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Making complex sentences in Russian - the art of conjunctions

making complex sentences in Russian

If you want to make a complex sentence in Russian, you have to use "connector words" called conjunctions! We have 153 different variations, but we will learn just a handful of them today!


  1. What is a complex sentece

What is a complex sentence?

A complex sentence is when a sentence has 2 pairs of subject and a verb. For example:

  • I did this and you did that

"I did" is the first pair, "you did" is the second one. In the sentence above "and" is a conjunction. Let's learn some of them now!


Start with these 11

The list below has the most basic conjunctions:

И (and)

"И" is equivalent to "and" in English. It's used to connect words or clauses of the same type.

  • Example: Мама пришла, и папа пришёл (Mom came and dad came).

Но (but)

"Но" expresses contrast or exception.

  • Example: Я устал, но всё равно пойду(I am tired, but I will go regardless).

А (while)

"A" can be confusing because it can mean both "and" and "but," depending on the context. It either adds information or provides a contrasting point. But typically is used when the 2 parts are completely different.

  • Example: Она хорошая, а он добрый (She is good, and he is kind).

Зато (but/however)

"Зато" is often used to stress a positive trait that compensates for a negative one. Or vice versa!

  • Example: Он не быстрый, зато умный (He's not fast, but he's smart).

Будто (as If)

This conjunction is used to create hypothetical or exaggerated statements.

  • Example: Она выглядит, будто не спала (She looks as if she hasn't slept).

Если (if)

"Если" introduces conditional statements.

  • Example: Если пойдет дождь, останусь дома (If it rains, I'll stay home).

Когда (when)

"Когда" is used to indicate time-based conditions or events.

  • Example: Когда она придет, мы начнем (When she arrives, we'll begin).

Либо (or)

"Либо" is used to say "or".

  • Example: Я приду вовремя, либо немного опоздаю (I will come on time or I will be a bit late).

But a second meaning of "Либо" is equivalent to "either... or" in English, offering alternatives. But double "либо" is used.

  • Example: Либо ты идёшь, либо я уйду (Either you come or I leave).

Потому что (because)

This conjunction explains reasons or justifications.

  • Example: Я опоздал, потому что были пробки (I'm late because of traffic).

Что (that)

"Что" is a versatile conjunction used to introduce various types of subordinate clauses, often serving to explain or elaborate.

  • Example: Я знаю, что ты прав (I know that you're right).

Чтобы (in order to)

"Чтобы" indicates purpose or objective.

  • Example: Он учится, чтобы получить хорошую работу (He studies in order to get a good job).

And a second meaning of "чтобы" is when we tell someone else to do something.

  • Example: Он сказал тебе, чтобы ты заправился (I told you to get gas).

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Conjunctions for advanced sentences

А именно (specifically)

This conjunction is used to provide a specific clarification or examples following a general statement.

  • Example: Я люблю фрукты, а именно яблоки и груши. (I like fruits, specifically apples and pears.)

Или…, или (either…or)

Presents two mutually exclusive options, indicating that only one of them can be true or happen.

  • Example: Или ты идёшь, или я иду. (Either you go, or I go.)

Благо (thankfully)

Used to express relief or gratitude for something.

  • Example: Благо, дождь прекратился. (Thankfully, the rain has stopped.)

А то (otherwise)

This phrase often warns of a consequence if a condition is not met.

  • Example: Поспеши, а то опоздаешь. (Hurry up, otherwise you'll be late.)

Благодаря тому что (because of the fact that)

Explains the reason behind a result, similar to "thanks to the fact that."

  • Example: Благодаря тому что я учился, я сдал экзамен. (Because of the fact that I studied, I passed the exam.)

В результате чего (as a result of which)

Describes the consequence of a previous action.

  • Example: Он упал, в результате чего сломал руку. (He fell, as a result of which he broke his arm.)

В случае если (in case if)

Outlines a condition under which something else will happen.

  • Example: В случае если дождь пойдёт, возьми зонт. (In case it rains, take an umbrella.)

В то время как (while, during the time of)

Used to show contrast between two simultaneous actions or states.

  • Example: В то время как я работаю, она отдыхает. (While I work, she rests.)

Ввиду того что (due to the fact that)

Used to explain the reason or cause for a situation.

  • Example: Ввиду того что завтра праздник, магазин закрыт. (Due to the fact that tomorrow is a holiday, the store is closed.)

Поэтому (therefore)

Indicates a conclusion or result from a previous statement, similar to "therefore."

  • Example: Я устал, поэтому иду спать. (I'm tired, therefore I'm going to sleep.)

Из-за того что (because of)

Points to a cause, reason, or motivating factor for a particular situation.

  • Example: Из-за того что он опоздал, мы упустили поезд. (Because he was late, we missed the train.)

Как только (as soon as)

Sets up a condition that immediately triggers another action.

  • Example: Как только придешь, позвони мне. (As soon as you arrive, call me.)

К тому же (moreover)

Adds additional information that strengthens the previous point.

  • Example: Она умная, к тому же красивая. (She's smart, moreover, she's beautiful.)

Не только…, но и (not only…, but also)

Used to expand on a statement by adding an additional element or quality.

  • Example: Он не только умный, но и талантлив. (He's not only smart, but also talented.)

Несмотря на то что (despite the fact that)

Used to introduce a contrasting idea or exception.

  • Example: Несмотря на то что шёл дождь, я пошёл гулять. (Despite the fact that it was raining, I went for a walk.)

После того как (after)

Used to set up a sequence of events.

  • Example: После того как я поел, я пошёл спать. (After I ate, I went to sleep.)

При условии что (provided that)

Sets up a conditional scenario.

  • Example: Ты можешь идти, при условии что будешь осторожен. (You can go, provided that you're careful.)

Ради того, чтобы (in order to)

Indicates the purpose or goal of an action.

  • Example: Я здесь ради того, чтобы помочь. (I'm here in order to help.)

Хотя (although)

Introduces a contrasting idea that does not negate the main point.

  • Example: Хотя я устал, я продолжу работать. (Although I'm tired, I'll continue to work.)

All of these are used by natives every day! You should use them too!


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