Russian Adverbs

Flower   Adverbs, Adjectives, Prepositions and Conjunctions   Flower

It is important to remember first and foremost that in Russian you must always distinguish prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions, and adjectives. Because English lacks a case system, prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions and sometimes adjectives are often used interchangeably, e.g. I'll see you before the dance (preposition), I'll see you before I see Jean (conjunction), I've never seen you before (adverb). In Russian such words only occasionally may be used interchangeably and prepositions can ONLY appear with objects in the appropriate case. Here is a table with the words to look out for, followed by a few examples to demonstrate what I mean.

Adjective Preposition Adverb Conjunction
передний front перед+Тв in front of, before
впереди+Род in front of, before
впереди up front, forward перед тем, как
(just) before
задний back, rear за+Тв behind
сзади+Род in the rear
сзади in back, behind *
средний middle среди+Род amid * *
верхний upper над+Тв above вверху up, on top *
нижний lower под+Тв below внизу below, down *
последний last после+Род after потом after(wards), later после того, как after
* до+Род before раньше before, earlier до того, как before

1. Adjectives, not Adverbs
верхний этаж upper (top) floor нижнее место lower berth
верхняя одежда outer garments нижнее бельё underwear
Верхний Совет Supreme Soviet нижняя ступенька bottom step

2. Conjunctions, not Adverbs
3. Prepositions, not Adverbs
Flower   Adverbs from Adjectives   Flower

Most adverbs are created from adjectives by one of two means. If the adjective ends on -ский, the adverb is formed by prefixing по- and reducing the suffix to -ски, for example, русский "Russian" по-русски "in the Russian way or manner". Remember this translation for that is precisely what по-русски means. One may, of course, speak по-русски, but you may also cook по-русски, dance по-русски, and dress по-русски. If the adjective does not end on -ский, the adverb is formed simply by replacing the adjective ending with -o (rarely -e), e.g. быстрый "quick" быстро "quickly". Here are some more examples.

Adjective Adverb   Adjective Adverb
in the Polish way
in a princely manner
in a kingly manner

Flower   Adverbs of Position—Up and Down   Flower

These adverbs are self-explanatory. They are basic adverbs from which adjectives generally cannot be derived. Their meanings correspond to the three meaning patters of the verbs of position: (1) in the position, (2) to the position, and (3) from the position.

Where? Down Up Upstairs To the side
Куда? вниз вверх наверх вбок, в сторону
Где? внизу вверху наверху сбоку, в стороне
Откуда? снизу сверху сверху сбоку, со стороны
  • Читайте, начиная с первого абзаца сверху.
    Read, beginning with the first paragraph from the top.
  • Читайте, начиная с первого абзаца снизу.
    Read, beginning with the first paragraph from the bottom.
  • Отступйте вбок, пожалуйста! Берегитесь!
    Step to the side, please. Look out!
  • Он идёт наверх.
    He is going upstairs.
  • Он идёт вверх по лестнице.
    He is going up the stairs.
  • Он идёт вниз по лестнице.
    He is coming down the stairs.
  • Он спускается вниз.
    He is coming downstairs.
  • Миша теперь наверху.
    Mike is now upstairs.
  • Миша теперь внизу.
    Mike is now downstairs.
  • Маша наверху на дереве, а Янко ждёт её внизу.
    Mary is up the tree, and Yanko is waiting for her down below.
  • Таня любит ехать верхом по парку.
    Tanya loves to go horseback riding in the park.
Flower   Adverbs of Position—Front, Back, Sideways   Flower

These adverbs behave the same as the preceding ones; they just refer to different positions and directions.

Where? Front Back Left | Right
Куда? вперёд назад налево | направо
Где? впереди сзади, позади налево | направо
Откуда? спереди сзади, позади слева | справа
  • Поезд стал ехать (идти) назад.
    The train began to go backward.
  • Поезд стал ехать (идти) вперёд.
    The train began to move forward.
  • Идите прямо по этой улице до угла, потом повернитесь налево.
    Go straight down this street to the corner, then turn left.
  • Он второй слева на этой фотографии.
    He is the second from the left in this photograph.
  • Они всегда ездят на поезде впереди.
    They always ride in the front of the train.
  • Они всегда ездят на поезде сзади.
    They always ride in the rear on the train.
Flower   Why Don't You Try a Few?   Flower

The following examples call for adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and conjunctions with approximately the same meanings. See if you can figure out which one is needed. As in the previous examples, the first is a freeby. Pretend you typed in the suffix you see there, push the button with your cursor, and see what happens. Then you are on your own.

Learner's Keyboard Standard  keyboard Standard KeyboardLearner's keyboard

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Adverb, Preposition, Conjunction Exercises
Gloss Fill in the Blank with the Correct Ending Push Correct?

Мы сейчас .

Давай увидимся я вернусь с лекции. (after)
Мы увидимся . (after class)
Маша спускается по лестнице. (down)
Вы читали её книгу? (last)
Саша любит ездить . (horseback)
Заходи ты уйдёшь на работу. (just before)
Ваша книга находится на полке шкафа. (top)
Книга на шкафу. (up on top)
Мама повернулась , когда она вышла из дому. (right)
Лена подошла . (from the left)

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© 1996 Robert Beard