I've seen the following expressions:

Пошёл бы ты работать!

Получить бы работу в этой компании!

My textbook translates them as "You should get a job!" and "It would be nice to get a job with this company!".

However, I'm looking for a more literal translation to help me interpret these constructions.

"Пошёл бы ты работать" reminds me of "пошёл на хуй!". Since the latter sentence means "go to hell!" (a very mild translation, I know!), I found strange the usage of the past tense, rather than the imperative (which would be "иди на хуй!", the same way as "иди на фиг!").

Perhaps in "пошёл на хуй" the бы particle is omitted?

My attempt at translating literally "пошёл бы ты работать" is "Had you gone work!".

As for "получить бы работу", the usage of the "бы" particle after an infinitive is news for me. Maybe it's an abbreviation of "хорошо бы получить работу"? Or, should I just see the construction infinitive+бы as a translation for "I wish I...+past tense" in English?

PS: If I want to tell "Why don't you shut up?", is "молчал ты бы!" a valid translation?


The 1st one should be better formulated as "Шёл бы ты работать"--"you should get a job". Alternatively, "пошёл бы поработал"--"you should go (and) do some work".

Those vulgar phrases mean just what they seem to mean -- "go sit on d*k".

The 2nd one, indeed, implies "it would be nice [to get this job]".

The PS one: "Молчал бы!"--"You [of all people] should keep quiet" or "Помолчал бы (ты)!"--"(Would you) shut up!". However, "why don't you shut up" would be more precisely translated as "что ж ты не заткнешься" (rude) or an equivalent.


My textbook translates them as "You should get a job!"

While that very well may be the appropriate translation, your textbook doesn't give you the full picture. It may also be used as "You should go [back] to work!" Like, in a situation were you're hanging out around the office water cooler for too long, telling jokes, and your boss or cow-orker says: "Шёл бы ты работать!" (e. g. back to your desk and do the job you're paid to do).

In general, a single "бы" means something like "would be good/better, if..." There's also a double "бы", which is more like "if-then" construct, like "знал бы прикуп - жил бы в Сочи" or "если б я был султан - я б имел трёх жён" ("б" is the shortened form of "бы"). Sometimes there are even more, like in "если бы да кабы на Луне росли дубы, то тогда бы на Луну бы мы ходили по грибы".

"Пошёл на хуй" is a straight, direct order. You can say something like "пошёл бы ты на хуй", which is more like an advice: "would be great if you go fuck yourself". Or even "а не пошёл бы ты на хуй?" ("why don't you... etc.") Although, given the context, such subtleties are insignificant in this particular case.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.