1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Я умею читать и писать."

"Я умею читать и писать."

Translation:I can read and write.

November 5, 2015



Sorry, maybe I missed it, but can someone clarify for us the difference between "Я могу читать" and "Я умею читать"? As far as I understand, both mean "I can read".


Skills use "уметь" (to know how to).

"Я могу писать" means that you physically can/may. Or not. And it is not very idiomatic to say that when meaning that you can write in general. If you mean it being possible to write some specific thing, using «писать» is not recommended because it is has the wrong aspect for that.

To sum it up:

  • мочь is mostly used for actions you can perform (and is very good with perfective verbs for that). Works for physical ability or inability to do something, too ("Even recovered, he still cannot walk").

  • уметь is what is typically used with skills to perform some actions


What about знаю?


знать is mainly used for knowing information.


it's the slight difference between "i can read" and "i know how to read"


What is the difference between <<уметь>> and <<знать>> they seem to both mean "to know"


«Уметь» is about an ability or skill. It means "can, know how to". We often use "to know how to do something" in our translations but in English you may also use "can" just as easily.

«Знать» is about possessing knowledge ("to know"). You can use it with languages, which is not as common in English (in English "speaking" languages is a more popular way of saying this).


I really wish the translations would be more clear. If "я умею" means "I know how," it's confusing to see "I can."


English does not really differentiate between possibility, physical ability and skill. The verb "can" is usually enough. We can use "is able to" and "knows how to" in our translations—but both are not as common as "can".

Besides, "knows how to" may cause a learner to write "знает, как" which does not mean what you think it means.


Я умею читать и писать, но не могу. Тут темно. Translate it, please


Я перевожу это: "I can (know how to) read and write, but I cannot (it is not possible): it is dark here."


I would offer that a reasonable translation of this could also be, "I am/I'm literate." At first I thought it might be a bit of a reach, but Duo also suggests "is thirsty" for words that literally translate as "wants to drink" (which I contend is not absolutely a matter of thirst), so I wonder if it's not as long a shot after all.

Just a suggestion! :D


Her pronunciation sounds little bit unnatural.. У неё немного странное произношение, на мой взгляд, она произносит "а" с некоторым акцентом, как иностранка .


to write is "НАПИСАТЬ" or " писать" ?


I believe that the former is perfective (to write something to completion), and latter in imperfective (to be in the process of writing something right now).

More details here: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BF%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8C


Thanks Shady,it would fantastic if i ever can helped with some Spanish language хэхэ


Conjugation needs to be learned by heart in singular and plural before you compose a sentence. I am not able to remember whether is the 1st, 2nd or 3rd gender in singular or in the plural. I have to know these genders before to write the sentence right.


Why translation cannot be: I know how to read a write ?


Because "a" is not "and".


Но я не умею говорить


Struggling to understand the new voice, he slurs his words horribly


Why can't it be - I read and write - ??


It doesn't really convey the sense of knowing how to read and write.

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.