Russian Vocabulary (and Wisdom)

How to say "but (contrast)" in Russian

This Russian word is one of the top 1000 words in Russian. The complete list of most common Russian words is available here.


Meaning: but (contrast), and (joining), while (juxtaposition), if, yet

Pronunciation: [ah]

Part of speech: conjunction (This page only shows the use of 'a' as a conjunction. It can also be used as a particle, interjection or a letter.)

Rank: #11 (see frequency list)

He's a professor and you are a student.
Photo by UC Davis College of Engineering CC-BY-2.0
 Example sentences:
  • Он профе́ссор, а ты студе́нт.
  • He is a professor, and you are a student.
  • Вот суп, а вот хлеб. Ку́шайте на здоро́вье!
  • Here is soup, and here is bread. Help yourself!
  • Это мой муж, а это мой сын.
  • This is my husband, and this is my son.
  • Здесь жа́рко, а не хо́лодно.
  • It's hot here (and) not cold.
  • А э́то кто?
  • And who is that?
  • Не ты, а она́.
  • Not you, but she.
  • Та́ня гото́вила, а Макси́м мы́л посу́ду.
  • Tanya was cooking, while Maxim was washing the dishes.
  • День зако́нчился, а ты ничего́ не сде́лал.
  • The day is over and you have not done anything. (informal, addressing a male)
  • А не хо́чешь -- твоё пра́во.
  • If you don't want--it's your own right.
  • Иди́те быстре́е, а то опозда́ете.
  • Walk faster, otherwise you'll be late. (formal or plural)
  • Поспеши́, а не то опозда́ешь.
  • Hurry up, or else you'll be late. (informal)
  • А что, я не прав?
  • Why? Am I wrong? (said by a male)
  • Она́ э́то зна́ла, а он нет.
  • She knew it, but he didn't.
  • У меня́ нет ни мину́ты.
  • I don't have a moment to spare.
  • Нельзя́ теря́ть ни мину́ты.
  • (We) can't waste a moment.

 Idioms and set expressions:
  • а именно = namely
  • А как же! = why not; of course; sure
  • А потому! = That is why! (meaningless response to "Why?")
  • а так как... = since...; now as
  • а то = else, or else, otherwise (same as: а не то)
      literal  and that
  • а что касается = as to, as for, as regards
  • А что? = Why?, What about it?, Why not?
      literal  and what
  • а не то = else, or else, otherwise (same as: а то)
      literal  and not that
 Related words:
  • но = but
  • и = and
  • если = if
 Proverbs and sayings:
  • В гостях хорошо, а дома лучше.
  • It is good to be visiting, but it is better at home.
  • На Бога надейся, а сам не плошай.
  • Hope for the best but expect the worst.
  • Была бы охота, а возможность найдется.
  • Nothing is impossible.
  •  literal  If there is a desire, there will be an opportunity.
  • В ноги кланяется, а за пятки кусает.
  • carry fire in one hand and water in the other.
  •  literal  He bows in legs and bites at the heels.
  • Береги платье снову, а честь смолоду.
  • Look after your clothes when they're spick and span, and after your honour when you're a young man.
  • Язык говорит, а голова и не ведает.
  • The tongue speaks, but the head doesn't know.
  • Сколько верёвку ни вить, а концу быть.
  • The cord may curl long but the end must appear.
  • Сколько волка не корми, а он всё в лес смотрит.
  • He that will steal a pin will steal a pound.
  •  literal  No matter how much you feed a wolf, yet it still looks in the forest.
  • Спрашивай не старого, а бывалого.
  • Ask not the old, but the old-timer.
  • Ученье -- свет, а неученье -- тьма.
  • Better unborn than untaught.
  •  literal  Knowledge is light and ignorance is darkness.
Phrase recordings: Copyright(c) 2011 All rights reserved.
Word recordings: Copyright(c) 2006 Streit Goulnara, Streit Eric, Vion Nicolas. Copyright(c) 2007 S. Sakhno, N. Vion. Distributed under CC-BY.

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Word: любой
Meaning: any, each, every
Pronunciation: [lyoo-BOY]
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Russian: Закрыто
English: Closed


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