Arguably, the Russian language is one of the hardest to learn, due in large part to its Cyrillic alphabet and somewhat tricky pronunciation. But don't be disheartened. If you're a beginner, learning the days of the week in Russian is a great place to start, and doing so is actually a lot easier than you think.
Whether this is your first day learning Russian or you're just looking for a refresher, we've got you covered.
Russian Days of the Week
The Russian week starts on Monday, so we'll start our seven days here.
Unlike in the English language, days of the week in Russian are based on the numbering system, as opposed to old pagan Gods, like in English.
If you're not already familiar with counting ordinally in Russian, this article will give you a headstart. You'll soon see how the Russian days of the week tie closely with counting ordinally in Russian.
To be extremely clear, we have listed below which days we are going to speak about in detail.
We'll go through each day of the week individually, covering the translation and Russian pronunciation for each word. You'll be speaking Russian in no time!
Monday - понедельник
Let's begin with the first day of the week, as it stands in Russia!
The prefix по and the word неделя (week) form together to make the word Monday in Russian.
See below for some example sentences and the English translation and pronunciation.
- Сегодня понедельник (Today is Monday.)
- Что ты делаешь в понедельник? (What are you doing on Monday?)
Chto ty delayesh' v ponedel'nik?
- Я начинаю работать в понедельник (I start work on Monday.)
Ya nachinayu rabotat' v ponedel'nik.
Tuesday - вторник
Второй is the translation for the ordinal number of ‘second’ in Russian, which explains why the word for Tuesday in Russian has a similar resemblance.
With Tuesday being the second day of the week, this is easy to remember!
- Вторник – второй день недели. (Tuesday is the second day of the week.)
ftornik vtoroy den' nedeli
- Во вторник я иду в боулинг. (On Tuesday I go bowling.)
Vo ftornik ya idu v bouling
- Мой день рождения во вторник. (My birthday is on Tuesday.)
Moy den' rozhdeniya vo ftornik
Wednesday - среда
This quite literally translates as 'middle' and is pronounced sree dah.
This quite literally translates as 'middle' and is pronounced sree dah.
Let's look at this in context below.
- Среда - средний день рабочей недели. (Wednesday is the middle day of the working week.)
Sree dah - sredniy den' rabochey nedeli.
- Завтра среда. (Tomorrow is Wednesday.)
Zavtra sree dah
- Я не люблю среду. (I don't like Wednesdays.)
Ya ne lyublyu sredu
Thursday - четверг
If you're already familiar with your ordinal numbers in Russian, then you'll see the pattern emerging with the days of the week.
Thursday in Russian is pronounced chetverk.
Some example sentences with translation and pronunciation are as follows:
- Четверг - четвертый день недели (Thursday is the fourth day of the week.) Chetverg - chetvertyy den' nedeli
- Четверг был вчера (Thursday was yesterday.)
Chetverg byl vchera
- Сегодня четверг (Today is Thursday.)
Friday - пятница
If you've learned your numbers in Russian already, then you'll know that пять is five. With Friday being the fifth day of the week, this seems very appropriate!
Below are some example sentences and the English translation and pronunciation:
- Сегодня пятница. (Today is Friday.)
- Я люблю пятницу! (I love Friday!)
Ya lyublyu pyatnitsu!
- Я пойду гулять в пятницу. (I'm going out on Friday.)
Ya poydu gulyat' v pyatnitsu.
Weekends in Russian
It's important to understand the differences behind the meanings of the different days of the week in Russian. After all, if you understand the etymology of each day, you're more likely to remember new vocabulary.
Although we've noticed a pattern with the weekdays in Russian corresponding with ordinal numbers, the same can't be said about the days of the weekend. Sorry, we know this would make things easier!
In fact, the weekend in Russian should not be associated with the ordinal days of six and seven, as you might expect. Instead, the etymology of the days 'Saturday' and 'Sunday' is not so different from that of the English language.
Saturday - суббота
Суббота, pronounced subbota, is derived from шаббат, meaning 'Sabbath' in Russian.
Below are some example sentences and their translations.
- Завтра суббота (Tomorrow is Saturday).
- В субботу я иду на пляж (On Saturday, I am going to the beach).
V subbotu ya idu na plyazh
- Суббота была хорошим днём (Saturday was a nice day).
Subbota byla khoroshim dnyom
Sunday - воскресенье
The word for Sunday in Russian is воскресенье. As with Saturday, Sunday also follows a similar Christian narrative with regards to its etymology.
The word воскресенье means to rise from the dead, referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Russia is now classed as a highly Orthodox state, with the word for Sunday now abbreviated to Bc.
Some examples of sentences and the translations are below.
- Воскресенье - день ничегонеделания (Sunday is a day for doing nothing) - Note that this word is uncommon in Russia.
Voskresen'ye - den' nichegonedelaniya
- Ты идешь в церковь в воскресенье? (Are you going to Church on Sunday?)
Ty idesh' v tserkov' v voskresen'ye?
- У меня есть планы на воскресенье (I have plans on Sunday).
U menya yest' plany na voskresen'ye
Prepositions and Cases in Russian: What are they & why do they matter?
Now that we've covered the Russian days of the week, it's time to touch upon some Russian grammar. If you're a complete beginner, you may want to look away now and focus on learning the days first. Things are about to get a little complex!
Nominative, genitive, dative and accusative, instrumental and prepositional are the six cases the Russian language has that can determine the function of the noun.
Confused? Don't worry, let's study the examples in greater context below.
The nominative case answers ktoh/chtoh (who/what), therefore identifying the subject. Please see below for an example sentence in the nominative context.
- Воскресенье — это день, когда мы ходим в церковь. (Sunday is the day we go to Church).
The genitive case shows possession, absence or attribution. This sentence case answers кого/ kaVOH (whom or of whom) and чего/chyVOH (what or of what).
- Всю неделю я работаю, кроме вторника. (I work all week, except Tuesday.)
The dative case is used in the context of questions regarding кому/чему, kaMOO/chyMOO - (whom/what).
- Я закончу работу над проектом к среде. (I'll have the project done by Wednesday.)
The accusative case is similar to that of the dative case as it answers the questions кого/что, kaVOH/CHTO – (whom/what), but also with the addition of куда/kooDAH (where).
- Я могу встретиться с тобой в четверг. (I can meet you on Thursday.)
This case shows which instrument is used to do or make something and can be used to express interest. This case answers the questions кем/чем, kyem/chem (with whom/with what).
- Я довольна прошедшей субботой, это было весело. (I'm happy with this past Saturday; it was fun.)
Answers to questions regarding о ком/о чем, ah KOM/ah CHOM (about whom/about what), and the question где, GDYE (where).
- Он боялся даже думать о понедельнике. (He was afraid to even think about Monday.)
Russian Phrases & Vocabulary relating to Days of the Week
So now you've mastered speaking the days of the Russian week, it's time to add some further words and phrases to help you form some sentences in context.
- неделя (The week) nedelya
- Выходные дни (Weekend) vykhodnyye dni
- Сегодня (Today) Sevodnya
- Вчера (Yesterday) Vchera
- на этой неделе (This week) na etoy nedele
- Позавчера (The day before yesterday) Pozavchera
- Завтра (Tomorrow) Zavtra
- Послезавтра (The day after tomorrow) Poslezavtra
- Рабочий день (Workday) Rabochiy den'
- Выходной (Day off) Vykhodnoy
- На следующей неделе (Next week) Na sleduyushchey nedele
- Следующий месяц (Next month) Sleduyushchiy mesyats
- на прошлой неделе (last week) na proshloy nedele
Summing Up: Days of the Week in Russian
You should now be more familiar with the beautiful yet complex Russian language, as well as the grammar and relevant vocabulary surrounding the days of the week. Hopefully, you've even learned a phrase or two along the way. The next step is to practice, practice, practice!
Luckily, Lingopie offers a free trial, so your Russian lessons can begin right away.
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It's also a relatively easy and fun way to enhance your Russian listening and speaking skills without you even realizing you're improving. You'll be speaking like a native in no time.
So, don't wait until tomorrow (or should we say Завтра?). Why not make a start today?