Native English speaker here. I'm building a collection of flashcards to learn Russian (that I will eventually share on Anki) and I'm hoping that someone could take 60 seconds to confirm the accuracy of the Russian words in this spreadsheet:

I added a notes column to provide context for some ambiguous words. Thanks in advance!

Edit: Thanks to whoever filled in 90% of the sheet for me. Much appreciated!

  • Please, clarify: do you want to learn those very Russian words and you need to proof-read their English translations, or you need those English words translated correctly into Russian? I'm afraid that both English and Russian words have many meaning each, so choosing just one meaning out of many will be arbitrary without context.
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 23, 2018 at 21:26
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    Look, for some English words it's impossible to say which Russian variant is "most common". Take the word "freeze", when it's you who freeze yourself in winter it's "замерзать/замёрзнуть", when a cop shouts "Freeze!" it's "замирать/замереть", and when you freeze something, e.g. water, it's "замораживать/заморозить". Now tell me, which one of these is "most common"? How can I guess that?
    – Yellow Sky
    Feb 23, 2018 at 21:50
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    Agreed with @Yellow Sky. The words choice is arguable, but it's another topic. Here, for example, you have really tough words like tear: it can be рвать/разрывать as in to tear apart, but it can be слеза as in a tear(drop). Feb 23, 2018 at 23:58
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    @YellowSky A cop would probably shout "Стоять!" and not "Замирать!" ;) Feb 24, 2018 at 16:41
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    It's best to memorize both aspects of a verb at the same time e.g. стучать/стукнуть, замораживать/заморозить. When leaning English, I used to memorize three forms at once, e.g. write/wrote/written. Feb 24, 2018 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


A general reminder - language is not a secret code to be translated word for word. Even programming languages, being simple semantically, compared to natural ones, are never translated word for word. You need to provide context for each translation, apart from the obvious borrowings from English such as "odometer/одометр".

Most of your English words can be translated by multiple Russian ones (same goes for, say, Italian or even German). If you simply want "the most common" then again, is it statistically most common among a general corpus? news? science reports?

If you want your mini-project to produce useful results, add a few sentences using the English words and ask for Russian equivalents one would use in translating those sentences. There is a reason dictionaries exist, and it is exactly this ambiguity of translation. Even the all-knowing(not!) Google Translate gives you several variants: GoogleT example screenshot

PS I fixed a couple of words and provided some comments, but as it stands now, the table is not even "most common translation according to an average person", especially verbs. If you're up for some dry reading, this is one of huge reasons. In Russian verbs aspect is encoded into the word, not indicated by a tense like in English (eg do/did/have done etc can all be translated by several verbs with a different prefix, plus the usual grammatical ending)

  • Thanks for the help and yes, as an English speaker I spent my whole life being completely unaware of the imperfect tense (and subjunctive for that matter) until I learned Spanish. You're right about how it would have been better to use an English sentence as an example Feb 26, 2018 at 17:41

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