Saying yes and no: Russian for beginners

We’ve already started to learn Russian but there is one thing we missed: two easiest but essential words – yes and no. In Russian these words are also very short and easy to pronounce.

да [duh]– yes
нет [n’et] – no

Pretty easy, isn’t it? But you should keep in mind that нет doesn’t sound like English word “net”. The letter “e” in Russian is always pronounced softly, that’s why I put the apostrophe before it. And the “d” sound differs from the English “d”, and you can feel this difference in the audio below.

Now practice the pronunciation of these two words. Just listen to the audio and repeat.

While in English we use the short answers like “Yes, I did.” or “No. I don’t.”, in Russian it is enough to say just yes or no. But we can also use verbs in short answers:

– Ты видела его? (Have you seen him?)
A) Нет.
B) Нет, не видела.
C) Не видела.

We don’t have the auxiliary verb “do” in Russian, so we use the main verb and the particle не (which means “not”) in answers.

– Он звонил? (Did he call?)
– Нет, не звонил. (No, he didn’t)
– Да, звонил. (Yes, he did.)

Like in English, we can add some certainty by saying “of course”, which is конечно in Russian.

Конечно, нет. (Of course. yes)
Конечно, да. (Of course, not)

– Ты сделал уроки? (Have you done your homework?)
– Нет, конечно. (Not, of course.)

There are many other words we can use instead of yes and no in some situations. For example, непременно, естественно, несомненно (certainly), обязательно (necessarily) and so forth. 

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