The и in both of these sentences appears extra. What is it doing?

— Зачем мне насос? — ответил Гена. — Я и ртом надую.

And from another children’s book:

Всех друзей я киселем вкусным угостила, не беда, что мне самой так и не хватило.

Feel free to answer in Russian or English, I can read it, I just can’t write it.

5 Answers 5


In the first case the closest english word I can think of is “even” like in:

I can inflate it even with my mouth.

The second one is slightly more difficult. «Так и не» is often used as “never”.

Её даже построили, но «добро» на запуск так и не было дано. — It had actually been built, but the fire order had never come.

This meaning actually doesn't seem appropriate in this case, but I (being a native speaker) interpreted it exactly this way. While writing my answer I realised that this is nonsense and the author probably meant something else.

So, here is my guess. «Так» stands for “thus.” «И» here doesn't have any special meaning. You can often find it in sentences explaining something.

Он молодой, потому и быстрый.

Compare to:

Он молодой, потому быстрый.

These statements are essentially the same, but the latter one is more like a logical proposition, saying “He is young. As a consequence he is quick.” The former is more like an explanation: “He is young and that's the reason why he is quick.”

I'm sure it's difficult to grasp. Maybe others, who know theory, can explain it better.

  • The "never" meaning is quite appropriate. The "так и" construction could be omitted without any loss of information. What it does is supplying the additional emphasis on the fact that the fire order has not come since it had been built till today, while it (whatever it is) was just standing there, completely built, but not operational. Same emphasis is achieved in the English translation with the usage of word "never" instead of just "not".
    – fjarri
    Jun 17, 2013 at 5:06
  • @Bogdan Thanks for your comment. My example with “been built” was an example of the “never” meaning. It is no appropriate in case of the russian sentence in question.
    – kirelagin
    Jun 17, 2013 at 20:30
  • "Так и" means that since that time things didn't change, it's still true. Something like "ever since" I suppose but they are not the same. Jul 6, 2013 at 19:42

The first one means "just as well" which is also, in a sense, redundant, so your intuition is correct. I can/will inflate it with my mouth (just as well). Often one can also translate this usage of и as "too" or "also", too ;)

The second one is not a standalone word but a part of the compound particle так и which means "in the end" here (there are other meanings too). It can be used without an explicit negative: *всех покормила, а сама так и осталась голодной" I have fed them all but stayed hungry myself in the end.


To me they seem to be two different usages. In the former example:

— Зачем мне насос? — ответил Гена. — Я и ртом надую.

the particle и seems to imply alternatives: "I don't need a pump, because I can also inflate [whatever] with my mouth[, and possibly with my nose...]"

In the latter example the и seems to hint at an omitted clause:

Всех друзей я киселем вкусным угостила, не беда, что мне самой так и не хватило.

"I brewed some kissel for my friends [but they ate all of it] and therefore there wasn't anything left for me".

Её даже построили, но «добро» на запуск так и не было дано.

"It had even been built, but [the management had changed their minds] and didn't give the go-ahead to launch it.

  • I'm not sure… are you a native speaker? Because both your explanations seem wrong to me…
    – kirelagin
    Jun 3, 2013 at 20:42
  • The question was, why there were и's, not what they meant, so I tried to find an explanation. I can easily be wrong, as I'm not a linguist.
    – mustaccio
    Jun 3, 2013 at 20:54

I’m native Russian, but I cannot say exactly what does this и means. As I see, it strengthens the expression. @kirelagin gave good translations and examples. In general, и used like this doesn’t need an exact translation. It will be OK if you first translate sentence without it, and then just strengthen it.

  • I like you answer a lot. Jul 16, 2013 at 16:31
  • this is just incorrect
    – shabunc
    Jun 12, 2016 at 20:43
  • @shabunc any explanation why is it incorrect?
    – Alissa
    Jun 15, 2016 at 14:06
  • 1
    @Alissa между фразами, например, "я и так найду" /"я так найду", "я есть буду"/"я и есть буду" есть разница, утверждать что и не нуждается в переводе - это отрицать смысловую разницу в таких конструкциях - а она есть. Это очень сложно передать в переводе, но разница есть -и работа переводчика суметь-таки её предать.
    – shabunc
    Jun 15, 2016 at 15:20
  • Я и не говорю что перевод вовсе не нужен. Не нужен точный перевод именно слова "и". Его смысл — усиление выражения.
    – Alissa
    Jun 16, 2016 at 12:50

In those sentences "и" means "even", it's used for making the sentences sound stronger or convey the ideas stronger, deeper. It can be omitted but the original meaning will be lost as well.

  • It doesn't look like you added something new to kirelagin's answer.
    – Artemix
    Jun 23, 2014 at 8:25
  • @Artemix, stick it out.
    – Oskar K.
    Jun 23, 2014 at 11:13

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