Word Order In Russian Sentences
When you speak with native Russian speakers, you might notice that their sentences are not always clear, and the words are out of place. It confuses you, doesn't it? Why is this happening?
In Russian, the word order is considered free. It means that there is no strictly fixed place for this or that word in the sentence. For example, in the sentence "Мария вчера внимательно читала книгу" (Maria read the book carefully yesterday) 120 variants are possible, depending on the permutation of words.
There is a direct and reverse word order. The direct order exists in many Germanic, Romance and Turkic languages. The reverse word order is a violation of the traditional sequence of words in a sentence.
Direct word order: Я читаю книгу. (I read book)
Reverse word order: Я книгу читаю. (I book read)
In Russian, both word orders are correct. Russian is extremely flexible when it comes to word order.
However, sometimes the word order can be useful to express emotion or emphasis. Here is a statement of fact:
У сестры есть кошка. (My sister has a cat.)
But if I asked you how your sister’s dog is doing, you might want to emphasize, “No, she has a cat!” So to add emphasis you can reply with a different word order:
Кошка есть у сестры. (The cat is what my sister has!)
Russians don't always speak emotionally or use gestures, like Italians or Spaniards, but with the help of word order they can express different thoughts, emotions and even worry.