Russian conjuctions И, А, and НО
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.
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.
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”.
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!
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.