English for Russian Speakers – Students and Teachers

I’ve been wondering how to start this for quite some time, and after reading an old message from a friend, it seems as good a place as any.

“I’m currently teaching English  little children. In the morning I teach at the university and in the evenings I work with 5-6-7 year olders! That’s so interesting and they are so cutie!!!!! I enjoy it so much!!!! They try to kiss  me, to hug me, to treat me with a candy and so on…. Иногда, я действительно думаю, что рождена быть учителем!
P.S. teaching is not a profession, that’s a passion”

She’s absolutely right, and what I’d really, really like to do, is to help her and others who have a passion for learning and teaching English.  I want to show you a new way to learn and teach English, or any language, and I want to help teachers become better teachers.  First, let’s correct her English. 🙂

I’m currently teaching English to little children. In the morning I teach at the university and in the evenings I work with 5-6-7 year olds! It’s so interesting and they are so cute!!!!! I enjoy it so much!!!! They try to kiss  me, and hug me, and treat me with a candy and so on….  P.S. teaching is not a profession, it’s a passion.

Hmmm… not so good when the teacher makes so many mistakes.  Of course it’s not her fault, her English is likely much better than her teachers, but perhaps there’s a way to help her and all other teachers fix their own English, so they can then teach others correctly.

And not just teachers, but parents teaching their kids, and others teaching their nieces and nephews, or younger brothers and sisters.

While helping all of you learn English, I will be learning Russian, and hopefully you will help me with that by providing corrections and such in your comments.

So from her comment:  Иногда, я действительно думаю, что рождена быть учителем!

Google translates it as:  Sometimes, I really think that is born to be a teacher!

Now, the most important point is always the idea.  What idea is being expressed? Probably she means, “Sometimes, I really think that people are born to be teachers!”  or  “Sometimes, I really think that one is born to be a teacher!

So how would I say in Russian: “Sometimes, I really think that I/she/he was born to be a teacher!”

Иногда, я действительно думаю, что он был рожден учителем!  Correct?

A ‘simple’ aspect of English which needs to be ‘internalized’ is when to use ‘that/this’ and ‘it’.  As you saw above, that mistake was made several times.  It’s very simple: this/that ‘point’ to something, something is being identified.  Once it’s known what is being discussed, then ‘it’ is used from then on.

This takes a while for kids to grasp, but you can do the following to build the foundation.  With pictures, ask the following:  What’s this?  (It’s a ….)  What colour is it?  (It’s ….)  And then change it around: What colour is this?  (It’s ….) What is it?  (It’s a ….)

Very simple, right?  For kids, it’s not so clear and obvious, but with practice and consistent and correct examples from their teacher, they will internalize the rule and never make the mistake.  For adults, it helps to clarify the concept, and then, with practice, and seeing mistakes pointed out, they’ll also be able to internalize the concept and stop making the mistake.

The word ‘to’ is a tricky word in English, since there’s no consistent rule as to when it appears after the verb.  Yet, for particular verbs, it’s totally consistent, and when you learn with the new method that we’re developing, you’ll again, never make the mistake.

….. listening to ….  Always with to.  (I’m listening to the radio.)  (I’m watching TV.)

The mistake above was a different case where the ‘to’ is connected to the noun. Again, with practice and a good method, such basic mistakes are avoided.

Often there are 2 ways of saying something, and people combine half of each.  For example:  Where are you come from?  (Откуда Вы?).  The correct way is: Where are you from? or Where do you come from?  Again, these fundamental concepts need to be internalized completely, and it’s not really that hard to do.

I work with 5-6-7 year olders.  Again, 2 choices:  I work with 5-6-7 year olds.  or  I work with 5-6-7 year old kids.

How old are you?  I’m 5.  /  I’m 5 years old.  You can’t say “I’m 5 years.”

A lot of people know the grammar but because it was never internalized, and they’re still thinking in Russian, then it often comes out wrong.

A great example of ‘Russian English’ is “I go in for sports.”  I don’t know the Russian expression that it comes from, but in English we’d simply say, “I like sports.”  And many English speakers trying to express that idea in Russian would similarly come out with an ‘English Russian’ expression. 🙂

And a final point from my friend’s message:  They are so cutie!  X    …you have to say: They are so cute.  or  They are such cuties.  Similarly, you could say to a child:  You’re so cute. / You’re such a cutie.

Movies are great for getting good little expressions that are common in real life.  The other day I was watching the video, И все-таки я люблю…, and after putting on Vera’s lipstick she says:  Вот так сделай.  The English subtitle was completely wrong:  That’s do it.

Such expressions are great because they’re very, very useful and common.  In English we’d always say:  Go like this.  ; )

So, I’ve finally gotten this started!  Hope you find it useful, and I look forward to sharing more with you.  And hearing from you!!  Please leave your comments below, and for more material, please check out or website for learning Russian, there’s lots of material there for Russian speakers learning English.

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4 comments so far

  1. Sectional Garage on

    learning english is quite easy, there are many tutorials on the internet and some audiobooks too :’*

    • brian99 on

      True, it is ‘easy’ and there’s a lot of free material on the internet, but it doesn’t seem to be solving the problem most people have with making lots of small mistakes even though their English is quite advanced. Thus, the task remains, how to solve that? 🙂

  2. Lydia Franzek on

    Do you have any recommendations for resources to use to teach native Russian speakers English? I am having difficulty finding resources. Thank you 🙂

    • brian99 on

      Hi Lydia, we’re actually in the process of putting a complete program together, from beginner to advanced. Much of it is from ‘flipping’ our material for learning Russian (and Indonesian). We’ve set up a new website ExpressWayLanguages.com and all the resources will be available there.

      The basic membership is $20 (one time fee; ‘life’ membership; access to all material) and the monthly membership which gives the member access to ask questions, etc is $10 per month. For sure you’ll find everything you need there.

      Our concept is to also ‘share the business’ with all our members, so it’s really a ‘cooperative’ rather than a ‘business’. Please take a look, I’m sure you’ll find it interesting.


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