Your Ultimate Guide to Russian Numbers: How to Count in Russian

If you want to learn the Russian language, numbers are an important aspect of your language learning journey. They are a key component in spoken and written Russian and vital for everyday life. The good news is they aren't too tricky to learn!

This article will look at the cardinal numbers 1 to 1,000 and ordinal numbers 1 to 10. Moreover, you will learn how to say the date and time in Russian using numbers, and get a brief overview of some aspects of Russian grammar.

For further practice with pronunciation and vocabulary, we recommend you stream Russian TV and movies so you can hear native Russians use these terms in a natural context.

Related: The Best Way to Learn Russian: Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Introduction to the Russian Language

Russian is spoken by over 258 million people worldwide. It is the official language of Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.

Russian is also spoken in several other countries, including Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. In fact, it is the most spoken Slavic language in Europe.

The thought of learning Russian can be daunting, as it has a different alphabet and sounds very different from English.

However, it is incredibly rewarding when you can communicate in a language spoken by around 221 million Europeans and it opens up a world of engaging and fascinating literature, TV, movies and other Russian arts.

Learning to speak and write in a new language is a long and, at times challenging process, but it is made easier if you have a genuine determination and passion for language learning. With the right resources, it can even be fun!

If you're interested in learning about Russian numbers there is a good chance you're a beginner level student of this language, in which case our article explaining how to say the days of the week in Russian may be of interest to you.

Today we are going to look at numbers. They are vital for communicating in Russian in everyday life. Let's jump in!

Russian Numbers 1-10

First, we will look at Russian cardinal numbers 1 to 10. A cardinal number is used for counting how many of something there is. They start from 1 and do not include fractions.

As you could guess, cardinals are very important aspects of language. You need to be able to use them for ordering food and drink (two coffees, please), counting objects (there is one tree in the garden) and giving specific information (I have a table for four).

Here are the Russian numbers 1 to 10:

  • Один (“odin”) - One
  • Два (“dva”) - Two
  • Три (“tri”) - Three
  • Четыре (“chetyre”) - Four
  • Пять (“pyat”) - Five
  • Шесть (“shest”) - Six
  • Семь (“sem”) - Seven
  • Восемь (“vosem”) - Eight
  • Девять (“deviat”) - Nine
  • Десять (“desiat”) - Ten

The words in parenthesis illustrate how these numbers are written in the Latin alphabet.

They instruct the correct Russian pronunciation, however, they are not phonetic. "Odin", for instance, is pronounced like "ah deen".

You might benefit from looking up YouTube videos or podcasts of Russian lessons on your computer so you can listen to a native using number-related vocab in Russian.

This will help you to learn the correct pronunciation.

A Note on Russian Grammar

We won't lean too heavily into grammar today, but it is worth noting the following:

When the numbers one and two, or один (“odin”) and два (“dva”), are put before a noun, they change their form according to the gender of the noun.

In Russian, nouns can be masculine, feminine or neuter in gender:

  • Masculine: один ("odin"); два ("dva")
  • Feminine: одна ("odna"); две ("dve")
  • Neuter: одно ("odno"); два ("dva")

Here are a couple of examples: две кошки (“dve koshki”) means two cats, where cat is a feminine noun, and одно озеро ("odno ozero") means one lake, and lake is neuter.

Russian Ordinal Numbers

Most ordinal numbers are relatively easy to learn once you know how to count in Russian, with the exception of "first" and "second", as they look similar to the cardinal numbers.

Knowing ordinals in Russian is very useful for making lists, establishing rankings and so on. They look like this:

  • Первый ("pervyy") - First
  • Второй ("vtoroy") - Second
  • Третий ("tretiy") - Third
  • Четвертый ("chetvyortyy") - Fourth
  • Пятый ("pyatyy") - Fifth
  • Шестой ("shestoy") - Sixth
  • Седьмой ("sedmoy") - Seventh
  • Восьмой ("vosmoy") - Eighth
  • Девятый ("devyatyy") - Ninth
  • Десятый ("desyatyy") - Tenth

How to Practice Russian Numbers

As well as video lessons and podcasts, there are many more options for practising Russian counting.

These include watching movies and TV, reading local newspapers, listening to music and even engaging with a language exchange partner from Russia online.

When you watch Russian TV and movies you see authentic examples of number usage in sentences, in a natural context.

Moreover, you pick up on pronunciation, hear different accents and learn how to use vocabulary and phrases in the correct way.

If you love to listen to podcasts and music in your spare time, why not make it a grammar and culture lesson? Learn about Russia and its vernacular by engaging with native content, listening out for different forms of number usage and taking note of new vocabulary.

These are also great ways to develop your understanding of masculine, feminine and neuter nouns, articles and other grammar points that you may find boring to study in a more traditional way, such as in a textbook.

Russian Numbers: Counting from 11 to 20 in Russian

Once you have learned the numbers 1 to 10, the rest of the numbers will be easier to pick up. The compound numbers 11 to 19 are simply formed by adding надцать ("adtsat") to the numbers 1-9.

However, as always with foreign languages, there are exceptions to the rules! For number 12, два changes to две. Moreover, when forming the number 14, the "e" at the end of "четырe" is dropped.

Finally, when forming 15 to 19, the soft sign ь at the end of the numbers 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 is also dropped.

  • одиннадцать ("odinnadtsat") - Eleven
  • двенадцать ("dvenadtsat") - Twelve
  • тринадцать ("trinadtsat") - Thirteen
  • четырнадцать ("chetyrnadtsat") - Fourteen
  • пятнадцать ("pyatnadtsat") - Fifteen
  • шестнадцать ("shestnadtsat") - Sixteen
  • семнадцать ("semnadtsat") - Seventeen
  • восемнадцать ("vosemnadtsat") - Eighteen
  • девятнадцать ("devyatnadtsat") - Nineteen
  • двадцать ("dvadtsat") - Twenty

How to Count up from 20 in Russian

From here, counting in Russian is super straightforward. You simply add the numbers 1-9 to 20 to make 21, 22, and so on.

For example, двадцать ("dvadtsat"), which is 20, and oдин (“odin”), 1, come together to make двадцать один ("dvadtsat odin"), 21.

The same applies to the rest of the tens:

  • тридцать ("tridstat") - Thirty
  • сорок ("sorok") - Forty
  • пятьдесят ("pyatdesya") - Fifty
  • шестьдесят ("shestdesyat") - Sixty
  • семьдесят ("semdesyat") - Seventy
  • восемьдесят ("vosemdesyat") - Eighty
  • девяносто ("devyanosto") - Ninety

So, for instance, 33 is тридцать три ("tridtsat tri") and 64 is шестьдесят четыре ("shestdesyat chetyre"). Easy, right?

Counting in the Hundreds in Russian

Just as you do with the tens, you take the word for 100, 200 etc (as listed below) and then add the words for the tens and units digits in the number.

So, 245 in Russian is двести сорок пять ("dvesti sorok pyat").

This counting system should be familiar and logical to English speakers.

  • стo ("sto") - One hundred
  • двести ("dvesti") - Two hundred
  • триста ("trista") - Three hundred
  • четыреста ("chetyresta") - Four hundred
  • пятьсот ("pyatsot") - Five hundred
  • шестьсот ("shestsot") - Six hundred
  • семьсот ("semsot") - Seven hundred
  • восемьсот ("vosemsot") - Eight hundred
  • девятьсот ("devyatsot") - Nine hundred

Counting in the Thousands in Russian

The word тысяча ("tysyacha") is 1,000. To say 2,000, 3,000, etc., add 2, 3 and so on to 1,000 and make some word-ending changes.

These are easy to learn but this is for a separate Russian lesson.

For example, две тысячи ("dve tysyachi") is 2,000, пять тысяч ("pyat tysyach") is 5,000 and  двадцать одна тысяча ("dvadsat odna tysyacha") is 21,000.

Saying Years Using Numbers in Russian

Once you know the simple rules for forming compound numbers, saying the years is simple. The word year in Russia is год ("god") and it is masculine. So, year numbers use masculine form.

For example, тысяча девятьсот двадцать пятый ("tysyacha devyat’sot dvadtsat’ pyatyy") in 1925.

How to Say the Time in Russian

When you are saying the time rounded to the neasrest hour, you say the cardinal plus час ("chas"), часа ("chasa") or часов ("chasov"). You say час for 1 o’clock, часа for 2 to 4 o’clock, and часов for 5 through 12 o’clock.

So, два часа ("dva chasa") means it's two o'clock and восемь часов ("vosem chasov") is it's eight o'clock. Simple!

Learning to say more complex times can be saved for your next lesson!

Summing Up: Your Ultimate Guide to Russian Numbers: How to Count in Russian

This has been a brief guide to counting in Russian.

We have covered cardinal numbers 1 to 1,000 and ordinals 1 to 10. Moreover, you can now say the date and basic time in Russian.

Save this article for future reference and don't forget to use other forms of media to advance your studies! You can access more articles online to deepen your knowledge or engage with other resources.

Check out Lingopie for more Russian practice. This is a great online streaming platform through which you can binge many Russian TV shows and movies.

Watch these shows to learn how to use numbers and other useful vocab in the correct manner. Stick with it, and happy learning!

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