Not understanding Russian cases and getting close to Advanced 2

Hey all.

I have a problem and a question.
I’m getting a quite high known word count in my target language Russian, currently at 28945 words.
I can read fairly comfortable and understand interviews and movies. So my comprehension is okay.

However my output is horrible grammar wise. I can speak quite freely but my speech is littered with mistakes that I know are wrong but I don’t know how to correct them. Even worse so, when writing.

I would love to get better at Russian grammar, specifically the cases.

I’ve tried before with the case tables and reading when the cases are used. also going though texts and trying to find the cases.
But none have helped it’s either too much at the same time or I can only find/see the cases I already know e.g. “ов” at the end of words when talking about amounts of etc.

So my question.
What have you done to ‘successfully’ learn cases and how did you go about it?
What would you do different than just sitting with a table trying to memorize the endings etc?

Or did it just come natural to you at a later stage (higher word count). I have picked up a tiny bit of grammar but it seems so minimal compared to how many words I know

I did study grammar explicitly, right from the start. My advice for you would be to get an introductory book that really explains grammar through examples and read through it as you keep on reading. That’s way better than just studying tables. Although looking up tables now and then also works. Besides, try to pay attention at the endings as you encounter them in your reading.
There are also a few videos that may help you. For example this channel may be useful: Russian grammar - YouTube

Желаю удачи

I’m not at that level in the languages I’m studying, but just thinking aloud that perhaps doing some writing might help. You can work on getting the proper case in a controlled manner where you can look it up and write it down correctly. It might help cement it in your memory. Speaking with the incorrect grammar and not following up with examining the correct cases, you may just be ingraining bad habits, and you never go back to see what it should’ve been.

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I believe that @ftornay’s advice is good. I might suggest that you focus on one case at a time. During your “genitive week”, e.g., read about that case, its uses, and the prepositions that require it. Continue your reading, but paying especial attention to uses of the genitive. Likewise with the other cases, but each in turn. It’s hard to concentrate on six things at once.
@Ericb100’s advice to write is sound. When speaking with people you cannot pause and think and perhaps consult a reference, but you certainly can when writing. Eventually that work with writing correctly should be reflected in your speaking. If you want you can even submit your writing to a tutor for correction.


Okay thank you guys for the advices!
I’ll take them to heart and try them out asap.
Looking forward to hopefully seeing some improvements. :slight_smile:

I’ve had a similar experience with french at 23k words. Empathy

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Yes, Russian Grammar is more difficult than English one.
Moreover, the Russian Grammar is more important to to correctly understand the Russian text and to speak.
I’ve written some Russian Grammar courses that can help you to understand Russian cases and other Grammar topics. Here are they:

Здесь мои курсы по русской грамматике (my Russian grammar podcasts):






Hi! I’m also studying Russian, and for a long time, I basically ignored the cases. I knew Instrumental and Prepositional from the beginning, just because they’re pretty simple, but for all the others, I had no clue. It took a conscious effort to learn them, and I’m still not perfect. I agree with all the advice below (although I personally didn’t buy an introductory book, since there are a lot of examples and explanations online) but I thought I’d just expand on it and give some concrete tips and links.

  1. This is the website I used to learn the cases, as well as all other parts of basic Russian grammar. It has easy-to-follow explanations and, yes, the tables. Check it out:

  2. Drill, drill, drill. I personally hate drilling in languages, and think it’s pretty useless to write the same thing again and again (not to mention boring), but I have two exceptions- numbers and cases. They’re both things you want to have come out of your mouth automatically so you can focus on content. To do that, drill first, then talk with a tutor/friend/exchange partner and concentrate on getting whatever case you’re focusing on right. Eventually you’ll start to do it automatically. I went case by case, and looked up prepositions that use those cases (link here: Prepositions and their cases). Then I’d practice with one or two prepositions per case and just write the words using that case a few times. You can check your answer with google translate.

After I had a decent grasp of a case, I’d use this website (Learn Russian online: Test Russian cases, gender and plural of Russian nouns). It tests you on declining Russian adjectives and nouns, and will tell you the correct answer when you mess it. It’s not the most thrilling thing, but it helped me.

  1. Learn the prepositions. This is a pain, but it’s necessary if you’re hoping to speak the language fluently. Luckily since you’re already reading so much in Russian, once you know which case goes with which ending, you should be able to figure out a lot of them easily. For the rest, you just need to practice, either by drilling or with a partner.

  2. Don’t worry about the exceptions. There are some weird exceptions, just ignore them until you understand the cases well. Then you can learn the exceptions one by one. Unfortunately, many are in very common words (money, brother, people, etc.). Similarly, there’s some weird stuff with countable/uncountable nouns in the genitive- just hold off for now. Don’t worry about the towers when you don’t understand the foundations.

  3. Genitive will be the hardest. The Russian genitive was clearly designed by an angry god that hated Russian learners. It is about twice as complicated as it needs to be, and is also, unfortunately/fortunately, one of the most common cases. Unfortunately because you need to use it a lot, fortunately because once you learn it, you’ll notice it often in your reading and it should click into place.

And lastly, take it piece by piece. This is a lot, and unless you need to take a test to study or work in Russia or something, you don’t need to know it by tomorrow. Give yourself time. I spent about 3 months working on it, on and off, and I still (often) make mistakes when I speak, but I can tell I’m getting better. There’s a big gulf between having the information in your head and having it come out perfectly every time, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

Good luck!


Мне нравится вазы уроки.
Уже исполосовал и прочитал некоторые из них.
Но, думаю что мне надо перечитать и учит остальные. :slight_smile:

Thanks man.
This is a goldmine of good information and glad to hear how it worked for you as well.
Haha, I accidently started with the genetive cases as I just wanted to start somewhere, but I can see what you mean with it being complicated. Might jump to another case to start with.
I’ll use the sites you sent (and the other people who have linked as well) it’s really nice to have Resources to use, especially since I’m a student and can’t afford official teaching.

I recommend starting with the prepositional and instrumental. They’re by far the easiest. After that, I’d go genitive, then accusative, then finish with dative.

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Thanks! I’ll give that a shot.

Мне нравится разные уроки.
Уже использовал и прочитал некоторые из них.
Но, думаю что мне надо вновь прочитать и учить остальные. :slight_smile:

Step by step languages will come to you
Good luck

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I did what ftornay did and studied grammar first. A good website for grammar lessons is

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Спасибо! :smiley:

Это хорошее исправление, молодец! Но, как я понимаю, Magn0733 хотел сказать:
То есть, уроки написаны Евгением

Да именно! :smiley: А теперь я знаю почему - 7-Буквей правила (7-Letter rule).

C1 Russian learner here. What exactly about cases don’t you understand? If you know the morphology (how to actually form all the cases) then there’s not much left to do besides learn which verbs/prepositions take which case.

However, one mistake you might be making is thinking ‘Oh this preposition takes this case’, and while that’s somewhat true, it’s only half the story. You need to be thinking of a preposition as ‘preposition + case’, because for example в can mean ‘to’ or ‘in’ depending on the case.

Cases are very important and it really makes it very confusing to see grammar being misused. Thankfully, Russian grammar, though a bit tricky to begin with, is very very regular and quite straightforward.


*мне нравятся ваши уроки = I like your lessons.

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It’s not so much that I don’t understand. I get that they are used to express different scenarios etc.
The problem was just the scale of grammar I was trying to get in at once.
I had hoped to pick up more that what I had, just by reading.
But realizing that it was getting out of proportion with the words I knew compared to the amount of comprehension due to grammar. I had to do something. And as I said I had tried to do some studying of grammar before but I quickly got overwhelmed and went back to reading.
So I just wanted to know how others had done it.

There have been some really good tips and feedback here so I’m currently going over it again.
And as you say they are not so confusing, once you isolate and focus on one at a time.

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