Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 11

Likes and Dislikes in Russian

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Exercises Only

Alright, welcome to episode 11 of Russian Made Easy. Again, if you’re new to this podcast, it’s best to start with episode number 1 because each new installment assumes you’ve mastered all the previous material.

Anyway, no review needed today since we reviewed virtually all our vocab in the last podcast. So let’s jump right in to our first new phrase. Listen and repeat…

мне нравится

That’s a tough pair of consonants at the start of that 2nd word…You have an N and a rolled R. That’s very hard to say slowly. Listen again, and also note how the emphasis is on the first syllable.


Now let’s see if you can get the meaning from context:

Imagine I’ve just gotten home from a trip to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. My roommate looks at the merchandise I bought and he says..”Hmm, you bought just one small AC/DC poster, but you got two huge Led Zeppelin posters, three Led Zeppelin T-shirts and the entire Zeppelin box set?”

So I tell him, “That’s because мне нравится AC/DC but I love Led Zeppelin.”

Try making your own contextual phrase with this. For example: To me, vanilla is an okay flavor. So I’d say, мне нравится vanilla but I love chocolate.

Hit pause and make your own.

So, how would you translate mne nravitsa? This is a classic example of where we need to be very clear about the super literal meaning. Because, although mne nravita translates as “I like”, what you’re literally saying is, to me is pleasing.

Let’s try it in a few sentences. Say..

I like borscht.

Literally: To me is pleasing borscht.

Мне нравится борщ.

Try saying:

I like pizza.

Again, literally: To me is pleasing pizza.

Мне нравится пицца.

Now you might be thinking…Wait! Why isn’t it pizzU, with an “uu” sound at the end? Doesn’t liking something count as doing something to it?

No. And here’s why:

WE’re not taking any action in the sentence at all. Grammar-wise, the pizza is the one doing the action. The pizza is pleasing us. After all, we’re not saying “Я”…Right? That’s the Russian word for “I”. Again, we’re saying МНЕ….to me. The pizza is the one doing the action.

Try saying:

To me is pleasing caviar.

Мне нравится икра.

Now say: I want caviar.

Я хочу икру.

See how we’re taking action in that last sentence? I want...YA hochu.

Since we’re acting upon the caviar in that second sentence, that’s why we change it now to “ikru” (икру).

Alright, let’s move on. How would you say:

This is my tea.

Это мой чай.

And now — to a friend —

This is your tea.

Это твой чай.

So, MY started with an M — MOI.

And YOUR started with a T — TVOI.

Bearing that in mind, here’s our new word:


one more time:


And here’s the meaning:

Imagine you’re a big fan of rock music, whereas your roommate prefers jazz. He suggests you both head to a club to listen to live music, but you remind him:

Мне нравится рок а тебе нравится джаз.

As we see there, “rock” and “jazz” are cognates. Listen again:

Мне нравится рок а тебе нравится джаз.

But how would you translate that phrase?

Literally: To me is pleasing rock, whereas to you is pleasing jazz.

So, тебе is the Russian word meaning “to you.”


That’s why I brought up MY and YOUR…мой и твой

…to compare that with…

мне, тебе

So try saying this:

My…to me


Your…to you


Those aren’t actual sentences. I’m just comparing the “M” stuff versus the “T” stuff.

A minute ago we learned those two music cognates: rock and jazz. Listen one more time and repeat:



Well, blues is another cognate. Listen…


So ask a friend:

Do you like blues?

Тебе нравится блюз?

How will she answer:

No. I like rock.

Нет. Мне нравится рок.

To all my listeners who are also going through our Russian Accelerator course, I wanted to point something out. In Unit 4 Lesson 5, we first learn about this мне нравится construction

What I wanted to add was that нравится is the form we use with singular nouns. Things like pizza, or rock music, or “this car”, and so on. But if we want to say, for example, that:

To me ARE pleasing crepes….plural…”crepeS”…we need to slightly change the word. Listen:

Мне нравятся блины.

The difference is very subtle. Listen to the two different words side by side:



Can you hear the difference? This is why I didn’t bring it up in Unit 4, because it’s so subtle. And even if you use the wrong one, a native speaker’s brain will still “hear” the right one. It will basically hear the one that it grammatically expects. But let me emphasize the difference, just so you’re aware of it.



An “ee” sound in the first, an “ih” sound for that second, plural version. Listen one more time to the native speaker.

So, from now on, whenever it’s not clear, I’ll point out whether we’re using the singular version of the plural version. But honestly, at conversational speed, the difference is almost non-existant except among speakers who really articulate everything they say.

So, ask your friend:

Do you like sushi? (We need the plural form here)

Тебе нравятся суши?

Do you like yogurt? (Singular form)

Тебе нравится йоргурт?

Ask your friend Sergei…

Hey, Sergei…do you like my friend Linda?

Эй Сергей…Тебе нравится моя подруга Линда?

Now, for him to say:

Yes, I like her…

…listen to how he literally phrases it:

Да, она мне нравится.

Yes, she to me is pleasing.

Let’s continue to play matchmaker, and this time ask Linda if she likes Sergei. Like this…

Hey Linda, do you like my friend Sergei?

Эй Линда…Тебе нравится мой друг Сергей?

So, how will she literally phrase this:

Yes, I like him.

Literally: Yes, he to me is pleasing.

Да, он мне нравится.

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

Today’s tip is a kind of flashback to the one I gave in episode four of this series, where I mentioned the importance of flashcards. But now I want to add two important things:

First, you recall how I mentioned you need to put an X on a card every time you get it wrong. The more X’s any card has, the more often you should test yourself on it. Well, at some point, you’ll have a small group of cards with lots of X’s, and a whole bunch of other cards that you always get right. So, the tip here is to re-write those most difficult ones onto a new card or two. I could usually fit six phrases on one side. Put that card consisting of your toughest phrases in your wallet and test yourself a lot. In the morning as your coffee is brewing, in line at the bank, when you’re filling up your tank, etc.

The other follow-up tip here is to remember to go through your cards Russian side first from time to time. Read the Russian word or phrase out loud and then translate into English.

Alright, let’s learn another new word. Listen and repeat:


One more time:


It doesn’t sound like a cognate, but it actually is…at least the first syllable of it, anyway. See if you can get the meaning:

I like to go to bars and have drinks with my buddies. My girlfriend, though, prefers to go to clubs and танцевать with her girlfriends.

To move your body rhythmically to music is to танцевать.

Do you hear the “cognate-ness” of the word? We say “to dance” and they say “танц….евать”

Ask your friend: Do you like to dance?

Literally: To you is pleasing to dance?

Тебе нравится танцевать?


No. I don’t like to dance.

Нет, мне не нравится танцевать.

That’s a lot of “n”s isn’t it? Нет, мне не нравится танцевать.

Listen again:

Нет, мне не нравится танцевать.

How will your friend ask, in just two words:

Wanna dance?

Хочешь танцевать?

Say, Yes, I want to dance.

Да. Я хочу танцевать.

Let’s try just a few more phrases. Ask a friend…

Want coffee?

Хочешь кофе?

No thanks.

Нет спасибо.

I don’t like coffee.

Мне не нравится кофе.

Is there tea?

Есть чай?

And one more time, ask your friend..

Do you like to dance?

Тебе нравится танцевать?

Of course, please go to RussianMadeEasy.com to get the transcript of this podcast, and the audio downloads. And for homework, be sure to use this very important construction with as much of your vocabulary as you can fit in there. Practice saying and asking… Do you like yogurt? I like yogurt. I don’t like caviar. Do you like caviar? and so on. And of course, put in all your Russian Accelerator vocabulary too, of course.

Next time we’ll take it a step further by learning to talk about the things we love. I’ll see you there!

PS: That dance song is called “Zachem” by 5sta Family. Search Youtube…it’s a great video!

DOWNLOADS – (right click with mouse and “save as”)

Episode 11 – Full Program

Episode 11 – Exercises Only


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7 responses to “Learn Russian: Russian Made Easy Ep. 11”

  1. Andy Avatar

    Difficult to get the wrong end of the stick in the verbal conversation of
    МНЕ НРАВИТСЯ “I like”
    МНЕ НЕ НРАВИТСЯ “I do not like”

    The ‘ney ‘ ney ‘ (ney’ ) sounds all blend especially if spoken fast.

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      How much they blend together will depend on the situation. For example, if someone didn’t hear you and mistakenly asks if you said you LIKE …whatever…mushrooms, you would then repeat with emphasis:

      Мне не нравятся грибы.

  2. Urs Schmied Avatar
    Urs Schmied

    Привет Марк,

    A general question: Can I download the podcasts from “Russian Accelerator” (after paying the dues of course) in the mp3 – format? It’s the format for my mp3-player.
    Best regards and thank you!

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Привет Урс!

      Yes, the new podcast I created for R.A. users is indeed donwloadable in mp3 format (and I believe they’ve made wav format available as well.)

  3. Diego Silva Chapela Avatar

    Hello Mark, how are you? pi was thinking that the russian accelerator was to be studied once you already finished the normal podcasts, but according to this podcast, people can be studying it at the same time. Please, could you tell me how can I start learning by the accelerator? i want to try it. большое спасибо Марк

    1. Mark Thomson Avatar
      Mark Thomson

      Hello Diego (In Russian: Диего)

      Glad you’re enjoying my podcast.
      I hope you’ll check out Russian Accelerator. It’s my online, video course.
      We’ll turn you into a confident, conversational Russian speaker.
      You can learn more about it here…


      And yes, you can definitely go through both at the same time.
      I hope this helps. And don’t hesitate with any questions.
      We’re here to help.

      Kind regards from Ukraine,

  4. RUDY Avatar

    I am getting confused in the Cyrillic letters because aren’t you suppose to put ‘ ц’ to be equivalent with the ‘тс’ in ‘нравится’ because they both have the same sound

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