Lesson 073

Russian conjuctions И, А, and НО

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Conjunctions are the words used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause. Today we’ll learn three Russian conjunctions: И, A and НО.

Conjunctions А and И

Conjunctions А and И are both translated as and.

However, while И is a joining conjugation, А is a separating conjugation. Russians use the conjunction A for contraposition.

For example:

Я живу́ в Петербу́рге, а она́ живёт в Москве́.
I live in Petersburg and (but) she lives in Moscow.

Я люблю́ ле́то, а он лю́бит зи́му.
I love summer and (but) he loves winter.

Pay attention, that the conjunction А is always preceded by a comma.

Used in a negative sentence, А must be translated as BUT.

Он не италья́нец, а францу́з.
He is not Italian but French.

Это не мой зака́з, а чей-то чужо́й.
This is not my order, but someone’s else.

Russian Pod 101

И is always translated as AND and used to join words or phrases together.

Я и мой друг рабо́таем в одно́й компа́нии.
Me and my friend are working in the same company.

Я хорошо́ говорю́ и понима́ю по-ру́сски.
I speak and understand Russian well.

Both conjunctions can be used to start a sentence.

When a sentence is started with И, it smoothly continues the previous discussion.

If a sentence is started with А, it can either continue the previous discussion (maybe taking it to some other direction or not), or such a sentence often stands on its own. А in the latter case is added as an exclamation or expression of emotions. In these cases it can be translated as “what if”, “how about” or “and”.

Examples:

И что да́льше?
And what’s next?

А дава́йте пойдём в кино́?
How about going to the movies?

А вот и нет!
Actually, not at all!

Conjunction НО

НО means but. In sentences, НО is always preceded by a comma:

Я постуча́ла, но никто́ не откры́л.
I knocked, but no one opened.

Мы попроси́ли его́ помо́чь, но он сказа́л, что у него́ нет вре́мени.
We asked him to help, but he said that he had no time.

Practice all today’s examples with the audio track.

The offline version of this lesson is available here

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