Lesson 015

Negation in Russian

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In this lesson we will learn how to form negative sentences in the Russian language.

Simple negation in Russian

The formula is simple: to convert a statement into a negation all you need to do is to place не (no) before the word you want to negate.

Let’s practice:

Я хочу́ есть, я не хочу́ пить.
I want to eat, I don’t want to drink.

Он хо́чет игра́ть, он не хо́чет занима́ться.
He wants to play, he doesn’t want to study.

Я люблю́ шокола́д, я не люблю́ моро́женое.
I like chocolade, I don’t like ice-cream.

Она уме́ет петь, она не уме́ет танцева́ть.
She can sing, she can’t dance.

Э́то не мой зака́з.
This is not my order.

Э́ти ве́щи не мои́.
These things aren’t mine.

Я не понима́ю, что вы говори́те.
I don’t understand what you are saying.

Russian Pod 101

Double negation in Russian

Unlike English, where double negation is used sometimes in the conversational speech but still considered to be a wrong way of speaking, in Russian double negation is a norm.

Double negation is used in the sentences with negative pronouns. Here are some of them:

никто́nobody, no one
ничто́nothing
нигде́nowhere
никогда́never

There is more to learn about the negative pronouns and we will do it later in a separate lesson. In this lesson, we will only practice some of them in the sentences with double negation:

Ничто́ не помога́ет.
Nothing helps.

Никто́ не хо́чет чита́ть.
Nobody wants to read.

Я никогда́ не опа́здываю.
I’m never late.

Мы нигде́ не успева́ем.
We are late everywhere. (Lit.: We are nowhere in time.)

Practice the examples of this lesson with the audio recording.

We hope you find our Russian lessons helpful. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post them in the comments, we are happy to help!

The offline version of this lesson is available here

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6 comments on “015 – Negation in Russian”

  1. Aizy says:

    These is Э́ти???
    Wasn’t Э́тy?? I am confused now…

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Aizy,

      “These” is “эти”.

      “Эту” is “эта” (“this”, feminine) in the Accusative case.

  2. VIO says:

    you miss spelled chocolate

  3. john says:

    Thank you so much, I view many Russian tutorial. this is the real best for beginner to advance . Very awesome work !! 

  4. John says:

    Он хо́чет игра́ть, don’t we need to change the form of “play”..Only “want”

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hi John,

      Like in English, when you say “one wants to do something”, you only need to conjugate the first verb – wants, the following verb stays in the form of Infinitive.

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