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Recommendations for Russian grammar books?

So, six skills into the tree, it seems I already need a grammar book to keep my case endings in check... I have looked up some of the concepts online, and borrowed something OK-ish from the library, but would like to actually own a good, printed grammar reference.

Can anyone recommend one? Preferably not a tome that will explain every rule and exception that exists, but something clear and concise that will help a false beginner not lose her mind.

Update: Thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

I should add that I'm really not looking for a course book as such (I actually already own the Teach Yourself Russian one, albeit one printed in 1998 -- I hear there are differences if the efficacy of the different versions), as I'm committed to following the Duolingo Russian course.

It's just that I am one of those people who actually do benefit from looking at tables of declensions, as I understood and remember grammar better that way that just from practicing it over and over again. (I blame having learned German as my first foreign language.) Duolingo works wonders for me, but only if I can have a sneaky peak at a grammar book (or at the very least, one of those laminated grammar cheat sheets) once in a while.

(I seem to also need help with my arithmetic: I'm actually nine lessons into the course, not six... Warning: Strengthening three languages after midnight may harm your ability to function normally.)

November 20, 2015



Yeah, I recommend the excellent "New Penguin Russian Course", mentioned by azzipog before. Another book that I highly recommend is Teach Yourself Russian. It is more elementary than the first one and it is a nice reading. And it is less grammar focused, so I think it is perfect for a first reading on the subject. If you want to download the Teach Yourself Russian book.... http://gen.golibgen.com/view.php?id=740904


Hugo's 'Russian in three months' is very slim and down-to-earth. I also like the New Penguin Russian course (although it's such a pity there's no audio to accompany it). But I think looking at tables is not a good way to learn; just practice sentences enough and the right endings will start to stick--that is the beauty of duolingo.


[Update: books like what you're looking for are in the 2nd paragraph. There are a few other simple reference grammars available that are pretty good to excellent, besides those.]

The older Teach Yourself Russian books by Michael Frewin or by Maximilian Fourman will give you good explanations and lots of exercises with keys. But they are pretty old, so the Russian is a bit outdated, especially in the book by Fourman. They are primers, like the Penguin and Hugo books. There are a couple others that are also not bad--new and a bit pricey, or older (used) and cheaper. The best primer I've ever seen is Introductory Russian Grammar, by Stilman, Stilman, and Harkins, but it is old (1972, which means there is lots of СССР and Ленинград), doesn't have a key, and is very pricey if you buy it new . . . plus it is college textbook-sized, and so "tomish."

The Schaum's Outline Series grammar by James S. Levine is an introductory reference grammar and not too detailed (and it has exercises with a key), and there's an Oxford Russian Grammar and Verbs--I haven't looked at it, but the series is good for brief grammars--by Terence Wade, which is briefer than his Comprehensive Russian Grammar, which is good but rather tomish.

As a supplement to Duo, online, you might try the FSI Russian course, although these tend to be rather boring--but there is audio. There are also several online Russian grammar references, if you don't want a book. . . . Ask if interested, but books are better (IMHO).

Look on ebay or amazon (used) or abebooks or the like, first!


Essentials of Russian Grammar by Nichols Maltzoff is super helpful.

I totally get where you're coming from -- I took Latin in school, so I also wanted a more "hardcore" grammar book. I still want one of those laminated sheets for easy reference in addition. I haven't decided if I will make or buy one (I have a laminator).


Thanks for your suggestion!

I've actually thought of those laminated sheets as well -- but I think need to learn the grammar first, before I can use that as a memory aid.


I'm working my way through English Grammar for Russian Speakers. It really is more of a reference book, but it is broken up into short segments so it's easy to bring along to work. Not sure if this book is for everyone since I guess it is designed with native English speakers in mind.

I also recently acquired the Cortina Conversational Russian book, which seems to have some interesting, if a bit outdated info.

Lost my copy of Penguin Russian Course a while back but I think it's time to buy another.

I've also seen Kemple's Essential Russian Grammar on Amazon and it looks promising.


привет annika_a i want to read russian, not speak it or listen to it. back in the 1970s i took a reading course in French, also in German. that's what i'd like to do with russian: read it. i know the russian/cyrillic alphabet and the basics of pronunciation (just enough to sound really awful to native russian speakers, or so i've been told!). what i want now is the russian grammar laid out in one book for an english-speaking american like my humble self. do you or any of your followers have a book like this? Note: I'd like a book that lays out all the tables and things like that, and that has lessons so I can begin at the beginning and proceed forward each day/hour. спасибо )

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