I was translating some colloquial French sentences (in standard register, about a rather serious topic) into Russian:

Думаешь, мы возложили на них слишком большие надежды? Перекладывание своих проблем на чужие плечи решению не поможет, разве нет?

The "возложить", along with its imperfective counterpart "возлагать", is tagged as literary across the board on Wiki. So I've always wondered if this verb is fit for use in conversation.

If my phrasing above does sound somewhat formal or literary, how is the same idea expressed more informally?

  • 3
    Usually (not always, but usually) the words in воз-/вос- are Church Slavonic borrowings (native Russian would be вз-/вс-), and usually (not always, but usually) the Church Slavonic borrowings are grand style. There are lots of counterexamples to both statements, but statistically speaking, that's the case.
    – Quassnoi
    May 30, 2019 at 14:27

6 Answers 6


While возложить is indeed tend to high register usage it's still acceptable in colloquial usage. It's totally imaginable however I'd rather suggest that someone will just say "Думаешь, мы слишком на них понадеялись?".


Using an informal or colloquial register for возлагать большие надежды could be

мы слишком многого от них хотим /требуем.


Specifically with надежды возлагать is OK in common (not primitive) parlance as well, because it's a set locution. There's no other verb simpler than возлагать to be used in this sense with надежды.

However in the sense of класть (ложить - regional)* возлагать does indeed belong to a formal register where it denotes an act of solemn, ceremonial placement, e.g. возлагать венок к памятнику, возлагать корону

* ложить is considered incorrect, but it's so widespread that i believe it should be reckoned with as a legitimate form, which however must still be used with caution around educated people lest you come off as a simpleton


Your phrase is perfect. Do not change anything. There is a collocation (idiom) in Russian - возлагать надежды

And no, it does not sound literary or formal.

But more primitive, informally, you can say the following: понадеяться.


I think there's just one aspect where возложить/возлагать is high register: leaving physically something (like flowers) in a memorial place during a ceremony.

Everything else is mainly set expressions, more or less formal:

  • возложить ответственность (to announce somebody responsible),
  • возложить обязанности (to establish personal duties according to the employee position),
  • возлагать надежды (to have big hopes about one's own or some people's long-term activities).

Думаешь, мы возложили на них слишком большие надежды? If my phrasing above does sound somewhat formal or literary, how is the same idea expressed more informally?

Your phrasing is 100% ok.
There are different options to express the same idea, but this form is 100% ok.

Yes, it is a little formal and maybe a little literal, but the idea itself does not suppose any "funny" option.
The sitiuation itself is pretty bad.
Maybe it is about betrayal.

It is 100% ok to be a little formal when you want to speak about things like this, that someone have not met your expectation and trust.

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