Liking and Loving in Russian
Hi everyone! Here's a guide for those who have problems matching Russian "любить/нравиться" to English "love/like".
Sure, it would be easier if you could just remember something like "love = любить", "like = нравиться", but things are more complicated than that.
First, please read the Tips and notes for The Infinitive, Likes and Dislikes skill. Maybe that's all the information you need. I put them below for your convenience.
I LIKE/I LOVE?
In Russian, you can express liking things and activities pretty much the same way as in English, with similar verbs. The usage differs a bit, though.
A a rule of thumb, «Я люблю́» means "I love" only when directed at a single person (or animal). Otherwise, it's just "I like".
- "LOVE" люби́ть means a stable, lasting feeling (note the phonetic change for the 1st person singular: "люблю"). A normal, transitive verb, i.e. used with the Accusative. Use it for loving an individual or liking some things/people/activity in general (verbs take infinitive). Very much preferred in negations of such activities (i.e. "don't like to wait")
- "LIKE" нра́виться means moderate "liking" something or someone, often something specific. Not transitive! The thing liked is the subject, acting indirectly on a person: «Мне нра́вится стол» = I like the table.
- note that «Мне нра́вится стол» works in a similar way to the English verb "to seem": "The table seems good to me". The sentence is built as though the table "transmits" the feeling towards you. While rare in English, in Russian, this is pretty typical for feelings and experience to be expressed that way («Мне хорошо́»).
INFINITIVE «НРА́ВИТЬСЯ» AND 3RD PERSON SINGULAR «НРА́ВИТСЯ» ARE PRONOUNCED EXACTLY THE SAME, HOWEVER, FOR THE SAKE OF CONSISTENCY THEY ARE SPELT DIFFERENTLY (MOST INFINITIVES END IN «-ТЬ», SO -ТЬ + СЯ = -ТЬСЯ, NATURALLY) When you refer to generic things and activities, both verbs can be used but «люби́ть» is mildly more useful.
I tried to explain liking and loving differently by fitting them into a table. I also introduced the Russian verb "обожать" which can be used for loving activities, food and stuff (rather than just liking them).
You can't use любить for something you try for the first time. This is what I called "liking something in the moment", and it is always "нравиться". For "любить", you need to do do something regularly.
- Тебе нравится мой пирог? / Do you like my cake?
- Да, можно мне еще кусочек? / Yes, can I have another piece, please?
- • • •
- Ты ходил вчера в кино? / Did you go to the movies yesterday?
- Да, но фильм мне не понравился. / Yes, but I didn't like the movie.
- Я люблю Машины пироги, они всегда очень вкусные. / I like Masha's cakes, they are always so tasty.
In this case, you can also say "Мне нравятся Машины пироги", but this is a less common usage.
Olimo, thanks for this guide! Great explanations and really helpful as per your usual.
Question though, you mention we should first read the Tips and notes for The Infinitive, Likes and Dislikes skill. I'm not there yet in the tree (sadly) so when I follow your link, nothing shows up. I would really like to start learning like/dislike so I can start practicing this aspect. Since it's so easy to say whether you like or dislike something, I think it will help start more Russian conversations with the Russian speakers around me.
Could you copy and paste the tips and notes here? Don't worry about the formatting. I just want to get the gist of what it says.
I also am originally from Russia because I was adopted, and I attended school there through the 3rd grade. Therefore, I was very fluent in it;, however, I have not been able to use it within the past 10 years because I have been living in the U.S. Now, Duo is helping me to re-learn it, and I am SO GLAD this discussion was posted. Did you remember what part of Russia you were from?
Im not the only one see.. I was born in Utah United States and my mother gave me up after two weeks to my grandmother who lives in Vladivostok Russia and i grew up learning two languages and im starting to forget Russian cuz ive been in America now for 8 years and its all everyone knows im starting to lose it. my father is Russian everyone on my fathers side is Russian thank you DuoLingo
Well, you may interpret it as follows. «Любить» means a deep, long-term feeling. When you are talking about your tastes or things in general, it automatically means you are describing your likes and dislikes in long term (how they usually are). So it does not add any "weight" to your feeling. Yeah, you enjoy eating apples, and enjoyed it last year, and probably will feel the same a few months from now. So what?
As a native speaker I can add that "любить" is a more long lasting act than "нравиться" in the majority of cases, so if you say "Мне понравился фильм" then you mean "I loved/ liked the movie" (which I watched yesterday for example). If you say "Я любил этот фильм", it will be translated as "I used to love this movie" (in the childhood for example). In the case with food "Я очень люблю/ Мне очень нравятся яблоки" (I like/ love apples very much) both cases are common (if you speak about apples in general) and there is almost no difference in meaning, just "love" sounds as a bit stronger feeling. But if you basically point at the apples in a vase and want to say that exactly these five apples are the one you liked then you say "Мне нравятся эти яблоки/ Мне понравились эти яблоки", if you say "Я люблю эти яблоки" it would be understood as you like this sort of apples, but not these five apples in particular.
I don't agree that "Мне нравятся Машины пироги" is a less common usage. People, whose native language is russian, often used this form. Russians don't say "Мне понравились пироги Маши". This is a right usage, but it's a less common usage. You can say "Машины пироги мне очень понравились" or "Пироги Маши мне очень понравились".
Обижать and обежать sound the same, with a soft (palatalized) "б" and an unclear sound somewhere between ee and eh. You distinguish them by context. Also, "обежать" (to run around) is not as common a word.
"Обожать" sounds with an "ah" sound and a hard (unpalatalized) "б".
Я только что посмотрел в википедии. Это условное наклонение. Сослагательное наклонение (subjunctive mood) is when we say something like "He demanded that I be quiet." Its use in English is quite limited, and I think many native speakers don't even realize it exists. It's much more common in Romance languages.
This page has some helpful ideas: http://en.bab.la/phrases/personal/letter/english-russian/
Right! You can't say "я люблю" for a post or a photo - unless you like it so much you read or view it regularly.
- Я люблю эту книгу (I like/love this book) → I read, understood and came to like this book so much that I remember stuff from it and re-read it sometimes
- Мне понравилась эта книга (I liked this book) → I have read this book and liked it (there is no information as to whether you will re-read it or remember it after some time)
Hmm... even with what you said, do many people still use "люблю" online (e.g. facebook, vk, etc.) despite the fact that it's technically an exaggeration? I think quite a lot of people who speak English do that (to the point where it's an online normality).
Not that I oppose it in any way - traditions are traditions.
Everything can be replaced with everything if you don't care about the meaning. If you do, there is no situation where "понравиться" is replaced with "любить".
Surely, saying that you read book and liked it is not quite the same as saying that you generally enjoy reading this book, maybe even several times. Hell, "Мне понравилась эта книга" does not even always mean that you like it now.
Thanks for the post! This is very helpful and does clarify some uncertainties.
I decided to learn Russian because my gf is Ukrainian but lives really close to the Russian border so all her family speaks only Russian. I am Macedonian, our language is Slavic, so Russian is not too hard, I understood already around 30% before starting to learn it.
Cheers to all language enthusiasts out there!
My parents was originally from the Soviet Union. Then they moved to the US. Russian was my first language, and I used to be fluent in it, but I was born in the US, so (almost) everybody around me spoke English. I almost forgot Russian completely, so I'm trying to re-learn it. This has helped a lot! Спасибо!
Look, I am a native Russian who studied several Slavic languages on my own. Ukrainian and Bielorussian present no problem: even without ever studying them a Russian speaker will understand 60 to 70 percent of the talk. And that is no surprise, given that all three languages stem from the dialects of the same old Russian language that was spoken 750 years ago. They form the Eastern Slavic group. Slavic languages of the Balkans which include Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Slovenian and Macedonian form the Southern Slavic group. Their 10th century common ancestor, the Old Slavic language served as a basis for the language of the Russian Orthodox Church and and a source of many loan words for the modern Russian language. However, after studying thoroughly a Bulgarian coursebook, reading a couple of books in Bulgarian, after making a list of Bulgarian roots that are not found in Eastern Slavic languages and compiling a short list of “false friends” which are many, I learned to understand Bulgarian texts, but still cannot talk to a Bulgarian. As for other Southern Slavic languages, I understand them even less. The same is true about Western Slavic Languages which include Czech, Slovak, Polish and a few minor languages. Note also that, apart from Slavic languages, there are other languages in the Balkans including Romanian (a distant relative of Italian), Albanian, Greek and Hungarian. The latter doesn’t even belong to the Indo-European family, being related to languages of small ethnic groups Hants and Mansi who live in the area called Yugra (cf. Hungary) in the north of Western Siberia on the other side of the Urals. Their common ancestors split up in two groups in the 9th century when the great migration of peoples across Eastern Europe took place.
But in answer to his question, no you can't talk to any Balkan in Russian. But a large number of them will speak straight ahead Russian. Especially the older people.
Just like you can speak English to a lot of them. Especially the younger ones.
Olimo's post is the gift that keep on giving. I find myself returning to it again and again to help me understand the subtle differences between любить and нравиться.
I'd like to introduce another question for the native speakers: What are some common adverbs Russians use to modify the verb любить, and what are the various meanings? For example, you can say Я страшно люблю классическую музыку, right? Besides страшно, what other adverbs are commonly employed by native speakers?
I know this is a very old post, but I've noticed how Russian oftentimes seems more similar to Dutch than to English. Also in this case, I think the distinction between люблю and нравится is more like how it is in Dutch than in English; in Dutch we also don't say "love" for something you've only done once.
IKEA is well known for having their labels and instructions in about 50 languages, so if you know what a word sounds like and have some idea of what the letters are, it's generally pretty easy to decipher. :-) Now, it is a well-established fact that I'm crazy, so you don't necessarily need to learn Cyrillic the same way I did, but if it works for you, go ahead! :-)
There is an onscreen keyboard on the app, and there should be one here as well.
im from Venezuela but i really like languagues so i would love to learn russian, dutch, german and swedish actually i just speak english and Spanish!
Same my family is russian and I think my first language was Russian (that's why I had to that this special class where they would help me learn English better) but I really want to learn russian better. I understand it and can speak some of it but I can't read or write it... so yea.
I really like the comparison to the English "to seem." It's a very good way to explain the way "нравиться" is grammatically structured to an English speaker. Good job!
Also, don't forget to mention that if you're saying you like multiple things, it conjugates differently! For example, Мне нравятся русские люди.
No, that would mean that you love yourself and not the other person.
I think the problem most people have in this course with LOVE/LIKE, is not necessarily when we would use the terms ourselves. The problem lies in the fact that in the examples in the course, there is no context. When an example is "I люблю steak" We have no Idea if the person likes or has a true passionate love for them (a chef)... So, with no way to understand degree of feeling... the course should steer away from it. Otherwise we are simply guessing as to the degree of feeling
There is no guessing here. Я люблю бифштекс(ы) means "I like steak "(in general), so does the sentence Мне нравятся бифштексы. The English for "Бифштекс мне нравится" is "I like the steak" (the one I am eating at the moment). The Russian for "I love steak" is "Обожаю бифштекс(ы)".
So are you saying that every time in the course I see the word Нраиится it is always translated to LIKE? Definitely reasonable. My confusion is the many times we see the words Я Люблю... or Она любит.... When does it mean Like and when does it mean Love. When the statement reads "His daughter Любит Football". If I am reading your statement above correctly, this will always be translated as like, because Обожаю was not used. The exception being people. And, if saying I люблю cats... it would be "like" because its a general statement.... But if I say I Люблю This cat... it would be love because its a specific statement? I'll look for this consistency from here on. and, bye the way, thanks for your reply! Would love to get a handle on this.
If you want consistency, it works as follows:
- a1. Love as in "I love my mom"
- a2. Romantic love as in "I love my husband"
- b1. Generic liking as in "I like vegetables"
- c2. Generic liking of activities as in "I like swimming"
НРАВИТЬСЯ (perf. понравиться)
- a1. Liking specific objects as in "Do you like the soup?"
- a2 Generic liking as in "I like vegetables"; less common than любить
- a3 Generic liking of activities as in "I like swimming"; less common than любить
By now you might have noticed that none of the options cover "I love cheesburgers" or "I'm loving the show". This is for a reason.
Love is a state of absolute and enrichment of like it applies to the person and things you have an in-depth passion for whereas like is used to love material things but for a person, you may use it to a lesser degree of wanting and passionate. I love my girlfriend, my country my father, my family....... but you may like a film or show or even your classmate ....but sometimes in English, we may use these words interchangeably. In the Russian language as per situation, one can understand when it means to love and when to like.Я люблю........
Do not worry: they do not teach much grammar at school. Participles are pretty much the only thing really taught, not skipped over.
The rest is usually skipped over or greatly simplified. Native speakers just do not have the same kinds of problems non native learners do. Spelling and punctuation are the focus (and were even more so when I was in school).
You have already learnt something from Duo which is the alphabet.
If you continue till the end of the Russian course you will become very familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet. This is essential for reading and writing any Russian.
You will also learn some basic grammar and a small vocabulary. Basically, you will learn something about how Russian works as a language. This will provide you with a platform to develop your understanding of Russian in your preferred direction.
You will not learn to speak Russian by using just Duo. You will not learn to understand ordinary Russian conversation when you hear it just by using Duo. You will not learn to write Russian sentences and paragraphs without many glaring errors and confusing structure.
But Duo will give you a large head start on using platforms that will help you with those things. It will also help you sort out what you mean by learn Russian. It will help you understand what it is that you want to get from studying Russian as well as where to get the training that will meet those interests.
Now that I live in northern Europe in a country where I don't speak the language, the limited skills in other languages I have developed from Duo enable me to read many of the labels and instructions here. Ethnic Russians are a large minority here so between the Russian labels and the pervasive French and German labels, my studies with Duo have allowed me to not poison myself with disagreeable things simply because I am completely helpless in the primary language. That alone is worth the time I spent on Duo.
Eg: I used my Russian to find the dried soup section in a store. I used my French to get the kind of soup I wanted. I used my German to turn on the alien (to me) stove. However, I cannot speak or understand any of those languages in a conversation setting. The point is you should figure out what your goal is when you say learn Russian. Then find other platforms to use in conjunction with Duo to get you what you want.
Hope this helps.
Yes. But keep in mind that learning a language is a long-term task, and Duolingo is an extremely useful (and free!) tool that you can come back to, again and again. If you think that you're going to just do a few exercises and somehow magically "learn," you'd be mistaken. However, if you're truly interested in learning Russian or any other language, you will need to spend a good portion of time using various resources, of which Duolingo is a very valuable one, and learn slowly, building upon your existing knowledge while re-reviewing everything you have learned previously. In other words, you need to put in a great deal of effort. It's like playing a violin: If you don't spend many hours practicing to learn and maintain the necessary skills, you can't "learn" to play the violin. If you only learn to read music, or play "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," you haven't learned to play the violin.
Ukrainian has a special verb кохати for “to love”. It is only used when the object of love is a person. The verb is similar to the Polish “kochać”. In fact, if you analyze the origin of that part of the Ukrainian vocabulary which has no cognates in Russian, you will find that 99% of it came from Polish. If it had not been for the Poles, Russia and Ukraine would have shared the same language these days. Phonetically, however, Ukrainian have more similarities with Serbian than with any other Slavic language.
The link to "Tips and Notes" is broken. I think the new link is https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ru/Infinitive%2C-Likes-and-Dislikes/tips-and-notes
I ran into this a lot when I first started Russian and I got a lot of questions wrong because of it. I noticed that there were specific cases where only “love” was allowed, and specific cases where only “like” was allowed. That was kind of confusing since I personally consider “love” to mean a more intense version of the word “like” but basically interchangeable.
the subject of the phrase "мне нравится" is 1st person
мне is dative, not nominative -- it's not the subject.
The subject is the thing that you like. It appeals to you.
As the original post said:
The thing liked is the subject, acting indirectly on a person
When I say "this book appeals to me", what is the subject? Answer: "this book". Which is why the verb ends in -s. The subject is not "to me".