Russian Vocabulary (and Wisdom)

How to say "whether" 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: whether, if

Pronunciation: [lee]

Part of speech: conjunction, particle

Rank: #89 (see frequency list)

I need to know if he's handsome.
Photo by Valerie Everett, licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0
 Example sentences:
  • Онá не знáeт, был ли он там.
  • She doesn't know if he was there.
  •  literal  She doesn't know whether he was there.
  • Я не пóмню, ви́дел ли я э́того человéка.
  • I don't remember whether I saw this person. (said by male)
  • Спроси́ мáму, смотрéла ли онá передáчу.
  • Ask the mother if she watched the program.
  • Мне ну́жно знать, краси́в ли он.
  • I need to know if he's handsome.
  • Петя поинтересовáлся, бы́стро ли они́ добрáлись.
  • Petya asked if they got there fast.
  • Вряд ли мы успéeм на урóк.
  • I doubt that we'll come in time for the lesson.
  • Снег ли, дождь ли, он стоя́л под eë окнóм.
  • Whether is was raining or snowing, he was standing under her window.
  • Не хоти́те ли вы попрóбовать нáшего пирогá?
  • Would you like to taste our pie?
  • Знáeшь ли ты, как вáжно э́то собы́тие?
  • Do you know to what extent this event is important? (informal)
  • Вчерá я лëг чуть ли не в три нóчи!
  • Yesterday I went to bed nearly at 3 o'clock in the morning!
  • Мáло ли! Мнóгие тяжелó рабóтают и не жáлуйся!
  • And what? Lots of people work hard and don't complain!
  • Непонятно: то ли онá плáчет, то ли смеëтся.
  • It's not clear whether she's crying or laughing.
  • Я ли тебé фру́кты не покупáла, я ли тебé лекáрства не носи́ла, когдá ты болéл!
  • Didn't I buy you fruit, didn't I bring you the medicine when you were ill?
  • Стáнет ли еду́ готóвить, обязáтельно всë испóртит.
  • Would she start cooking, she'll just spoil everything.

 Idioms and set expressions:
  • вряд ли = it's improbable
  • едвá ли = it's improbable
  • ой ли = it's improbable
  • мáло ли = so what?
  • чуть ли = almost, nearly
  • то ли...то ли = whether...or
 Related words:
  • ль = if, whether
 Proverbs and sayings:
  • Паду́ ли я, стрелóй пронзённый, Иль ми́мо пролети́т онá (А.С.Пушкин).
  • Then if I fall, struck by doom's arrow, Or if its flight sends it winging past. (A.S.Pushkin)

Vocabulary lesson: By Russificate blog exclusively for MasterRussian

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.

Got questions?

Ask them in the Russian Questions and Answers — a place for students, teachers and native Russian speakers to discuss Russian grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and other aspects of the Russian language.

Copyright 2001-2020 | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

 Learn Russian every day for free! 
 Clicks the "Like" button below to get daily updates on Facebook!
Click "Add to circles" to learn Russian on Google+

 Search MasterRussian

Custom Search

English » Russian dictionary

Like MasterRussian on Facebook

 RSS | iGoogle | My Yahoo!

Word: тёмный
Meaning: dark, dim, shady
Pronunciation: [TYOM-niy]
Learn Russian words more... »


Russian: Почта
English: Post office


MasterRussian on Twitter