Both of these words came up on a word list for me to study and I have no idea when to use which. I looked them up on Wiktionary and discovered that they are both perfective. I then ran them through the Google Ngram to find that both are relatively frequent when conjugated for third person plural past tense, but when just the infinitive — разделить — is used, it appears that it is far more common than поделить.

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Are they absolutely interchangeable, or can you provide some advice for when to use which?

  • 1
    "Pазделить" can be "to share" or "to split", while "поделить" is almost always "to split" these days (despite what wiktionary is saying) with some counted exceptions.
    – DK.
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 13:04

4 Answers 4


This is a nuanced difference. There are many traditional usages in which one word is preferred over the other, for example "pазделить друзей" means "to separate friends", in the sense of pitting them against each other, while "поделить друзей" is rarely used and would mean specifically "to claim friends" (for example when a couple splits up, each spouse may want to preserve ties with any number of their mutual family friends).

In general terms, "разделить" means splitting a whole that may (and often should) remain a whole. "Поделить" means splitting a whole which is meant to be divided.

  • So many good answers here and more than I was expecting. Unfortunately, I cannot разделить the green check mark. (Pun intended, but what do you think of my usage here?) All jokes aside, this time I'll go with the consensus and that is this answer here. Спасибо большое to all those who took the time to answer.
    – Lisa Beck
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 3:34

These verbs are largely interchangeable with very subtle differences, if any, in most situations. I would say, "поделить" is more likely to be used when there's an intention to share. "Pазделить" doesn't have this implication, and focuses more on the process of splitting, separating etc.

There are some collocations in which one of these words is strongly preferred over the other:

  • разделить учаcть/горе/долю/радость/интересы/взгляды/мнение/ответственность с кем-либо/чем-либо (share in someone's fate, joy, interests, etc.). Вы знаете: что бы с вами ни случилось, я всегда разделю вашу участь!. Note however поделится радостью/горем etc..

  • разделить волосы на пряди, разделить потоки транспорта, разделить смесь на фракции, generally to separate something that was intertwined or combined with something else. "Pазделить" is strongly preferred in this case.

  • Note the idiom что-то не поделить, which means to be at odds about something. Что вы там опять не поделили?


I'd like to supplement Il--ya's great answer and add that the reflexive forms are different and not interchangeable. "Поделиться" is to share.

Если бы у меня был мандарин, я бы обязательно с тобой поделился.

"Разделиться" is to split.

Оппозиция разделилась на две фракции.

It's worth mentioning that "делиться" can be used as a non-completed form (imperfective aspect) in both cases.

Простое число делится без остатка только на 1 и на само себя.

Мы с радостью делимся с вами этой новостью.


In most cases, these 2 words are interchangeable. The prefix "по-" usually implies that the action can be performed incompletely. In this case, the word "разделить" implies the complete execution of the act of dividing. For example, the phrase "pаздел имущества при разводе" (division of property in a divorce) can only be written like this. The spelling "подел имущества при разводе" is incorrect.

  • "Подел" is completely wrong just because there is no such word. "Поделить имущество при разводе" is possible, but less natural than "разделить имущество...".
    – 30thh
    Commented Dec 31, 2021 at 17:57

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