Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 6

How To Order Food In Russian

Listen To Entire Episode

Exercises Only

Alright, welcome to episode number six. Let me just toss out a reminder that these podcasts are cumulative, so if this is your first time joining us it’s best to start with episode number 1. Now, before getting to our review session, I’d like you to listen to and repeat this two-word phrase.

Я буду

[NOTE: I’ve chosen to not sound out the Russian words in these transcripts using English letters. If you’d like to be able to read Russian (it can be learned in just a few days) I’ll include a link at the bottom of this transcript to my course on reading Russian.]

You know that first word, Я….it’s the буду part that’s new for us. Say the phrase one more time:

Я буду

Ok….let that sink in for a bit and now let’s do our review:

How would you ask:

What is this?

Что это?

Say: This is caviar.

Это икра.

Ask: Who is this? Your lawyer?

Кто это? Твой адвокат?

Say: No. This is my dad.

Нет. Это мой папа.

Now, what was that two word phrase we learned at the start?

Я буду

Let’s see if we can figure out a good translation for it. So, imagine you’re in a cafe. The waitress comes over to take your order and you tell her,

Здравствуйте, я буду борщ.

Your girlfriend then addresses the waitress:

А я буду пиццу.

Listen to the two lines again, and think of what the translation might be, given the situation. Remember, we saying this to a waitress who’s writing down what we say:

Здравствуйте, я буду борщ.

Means: Hello, I __blank__ borscht.

And then your girlfriend says:

А я буду пиццу.

Which means: And I __blank__ pizza.

In English, there’s a variety of ways we’d give our orders. We might say:

I’ll have the borscht.


I’ll take the borscht.


I’d like the borscht.

….and so on.

Any of these translations is fine. But of course, we need to know what we’re literally saying. And as it turns out “Я буду” means, “I will”. So you’re telling the waitress: “I will borscht.” That’s what you’re literally saying.

Я буду борщ.

That might sound strange to you at first — like there’s a word missing — but this is the standard way Russians will order. And of course, we do the same in English. When someone says, “Man, I’m hungry. I feel like pizza tonight,” that would actually sound strange to a foreigner, wouldn’t it? He’s thinking, You feel like pizza? You feel the way a pizza feels?

In English, we also leave out the key verb. When you say, “I feel like a beer. Anyone want one?” What you really mean is, “I feel like having a beer.” Or, “I feel like drinking a beer,” right?

Now there’s one other really important thing I’d like you to pick up on. Listen to how your girlfriend orders pizza.

А я буду пиццу.

Did you hear how she said pizzU — with an “uu” sound at the end, instead of pizzA?

That is an absolutely key part of Russian grammar, and it’s the real topic of today’s podcast.

Now, just based on that one example, how do you think she might say:

I’ll have vodka.

Я буду водку.

Vod-KU with an “uu” sound at the end.

And yet if she orders soup, listen…

Я буду суп.

We just hear “soup”. No extra “uu” sound at the end. So what’s going on here? I know I made a big point about Russian being a rhyming language — and believe me, it is — but that’s not what’s going on here. Yes, budu does rhyme with vodku, but that’s coincidence only. What’s going on is that words that normally end in an “ah” sound — what we called feminine words in an earlier podcast — change their “ah” sound to an “uu” sound when we do something to them.

Here is just a small list of what constitutes “doing something” to something.








etc, etc. These all count, linguistically, as doing something to the noun.

To really drive this point home, let me show you how English would sound if it had this same rule. Listen to how the word “cola” (which ends with an “ah” sound) changes in these two phrases.

This is my cola.

Who drank my colu?

Do you see how we’re not doing anything to the cola in that first phrase. We’re just stating a fact: This is my cola. But in the second one, someone has done something to the cola. They drank it. So we have to say colu.

Here’s another example.

There is pasta in the cupboard.

I cooked pastu yesterday.

Again, in that first example, we’re just stating a fact about the pasta’s location. But in the second phrase, we’ve done something to the pasta. We’ve cooked it.

Even people’s names need to change in this same way:

This is my sister Tina.

I saw Tinu yesterday.

Seeing Tina counts as doing something to her.

Now you try it. Based on this pattern, insert the correct form of the word “sofa”…ready?

Is this your new ____ ?

Yes. I bought this ____ at Sears yesterday.

So…Is this your new sofa?

We say just sofa because we haven’t done anything to the sofa.

But: I bought this sofu at Sears.

Now we have to say sofu because we’ve done something to it. We bought it.

If you understand this pattern, you have mastered one of the main aspects of Russian grammar. And speaking of Russian, let’s apply it now in some all-Russian sentences.

Tell the waitress:

I’ll have the caviar.

Я буду икру.

I’ll have the vodka.

Я буду водку.

I’ll have pizza.

Я буду пиццу.

But now say:

I’ll have borscht.

Я буду борщ.

We notice that the word borscht doesn’t change.

So, imagine you’re sitting there in the cafe with your girlfriend. The waitress brings the coffee that your girlfriend ordered, and just before the waitress walks away, your girlfriend says to her,


The waitress responds with:


…and walks away.

Listen again:



Hmm…Let’s the waitress is coming back now with the pizza you ordered. Let’s say the same thing your girlfriend did…


Sure enough, the waitress responds with…


How would this exchange go in English? Like this…

Thank you.

You’re welcome.

Let’s listen to those words again more closely, and repeat them:


You remember how we talked about creating PowerPhrases for new words, to help us remember them? It’s usually best if you think of them yourself, but from time to time I’ll make a suggestion. For spasibo, imagine buying some butter made with hot peppers. You tell the lady at the grocery store , THANK YOU for the spicy butter.

See how we get THANK YOU and spasibo in there….spicy butter…spasibo.

And what was that other word again?


Spoken very slowly, you’ll often hear there’s an “uu” sound in there…puh-zhal-oo-eesta

But at normal speed it essentially gets dropped. Listen…


Now, пожалуйста does not MEAN “you’re welcome”. In fact, it literally means “please”, which is why we’ll be adding it to our requests in a moment. So why would they tell you “Please” after you say Thank you? Well, it makes sense if you think of what words they’re leaving out. You say…

Thank you.

And they say, “Please….there’s no need to thank me.”

Say that word one more time…


V.O. And now, here’s your Tip of the Day from Russian Made Easy…

There’s something in linguistics known as a construction. That’s the fancy term they give to the simple idea of a fill-in-the-blank phrase. And that’s what we’ve been working with today. For example, the English phrase…

I’ll have ______

…is a very common construction for ordering food. And you can fill in all sorts of things in the blank:

I’ll have the soup.

I’ll have the lobster.

I’ll have the pancakes

..and so on.

If you’re a foreigner trying to learn English, you’d be smart to master such a common construction. And if you practice the right way, you’ll quickly become fluent with that construction. If you do this for all the major constructions, and you can quickly become fluent in the language. In short: Constructions are the most efficient tool for developing fluency in a language.

So, let’s practice again with our Russian construction, inserting various foods in there.

Я буду __blank__.

Order soup:

Я буду суп.

Order borscht.

Я буду борщ.

Order pizza.

Я буду пиццу.

Order caviar.

Я буду икру.

In the mood for some greens? The word for salad in Russian is a cognate. Listen:


Only, it ends in a “t” …салаТ, and the stress is at the end…саЛАТ

So, order a salad:

Я буду салат.

Coffee is also a cognate. Listen…


So, order coffee:

Я буду кофе.

Let’s try to fill out the exchange a bit more. So, there you are, sitting in a Russian cafe. The waitress comes over and greets you…


Greet her right back:


Now, there’s a few main ways she might prompt you for your order. In English the waitress might say, “What can I get’chya?” ..or…”What would you like?”…or…”Are you ready to order?” and so on.

So, let the waitress say her thing and then tell her…

I’ll have borscht, please.

Я буду борщ, пожалуйста.

Your friend then says…

And I’ll have a salad.

А я буду салат, пожалуйста.

Listen to how the waitress reads back your orders:

Борщ и салат, да?

Tell her: Yes. Thank you.

Да. Спасибо.

She says: You’re welcome.


Did you catch the word for “and”, as in borscht and a salad?

It was И

Борщ и салат, да?

So tell the waitress, I’ll have the soup and salad, please.

Я буду суп и салат, пожалуйста.

Try saying:

Hello, I’ll have a pizza and coffee, please.

Здравствуйте, я буду пиццу и кофе, пожалуйста.

Next time we’ll learn perhaps the two most common and useful words in Russian — beyond just Да and НЕТ. So I hope you tune in for that.

As always, I welcome your feedback on these podcasts. Feel free to write me at: mark@russianmadeeasy.com

I’d love to hear what you think, and how you’re doing. And be sure to head over to RussianMadeEasy.com for today’s downloads. See you next time.

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Episode 6 – Full Program

Episode 6 – Exercises Only


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46 responses to “Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 6”

  1. Felicia Avatar

    Hello! I was just having some thoughts about episode 6. We learnt that you should change the ending of a feminine noun to an uu sound if we did something to it. You also mentioned that the same rule was for names. So here are my questions:
    1. Do you only do this to girls names? (I think I know the answer to this one but I’m asking just to be sure)
    2. If someone is named, for example, Agnes, how would I tell someone that I saw her? Do you just say Agnes or do you put an uu sound at the end?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Felicia,

      Glad to help. Yours is a great question. NO, men’s names will also change when we do something to them, but the pattern is a bit more complex. This is one of the many advanced topics we cover in detail in my Russian Accelerator course.

      And if a woman’s name ends with a consonant (like: Агнес) then her name will not ever change.

      Hope this helps. And I hope to welcome you to RA one day!

      Kind regards from Ukraine,

      Mark Thomson
      Pres. Russian Accelerator

  2. Felicia Avatar

    Hi I just started learning russian with this podcast and it really is as great as everyone told me it would be! I just finished part 6 though and was a little confused about the word for coffee. You had earlier said that when you do something to a noun that ends with a vowel, you switch the ending to an uu sound but when we did something to the coffee it didn’t change. Is this an exception in the Russian language or was it just a mistake?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Not a mistake. The word for кофе is actually masculine, and masc. words don’t change when we do something to them.
      The rule as stated in the podcast is “words that end with an A or YA sound” (so in any case, кофе wouldn’t have fit that pattern.)

      So glad you’re enjoying the course…might be good to quickly review those first few episodes. Things get more challenging, and each episode assumes you have mastered everything in the earlier lessons.

  3. Mario Avatar

    Excelente trabajo, me sirve mucho tu ayuda para aprender ruso, sin duda el mejor curso

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      My pleasure. Hope to see you in my Russian Accelerator course, Mario!

  4. Sylvia Prins Avatar
    Sylvia Prins

    I love your lessons they are very clear, easy to follow with a lot of repeats . I feel you grow into Russian . I started years ago learning Russian but I was put off by the amount of grammar.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Sylvia!

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Keep on studying, and I look forward to welcoming you to my Russian Accelerator course one day!
      Kind regards from Ukraine,

  5. shannon Avatar

    Hey, great videos! Is it only with women doing things with ah sounding nouns that the U is added, or does it apply with males as well?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Shannon,

      it doesn’t matter who the “doer of the action” is. So…
      Steve wants a car. = Стив хочет машину.

      We want pizza. = Мы хотим пиццу.

      We still get that “u” sound on the end of the feminine nouns.

  6. Angie Avatar

    Thank you so much for creating this podcast. I really enjoy your teaching style as it is easy to follow and very effective. You have good pacing and you always manage to come back to the material you already taught so it is not just “one and done”. Half of my family is halfway across the world and only speak Russian. I always wanted to learn but I figured I never had enough time and did not want to mix up my high school Spanish lessons with Russian lessons. However since school has ended early I thought I would give it a try and began with your cryllic alphabet lessons and I have been hooked ever since. I cannot begin to tell you how much your lessons mean to me, they make me feel more connected to my family and I can begin communicating with them without the use of google translate. Thank you so much for this series and your hard work, you are very talented and your teaching is very appreciated.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Анджи! <--- Can you read that? Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm so glad you're enjoying the podcast, and I'm psyched it means so much to you. And what a great thing you're doing, learning the language so as to truly connect with your relatives. (Don't ever rely on nor trust Google traslate!) When you're done, I hope you'll check out Russian Accelerator. It's my premiere online, video course. I promise, we'll turn you into a confident, conversational Russian speaker. You can learn more about it here... https://www.russianaccelerator.com/sign-up.html

      Kind regards from Ukraine,
      Mark Thomson
      Pres. Russian Accelerator

  7. Easter Marie Avatar
    Easter Marie

    Grateful to have run across this Russian Made Easy series. I attempted this last fall, but had to stop around Lesson 6…so I’ve just started again from the beginning! Love the style with which you teach, introducing a few new words at a time, with cognates, and short phrases…then compounding each lesson with frequent review. This has made learning Russian interesting and fun. Look forward to following up with the Russian Accelerated course! Blessings,
    Easter Marie

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Easter,
      Thanks for the kind words about my podcast. So glad you’re enjoying it. Let me know how you do on the midterm and final podcast episodes. And yes, I look forward to welcoming you to my Russian Accelerator course.
      In the meantime, stay safe and study hard!

      1. Adam Avatar

        I find it kind of weird to use the phrase Я буду. I’ve encountered many Russian speaking people and I’ve never heard any of them use this combination. They always use Ya khachu as in i want.

        Is it actually that popular in common language?

        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          Hi Adam,

          It’s not weird at all. In fact, it’s common and appropriate. What’s weird is to be in a cafe and tell the waiter, “I want ______ .” That comes off as rude. Depending on your tone of delivery you could come off sounding like a bratty child. (Imagine a spolied kid: “I want ice-cream!”) Are your friends native speakers??

  8. Purcell Avatar

    Здравствуйте Mark. как дела? Love the way you teach. I could do better if I stay focused and persistent in my studies but at times I feel as though I don’t have the time b7t when I do realize I have nothing but time. I will try to do better with this wonderful gift God, through you have given. Спасибо Марк.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my podcast.You’re right that it can be hard to find the time to study sometimes, but with Russian it’s sooo worth the effort! 🙂
      And when you finish, I hope you’ll check out my Russian Accelerator course.


      Kind regards from Ukraine,

  9. Jeff Dawson Avatar
    Jeff Dawson

    Hi Mark,

    I found you on the web over the weekend and jumped right in with the Russian Made Easy podcasts and videos. I’ve been a frustrated wanna-be Russian learner for a while now so finding you online has been a serious God send (no pressure).

    The logic and initial tactics and approaches you’re using in these podcasts and videos has really struck a cord with me. Thanks very much for showing us that there’s a better way, a smarter way and a much more efficient way to learn Russian—much appreciated.

    Couple questions:

    Do the Russian Made Easy episodes transition to the Russian Accelerator program but with new things to learn or is RA essentially the same program but just with a whole lot more depth? Or is RA a whole new sort of beast? 🙂

    Is the learning process the same? ie A selection of key words/phrases to learn each lesson, a general learning tip, some good comedy, some repetition exercises to nail it all down, etc. Or is the format quite different with RA?

    Any tips for the best place to find some comprehensive, authentic, relevant and worthwhile Russian vocabulary lists online?

    Lastly, do you know of anyone else who teaches this wonderful approach of yours but for other languages? I’d like to learn a few other languages after I ace Russian (he said optimistically) and I think I’d find it difficult and depressing to learn another language without this approach of yours being used.

    Thanks for your time; I can’t thank you enough for the real good work you’ve provided for us.


    Jeff Dawson
    Vancouver, Canada

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Jeff,

      Wow…Thanks so much for the kind words, and glad you’re enjoying the podcast.

      re: Russian Accelerator…It follows the same general approach (learning new words from context, using you brain’s inherent skill at recognizing patterns to easily absorb grammr, etc.) But R.A. is a video course, and takes full advantage of that. And it’s much more in depth. The RME podcast is basically just a primer for R.A. which will turn you into a confident conversationa speaker.


      As for other such courses…I know of one other, called Japanese Mastery Method (which I consulted on in-depth.)
      Anyway, thanks again for the kind words and I look forward to welcoming you to R.A.


      1. Jeff Dawson Avatar
        Jeff Dawson

        I appreciate you taking the time to quickly clarify things for me, Mark. It’s yet another real good sign of how you run things. I’m looking forward to drastically improving my meager Russian language skills with RA…

        Thanks again for making such an excellent product available to all of us.



        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          My pleasure, Jeff!

    2. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      I skipped this part of your Q: Any tips for the best place to find some comprehensive, authentic, relevant and worthwhile Russian vocabulary lists online?

      Answer: Lord, no! Vocab lists, no matter how well intentioned, are a horrible, lazy, thoughtless way to “teach” a language. (“Don’t hold back, Mark. Tell us what you *really* think about vocab lists.”) So…nope. No recommendation there, because we don’t learn languages from lists. We learn by exposure to broad-reaching constructions, and from context, and from clear/demonstrative examples of use, and so on.

      1. Jeff Dawson Avatar
        Jeff Dawson

        That’s the best ‘NO’ that I’ve heard in my life (and I’ve had a few come my way over the decades, lol). I completely understand where you’re coming from now that you’ve spelled it out in that way 🙂

        At the risk of sounding somewhat defensive, please know that all I was trying to do with my vocab list question was to attempt to carve out a plan moving forward AFTER completing RA.

        I don’t need to ever become absolutely fluent in Russian, I was just looking for a concrete way to develop my knowledge post-RA.

        Any chance you’re working on a RA 2.0 perhaps?

        If not, or before 2.0 rolls out, what professional recommendations would you make to improve our Russian language skills once we finish RA? (aside from ignoring those aforementioned and otherwise hideous vocab lists) See, I learn quick; I’m already drinking the anti vocab list Koolaid 🙂

        Thanks again Mark,


        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          There is, in fact, an R.A. II: Intermediate to Advanced, and then — my most recent course — called Fast Track to Russian Fluency.

          I hope I didn’t come off snipey (and if that’s not a word, it dang well should be) in response to your word-list question. To go a bit further with it: Imagine a newbie to English learning a similar word list. So he learns the 100 most common English words: the, a, of, is, and, are, were, in, on, were
          My, what an interesting conversationalist he’ll turn out to be once he memorizes those words! Students (and really, *teachers*) need to choose vocabulary very carefully in the early going. In Russian, each new word needs to perform multiple functions for the student.

          Anyway, as for how to proceed after RA (and/or after RA II/Fast Track)…it depends on you goals and areas of interest. The answer is fairly involved, and I cover it towards the end of RA.

          1. Jeff Dawson Avatar
            Jeff Dawson

            You weren’t snipey in the least, Mark. In fact, I’d argue that you picked the perfect manner to drive home a real important language learning point!!

            It’s great to hear you’ve got a couple other advanced courses lined up for the keeners too—that’s perfect.

            Thanks yet again for taking the time to clue in the clueless and help me to understand these real important aspects of the program. Your example of the not so interesting conversationalist really strikes a cord with me. It also reminds me of a few too many people I’ve met over the years too 🙂

            I won’t keep you any longer. Besides, I’m off to see if I can reserve snipey.com before anyone else gets there before me 🙂


      2. Sharon Avatar

        Hi Mark, this is precisely what I have discovered! I started up a Leitner box 2 weeks ago and decided upon 10 new words per day. That was a wild guess as to how many new words to learn daily. 12 days in and this became very onerous and I could not rememer most of the newly added words to my “level 1” box and it became frustrating as I realised I was becoming de motivated. I then started on your RME course again, and have decided to create a Leitner box made to my prescription hah hah! So I’m adding new words but in sentences instead of just single words. I think this will be much better. You ask people to drop you a mail and I have replied to this issue as this is exactly what I wanted to detail to you in an e mail. Thank you. I am really enjoying your course and will go on to the accelerator when I am more advanced with RME.

        1. Mark Thomson Avatar
          Mark Thomson

          Thanks, Sharon. Yes, sentences/constructions are the best way to learn a new language.
          Keep up the great work, and I hope to welcome you to R.A. one day!

  10. willem Avatar

    Hi Mark,

    Simply amazing potcasts! I learn so much, will keep at it for sure!

    Small thing: The exercise player doesn’t work on this page.



  11. Francisco Jesus Avatar
    Francisco Jesus

    These videos are amazing!
    I’m loving how easy you make it to Learn Russian. Spasiba Mark!

    Cheers from Portugal

    BTW how do I say I am Portuguese (male and female) ?

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Франсиско!

      Я — португалец. = I am a Portuguese male
      Она — португалка = She is a Portuguese woman.

      Thanks for the kind words. I hope, as you finish the podcast, you’ll join my Russian Accelerator course.
      We’ll turn you into a confident, conversationak speaker of Russian….I promise! 🙂

      Cheers from Ukraine,

  12. Michelle Avatar

    I am absolutely loving your course Mark, your gift of being able to break down a language into easily understandable lessons is fantastic. So far in front of anything else I have tried. Thank you!

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hi Michelle,

      Wow…Thanks so much for the kind words about my RME podcast. So glad you’re enjoying it.
      If you get the chance, it’d be great if you could leave a review wherever you came across it.

      I hope to welcome you to my Russian Accelerator course one day.
      And in the meantime, keep up the great work!

      Cheers from Ukraine,

  13. Obeda Ale Avatar
    Obeda Ale

    Really this course is the best I can speak Arabic , Turkish ,English and now I am going to learn Russian really amazing
    Thank you Mr Mark
    you are the best
    Best Wishes

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Thanks so much. And I hope to see you in my Russian Accelerator course one day.
      til then,
      Keep up the great work!


  14. Juan Avatar

    This course is the best, easy and relaxed way for learning Russian for a mature guy like me,made me feel confident about learning everything that could probably be necessary for a short trip to Moscow, THANK YOU MARK!!

  15. james Avatar

    Thank you, very helpful. Your methods greatly reduce the intimidation factor that Russian has always had for me.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      My pleasure, Dave. Hope to see you in my Russian Accelerator course when you’re done! 🙂


  16. Sarah Avatar

    Love it, Mark! This is extremely helpful and easy to follow.

  17. aysun Avatar

    mark thanks a lot learning russian was never so easy :))

  18. Hannah Avatar

    Thank you. These lessons are very helpful and are helping me understand Russian better than by learning just the grammar!

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Glad to hear it, Hannah. (Apologies for my delayed response. I’m working on an upgrade to my Russian Accelerator course.)

  19. Fergus Avatar

    What would be very overwhelming Russian gamma constructs you manage to break down and gradually introduce with context and easy to learn cognates. After realizing the limits of only leaning Russian phrases this has really helped me out. Thanks so much.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Spasibo, Fergus. Learning a 2nd language — even one as seemingly difficult as Russian — need not be hard.
      It just needs to be explained in the right way. 🙂

  20. Ben Avatar

    Please keep up with adding more videos. Thank you so much for these great lessons.

  21. randy Avatar

    I’m doing great.I love learning Russian!

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