I remember from a Russian expression book that it was:

С днём рождения

I've seen my friends from Russia write that on each others Facebook pages on birthdays.

However, I recently saw:

с днем рождения

and no one wrote С днём рождения.

Is my memory just inaccurate or is there some other reason?

4 Answers 4


They are both the same, except that in most cases, Russians write "e" instead of "ë", because they instinctively know when to pronounce it which way. So even though one is spelled днём and the other is spelled днем, they're both pronounced [дньом].

  • 3
    One might add that to avoid ambiguity, e.g. все/всё, the letter ё should always be in its place.
    – Avtokod
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 12:56
  • 2
    The government should just change this ridiculous bit of the language, and "force" people to us the correct letter. Kids books have it, so it would only take a generation before younger Russians would think that their parents etc were lame for not using the ё. Such an easy language reform))
    – VCH250
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 20:35
  • @CoreyRoberts-Reynolds For which reason? Languages tend to become simplier, not more complex. Note the Ѣ letter, which is now excluded from modern Russain. BTW, how would you feel if the government forced people to say holp instead of helped? Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 8:25
  • @DmitryGrigoryev: the difference is that "holp" is non-standard, archaic and silly in Modern English, whereas "ë" is the correct representation of a very modern and accepted pronunciation in Modern Russian.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 12:07
  • 1
    My point is not about whether ë should be mandatory/optional/deprecated in Russian. It's about the fact that language evolution is a natural process which the government is not supposed to force. Rules in a language are ultimately defined by its speakers. Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 12:51

They're the same. Capitalising the с and dotting the ё are unrelated. The most "cultured" way to write it is, in fact, С днем рождения.

(Don't listen to anyone who says dotting your Ёs is mandatory or "better". It almost looks like these people have never opened a book. It's a personal choice with many people to consistently dot their Ёs, and that's fine, but the modern-day publishing/media standard has always been to only use it for avoiding ambiguity.)


About "Е" and "Ё"

It is easy to native speakers to differ were is it pronounced like "Е" and where is like "Ё".
So we often write Е, just for speed.
It may be because of "Ё"-key is situated on the left of "1", below of "Esc".

"Е" is situated on "t".

But there is some difficulties:
- Где все? - Where is everybody?
- Все еще спят. - Everybody is sleeping yet.

sic! ВСЕ (subject) - is plural. Everybody - singular, for best understanding exact translation - Каждый (singular). But nobody says "Где каждый?" - correct, but unused.

- Где все? - Where is everybody?
- Всё еще спят.

Here is missed subject ВСЕ, and ВСЁ is used as a part of "всё еще" = forced "still".
[missed: Все] всё ещё спят.
[missed: They] are still sleeping.

- Где всё? - Where is everything.
- Украли. - [missed: They] have stolen [missed: everything].

ps: еще = ещё [yescho]. Always :)

pps: difficulties in law: http://www.rg.ru/2012/09/21/bukvi-anons.html

  • 2
    Принцесс, драконом заточЁнных, / Возможность есть ещё спасти, / А вот затОченных драконом... / Прости. Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 12:06

It's generally the same, however it's best to always write "ё" no matter which word includes it. Also, remember to have capital letters: С Днём Рождения

  • 3
    Why do I have to use capital letters ?
    – Ascendant
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 1:27
  • 2
    @PerfectGundam In Russian, all government and social festivals or celebrations are written with capital letters e.g. День Победы, 8 Марта. However, it has become common to congratulate and wish a friend "happy birthday" with capital letters, perhaps because it's a special day and you are emphasising the significance of it.
    – Lschk
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 1:34
  • 3
    Two pieces of advice that are both patently wrong. Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 1:57
  • @NikolayErshov You, in fact, are incorrect. Despite the fact that many people prefer to write "e" instead of "ë" the most grammatically correct way is to dot the e. If you, perhaps, read Russian news papers and listened to discussions regularly then you would of been aware of the fact that many people are proposing it become mandatory. Also, criticising people for "never opening a book" is simply unprofessional.
    – Lschk
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 2:06
  • 3
    Exactly, "many people are proposing it" because it's not mandatory — in fact, it's precisely the opposite of the established norm of good style. Not dotting is not a personal preference; it's the standard. Now the people who campaign for mandatory dotting have a number of valid points, but what really gets on my nerves is their trying, in the face of all the facts, to pretend that they're already trying to enforce something that's more "correct" — when it's about changing the understanding of what's "correct". Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 2:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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