I'm doing this exercise to write down from videos on the internet just to see how russian people speaks colloquially, and I got some question about it. I copied the whole speech, to preserve the context:

"как изучать русский язык: это правило будет сюрпризом для многих: не учите грамматику. это будет удивительно для вас, потому что с самого начала вы учили грамматику. вы постоянно писали что-то упражнения, сидели долго думали "какое там время?" и самая главная ошибка, которую вы допускали до сего момента, вы учили только грамматику. вы не уделяли должного вниманя разговорный речи.

1) why the verbs are at the past? 2) what is сего? 3) the strange thing is that которую is at the accusative case but not самая главная ошибка, I mean, all that part is the object of the sentence cause допускали is transitive verb, right? 4) question about listening: why I hear just "годня" or "час" and not "се" before them, when subtitles are сегодня or сейчас? thanks

  • There is a small error in the text: It should be разговорной instead of разговорный because the object of the sentence is in the dative case. Also, the correct spelling is внимания. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 10:01
  • @Anton Poznyakovskiy "писали что-то упражнения" is another error.
    – Anixx
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 13:05
  • @Anixx This might be considered as a colloquial substitute of "почему-то" or "зачем-то". But, at the very least, it sounds weird, that's true. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 13:18
  • I agree with the answers but it seems to me it corresponds to habitual past in English, besides there should be two more commas in the sentence after что‐то and сидели.
    – V.V.
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 18:09
  • Сей is archaic for этот -this.
    – V.V.
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


A lot of questions in one Question :)

1) The verbs are in the past because the author is referring to your past activity - you used to learn grammar, you used to write exercises etc, "what about those times?" - i.e. how you will regret having spent so much time learning grammar. The Russian imperfective (past) does not have a literal translation to any particular English tense and has to be translated in context. It can take almost any English past form in the right context, but has the sense of habitual actions or actions being described in the moment. In this case the use is to describe habitual actions.

2) "Сего" is genitive of "сей" which is an old-fashioned word meaning "этот".

3) "Которую" is in accusative because it is governed by "допускали". "Ошибка" is in nominative because it is not governed by anything. But in the sentence "вы допустили большую ошибку" "ошибка" must be in accustive too.

4) It might be not very accurate pronunciation of the speaker or you have to train your listening skills :)

  • yeah, sorry for lot of question but I prefer to not open a thread for each thing, thank you very much, that was a very useful and well explained answer!
    – mario
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 9:47
  • 3
    As to (1), that is not correct. The author is saying that you did ("were doing" to literally translate imperfective tense) these things in the past. The author is not saying that you will have done exercises, but that you already did things this way before today. You will be amazed that you did these things before the present moment when you learned this new method. By the way, that kind of talk is all idealistic garbage. You must learn grammar and vocabulary if you are at all serious about learning Russian. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 16:41
  • сей is an old-fashioned word but it is still often used: сейчас, до сих пор, etc. Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:27
  • @user1122069 I re-read the text. Yes, you're right. I'll change my answer.
    – Abakan
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 8:44
  • @Alex.S I wouldn't want to confuse the reader, but I would also point out that I translate the tenses as "you learned", "you wrote", etc. It is true that past continuous in English == imperfective in Russian, and that best illustrates the point, but the reverse is not always true. We use the past continuous only to describe actions as occurring in the moment. If all the actions were completed (not occurring now or "now"), then it takes the regular past. Even when there is no idea when the events actually happened. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 11:52
  1. It's in the past, because it must be in the past. In English it would be something like "you were sitting, learning etc.".

  2. Который takes a case suitable for the clause, not for the main sentence. That is, "ошибка, которая..." = "mistake which [does smth. itself]", but "ошибка, которую..." = "mistake which [is an object for some action]".

  3. Сего is genitive of "сей" which is an old word for "this". Usually you may encounter this word only as a part of "сегодня" (i.e. "of this same day" = today) or "сейчас" (i.e. "this same hour" = now).

  4. Normal pronounce should be kind of "сегодня"->"сиводня" and "сейчас"->"си(й)час", but sometimes people reduce these words into "сёдня" and "ща(с)". But I doubt you've really heard these variants.


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