Construction “I had” / Конструкция “У меня был”

If you want to use the construction “У меня есть …” in the past tense, you should put the verb “есть” (to be) into the past tense. Here are some examples,

  • У меня был урок – I had a lesson
  • У меня была встреча – I had a meeting
  • У меня было совещание – I had a business meeting
  • У меня были проблемы – I had problems

Pay attention that the verb “быть” depends on the gender of the object. “Урок” is a masculine gender noun, we say “был урок”, and “встреча” is a feminine noun – we say “была встреча”. Basically we say, “meeting was near me”, so this is why the verb depends on the logical object.

Construction “I have” / Конструкция “У меня есть”

In Russian when we want to say that we have something we use a special construction, which literally can be translated as “there is something near me”. For example,

  • У меня есть дом – I have a house (There is a house near me)
  • У меня есть машина – I have a car
  • У тебя есть собака – You have a dog (you informal)
  • У вас есть ручка? – Do you have a pen? (you formal)

So first you say “у” then name a person who has, and then use the word “есть“.

русский как иностранный

Pay attention that there is “н” added to pronouns starting with a vowel (него, неё, них).

  • У него есть семья – He has a family
  • У неё есть друзья – She has friends.
  • У них есть – книга – They have a book.

And if we are talking about events (abstract nouns we cannot touch, like “lesson”, “date” etc.), we skip the word “есть”.

  • У меня урок – I have a lesson
  • У нас проблемы – We have problems

If you want to say that you don’t have something, you should say “У меня нет …”. One of the common mistakes I hear foreigners make when they speak Russian is, “У меня не есть”. Forget it and never say it. Say, “У меня нет”. For example,

  • У меня нет фото – I don’t have a photo.
  • У Диего нет кофе – Diego doesn’t have coffee.

Accusative case. Direction / Винительный падеж. Направление

The accusative case is used not only with direct objects (more about it here) but also with destinations. Destination is a place to which someone or something is going or being sent. It is usually used with verbs of motion like “идти” (to go on foot) or “ехать” (to go by transport).

где и куда. разница

And one of common mistakes foreigners make, they use the prepositional case with the destination. Remember, the prepositional case (the ending -e) is used for location, when the person is already there, not when they are on their way. For the destination is used the accusative case, Which means masculine, neuter or plural nouns are not changed. But feminine nouns have the endings / . So this is why we say,

  • Это Москва. Я живу в Москве. Я еду в Москву. – This is Moscow. I live in Moscow. I go to Moscow.
  • Это Китай. Я живу в Китае. Я еду в Китай. – This is China.I live in China. I go to China.
  • Это аптека. Я сейчас в аптеке. Я иду в аптеку. – This is a pharmacy. I am in the pharmacy. I’m walking to the pharmacy.

It is important to remember two question words:

  • где? – where? (location) – prepositional case
  • куда? – whereto? (direction) – accusative case

Asking these questions you always know what case of two to use.

Short and full adjectives – 2 / Краткие и полные прилагательные – 2

Short adjectives are used to express temporary characteristic or subjective opinion (Он был вежлив – He was polite). Full adjectives are used for constant absolute characteristic (Он счастливый человек – He is a happy person).  More about it here. Short adjectives don’t have a noun after (Это дорогая машина. Эта машина слишком дорога).

There are few more situations when short adjectives are used.

  1. With the verb “быть” in the imperative mood.
  • Будь здоров! – Bless you (Be healthy)
  • Будьте добры, один билетик на метро. – Can I have one metro ticket, please? (Be kind, one metro ticket)

2. With proverbs, aphorisms and sayings.

  • Что к лицу, то красиво. – What fits to your face  is beautiful.
  • Жизнь коротка – искусство вечно. – Life is short, the art is eternal.

3. Opposition

  • Несмотря на все проблемы, он был жизнерадостен. – Despite all the problems, he was happy

4. If there is a word “так”.

  • Он так красив– He is so handsome
  • Он такой красивый! – He is so handsome

5. If one of these words is a subject in the sentence: что, всё это, то.

  • Всё прекрасно! – Everything is fine

We use full adjectives with relative clause, if it is between the subject and the predicate (between commas).

  • Коллеги готовы работать. – Colleagues are ready to work.
  • Коллеги, готовые работать, ждут своего директора. – Colleagues, who are ready to work, are waiting for their boss.

Short and full adjectives – 1 / Краткие и полные прилагательные – 1

Adjectives can have full form (красивый) and the short one (красив). To make a full adjective short we need to take away the ending.

  • счастливый – счастлив
  • злой – зол
  • расстроенный – расстроен

For describing feminine nouns we need to add the ending -a. For neuter gender nouns the short adjective has the ending -o, and for plural nouns the ending is -ы.

  • девушка: счастливая – счастлива
  • девушка: злая – зла
  • подруга: расстроенная – расстроена
  • знакомство: приятное – приятно
  • люди: дружелюбные – дружелюбны.

The difference between full and short adjectives is that full ones express the idea of the constant quality.

  • Он счастливый человек (He has a happy life, he is always happy) – He is a happy person.

Short adjectives represent the idea of temporary characteristic, like emotions.

  • Я рад тебя видеть (I am not glass all the time, only right now) – I am glad to see you
  • Он а сегодня зла (She is not angry always) – She is angry today.

So we also use short adjectives to describe emotions or to give subjective assessment.

  • Она была груба – She was rude (This is my subjective opinion about her).

And what is also important to mention is that with short adjectives never have a noun after.

  • Она – красивая девушка – She is a beautiful girl.
  • Она была красива в этот вечер – She was beautiful in this evening.

Word “this” / Слово “это”

“This” in Russian is “Это”.

  • Это хорошо! – This is good!
  • Кто это? – Who is this?
  • Что это? – What is this?

It can be masculine (этот), feminine (эта), neuter (это) or plural (эти).

  • Этот человек работает тут – This person works here
  • Эта девушка говорит по-английски – This girl speaks English.
  • Это блюдо очень вкусное – This dish is very delicious.
  • Эти люди – очень милые – These people are very nice.

If there is a short sentence answering the question “Who is this?” or “What is this?” with no verb, there should be using the only neuter form of this word (это), and it doesn’t matter the gender of the following noun. For example,

  • Это мой друг – This is my friend.
  • Это моя жена – This is my wife
  • Это мои дети – These are my children.