How not to make Russian workbooks

In one of the workbooks I have, Поехали, there is an interesting dialogue (don’t be put off – it requires basic reading skills and very basic vocabulary):


That’s to the question of time spent and value gained – not all workbooks are equally good for you=) Even one of the most relied upon and popular, like this one.

Fat or healthy – never mind!

It’s an exciting adjective in Russian, здоровый. You will probably hear something like this while drinking with a bunch of Russians (Ваше здоровье! – let’s drink for your health!) and think it is just about health – slim chance! Apart from “healthy”, it can also mean “very big, huge”. So,

здоровый мужчина can mean both, a healthy/strong man and a fat/sturdy one (aren’t in English fat chance and slim chance the same?)

I want

I want healthy food! For example, a huge hamburger! (in Russian these two adjectives would be the same! – a word play)

Here’s how!

Nothing difficult as today is Monday!

вот как

Here’s how work women (Here’s how women work)


Russian through songs: born in USSR

Music is a wonderful way to learn a language – rhythm and rhyme make the process easier and more enjoyable. I have found a great video for a popular Russian song with relevant images:

Would be a good idea just to listen to it a few times, then look at English translation to get a basic idea of what it is all about and then follow Russian lyrics to hear how we pronounce words and phrases. Then it is recommended to listen to it again a few times until you get comfortable with lyrics. This song is quite easy – mostly names – so it won’t make you feel like you know nothing!

Текст (for better quality, download it or click on it):



Money in the jar

It would not be a surprise for you to hear that Russian word for bank is банк (masculine gender).

Also, we have a similarly pronounced word, but of feminine gender – банка. Means a jar (glass jar for storing).

But in prepositional case, they would take the same forms – банке. So,

Возьми в банке! can mean 1) take (it) in/from bank 2) take it in/from the jar

Я храню деньги в банке!  can mean 1) I keep money in bank 2) I keep money in a jar

в банке

And one more about work (not bank/jar) for more advanced speakers:  (when you) work

Source:     (when) you don’t work – to live not on what (there’s no money for living)     (when) you work – to live there’s no time (there’s not time for living)

Random words: СТАТЬ/BECOME

СТАТЬ sounds a bit like British English START, doesn’t it? Just mind the soft Т in the end. I want to start and become a…

Also, we use Instrumental case after this verb:

Я хочу стать врачом. – I want to become a doctor.

Я хочу стать космонавтом. – I want to become a cosmonaut.

Я хочу стать звездой. – I want to become a star.

A little joke to practice (it’s Friday today, don’t work too much!):


(word for word) If all time work and never not rest, possible to become most rich person on cemetery.

We don’t always put dots above Ё (like in the second word above).

Great present

Let’s talk about a few words related to presents.

Дарить – to give something as a present – Что тебе подарить? Я не знаю!

Дар – gift (but quite a high style, better use the word below) or talent.

Подарок – a present (подарки – presents) – read like *ПАДАРЭК.

Do you think dark chocolate is a good present (just make sure you say the Russian РРРРРР sound!)?



Sleeping in spa

If you struggle with Russian word спать (to sleep) think spa! And then just add a soft consonant т (when not italics will look like т)



It’s an imperfective infinitive that changes normally in past – спал, спала, спали. But it’s a bit tricky in present: я сплю, ты спишь, он спит, мы спим, вы спите, они спят.

When “look” is onion

If you know English word look, you will definitely master the Russian word for onion as it sounds (almost) the same: лук. The tiny difference will be that in Russian sound л will be very hard. Hope my idea below will help you remember it!


Slang of the day: БОМЖ

This abbreviation is quite slangy and means a homeless person.

At the end of a word, Ж turns into Ш, so this word is read like *БОМШ. The Ш sound is like in that famous posh car:

One бомж heard

One бомж heard that it is correct (to pronounce) not “Porsch” but “Porsche”. Now he asks to call himself not “Бомж” but “Бомже”.

If at the end of a word after Ж there are vowels, Ж remains Ж.