Russian Vocabulary (and Wisdom)

How to say "to be able to" 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: to be able to, can, may

Pronunciation: [mohch']

Part of speech: verb (imperfective aspect)

Rank: #32 (see frequency list)

 Example sentences:
  • Вы мо́жете мне помо́чь?
  • Can you help me? (formal)
  • Я сде́лаю всё, что могу́.
  • I'll do everything I can.
  • Ты мо́жешь позвони́ть мне ве́чером?
  • Can you call me in the evening? (informal)
  • Поэ́том мо́жешь ты не бы́ть, но граждани́ном бы́ть обя́зан.
  • You may not be a poet, but you must be a citizen. (by N.A.Nekrasov)
  • Он не смог прийти́ вчера́.
  • He couldn't come yesterday.
  • Я не могу́.
  • I can't.

 Idioms and set expressions:
  • может быть = maybe, perhaps, it is possible
  • не может быть = it is impossible
  • двух слов связать не может = he can't put two words together
 Related words:
  • уметь = can, to know how, be able to
  • быть в состоянии = to be able to, to have an ability to
 Proverbs and sayings:
  • Деньги могут всё.
  • Money will do much.
  •  literal  Money can do everything.
  • Хочу -- половина могу.
  • He who wills success is half-way to it.
  •  literal  "I want" is half of "I can".
 Verb conjugation:

Present Tense

I могу́
you (singular) мо́жешь
he, she, it мо́жет
we мо́жем
you (plural) мо́жете
they мо́гут

Past Tense

I, you (singular), he мо́г
she могла́
it могло́
we, you (plural), they могли́

Future Simple Tense

The imperfective verb мочь is not used in the Future Simple Tense. Use the perfective verb смочь instead.

Future Compound Tense

I буду -
you (singular) будешь -
he, she, it будет -
we будем -
you (plural) будете -
they будут -

Imperative Mood (Command Form)

you (singular) -
you (plural) -

View full conjugation table for the verb pair мочь/смочь

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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