I am never quite sure when to stress particles such as не.

Also, I am confused about people saying that the a in the past tense feminine is stressed, and whether or not this is always the case.

I am aware that stress is very irregular and can move around when the case, gender, number, or conjugation changes.


2 Answers 2


When не is written separately, I can only think of two cases when it's stressed:

  • the past tense of быть, except the feminine form (so нé был, нé было, нé были, but не былá);

  • the pronouns некого and нечего when split by a preposition: нé у кого, нé с чем.

The in the feminine past tense is not always stressed, and I'm sorry to say there's no useful rule to determine when it is (i.e. one that wouldn't have a ton of exceptions) other than a tendency for those verbs to have monosyllabic or -ти or -чь infinitives. (For our purposes, a monosyllabic infinitive with a prefix still counts as monosyllabic: проспатьпроспалá, same as спатьспалá. Again, mostly. Забыть is an exception. It really is very irregular.)

  • В тот миг, когда пучиной\\Был кубок поглощен,\\Пришла ему кончина,\\И больше не пил он.
    – Matt
    Feb 22, 2016 at 12:50
  • @Matt Or Tsoy's "кричат — нам нЕ дали петь, кричат — попробуй тут спой". I don't think those are useful for a learner to know; what's more, I think the later a learner encounters such one-off phenomena the better. With any unusual and curious things in a language you learn, there's always the danger of coming to think of them as more of "a thing" than they really are. To give a personal example, I wish I hadn't known about the Scots form "cannae" before I was aware of its context. I think I used it as a "hip" way of saying "can't" a couple of times, which was weird and random. Feb 22, 2016 at 12:56
  • Also, just wondering, is 'но' pronounced as 'nah' or 'no'? Or does it depend on the situation?
    – casey
    Feb 23, 2016 at 19:47
  • 1
    It's always "no". Feb 23, 2016 at 19:54

Stress in past tense feminine verbs is a painful issue for many native speakers too.

Answer from here:

В каких глаголах женского рода ударение падает на последний слог?
Ударение в прошедшем времени обычно падает на тот же слог, что и в неопределенной форме глагола (например, смотрЕть — смотрЕла). Однако у большинства односложных глаголов (и глаголов, образованных от односложных с помощью приставок) ударение в форме женского рода прошедшего времени падает на последний слог: взялА бралА ждалА лгалА вралА дралА рвалА звалА гналА лилА пилА далА
У этих глаголов со всеми приставками (кроме приставки вы-) и с постфиксом –сь ударение также падает на последний слог: убралА, совралА, взорвалАсь, отозвалАсь.
У глаголов класть, красть и красться, пасть, упасть, слать, послать, стлать ударение в форме женского рода прошедшего времени остаётся на основе: клАла, крАла, пАла, упАла, крАлась, слАла, послАла, стлАла.

  • I found that one too. The exceptions list is too incomplete to present it as authoritative. Ела? Стригла? Выла? Feb 22, 2016 at 13:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.