What is the correct translation of Ты разве не хочешь посмотреть телевизор?

If разве is removed, would the meaning be altered?

It's confusing because I interpret the sentence as "Don't you want to watch TV?" whether or not it includes разве, so I'm not sure what role it plays in the sentence.

  • "Ты разве не хочешь посмотреть телевизор?" = "Don't you really want to watch TV?"
    – Matt
    Apr 19, 2016 at 8:03
  • 1
    @Matt, I think it would be more like "Do you really not want to watch TV?", which is not the same meaning. In the phrase "Don't you really want to watch TV?" the really+want would be interpreted together as "очень хочется". Apr 20, 2016 at 12:49

3 Answers 3


You are correct as far as the translation goes - it's Don't you want to watch TV?. Word разве adds an element of surprise on the part of the person asking the question, as if the asker assumes that the other person wants to watch TV and isn't really expecting a negative answer; very much like using Don't you... instead of Do you....

So the difference in meaning between sentences with and without разве is exactly the same as with using Don't you and Do you:

Ты разве не хочешь посмотреть телевизор?
Don't you want to watch TV?

Ты не хочешь посмотреть телевизор?
Do you want to watch TV?

Note that word разве can be used in a slightly different meaning of is it really, but still maintaining an element of surprise:

– Посмотри на эту машину!
– Да разве это машина!

– Look at this car!
– Is it really a car!
– Come on, that's not really a car!


Разве adds a tinge of real or feigned disbelief or skepticism, to either a positive or negative statement. "Could it really be true that...", "Can it be that..", "Is it possible that..."

Maybe you normally watch TV every night, so the person is surprised that tonight you don't seem to be in the mood.

A similar word is неужели.

Разве can also be used in rhetorical or sarcastic statements like, "Well isn't this a fine mess!" or "What's the matter, aren't you enjoying this crappy food?" or "Well, well, if it isn't Team Rocket... what brings you here?"

A secondary meaning of разве is in expressions like разве что or разве только or разве лишь, which mean something like "except maybe", "except perhaps", "unless maybe". I.e., to indicate that a general rule admits an exception, albeit one that is relatively unlikely. For instance:

  • You could never afford this car, unless maybe you're a millionaire or something.
  • I'd rather say that 'неужели' conveys the idea of disbelief, and 'разве' of doubt, surprise or rhetorical question.
    – ach
    Apr 20, 2016 at 10:27
  • @AndreyChernyakhovskiy, I have often wondered about nuances of the difference between разве and неужели, so it's helpful to hear from native speakers. I think I will ask this as a separate question. Apr 20, 2016 at 10:52

Разве has got several meanings.

1 It's a particle used in questions corresponding to negative questions in English. It expresses doubt , surprise( так ли, правда ли.)

Разве он уже приехал?--Hasn't he already come? Он уезжает. разве.? -- Isn't he leaving? Разве можно?!--Isn't that allowed?! (выражение резкого неодобрения, осуждения; разг.).Разве ты не хочешь посмотреть телевизор?--Don't you want to watch TV? Compare:Ты хочешь посмотреть телевизор?--Do you want to watch TV?

  1. It expresses doubtfulness to make a decision, to agree to something. (разг.).

Разве съездить? (может быть, стоит съездить). -- Should I go? Perhaps it's worth visiting. Никогда этого не ел. Попробовать разве?--I never tasted it. Should I try?

  1. Разве can express a doubtful supposition meaning perhaps, may be. (разг.).

Денег нет, премию разве дадут.--We have no money but there may be a prize (reward ). Гостей не будет, дедушка разве зайдёт.--No guests, though grandpa might come.

  1. As a conjunction разве expresses possibility (разг.).

Сегодня не поеду, разве завтра.- - I am not going today, perhaps tomorrow.

  1. As a conjunction it also has a meaning in case, unles В случае, если не, если только не (разг.).

    Обязательно приду, разве заболею.--I will definitely come unless I fall ill.

Толковый словарь Ожегова. С.И. Ожегов, Н.Ю. Шведова. .

There are also some synonyms:

будто, возможно ли, да ну?, да ты что!, да что вы, да что вы?, да что ты, да?, если, или, может ли быть, небось, неужели, неужто, ну, ну?, ой ли?, ужели.

  • 1
    Notes: #2 and #4 are by now obsolete. We encounter them mostly in literature of the past. I never hear them in colloquial speech. #3 nowadays is mostly used as "разве только": Денег нет, премию разве только дадут. (though "разве" alone is also occasionally heard). #5 nowadays is mostly used as "разве что": Обязательно приду, разве что заболею.
    – ach
    Apr 20, 2016 at 11:08

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