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Снова, опять, вновь, ещё раз

What are the differences in meaning and usage? Are they largely interchangeable?

I'm sure I saw discussion of this before, or at least снова vs. опять, but I couldn't find it again.

November 13, 2015



Thought about your question for an hour before going to sleep :)

There are no strict rules for using that words, they are slightly different in there styles, but in many cases you can use all of them. I'll try to provide some examples.

  1. Вновь is more 'book-style', so it's not so widely used in common everyday speech. In general, 'снова' is a correct everyday replacement for 'вновь'.

  2. 'Еще раз' used more often at the end of the sentence - 'Можешь повторить это еще раз?' (Can you repeat it once again?). Actually, 'once again' - is the closest translation. Or sometimes we can put 'Еще раз' to the beginning, let's say 'Еще раз, ты пойдешь на вечеринку?' - here it means 'Let me clarify, are you going to the party?'.

  3. 'Снова' and 'опять' - closest translation is just 'again'. Usually used in the middle of the sentence, right before the verbum. 'Я опять играл ночью в варкрафт' (I played warcraft in the night again). You can also use 'снова', it doesn't matter.


Опять and снова actually have a slight difference. Снова is more positive "again", while опять has more negative sense. Examples:

  • Наша команда снова победила! - Our team won again! :-)
  • Наша команда опять проиграла... - Our team lost again... :-(

And as Larisa_L mentioned here about the joke "не опять, а снова":

Mother to her child:
- Расскажи мне стихотворение. Ты должен повторить его. - Tell me the poem. You should repeat it.
- Опять??? - (negative) Again???
- Не опять, а снова! - Not (negative) again, but (positive) again!


Ah, now this joke makes more sense to me :) I actually perceive снова as a neutral word, while опять is a negative word. So I would use снова проиграла, but not опять победила in your examples.


For 40 years of using Russian it's the first time I come across the notion that опять has a negative connotation. So, it's probably not true. The same goes for снова.

"Мешок снова развязывался, сундук опять отпирался." Лев Успенский.

"...выкладывая шашки, чередующиеся по цвету, он кладет сначала белую и черную шашки, но потом опять черную и снова черную." А. Лурия.

"Пение чередовалось с речью: попою четверть часа, потом поговорю столько же на установленном звуке, опять попою и снова поговорю." К. Станиславский.

"Поэт словно бы нигде не находит себе места: из Москвы едет в Петербург, оттуда в Михайловское, снова в Петербург, опять в Москву." Д. Благой.


Thank you, that's exactly what I was looking for.


There is also a joke in Russia. When something annoying is happening again, and then someone asks - What, again? Опять? - they often get an answer - Не опять, а снова? (Not again, but again) As if there was a difference between the two, while there is actually none.


Some addenda: 1. Вновь can mean "недавно, в последнее время" and is a part of the commonly used phrase "вновь прибывший" - someone who just recently arrived.

  1. Think of "еще раз" simply and literally as "one more time"


Эх, раз, еще раз with Высоцкий: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgSa5HIQEHs


Old discussion but I'd like to add that снова is very similar to English's "anew" in origin. Though it's used more often than that, since anew is usually used for uncommon actions or time in English, if ever...

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