Being able to give an opinion and to discuss a topic we are interested in is a great goal that every language learner aspires to. In addition to giving information or discovering new things with the help of a foreign language, we can use it as a tool to affect others and to persuade them. It's a well-known fact that just by using certain words and phrases in appropriate situations we can come across as bright and interesting. That is why knowing them is vitally important. This article will teach you how to make a great impression by choosing the right words while having a conversation or giving a speech in Russian.


So, let's begin and find out the magic words in one of the most beautiful languages!


Asking Opinions


First, to start a discussion you might want to hear another person's opinion on the topic you are going to talk about. It’s always a great idea to show your interest in your partner and to make them feel like their thoughts are valuable to you as it is widely-known that we are attracted to those who are interested in us.


  • Как вы (ты) ду̀маете (ду̀маешь) …? - What do you think...?
  • Как ты ду̀маешь, сего̀дня бу̀дет до̀ждь? - Do you think it will be raining today?


Apart from ду̀мать (to think), Как collocates with such verbs as счита̀ть (consider) and полага̀ть (suppose), which sound more formal as compared to думать and считать.


  • Как ты счита̀ешь, за̀втра пого̀да улу̀чшиться? - Do you think the weather will get better tomorrow?
  • Как вы полага̀ете, нам сто̀ит разрешѝть им откры̀ть магазѝн? - Do you suppose we should allow them to open a shop?
  • Что вы (ты) ду̀маете (ду̀маешь) о …? - What do you think about...?
  • Что ты ду̀маешь о его но̀вом дру̀ге? - What do you think about his new friend?
  • Как вы (ты) отно̀ситесь (отно̀сишься) к...? - How do you feel about...?
  • Как вы отно̀ситесь к проблѐме усыновлѐния иностра̀нных детѐй? - How do you feel about the problem of adoption of foreign children?
  • Как ты отно̀стишься к ру̀сской ку̀хне? - How do you feel about Russian cuisine?
  • Как по-ва̀шему (по-тво̀ему) …? - What is your opinion...? (In this case, the word "opinion" is omitted).
  • Как по-тво̀ему, он сдаст этот экза̀мен? - What is your opinion, will he pass this exam?


Or you can also ask the question in these ways:


  • По-тво̀ему, он сдаст этот экза̀мен?
  • По твоему̀ мнѐнию он сдаст этот экза̀мен?
  • Ду̀маешь, он сдаст этот экза̀мен?


You can try to sound important and clever and ask someone's opinion this way:


  • Каково̀ ва̀ше мнѐние по э̀тому вопро̀су? - What is your opinion concerning this question? (In this case, we use каково̀ instead of како̀е which makes it sound more formal).


Giving an Opinion


When we have found out what our companion thinks and have paid attention to their ideas, it's time to express ourselves.


The easiest way to do it is just to say:


  • По-мо̀ему … - In my opinion...
  • По-мо̀ему, твой дом бо̀льше моего̀. - In my opinion, your house is bigger than mine.


You can also say:


  • Мне ка̀жется, что … - It seems to me that... (We use dative form of a pronoun here).
  • Мне ка̀жется, что бу̀дет до̀ждь - It seems to me that it will be raining.
  • Я ду̀маю / счита̀ю / полага̀ю, что...- I think / consider / suppose that...
  • Я ду̀маю, что ты хорошо̀ говорѝшь по-ру̀сски - I think you speak Russian well.
  • На мой взгля̀д... - In my view... (slightly more formal than по-моему)
  • На мой взгляд мо̀да меня̀ется о̀чень бы̀стро - In my view, fashion changes very quickly.
  • Наско̀лько я зна̀ю,... - As far as I know...
  • Наско̀лько я знаю, он бо̀льше не живёт в этом го̀роде. - As far as I know, he doesn't live in this city anymore.


In case you want to ask the other person what they think after you have just expressed your opinion, you can simply say:


  • А ты? / А вы? - And you?
  • Я ду̀маю, что о̀вощи полѐзны для здоро̀вья, а ты? - I think that vegetables are good for your health, and you?
  • По-мо̀ему, за̀втра бу̀дет хоро̀шая пого̀да, а как по-тво̀ему? - In my opinion the weather will be good tomorrow, and what do you think?




People like it when their ideas and opinion are supported, that’s why you shouldn’t keep quiet if you like something your partner said. Make sure you let them know about it. To agree with someone, we might need such words as:


  • Это пра̀вда - It's true.
  • Вы пра̀вы / Ты прав - You are right.
  • Я (с ва̀ми / с тобо̀й) согла̀сен / согла̀сна - I agree (with you).
  • Совершѐнно вѐрно - That's absolutely right (strong confirmation of someone's opinion).
  • Я то̀же так ду̀маю. - I think so too.
  • Мо̀жет быть - Maybe; perhaps.
  • Ду̀маю, что да - I think so.
  • Возмо̀жно - Possibly.
  • Вероя̀тно - Probably.
  • Несомнѐнно - There is no doubt.
  • Я не сомнева̀юсь, что... - I don't doubt that...
  • Безусло̀вно - Certainly.
  • Разумѐется - Of course.
  • Само̀ собо̀й разумѐется (often shortened to само̀ собо̀й) - It goes without saying; it's obvious.




If we disagree and decide to make it obvious to our partner, we might say:


  • Это не пра̀вда - That's not true.
  • Вы не пра̀вы / Ты не прав - You are wrong.
  • Вы ошиба̀етесь / Ты ошиба̀ешься - You are mistaken.
  • Я (с ва̀ми/ с тобо̀й) не согла̀сен / не согла̀сна - I don't agree (with you).
  • Я не ду̀маю - I don't think so.
  • Нет, наоборо̀т - No, it's the other way around.
  • Это чепуха̀! - That's nonsense!
  • Это глу̀пости! - That's dumb!
  • Ты что, с ума̀ сошёл / сошла̀? - Are you crazy or something?


Or more sophisticated ways to disagree:


  • Я не разделя̀ю ваше мнѐние по э̀тому вопро̀су - I do not share your opinion concerning this question.
  • Я вы̀нужден не согласѝться - I have to disagree.


Lack of Understanding


If you didn't understand what your partner said, you can always say:


  • Повторѝте, пожа̀луйста - Would you please repeat that?
  • (Простѝте) я не по̀нял / поняла̀ - (Excuse me) I didn't understand.
  • Что вы сказа̀ли? /Что ты сказа̀л? - What did you say?
  • Вы не моглѝ бы говорѝть помѐдленнее, пожа̀луйста? - Could you speak more slowly, please?
  • Что вы / ты имѐете / имѐешь в виду̀? - What do you mean?
  • В како̀м смы̀сле? - In what sense?
  • Что это зна̀чит? - What does it mean?
  • Вы увѐрены? / Ты увѐрен? - Are you sure?





Sometimes we can be very surprised with what we have just found out and in this case we would definitely say something like the following:


  • Не мо̀жет быть! - It can’t be!
  • (В это) тру̀дно повѐрить - (That's) hard to believe.
  • Что вы говорѝте! - What do you say!
  • Да, что вы! - Come on!


Or more colloquial ways:


  • Да, ла̀дно! - Come on!
  • Да, ну! - Come on!
  • Вот это да! - Blimey!
  • Ничего̀ себѐ! - Wow!


Displaying Indifference


If you would like to show your indifference concerning some problem or topic, you can say:


  • Мне всё равно̀ - I don't care / I don't mind.
  • Это меня̀ не интересу̀ет - I'm not interested.
  • Это меня̀ не волну̀ет - I don't care about this.
  • Меня̀ не волну̀ет, что говоря̀т лю̀ди - I don't care what people say.
  • Мне не ва̀жно - It's not important for me.
  • Мне наплева̀ть! - I couldn't care less!


Changing the Subject


Probably after that you would like to change the topic:


  • Я не хочу̀ говорѝть об э̀том - I don't want to talk about it.
  • Перейдём на другу̀ю тѐму - Let's talk about something else.
  • Сменим тѐму - Let's change the topic.
  • Хва̀тит (об э̀том) - That's enough (about this).


Providing Guidance in a Talk


If you are going to tell someone a story or give a speech on some topic, you might need some special words to guide your listener through your talk:


  • Во-пѐрвых - Firstly.
  • во-вторы̀х - Secondly.
  • в-трѐтьих - Thirdly.
  • В нача̀ле - At the beginning.
  • В заключѐнии - In conclusion.
  • Хочу̀ обратѝть ва̀ше/твоё внима̀ние на э̀ту проблѐму - I want to draw your attention to this problem.


If you try to prove your point, it always works if you refer to an opinion of the majority or say that it's a well-known fact:


  • Всем извѐстно, что... - Everybody knows, that...
  • Очевѝдно, что - It's obvious that.
  • Бесспо̀рно, это ва̀жная проблѐма - Undoubtedly, it's an important problem.
  • Широко̀ извѐстно, что - It's widely known that.


I am happy to say that you’ve just learned the words and phrases that are going to make your conversational speech in Russian varied and interesting. The only thing that you have to do now is just think up a topic you would like to discuss and find a partner to share your thoughts with. I am sure that they will be impressed with your new knowledge and enjoy talking to you, while you will be much more confident and enthusiastic.   


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Hero Image by Daniel (CC BY-ND 2.0)