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Self study guide for elementary level learners of Russian
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Grammar Lesson 35

Expressing Likes and Dislikes: verbs нравиться and любить

Russian grammar and vocabulary. Unit 8
Grammar Lesson 33
Verbs of Going: Unidirectional and Multidirectional (идти vs ходить). Present Tense forms of идти, ходить, ехать, ездить). Past Tense of Going Verbs. Introduction
Grammar Lesson 34
Uses of the Dative Case: Subjectless Expressions with Dative. Expressing Necessity, possibility and permission. Expressing Age
Grammar Lesson 35
Expressing Likes and Dislikes: verbs нравиться and любить
Phrasebook Topic 18
Shopping for Gifts

 Грамматика                                               Expressing Likes and Dislikes

1. The verb нравиться
You already know how to say you love something or someone with the verb любить - "to love" followed by the accusative case of the thing or the person loved. There is another way of expressing likes and dislikes with the verb нравиться which means "to be pleasing to" . 

Note how the sentence structure is different when the verb нравиться is used. The thing that is pleasing is in the Nominative case as it is the grammatical subject of the sentence. The person who likes it is in the Dative case.


  Кате  нравится   русская музыка.

 Katya likes Russian music.

   Dat. of the person             Nom. of the thing

    who likes                             being liked

  The verb нравиться agrees with the thing liked in gender and number. 

More examples:

  Мне нравится твоё платье.

I like your dress.

  Мне нравятся твои туфли.

I like your shoes.
  • The conjugation of the verb нравиться is the following: я нравлюсь, ты нравишься, он нравится, мы нравимся, вы нравитесь, они нравятся
  • In most sentences the third person singular (он, она, оно нравится ) or plural (они нравятся ) form of the verb is used. The use of other forms is limited by the sentences with personal pronouns like Я нравлюсь тебе - "I am pleasing to you"; Ты нравишься ей - "You are pleasing to her", etc.
  • Note that the most common third person singular form (нравится) has no soft sign after т. This is the only difference between this form and the infinitive form. Also note that they sound the same.


   To say that you do not like something or someone simply add не before verb:

  Ей не нравится этот суп.

She does not like this soup.

  Им не нравится такая музыка.

They do not like such music.
2.  The Past Tense of нравиться

 The past tense is formed from the perfective verb понравиться and has for different forms: 

m.: он понравился

f.: она понравилась

n.: оно понравилось

pl.: они понравились


  Мне понравилась эта книга.

I liked this book.

  Мне понравился этот фильм.

I liked this movie.

  Мне понравились эти люди.

I liked these people.
3. Нравиться and любить

I addition to different sentence structures in which these two verbs are used, there is a difference in the meaning.

The verb любить is used to express stronger feeling (love), the verb нравиться is used for liking. 

The verb любить is also often used for general categories, while нравиться is more used for specific things. Compare the following sentences:

  Я люблю романы Достоевского, но этот роман мне не понравился.

I love Dostoyevsky's novels, but 

I did not like this novel.


  Я люблю русский балет, но это выступление мне не понравилось.

I love Russian ballet, but I did not like this performance.
Exercises  Упражнения
Dative case with нравиться

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