Common Spelling Rules for the Russian Language

  • September 17, 2017

Compared to English Russian is pretty sparse when it comes to spelling rules. Nevertheless the ones that do exist in Russian are important and they come up often. In this post we'll take a look at these rules and even provide you with a unique way to remember which letters they're used with. 

The logic behind these rules make Russian pronunciation easier or more "clean". Sometimes a soft vowel in certain places make a word difficult to say. These rules try to eliminate that hurdle. 

1) The 7 letter rule: Ы never comes after... 

In Russian the vowel Ы never comes after the letters: 'Г, К, Х, Ж, Ч, Ш, and Щ'. Instead of Ы the vowel И is used. 

A closer look:

A more detailed explanation of the 7 letter spelling rule

2) The unstressed "O

An unstressed O never follows the letters Г, К, Х, Ж, Ч, Ш, Щ, or Ц'. Instead we use an "А".

3) Я - А

Я never follows the letters 'Г, К, Х, Ж, Ч, Ш, Щ, or Ц'. After these letters we use А instead of Я.

4) Ю - У

Ю never follows the letters "Г, К, Х, Ж, Ч, Ш, Щ, Ц'. Instead we use У.

How to remember which letters for each rule

It can get a bit confusing trying to remember which consonant requires which vowel. In this case experience is the best teacher. Through trial and error these rules will start to feel like second nature. 

However there's also another somewhat unorthodox way to commit these rules to memory. It involves shrimp and garlic. Watch the video below to check it out:

A closer look:

A trick for remembering 3 Russian spelling rules


I hope that solves the mystery behind the common Russian spelling rules. Good luck in your studies!

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