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In russian sentences, when do we need to add a subject and when not?

I read something in the book Assimil with ease saying that when the subject has already been mentioned in the question, then you can omit the subject in your answer. BUT<<< what if you are the one who start the conversation? I mean, for example, if no one has asked you anything and you just wanna tell them:" I think they are all here now."? Can you just say: Думаю что они сейчас все здесь? Оr do you have to say: Я думаю что они сейчас вце здесь?? Or in another simpler word: Can we omit subjects like how we do in spanish or italian? Including in formal speeches or essays?

December 1, 2015



As far as I know, you CANNOT omit subjects with the same ease as in Spanish.

With clauses that are very frequent it works—but not in general. As you can imagine, people often start sentences with "I think", "It seems (to me)" or offer you something with "Would you like...?", so these parts often lose subject and become something of stock phrase.

Note, however, how assymetrical it is:


  • ✔Я думаю, что он знает русский.
  • ✔Я думаю, он знает русский.
  • ✔ (somewhat sure) Думаю, что он знает русский.
  • ✔ (colloquial) Думаю, он знает русский

  • ✔ (Я) не думаю, что он знает русский.


("I think" because that's my belief or because some reasoning has made me think so)

  • ✔Я считаю, что он знает достаточно.
  • ✔ Я считаю, он знает достаточно.
  • (assertive) Считаю, что он знает достаточно.
  • (very assertive and short) Считаю, он знает достаточно.

  • ✔ Я не считаю, что он знает достаточно.

  • (too short, assertive and with a claim of authority) Не считаю, что он знает достаточно.

As you can see, these two verbs mean the same thing in English and are used nearly the same in full form. However when you start removing subjects, «думать» is just OK and «считать» sounds as if it is a short message from a boss starting to lose his patience.

This is why I think removing subjects in a more neutral style is done on per-verb basis, depending on how frequent and predictable this verb is. For some verbs of thought and perception dropping "I" or "you" in the main sentence is OK in a wide variety of situations.

Note how it is virtually impossible to remove "I" in a subordinate clause:

  • Все знают, что я думаю, что он плохой писатель. = Everyone knows that I think he is a bad writer. (admittedly, a bit stiff a sentence, but omitting Я would sound even more odd here)


Очень спасибо!!:Д

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