Russian course - Lesson 03

Russian course
Basic Russian for beginners

Lesson 3:
Sorry, I don't understand

In this lesson you will learn:

  • how to ask questions in Russian
  • the formal and informal way to say "you"
  • to conjugate a verb in the present tense
Useful phrase in Russian

Useful phrase in Russian

Listen and repeat the following sentence:

Извини́те, я не понима́ю
iz-vi-ní-tye, ya nye pa-ni-má-yu
Sorry, I don't understand

Извини́те: This is the first imperative form that you will learn in the course. It means "excuse me", but only when you address someone formally. If you talk to a friend you will use the informal form: извини́. You will learn about formal and informal in future lessons.

Russian vocabulary

Russian vocabulary

Read, listen and repeat the basic vocabulary of this lesson:







You (plural)



To understand



Also, too






See you

До свида́ния

da svi-dá-niya

See you

До встре́чи

da vstryé-chi

Hello (formal)






Russian dialogues

Dialogues in Russian

These dialogues will help you memorise this lesson's vocabulary:

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Russian grammar

Russian grammar

Read the following grammar explanations for this lesson:

How to say "you" in Russian

In Russian, there are two different ways of saying "you", a formal and an informal way. There are no specific rules about when to use each, but in general we could say the following:

  • Formal "you": used with older people and people we don't know well.
  • Informal "you": used with relatives, children and close friends.

You will only need to learn two forms: ты and вы. The first one (ты) is only used for informal address in singular. For any other case вы is used:


Informal = Ты

Formal = Вы


Informal = Вы

Formal = Вы

In the dialogues you have seen examples of formal and informal situations. During the course you will see many more examples.

Also, pay attention to the verbs. The endings for ты and вы are easy to recognise:

Verb: знать

Ты зна́ешь

Вы зна́ете

Verb: говорить

Ты говори́шь

Вы говори́те

The verbs in the present tense

During these three lessons you have learnt the personal pronouns in Russian (I, you, he, we,...). You only need to learn how to say "they": они́ (pronounced "a-ni").

Here you have the whole conjugation of the verb говорить in the present tense. Listen to the audio and pay attention to the pronunciation:

  • Говори́ть
  • Я говорю́
  • Ты говори́шь
  • Он говори́т
  • Мы говори́м
  • Вы говори́те
  • Они говоря́т

In future lessons you will learn new verbs.

How to form questions in Russian

If you want to ask a question in Russian, you only need to use a question mark and change the intonation. This means:

  • You do not need to change the position of the verb.
  • You do not need to use an auxiliary verb like "do" in English.
Have a look at these examples:

Ты ру́сский.

You are Russian.

Ты ру́сский?

Are you Russian?

Ты говори́шь по-ру́сски.

You speak Russian.

Ты говори́шь по-ру́сски?

Do you speak Russian?

Russian test


Check how much you have learnt in this lesson:

1. How do you say "hello" in a formal way?
как дела́

2. What does "вы" mean?
a formal you
an informal you
a formal he

3. Which is the WRONG option?
я понима́ю
ты понима́ешь
вы понима́ете
он понима́ть

4. Which is the RIGHT option?
вы понима́ете
вы говори́те
both are right
both are wrong

5. How do you say "we too"?
я и ты то́же
мы о́чень
мы то́же

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