Russian Vocabulary (and Wisdom)

How to say "to start" 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.


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Meaning: to start, to begin

Pronunciation: [nah-chee-NAHT']

Part of speech: verb (imperfective aspect)

Rank: #309 (see frequency list)

When are we going to start playing?
Photo by lancefisher, licensed under CC GA 2.0
 Example sentences:
  • Ну что, начинáем?
  • Ok, are we starting?
  • Начинáй-ка дéлать домáшнее задáние!
  • Start doing your homework!
  • Начинáйте есть, а я пойду́ помóю посу́ду.
  • Start eating and I'll go do the dishes.
  • Ты постоя́нно всë начинáeшь и никогдá не закáнчиваешь.
  • You start things all the time and you never finish them.
  • Всегдá тру́дно начинáть спор.
  • It's always difficult to start an argument.
  • Во скóлько вы начинáeте рабóтать?
  • What time do you start working at?
  • Céва нécколько раз начинáл учи́ть немéцкий, но так и не вы́учил.
  • Seva has started learning German several times but never managed to learn it.
  • Олег собирáeтся начинáть готóвиться к экзáменам?
  • Is Oleg going to start his exam preparation?
  •  literal  Is Oleg going to start preparing for the exams?
  • Когдá бу́дем начинáть игрáть?
  • When are we going to start playing?
  • Сергéй лю́бит начинáть день чáшечкой кóфе.
  • Sergey likes starting the day with a cup of coffee.
  • Ой, не начинáй!
  • Oh, come on!
  •  literal  Don't start with the same old thing again!

 Idioms and set expressions:
  • начинáть кампáнию = to launch a campaign
  • начинáть всë сначáла = to start all over again
  • начинáть с нуля́ = start from scratch
  • Ой, не начинáй! = Oh, come on!; Give me a break!
 Related words:
  • начáть = to start, begin
  • начинáние = an initiative
  • начинáющий = a beginner
  • начинáться = to start, begin (time periods)
 Proverbs and sayings:
  • Не начинáй дéло с концá, не надевáй хóмут с хвостá.
  • Don't start an affair from its end, don't put a collar from the tail.
  • C бóга начинáй и гócподом кончáй.
  • Start with God and finish with God.
 Verb conjugation:

Present Tense

I начина́ю
you (singular) начина́ешь
he, she, it начина́ет
we начина́ем
you (plural) начина́ете
they начина́ют

Past Tense

I, you (singular), he начина́л
she начина́ла
it начина́ло
we, you (plural), they начина́ли

Future Simple Tense

The imperfective verb начинать is not used in the Future Simple Tense. Use the perfective verb начать instead.

Future Compound Tense

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

Imperative Mood (Command Form)

you (singular) начина́й
you (plural) начина́йте

View full conjugation table for the verb pair начинать/начать

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.

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