I recently read a lot about word order (it makes life so much easier). But I have the following question:

It's said that for adverbs the following order is normal— Time, Place, Manner. But, if for example, I have a huge stack of adverbs (just because I want to to do that), how far can the subject be separated from the noun?

Я среди ночи в ресторане быстро съел сыр.


Среди ночи в ресторане быстро я съел сыр.

Feel free to change question, I just thought up a random example (like 1 sec). The point is, how far should (Я, ТЫ МЫ ... be from the verb?). I'm well aware that there are many thing dictating order, but it seems one could have the subject super far the verb if one wanted. It seems slightly strange.)

  • The word order will depend on what should be emphasized as well as on stylistics. You could compose a sentence with almost any order of words here, but they might sound unnatural depending on situation.
    – Mr Zak
    Sep 12, 2016 at 20:10

6 Answers 6


Я среди ночи в ресторане быстро съел сыр.

The first one is unmarked, default word order.

Среди ночи в ресторане быстро я съел сыр.

This is wrong, unnatural word order mainly because of "быстро я" part, if you swap these words the word order improves. As it is it only can be used in poetry. Moreover, I would argue, it is the best word order for a poem because of the rhythmics.

If you take

Среди ночи в ресторане я быстро съел сыр.

it would be also non-default. The meaning is different from default. In the default word order

Я среди ночи в ресторане быстро съел сыр.

the meanig is roughly "I ate cheese in a/the restaurant in the night" if в ресторане is stressed or "Because it was in a restaurant and in the night, it became possible for me to eat some cheese quickly" if быстро stressed.

On the other hand,

Среди ночи в ресторане я быстро съел сыр.

means something "Imagine a scene in a restaurant at night: I had ate cheese there". It stresses the scene and your action is the addition to the scene "restaurant at midnight". Or it can mean "During the night in the restaurant I quickly ate cheese". That is in the certain "restaurant night", a party about which the listener knows, which should be understood as one.


Russian word order is very flexible.

^ That's probably the most appropriate answer here.

How far should Я, ТЫ МЫ ... be from the verb?

Well, it could be really far.

Быстро, споро, экстремально,
Находясь почти в нирване
Я средь ночи в ресторане,
На весь зал треща ушами,
Чтоб не дай бог не поймали, озираясь по углам,
Злясь, икая и потея,
Отдуваясь и бледнея,
Скатерть протерев до дыр,
Лопал сыр.

A particular word order might sound a bit foreign to a native speaker when written down; e.g. я съел быстро сыр, but even then you can still make it sound smooth with the proper intonation. For pretty much all other combinations it is rather hard to make it sound wrong: сыр я съел быстро, быстро сыр я съел, съел быстро сыр я,..

  • 3
    +1 for composing the poem )) Also consider changing it to "лопал Пошехонский сыр".
    – Anixx
    Sep 14, 2016 at 10:22

Russian word order is very flexible. The relationships between parts of the Russian sentence are shown by the endings of words. So, because of words endings, the parts of the Russian sentence can go in almost any order without causing any misunderstanding on the part of the listener.And the distance between the subject and the verb doesn't matter much. What really matters is what new information you want to offer to your listener.

For the beginner in Russian there is nothing very important to remember about word order, you can use the word order of the English sentence and native speakers will always understand you. At the same time, Russian word order has its own peculiarities. One of these peculiarities is that in written Russian new information (or emphasized information) comes at the end of the sentence.

Борис едет в Москву. - Boris goes to Moscow.

Москва is a new information because this sentence tells where Boris goes. If another word order is used:

В Москву едет Борис. – It is Boris who goes to Moscow.

The emphasis is on the word Борис, and, in this case, the sentence tells who goes to Moscow. In a conversation the word order is much more flexible since intonation and stress can be used to show the emphasized information in a sentence.


i have a gut feeling that sentences with many adverbs tend to start with adverbs and not the subject, which at some point breaks their sequence

this sequence to me sounds the best flowing

Среди ночи в ресторане я быстро съел сыр


В ресторане среди ночи я быстро съел сыр

it appears that the adverb of manner tend to be the closest to the verb, because i think it describes the most important aspect of action

or i err and if someone adduces examples to the contrary i'll happily concede my mistake

the last position in the sentence adds emphasis and is used for that purpose

so in your sentence it's сыр and the audience immediately gets that it wasn't something else that you ate


You can have the subject as far from the verb as you wish.

Съел быстро сыр среди ночи в ресторане я.


Я в ресторане быстро сыр среди ночи съел.

both are ok. They have stylistic diferrences though.

You have also to consider that some word orders sound unusual or even awkward for a normal speech and must used only for some effect (comic, satire atc.).


Среди ночи в ресторане я быстро съел сыр

sounds more natural.

Я, среди ночи в ресторане, быстро съел сыр.

is also fine.

There is no set rule, as far as I understand.

  • 1
    Wrong commas and other issues, -1
    – Anixx
    Sep 13, 2016 at 20:43
  • And correct punctuation should be …?
    – Pav El
    Sep 14, 2016 at 6:57

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