“I go bathroom.”
“Big cookie please.”
There are two types of people who can be heard saying these phrases: toddlers—little humans who have learned new words but have not figured out how to group them together yet—and foreigners who are learning English as their second language.
When you are learning Russian, you are likely to sound the same at first and that is because you are not yet fluent.
Interestingly enough, one of the ways to say fluent or literate in Russian is Грамотный. If you can read in Russian, you can tell that this term is very similar to the English word “grammar.” (It’s read as “gramotniy.”) The tie between the grammar and literacy is very easy to understand—there is no way to be truly fluent or literate in a language without learning grammar rules.
When learning Russian, you need to incorporate the knowledge of what you learned previously—vocabulary, verb tenses, Russian cases, etc.—and put them together to form actual sentences.
Below, we offer six excellent grammar exercises and resources for learning how to form proper sentences in Russian.
6 Russian Grammar Exercises for Constructing Competent Sentences
Combine these resources with the exercises provided and with other learning strategies for optimal Russian grammar learning!
To really make the sentence structures stick in your mind, use FluentU to hear them in action.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Thanks to FluentU and the resources below, your Russian sentences will improve dramatically before you know it.
1. Russian Sentence Structure for Beginners
This source provides eight different sentence structures to help you speak better in Russian. These structures include asking questions, describing a subject, talking about time and other commonly-used constructions.
You will notice that this source is not interactive, as it is a PDF, but it can actually serve as a really cool self-exercise for learners in addition to just learning sentence structures.
Copy the sentence examples to learn the structure and practice your Russian writing skills while you’re at it. Then, try copying only the English or Russian sentences. Test yourself by translating the sentences yourself, then checking your results against the resource.
Once you have the structures down, challenge yourself by using the sentence structures here to form your own sentences. Practice different ways to tell time or to express things you want to do. Make sure your text is following the correct grammar structure!
2. 10 Sentence Patterns for Beginners
Presented by RussianPod101, this site promises to teach you 10 sentence patterns for beginning Russian students. Although this may seem similar to the source above, it varies greatly and provides an excellent opportunity to advance what you learned from the previous source.
The 10 examples in this resource center around forming sentences with specific terms. Each entry provides the Russian spelling, a pronunciation guide, an English translation and examples of usage.
The sentences include formulating phrases with verbs, such as going, reading and standing, as well as making statements, such as меня зовут (My name is…), проийти на станцию (get to the station) and more.
Each entry allows you to click on it to hear the phrase said in Russian (with a subscription to the site). Use this source to test yourself and see if you can make your own sentences from the words you learned.
Form your own sentences with the selected words based on the constructions taught by this source. For example, choose one of the terms covered, such as на балет (to the ballet). Then, use that phrase to make different sentences to practice grammar, such as:
- Я иду на балет (I am going to the ballet)
- Она идёт на балет (She is going to the ballet)
- Oни идут на балет (They are going to the ballet)
3. Form Sentences from Words
This is a really fun and educational online sentence builder. The site offers exercises which are divided by topic, such as animals, time, school, etc. Each topic has one or more exercises and can be refreshed to form new puzzles.
Once you click on the entry, you will have the opportunity to organize words to form coherent sentences. You can check your answers to make sure you are correct or ask for help if you get stuck.
Note that this website is written entirely in Russian, so you will likely need to have intermediate knowledge of the Russian language to understand the directions for the grammar exercises.
This site does all of the work for you, and there is no need to make your own plan on how to practice grammar with this one. Simply find the correct pattern from the mixed-up words to make coherent sentences.
Do not forget to say the words out loud to practice speaking Russian and work on your pronunciation while you’re at it.
4. “A Phrase and Sentence Dictionary of Spoken Russian”
If you were ever looking for a 100% trusted and official resource, this is it! Created by the U.S. War Department, this is a great resource that helps users learn to craft sentences from specific words.
This site gives you access to over 11,500 entries that are organized first as English to Russian translations, and then vice versa to help you quickly find what you are looking for. While a typical dictionary gives you translations for individual words, here you will find idiomatic translations for phrases and sentences, too (over 30,000 to be exact).
This source allows you to view words used in context, as well as learn slang terms and colloquialisms (albeit they are from the 1970s). This will help you to formulate your own sentences!
With thousands of examples, it is easy to get overwhelmed when studying with this source. To keep yourself on track, create study plans for the week. Set apart three hours throughout the week, and decide which topics you want to study.
During each exercise session, practice creating sentences related to the topic you chose. For example, when you are learning about food, you can practice conjugating the verb “hungry”:
- Я голодный (I am hungry)
- Она голодная (She is hungry)
- Они голодные (They are hungry)
Then, as a challenge, you can look up words in the dictionary and try to make your own sentences before comparing them to the text.
5. 13,000 Russian Sentences with Audio
What this source lacks in professionalism (even the directions are not written in proper English), it makes up in comprehensiveness.
The creator collected 60,000 Russian sentences from the internet and created a program that ranks the most commonly-used Russian words to the least commonly used. The site promises to offer sentences from beginner to advanced levels for all learning needs.
Each sentence is presented as a virtual flashcard, with the Russian audio on the front and the Russian sentence and English translation written on the back. As you move through the activity, you can delete the sentences that are not relevant to your learning needs.
Learners can read the sentences and practice saying them out loud before listening to them with the audio feature.
Disclaimer: Some reviewers point out that the sentences start off a bit too difficult. To solve this problem, the site offers an easier sentence builder for beginners.
The flashcard format of these sentences allows you different ways to practice grammar.
You can simply listen to the audio examples to learn correct pronunciations.
Or you can attempt to translate the exercises for yourself before referring to the back. This will test your skills in forming your own sentences and really test how well you know Russian grammar rules.
Mondly is an app that helps you learn Russian grammar on the go, at any time that is convenient for you.
The app contains three sections with seven to eight short lessons (each about five minutes long). The app combines listening, writing, speaking and reading skills—the four building blocks to learning true Russian.
Use Mondly to practice conversational Russian based on everyday situations (and listening to native speakers) rather than memorizing long and boring rules. However, you also have the option to access conjugation tables for past, future and present verbs just by clicking on a term.
The topics covered in this app include family, countries, languages, public transportation, travel and more.
What makes this source fun is the ability to compete against other students by trying to outdo them and get the higher scores when completing exercises!
A fun exercise on this app is a virtual conversation (in the conversation lesson), where you communicate orally using a microphone. This is a perfect way to practice your grammar while pretending to have an actual conversation. Think quickly and try to do the exercise without referring to any other sources of help.
If you do well on this exercise, your next step would be to practice with a real, live person.
Do not be caught sounding like a toddler or foreigner when learning Russian. Learn how to group words you learn together to sound like an intelligent adult!
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