To explain my question i will give this example of a sentence:

  1. она говорила это (Lit. She said that)
  2. говорила это (Lit. Said that) but (Implied. She said that)

Is it necessary for me to have она in this sentence since the word говорила implies that it's a girl?

My native language is Arabic and in it either one of those would be acceptable, but i just wanted to make sure since both of the languages sentence structures are about the same.

Thank you in advance

  • 2
    #2 "говорила это" is incomplete and can't be used as a sentence. But yes, the gender is implied, so if the complete sentence is "Директор это говорила", we know that director is a female.
    – Alexander
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 0:29
  • 3
    No, you do not necessarily have to. Certainly not in every sentence. For example: "Девочка с бантиком играла в песочнице. Говорила, что убьёт меня совочком."
    – Headcrab
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 1:21
  • exactly, so what is the rule if there is one?
    – Almonds812
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 1:53

2 Answers 2


Russian is not a particularly pro-drop language, even compared to many other Slavic languages. So by default, on its own, you should use the appropriate pronoun, even if it could be grammatically inferred.

But with enough context, when subject is already introduced, or in informal speech, the pronoun may be dropped. Sometimes it's even customary, e.g.:

Говорила же тебе: учись!

But this may be true even in English, which is considered formally non-pro-drop, e.g. Like it! (meaning: I like it!, rather than the formal imperative meaning 'You better like it, or else...').

Note that in your example the verb suggests the gender, but not the person, thus dropping the pronoun leaves it unclear whether она, я, or ты говорила.

When all the person, number and gender (if applicable) can be inferred, it is normal, but still optional, to drop the pronoun:

Хочешь пить? = Ты хочешь пить?

Basically, when in doubt, say the pronoun, until you learn to feel it intuitively.

  • Another use case is when you answer a question about someone's actions: - А он что [сделал]? - Пошёл и кеды купил! Here subject in the answer is inferred from the question and usually dropped.
    – AlexVB
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 16:42

Despite the gender is clear here, the sentence is incomplete and ambiguous without proper context: you can't even understand, is it about her (она говорила), you (ты говорила) or me (я говорила). However, it is quite possible in a dialog:

-- Таня, надо было сказать ему, что ты уезжаешь и у тебя нет времени.

-- Говорила это.

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