Lesson 016

Questions in Russian

In this lesson we will cover how to make questions in Russian.

Making a question out of a statement

Making a question out of a statement is very easy in Russian, you don’t even need to change anything in the sentence structure:

  • in writing, just add a question mark at the end of the sentence;
  • when speaking, change the intonation (raise the tone toward the end of the sentence).

For example:

Э́то пи́во? Нет, э́то сок.
Is this beer? No, this is juice.

Э́то твоя́ кни́га? Нет, э́то не моя́ кни́га, э́то его́ кни́га.
Is this your book? No, this is not my book, this is his book.

Хо́чешь есть? Да, я хочу́ есть.
Do you want to eat? Yes, I want to eat.

Ты говори́шь по-ру́сски? Да, я говорю́ по-ру́сски.
Do you speak Russian? Yes, I speak Russian.

Хоти́те ко́фе? Да, спаси́бо, с удово́льствием.
Do you want some coffee? Yes, thank you, with pleasure.

Notice that in many sentences the personal pronouns are omitted as the form of the verb already tells us who is the subject of the sentence.

Russian Pod 101

Using interrogative words

Such words as what, who, when, how, where, etc. are called interrogative. We will cover each of them in detail in the following lessons.

Today, let’s just learn the most common of them so you can add them to your vocabulary right away:

что? – what?

Что ты хо́чешь?
What do you want?

Что вы де́лаете?
What are you doing?

кто? – who?

Кто там?
Who is there?

Кто хо́чет я́блоко?
Who wants an apple?

где? – where?

Где́ ты живёшь?
Where do you live?

Где́ ты?
Where are you?

куда́? – where to?

Куда́ ты идёшь?
Where do you go to?

Куда́ идёт э́тот авто́бус?
Where does this bus go?

когда́? – when?

Когда́ ты придёшь?
When will you come?

Когда́ ты на́чал учи́ть ру́сский?
When did you start learning Russian?

ско́лько? – how much? how many?

Ско́лько э́то сто́ит?
How much does it cost?

Ско́лько челове́к в кла́ссе?
How many people are in the class?

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! In the following lessons we will learn more ways to ask question in Russian.

The offline version of this lesson is available here

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6 comments on “016 – Questions in Russian”

  1. Anne says:

    First thank you very much. Your explanations are clear and easy to understand. And they are free! My question concerns “куда идёт этот автобус?” I thought with a vehicle we have to use the verb “ездить”
    Many thanks

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your comment and an interesting question.

      When we talk about taking a bus (taxi/train/etc.), we use “ездить”. But when we mean buses/taxis/trains/etc. themselves, we use “ходить”.

      For example:

      – Мы поедем туда на поезде.
      We will go there by train.

      – Поезда туда не ходят.
      Trains don’t go there.

  2. Gizem says:

    Is there an exception when using “могу я?” or can we also ask like “я могу?”

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hello Gizem,

      You can say both “могу я …?” and “я могу …?”.

  3. Lorena Melo says:

    Hope y’all know how useful and good you are!

    1. Learn Russian Step by Step says:

      Hi Lorena,

      Thanks for the comment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

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