Conjunctions connect the clauses of compound sentences.
                 


The Conjunction ПОКА "While"

The subordinating conjunction пока means "while", "as long as", or "for the time being". It may be used alone as a farewell greeting when the speaker knows that he will be seeing the addressee soon; it is the equivalent of the English See you later. As a conjunction it refers to the duration of time, e.g. Друзья ждали, пока я ехала домой "My friends waited while I drove home." The conjunction serves to indicate that the time required to carry out the action of the verb in the subordinate clause is equal to that required to carry out the action of the verb in the main clause.

An interesting gap in Russian is the lack of a conjunction meaning "until". To work around this lacuna, Russians use a special construction based on пока. Since the durational meaning of пока semantically requires an imperfective verb, Russians use this same conjunction with a negated perfective verb to express "until": Друзья ждали, пока я не приехала домой "My friends waited until I arrived home." Remember, (1) the verb must be perfective and (2) it must be negated for пока to be interpreted as "until".

One final thing to keep in mind: Russian does have a preposition meaning "until": до+Gen. Don't confuse this preposition, which can only have a noun or noun phrase object, with the conjunction which connects a subordinate phrase. The until in I don't work until next week is a preposition with next week its object.

Here are a few examples to mull over. Read them carefully, comparing them with the translations and notice how the meaning of пока . . . не plus the perfective somehow makes sense, meaning in the sentence above, something like "while Simone does not successfully arrive at home."


Митя спокойно спал, пока профессор читал лекцию.
Mitya slept peacefully while his professor lectured.
Митя спокойно спал, пока профессор не прочитал лекцию.
Mitya slept peacefully until the professor finished lecturing.
Даря читала газету, пока Маша убирала комнату.
Darya read the paper while Masha cleaned up her room.
Маша читала газету, пока сестра не убрала комнату.
Masha read the newspaper until her sister finished cleaning up the room.



*** Some Delightful Exercises ***

In the following exercises, choose the Russian sentence most closely expressing the sentiment of the English sentence above by clicking the corresponding radio button. If you choose the wrong sentence, the explanation box will tell you exactly what your mistake is, so that you may quickly correct it.


1. How do you say "I will take a shower while you are dressing" using одевай-ся|оден-ся "to dress (oneself)"?
Я буду принимать душ, пока ты оденешься.
Я буду принимать душ, пока ты не оденешься.
Я буду принимать душ, пока ты одеваешься.
Я буду принимать душ, пока ты не одеваешься.

2. How do you say, "He arrived while I was preparing dinner", using (при)готови- "to prepare, cook"?
Он пришёл, пока я не приготовил обед.
Он пришёл, пока я не готовил обед.
Он пришёл, пока я готовил обед.

3. How do you say in Russian, "Maxim will wait until Friday to buy his cat", using the verb (подо)жда- "wait"?
Максим подождёт пока не пятницы, чтобы купить кошку.
Максим подождёт пока пятницы, чтобы купить кошку.
Максим подождёт до пятницы, чтобы купить кошку.

4. How do you say in Russian, "I watched TV until mama turned it off," using the verb выключай-|выключи-?
Я смотрел телевизор, пока мама его не выключила.
Я смотрел телевизор, до мама его выключила.
Я смотрел телевизор, пока мама его не выключала.
Я смотрел телевизор, пока мама его выключала.

5. How would you say in Russian, "Let's wait until the store opens?" in Russian, using the verb открывай-|открой-.
Давай подождём, пока магазин откроется.
Давай подождём, до магазин открывается.
Давай подождём, пока магазин не открывается.
Давай подождём, пока магазин не откроется.


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