10 Words Everybody Needs to Know before Going to Russia. Part 1


It’s well known that the Russian language is especially rich in slang, pejoratives and vulgar words. Even the most common words can have a completely different meaning when used figuratively, which we wouldn’t encourage to you use.

For example the Russian word «давать» is polysemantic.

«Давай» can be an equivalent to the English words «to give» and «to provide»

(Please give me a pen) – this is the literal meaning of the word. This practical use of the word is the most common.

«Давай» is also a motivating word e.g. used when we want to cheer on a sportsman. (Давай, Петя, давай! – Go, Peter, go!)

«Давай» is also used in imperative constructions. (Давай пойдем сегодня в кино? – Let’s go to the cinema tonight?)

In the future tense this word can have the connotation of a threat (Я тебе дам! – I’ll give you what for! I’ll teach you!).

We use the word «давать» when we speak about somebody’s age (Ей дают 20 лет – She looks like she’s 20)

«Давай» also means “to allow” (Не давайте ему пить – don’t allow him to drink)

It also forms a part of many idioms as «Давать маху» – “let the chance slip; make a blunder; shoot into the brown”, «не давать в обиду» – “stick up for oneself”.

How to distinguish between all of them? Our advice is pay attention to the intonation!

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