Lesson 3: Introducing Yourself and Basic Russian Grammar

In Russian it is important to be introduced or to introduce yourself. You can’t just start talking with a person, you have to follow some formal etiquette.

The etiquette is not really complicated, usually just a phrase or two, the entire meaning would be “Let’s get acquainted!” with a response “Okay, sure!”

As you remember from Lesson 2 there are 2 ways to address a person in Russian – a formal one and an informal one.

So, let’s get acquainted!

Formal or more than 1 person addressed: Давайте познакомимся (pronounced as duh-vahy-tee puhz-nuh-koh-meem-sye)

Informal: Давай познакомимся (pronounced as duh-vahy puhz-nuh-koh-meem-sye)


Formal: Давайте! (pronounced as duh-vahy-tee)

Informal: Давай! (pronounced as duh-vahy)

What is your name?

The next step in introduction process is asking about the name. Here again we have a formal and an informal approach.

Formal: Как Вас зовут? (pronounced as kahk vahz zah-voot?)

Informal: Как тебя зовут? (pronounced as kahk tebya zah-voot?)


Меня зовут (pronounced as Mee-nya zah-voot) + your name

Some of Russian names can be complicated to understand but many are quite like the American or European names. See Table 1.

Table 1. Some Russian Names

1.1 Women

Full Name Nickname English Equivalent
Анна Аня Anna
Alexandra Саша Alexandra
Вера Vera
Виктория Вика Victoria
Елизавета Лиза Elisabeth
Мария Маша Mary
София Соня Sonia
Юлия Юля Julia


1.2 Men

Full Name Nickname English
Александр Саша Alexander
Игорь Igor
Евгений Женя Eugene
Константин Костя Constantine
Петр Петя Peter
Михаил Миша Michael


A polite response after someone has been introduced to you is “Nice to meet you”. Or, if we keep speaking in Russian: Очень приятно (pronounced as oh-cheen’ pree-yat-nuh). In response you can hear “Мне тоже” (pronounced as mnye to-zhe) with the meaning ‘me too’.

Introducing someone

Sometimes you will be the one to introduce your colleague or a family member to another person.

In this case you say “This is…” or Это (pronounced as eh-tuh) and add the name of the person or some more information.


Это мой брат Питер. (This is my brother Peter).

Это мой коллега Александр (This is my colleague Alexander)

Это мой друг Алекс (This is my friend Alex).

Here you have to pay attention to gender. If you talk about a female you use the word

Моя = my

And if you refer to a male, you use the word

Мой = my

Here comes the bit of basic Russian grammar that I have promised to you in the beginning of the lesson.


Russian nouns are distinguished by gender and change for number and case. All the nouns belong to one of three genders: masculine, feminine or neuter. The gender of a noun is generally (but not always!) shown by its ending.

Nouns without an ending whose stem terminates in a hard consonant or the consonant are masculine.

Examples: дом – house, город – city, музей – museum.

Nouns ending in -a or are feminine.

Examples: страна – country, земля – earth, ground

Nouns ending in or -е/-ё are neuter.

Examples: письмо – letter, море – sea, ружьё – gun

Nouns ending in Ь (the soft sign) make up a separate group and may be either masculine or feminine.

Словарь – dictionary (masculine) BUT тетрадь – exercise-book (feminine)

Lesson’s Vocabulary

Here is the list of the words that will come handy in the situation of introduction.

Russian English
Это This is
Мой My (male)
Моя My (female)
Colleague коллега
Знакомый Acquaintance (male)
Знакомая Acquaintance (female)
Брат Brother
Сестра Sister
Друг Friend (male)
Подруга Friend (female), girlfriend
Мать mother
Отец Father
Сын Son
Дочь Daughter



  1. Translate the following sentences into Russian.


  1. Hello. My name is Adam.
  2. It is nice to meet you.
  3. This is my sister Amanda.
  4. This is my house.
  5. This is my father Nick.
  6. What is your name?


  1. Read the following dialog and try to translate it into English, make up a similar dialog using active vocabulary from the lesson


Мария: Привет, Аня!

Аня: Привет, Маша! Как дела?

Мария: Ничего. А у тебя?

Аня: Неплохо.

Мария: А это мой брат, Александр.

Аня: Привет! Приятно познакомиться.

Александр: Мне тоже.

  1. Write down all the new words and practice their pronunciation.


In our next lesson we will talk about Russian number and continue learning basic Russian grammar.

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