Lesson 074

Russian spelling rules

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The fact that the Russian language is one of those where words don’t really sound exactly as they are written, creates a confusion not only for those who is learning Russian, but sometimes even for the Russians themselves.

Not knowing basic Russian spelling rules will not ruin the impression about you, because you are a foreigner, but it is always nicer to be able to impress than the opposite. Today we will teach you how to avoid a big part of common mistakes.

Here are some rules that Russian kids learn at school and that will help you figure out the correct spelling of certain words:

  • Never put Ы after the letters: Ж, Ш, Щ, Ч, Г, К, Х, you have to use И in those cases.
  • Never put Я after Ж, Ш, Щ, Ч, Г, К, Х and Ц, use А in those cases.
  • After the consonants Ж, Ш, Щ, Ч, Ц, the vowel О, if unstressed, changes to Е.
  • Never put Ю after the letters Ж, Ш, Щ, Ч, Г, К, Х, Ц, use У instead.
Russian Pod 101

Below are some examples. For each of the words remind yourself which of the spelling rules it represents:

житьto live

проща́тьto forgive

встреча́тьto meet

шитьto sew

оди́ннадцатьeleven

ти́хий / ти́хая / ти́хиеquiet

хоро́ший / хоро́шая / хоро́шиеgood

Learn the Russian words of today’s lesson and practice them with the audio track.

And come back for the next lesson to learn Russian with us!

The offline version of this lesson is available here

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More lessons on the Russian orthography

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