Russian Language Grammar

    General Remarks

1. Particles are auxiliary words which impart an additional shade of meaning either to one word or to the whole sentence:

Даже он не знает.

Even he does not know.

Here the particle даже pertains to and emphasizes "он".

Разве вы не читали сегодняшнюю газету?

Haven't you read today's paper? (Do you mean to say that... Is it possible that... )

Here the particle разве pertains to the whole sentence.

Note:  Some particles, such as даже, не, have a clearly indicated meaning, and are readily translated into English. Others, such as разве or же, do not lend themselves easily to translation. They are often rendered by the proper intonation.


2. Occasionally a particle or a combination of particles may be quite independent, and may form a meaningful sentence. This happens namely in conversation:

– Вы уезжаете завтра?

Вряд ли.

– Are you leaving tomorrow?

– I doubt it. (It is improbable)

– Он рассердился и ушёл.

Ну, и пусть.

– Не got angry and left.

– Well let him.


3. Particles are closely tied to other parts of speech (conjunctions, adverbs, etc.). Actually, the same word, depending on its function, can be a particle, an adverb, a pronoun, etc. For example:

Он всё читает.

Не reads everything.

Он всё читает.

Не keeps on reading.

А вы всё работаете и работаете.

And you keep on working and working.

In the first example, всё is a pronoun. In the last two examples всё is a particle; it carries no stress in the intonation.


4. Particles may precede the word to which they refer:

Ну и погода!

What weather! (Some weather!)

Пусть он сам скажет.

Let him tell it himself.

Or, they may follow the word in question:

Вы же опоздали, а не я.

You were late (weren't you), and not I.

Знает ли он об этом?  

Does he know about it?

Some particles have no fixed position in a sentence:

Ведь вы не знаете его?


You don't know him, do you?


Вы ведь не знаете его?

Вы его ведь не знаете?


5. Certain particles are joined to the word in question by a hyphen:

Кто-то пришёл.

Somebody has arrived.

Пойдёмте-ка на пляж.

Shall we go to the beach?