Немно́го о языке́ 7.2 Поздравля́ю с Но́вым го́дом!

Holiday Greetings

The complete formula in Russian to wish someone a happy holiday is to say:

Поздравля́ю тебя́ / вас с +  

name of holiday in the instrumental.

Я хочу́ поздра́вить тебя́ / вас с +

The verb поздравля́ть / поздра́вить literally means “to congratulate.”  In everyday life, this formula is often shortened to just the phrase

C + the instrumental case of the holiday

If you are uncertain of the name of the holiday in Russian, you can always greet people with С пра́здником! On the eve of the holiday, people will often say С наступа́ющим! (with the coming [holiday!]!)

Упражне́ние 1


Below you have several holiday greetings.  Read the greeting and then select the occasion of which the greeting is said.  This link can help you match the holiday names with the dates when they are celebrated. 

  1. С Но́вым го́дом! а. 8 ма́я б. 8 ма́рта в. 1 января́
  2. С междунаро́дным же́нским днём! а. 8 ма́рта б. 9 ма́я в. 1 января́
  3. С днём Побе́ды! а. 9 ма́я б. 8 ма́рта в. 1 января́
  4. С днём рожде́ния! а. Christmas б. Easter в. Birthday
  5. C Рождество́м! а. Christmas б. Easter в. Birthday

Instrumental Case – Adjectives

Instrumental case adjective endings.

Instrumental case Basic ending Soft or spelling rule ending
Masculine/Neuter -ым -им
Feminine -ой -ей
Plural -ыми -ими

Упражне́ние 2

Pick the adjective that makes the sentence grammatically correct.

1. Я живу́ ря́дом с... больши́м большо́й больши́ми ...магази́нами.
2. Я ча́сто разговарива́ю с... ста́ршим ста́ршей ста́ршими ...сестро́й.
3. Мой дом нахо́дится ря́дом с... но́вым но́вой но́выми ...общежи́тием.
4. Я обы́чно обе́даю с... хоро́шим хоро́шей хоро́шими ...подру́гой.
5. Я обы́чно занима́юсь в библиоте́ке с... интере́сным интере́сной интере́сными ...студе́нтами.

Imperatives in Guest-Host Situations

This episode of our story features a number of commands/invitations that hosts at a social event will issue to guests. These commands come in a familiar form, for people you address as  ты, and a formal/plural form, for people you address as вы.

For people you address as ты For people you address as вы
Заходи́ Заходи́те Come in
Раздева́йся Раздева́йтесь Take off your coats (lit. = undress)
Сади́сь Сади́тесь Have a seat (lit. = sit down)
Бери́ … + food item Бери́те … + food item Have X food item (lit. = take)
Ку́шай на здоро́вье Ку́шайте на здоро́вье Eat up

Тост за кого́? за что?  Offering Toasts

Toasts are a phenomenon where linguistic and cultural rules are closely intertwined. Although a festive meal in Russian will certainly feature toasts, many everyday occasions may also inspire the host to offer a toast, particularly at the start of the meal.

Typically at the start of a meal, the intention to make a toast is announced with the phrase Я хочу́ предложи́ть тост. The toast is organized by filling the glasses of the guests. The toast will typically be made with an alcoholic beverage – usually vodka, although шампа́нское, вино́, and конья́к are also possible. If you are a guest, as the glasses are being filled, this will be your opportunity to control what you are drinking and how much (Мне совсе́м немно́го = Just a bit for me).  It is considered inappropriate to participate in a toast with an empty glass.

With the glasses filled, and the guests having raised their glasses, the person offering the toast may make a preamble (sometimes rather lengthy) about the occasion and the assembled company. The toast will finally end with a statement formed with the preposition за plus the accusative case. At the end of the verbal toast, the guests will make eye contact as they clink glasses. Then the guests drink, generally consuming the whole portion of the drink that has been poured for them in one swallow. After that, guests don't generally drink until the next toast is offered.

Some typical toasts are:

За знако́мство = To getting acquainted
За встре́чу =  To our meeting
За вас = To you
За дру́жбу = To our friendship
За ва́ше здоро́вье = To your health

As a guest you might offer:

За ва́ше гостеприи́мство = To your hospitality

The last toast is usually to the hostess:

За хозя́йку = To the hostess

New Verbs: открыва́ть/откры́ть and закрыва́ть/закры́ть

In this section of our story you encounter this exchange when the doorbell rings on New Year’s eve.

То́ни: Хоти́те, я откро́ю? = (If) you want, I will open (the door)?
Зоя Степановна: Иди́ откро́й! = Go, open it!

The verb pair открыва́ть / откры́ть means “to open,” and its antonym “to close” is закрывать/закрыть. All four verbs belong to the first conjugation, and their stems are shown in the table below.

Imperfective Perfective Imperfective Perfective
Infinitive открыва́ть откры́ть закрыва́ть закрыть
Stem открыва́й- откро́й- закрыва́й- закро́й-
я form открыва́ю откро́ю закрыва́ю закро́ю
ты form открыва́ешь откро́ешь закрыва́ешь закро́ешь
Meaning open to close


The base -крыть conveys the notion of “covering.”  The prefix от- here adds the notion of “from/off /away” so открыть is “to take the cover off of something” thus “to open.”  The prefix за- here conveys the notion of “over” so закры́ть is “to cover over something” or “to close.”

The Perfective Prefix у- with уви́деть, услы́шать, узна́ть

You already know the imperfective verbs ви́деть (to see), слы́шать (to hear) and зна́ть (to know).  The notions seeing, hearing and knowing are really processes that we do not think of as normally leading to a result. However, Russian does have perfective pairs for these verbs using the prefix у-:  ви́деть/уви́деть, слы́шать /услы́шать, and знать/узна́ть.

The perfective уви́деть conveys the notion of “to catch sight of” or “to come into view” and the perfective услы́шать conveys a similar notion but for the sense of hearing (“to reach/catch my ear”).  These perfectives are often used for events that are unexpected or sudden, and so they often occur together with the Russian adverb вдруг = suddenly.

The perfective узна́ть conveys the notion “to come to know” so it can have English equivalents of “to learn,” “to recognize,” and “to find out.”

This is just one meaning of у- as a verbal prefix; you will encounter a second one later in this unit.

More Short-Form Adjectives: знако́м and похо́ж

In Уро́к 5 Часть 2 you first encountered short-form adjectives, like свобо́ден (= is free), за́нят (= is busy), and others. These short-form adjectives are used only as predicate adjectives, meaning they follow a linking verb like “is, are, will be” and modify the subject of the sentence. In this unit you encounter the short-form adjectives знако́м = to be acquainted with and похо́ж = are like, resemble. Look at the examples below to see their forms.

Дени́с знако́м с Ната́льей Миха́йловной.
Ка́тя знако́ма с Же́ней.
На́ши студе́нты знако́мы с Дени́сом.
То́ни о́чень похо́ж на бра́та.
Зо́я Степа́новна похо́жа на ба́бушку То́ни.
Мла́дшие бра́тья Джо́ша о́чень похо́жи на него́.

Look at the examples again. What kind of prepositional phrases do these short-form adjectives take to complete their meanings?

1. знако́м goes with...
а. в + Accusative
б. на + Accusative
в. c + Instrumental
г. Dative case
2. похо́ж goes with...
а. в + Accusative
б. на + Accusative
в. c + Instrumental
г. Dative case

Final note: The short-form adjective знако́м just describes the condition of “being acquainted with.”  The aspect pair знако́миться/познако́миться means “to become acquainted with.” The verb is used to focus on the process of getting to know someone.

Talking about skills and abilities

Can you play the guitar?

English often uses the verb “can,” when we really mean “know how to.”  When talking about skills and abilities you have, the verb уме́ть (= to know how) is used to describe what you know how to do. This verb is followed by an infinitive.

            Ты уме́ешь гото́вить блины́?

            Ты уме́ешь игра́ть на гита́ре?

The verb уме́ть is a first conjugation verb like чита́ть and its stem is: уме́й- . 

Notice the difference in implications between the two sentences below.

Ты уме́ешь гото́вить блины́? = Can you make bliny? Do you have the "know-how" to make them?
Ты мо́жешь гото́вить блины́? = Can you make bliny? Do you have the time/ingredients/necessary tools to make bliny?
Where did you learn to play the guitar?

When talking about learning to perform a skill or ability, Russian uses the verb учиться/научиться with an infinitive.  The verb will conjugate just as you learned earlier.

Я то́лько учу́сь гото́вить. I am just learning to cook.
Я научи́лся игра́ть в хокке́й, когда́ я был ма́леньким. I learned to play hockey when I was small.