excess’:
пред‐ ‘pre‐’:
при‐ (i) ‘arrival, joining’:
(ii) ‘attachment’:
про‐ ‘through, past’:
раз‐/рас‐ (i) ‘spread’:
(ii) ‘reversal’:
с‐ (i) ‘together’:
(ii) ‘down’:
у‐ ‘away’:

подсвéчник ‘candle‐stick’
поддéлка ‘forgery’
преобразовáние ‘transformation’
преувеличéние ‘exaggeration’
предыстóрия ‘pre‐history’
приземлéние ‘landing’
приложéние ‘magazine supplement’
прóпуск ‘pass’
распространéние ‘dissemination’
разря́дка ‘détente’
съезд ‘congress’
спуск ‘descent’
увольнéние ‘dismissal’

(3) A further set of prefixes are used mainly with nouns, in some cases
adjectives, and a few also with verbs (e.g. бeз‐/бec‐, дe‐, диc‐, pe‐). Many
are loan prefixes and combine mostly with foreign roots, while some
(бeз‐, мeжду‐, нe‐, пo‐, пoд‐, пpa‐, пpeд‐, caмo‐, cвépx‐, пocлe‐,
пpoтивo‐, чpeз‐/чpec‐) are indigenous.
a‐ ‘devoid of’:
aнти‐ ‘opposed to’:
apxи‐ ‘extreme’:
бeз‐/бec‐ ‘deprived of’:
ви́цe‐ ‘deputizing for’:
ги́пep‐ ‘extreme’:
дe‐ ‘reversal’:
дeз‐ ‘removal’:
диc‐ ‘deprived of’:
интep‐ ‘international’:
квàзи‐ ‘quasi‐’:
кòнтp‐ ‘counter to’:
мeжду‐ ‘intermediate’:
ми́кpo‐ ‘small’:
нe‐ ‘negation of’:
нèo‐ ‘revived’:
пo‐ ‘along’:
пoд (i) ‘subordinate to’:
(ii) ‘proximity’:
пocлe‐ ‘following’:
пócт‐ ‘subsequent’:

aлoги́чнocть ‘illogicality’
aнтиpы́нoчник ‘opponent of a market economy’
apxиплу́т ‘arch villain’
бeccóнницa ‘insomnia’
ви́цeпpeдceдáтeль ‘vice‐chairman’
ги́пepинфля́ция ‘hyper‐inflation’
дeцeнтpaлизáция ‘decentralization’
дeзoдopáнт ‘deodorant’
диcквaлификáция ‘disqualification’
интepдéвoчкa ‘hard‐currency prostitute’
квàзидeмoкpàтия ‘quasi‐democracy’
кòнтppaзвéдкa ‘counter‐espionage’
мeждуцápcтвиe ‘interregnum’
ми́кpoopгaни́зм ‘micro‐organism’
нepacпpocтpaнéниe ‘non‐proliferation’
нèoкaпитaли́зм ‘neo‐capitalism’
пoгpaни́чник ‘frontier guard’
пoдви́д ‘sub‐species’
Пoдмocкóвьe ‘Moscow region’
пocлecлóвиe ‘epilogue’
пócтмoдepни́зм ‘post‐Modernism’

34  The Noun  28–29
пра‐ ‘great’ (in relationships)
преди‐ ‘preceding’:
про‐ (i) ‘supportive of’:
(ii) ‘deputizing for’:
противо‐ ‘opposed to’:
псéвдо‐ ‘sham’:
ре‐ ‘re‐’:
само‐ ‘self’:
свéрх‐ ‘extreme’:
суб‐ ‘subordinate’:
сỳпер‐ ‘extreme’:
ỳльтра‐ ‘extreme’:
чрез‐/чрес‐ ‘excessive’:
э̀кс‐ ‘former’:
экстра‐ ‘beyond’:

прабáбушка: ‘great‐grandmother’
предислóвие ‘foreword’
проамерикáнец ‘pro‐American’
прорéктор ‘vice‐principal’
противорéчие ‘contradiction’
псèвдодемокрáтия ‘pseudo‐democracy’
рèинтегрáция ‘reintegration’
самообслýживание ‘self‐service’
свèрхдержáва ‘super‐power’
сỳбподря́д ‘subcontract’
с̀̀ỳперзвездá ‘super‐star’
ỳльтрареакционéр ‘ultrareactionary’
чрезмéрность ‘excessiveness’
э̀кс‐премьéр ‘the former premier’
экс‐ви́це‐президéнт ‘the former vice‐president’
экстрасéнс ‘psychic’

Note
(a) A number of prefixes fall into definable categories:
(i) excess (apxи‐, гѝпep‐, cвèpx‐, cу̀пep‐, чpeз‐);
(ii) negation (a‐, бeз‐, дe‐, дeз‐, диc‐, нe‐);
(iii) time (нèo‐, пocлe‐, пòcт‐, пpeди‐, pe‐, э̀кc‐);
(iv) opposition/support (aнти‐, кòнтp‐, пpo‐, пpoтивo‐);
(v) sham (квàзи‐, пcéвдo‐).
(b) In some cases a prefixed word has been borrowed virtually in its
entirety (e.g. aнeмѝя ‘anaemia’) and should thus be regarded as a
non‐derivative stem in Russian.
(c)

Spelling rule 16 (3), in accordance with which initial и is replaced by
ы following a prefix ending in a consonant, does not apply to the loan
prefixes гѝпep‐, дeз‐, пòcт‐, cуб‐, cу̀пep‐ (th