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FREE Cheat Sheets for Learners of Russian as a Foreign Language

Dear learners of Russian as a foreign language!

Eurekly’s best Russian tutors have created this column to help you learn this beautiful and complicated language. Grammar rules easily explained and illustrated with typical examples will be posted regularly here. Follow the Eurekly blog to get our new materials as soon as they get published! And don’t forget to download your bonus PDF files!

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Table of Contents

Cheat Sheet №1. ЧТОБЫ

Cheat Sheet №2. THE INSTRUMENTAL CASE

Cheat Sheet №1. ЧТОБЫ

ONE subject => чтобы + Infinitive

NB: After ЧТОБЫ, the Russian verb is used in the INFINITIVE to express Past, Present, and Future.

Present:

Дмитрий изучает медицину,
чтобы стать врачом.
Dmitry is studying medicine.
Dmitry wants to become a doctor.

Future:

Дмитрий будет изучать медицину,
чтобы стать врачом.
Dmitry will study medicine.
Dmitry will become a doctor.

Past:

Дмитрий изучал медицину,
чтобы стать врачом.
Dmitry studied medicine.
Dmitry became a doctor.

TWO subjects => чтобы + Verb in the Past Tense

NB: After ЧТОБЫ, the Russian verb is used in the PAST tense to express Past, Present, and Future.

Present:

Дмитрий изучает медицину,
чтобы его мать гордилась им.
Dmitry is studying medicine.
His mother is proud of him.

Future:

Дмитрий будет изучать медицину,
чтобы его мать гордилась им.
Dmitry will study medicine.
His mother will be proud of him.

Past:

Дмитрий изучал медицину,
чтобы его мать гордилась им.
Dmitry studied medicine.
His mother was proud of him.

Cheat Sheet №2. THE INSTRUMENTAL CASE

NB: The Instrumental Case is used in three context types:

1) When we say BY WHAT MEANS an action is performed:

We use the Instrumental Case to refer to an instrument or a tool with the help of which the action is performed. The idea of the Instrumental Case is expressed in English by such prepositions as by, with, using, by means of, etc.

Examples:

Мальчик пишет ручкой.
The boy is writing with a pen.

Эта картина была написана знаменитым художником.
This picture was painted by a famous artist.

2) When we use certain Russian prepositions that are ALWAYS followed by the Instrumental case:

  • над (above, over)
  • под (under, beneath)
  • между (between, among)
  • перед (in front of)

Examples:

Картина висит над креслом.
The picture hangs over the armchair.

Кошка прячется под диваном.
The cat is hiding under the sofa.

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3) When we use certain Russian verbs that are ALWAYS followed by the Instrumental case:

  • быть – to be
  • интересоваться – to be interested in
  • оказываться – to turn out to be
  • пользоваться – to use
  • становиться/стать – to become
  • увлекаться – to be fond of
  • управлять – to control, manage, govern

Examples:

Я хочу быть учителем.
I want to be a teacher.

Он интересуется литературой.
He is interested in literature.

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NB: Now that you are sure that you need to use the Instrumental Case in your sentence, apply a correct ending:

Singular:

NOMINATIVEINSTRUMENTALEXAMPLES
All nouns ending with Я:replace Я with ЕЙдядя – дядей
All nouns ending with ЖА, ША, ЩА, ЧА, ЦА:replace А with ЕЙкаша – кашей
Other nouns ending with А:replace А with ОЙмама – мамой
Masculine nouns ending with Й, Ь:replace Й/Ь with ЕМ (if stressed — with ЁМ)конь – конём
Masculine nouns ending with other consonants:add OМгараж – гаражом
Feminine nouns ending with Ь:add Юночь – ночью
All neuter nouns:add Млицо – лицом

Plural:

NOMINATIVEINSTRUMENTALEXAMPLES
All singular nouns ending with consonants:add АМИ стол – столами
All singular nouns ending with А, Е, О:replace А/Е/О with АМИкресло – креслами
All singular nouns ending with Я:replace Я with ЯМИтётя – тётями
All singular nouns ending with Й, Ь:replace Й/Ь with ЯМИ (but: ЧЬ => ЧАМИ, ЩЬ => ЩАМИ)дождь – дождями

Find more examples in our bonus PDF file!