Is it considered a mistake to write его and ето instead of эго and это?

I found it many times when people change between the letters е and э in this words, and I'm no sure if it's mistake or just a matter of style.

  • 4
    you can find all kind of horrible spelling of russian in internet.. some manage make 10-15 typos in 3-4 words of barely 20 letters total. And you may meet belarus or ukrainian. Well there is pun about how to make 4 errors in word еще. Answer: исчо.
    – Swift
    May 13, 2017 at 0:26

2 Answers 2


Yes, because E e at a beginning of a word is heard as [je]. Moreover,

это = this / it

эго = Ego (as in Freudian personality theory).

I haven't ever seen ето written instead of это by a native speaker who doesn't speak a dialect (and no dialect except for St. Petersburgs or Moscovian is regarded as a prestigious variety of speech by natives).

Occasionally, you may stumble upon энто and even енто, but they are also regarded by native speakers as abominations of illiteracy.

  • 5
    его is ukrainian spelling of эго (because Ukrainian pronouse that letter differently, and there is no э in alphabet). ето - is result of illeteracy, ukrainian word is це
    – Swift
    May 13, 2017 at 0:31
  • @Swift - For the sake of trolling or when writing in surzhyk, Ukrainians sometimes write Russian words phonetically using the Ukrainian alphabet, e.g. етава тут ні нада!
    – Yellow Sky
    May 13, 2017 at 1:04
  • 2
    Another source of confusion can be loanwords and proper names e.g. бэкап/бекап (backup), Бэлла/Белла (Bella). Newly borrowed words are normally pronounced with [э] while spelling varies between Э/Е, eventually settling on one or the other. If it settles on Е, pronunciation might lean towards Е as well e.g. Мельбурн is pronounced with [е] while Сидней mostly with [э]. Believe it or not, the words музей and пионер were pronounced муз[э]й and пион[э]р when they were first borrowed (Панов М.В. - Русская фонетика - 1967) May 13, 2017 at 9:22
  • " его семья" (ivo semya) = his family. See here: kontainer.ru/…
    – Influx
    May 15, 2017 at 23:46
  • 1
    @Yellow Sky or because UA keyboard layout doesnt have э
    – Swift
    May 17, 2017 at 16:19

For the given words the correct Russian spelling is "его" (unless you meant "эго" as in Freud's Ego, yep) and "это", as the first word has initial j and jэ is shown as е. The prima facie correct Ukrainian spelling if it had the words would be єго (in reality - його) and ето (in reality - це).

However, there is an interesting issue with the е and э letters. е is supposed to mean jэ or 'э (э after a "soft" - palatalized - consonant) but in many recent loanwords it is used instead of э, and, as Sergey Slepov mentioned, this can be the source of using э instead of е and vice versa.

Moreover, the word-initial э sound is pronounced diversely - some speakers use the more close sound as if it were after a soft consonant, others use the more open sound as the one used after hard (non-palatalized) consonants. This can also induce some problems

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