by Don  

The Russian word помощь is a noun that means ‘help.’ It is a third declension noun. One doesn't encounter the plural forms all that often, but they do theoretically exist.


The word is often used with нужна:

Мне нужна помощь. I need help.
Мне не нужна ваша помощь. I don't need your help.
Борисy нужна будет твоя помощь. Boris will need your help.
Тане нужна была помощь брата, чтобы заменить дверь. Tanya needed her brother’s help to replace the door.

When you do something without help, the preposition без is used; it requires the genitive case.

Я бы не смог путешествовать по Сомалии без помощи переводчика. I wouldn't have been able to travel through Somalia without the help of an interpreter.
— Помоги мне заменить лампочку.
— Ты сможешь это сделать без моей помощи.
“Help me replace the light bulb.”
“You’ll be able to do that without my help.”

When you do something with the help of something, you can use either the preposition при + prepositional or the preposition с + instrumental.

Я перевёл статью с помощью словаря. I translated the article with the help of a dictionary.
Я нашёл тот адрес при помощи смартфона. I found that address with the help of my smart phone.

The phrases при помощи and с помощью are part of higher style Russian. So although one could theoretically say,

Я заменил унитаз с помощью брата.
Я заменил унитаз при помощи брата.
I replaced the toilet with my brother’s help.

in common conversation one is more likely to say,

Брат помог мне заменить унитаз. My brother helped me replace the toilet.


by Janell  

Кисть in Russian is brush. It declines as such:

Fix this for end stress in the last four plurals.


У меня кисти из Японии. I have paintbrushes from Japan.
Мы говорили о кистях. We talked about paintbrushes.
У неё нет кистей, потому что она бедная. She does not have any paintbrushes, because she is poor.
Она красила кистью. She painted with a paintbrush.

It can refer to a cosmetic brush, a brush to paint a room or in this instance I am referring to it as an artist brush. Brushes come in all shapes and sizes. Brushes with smaller or less bristles are usually used for detail and small areas such as details on a car or eye while the larger ones are for larger areas such as backgrounds. A round brush allows you to paint fine points while a flat one is more versatile and can be used for broad strokes and thin ones. A fan brush is usually used for blending colors. Other forms of paint brushes include mop brush and sword/striper brush. There are different brushes for different mediums; watercolor brushes are different than acrylic brushes. Thicker brushes hold more paint and are better for wet painting such as water coloring, while the thinner brushes are better for dry painting because they hold less paint. The article which I found useful on paintbrushes is: http://painting.about.com/od/artsupplies/ig/Intro-to-Art-Paint-Brushes/. It also gives advice on cleaning, the ways to preserve your brushes, etc.


by Don  

The verb ‘to help’ in Russian is помогать/помочь:

Imperfective Perfective
Infinitive помогать помочь
Past помогал
Present помогаю
No such thing as
perfective present
in Russian.
Future буду помогать
будешь помогать
будет помогать
будем помогать
будете помогать
будут помогать
Imperative помогай(те) помоги(те)

The person you help goes in the dative case:

— Мама, не поможешь мне с домашней работой?
— Хорошо, душенька, помогу.
“Mama, can you help me with my homework?”
“Okay, sweetie, I will.”
— Витя, помоги брату перетащить шкаф в другую спальню.
— Ладно, папа, помогу.
“Vitya, help your brother move the wardrobe into the other bedroom.”
“Okay, Dad, I will.”
Бабшука раньше помогала Елене деньгами. Grandma used to help Elena out with money.
Не помогай Игорю. Он должен сделать уроки сам. Don't help Igor. He is supposed to do his homework himself.
— Кто помог тебе собрать шкаф?
— Никто. Я собрала сама.
“Who helped you put together the wardrobe?”
“No one. I assembled it all by myself.”


by Janell  

Душа is the Russian word for soul. This is how it declines:


У меня есть душа. I have a soul.

Very often Russians will use the word душа where Americans would use the word ‘heart.’

Он красил с душой. He painted with heart.
Я благодарю вас от всей души. I thank you with all my heart.

The phrase «по душе» means ‘pleasant’ or ‘pleasing.’

Эта книга была мне не по душе. I didn't care for the book.

What is a soul exactly? A soul is the non-physical essence of a person. Across the globe the meaning and existence of the soul varies. For the Christians the soul is the spiritual side of a person that must be saved by Christ in order to go to heaven. The Egyptians believed that a person had three souls, each of which went separate ways after the person died. Many believe that the soul can be contacted through the help of mediums or other spiritual forms of contact. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusalka and the book Russian Folk Belief By Linda J. Ivanits there is a creature called the Rusalka it is the Russian version of a mermaid. It is believed that when a young woman dies of violent circumstances or commits suicide their soul turns into one of these creatures. Around the soul are terms and phrases: soul mate, window to the soul, lover of the soul, soul music, to sell one’s soul to the devil, etc., that show the soul affects many aspects of life even if the major folklore around the soul has become irrelevant. One must be careful that they do not confuse the word душа the word for soul with the word душ the word for shower!


by Don  

Russian has a word кот which means a male cat, in other words what we in English would call a tomcat. It's an end-stressed word, which means it always has the stress on the first syllable of the grammatical ending, if there is one, and on the last syllable of the word if there is not a grammatical ending:


Here are a few sample sentences:

Под окном дрались два кота. Two tomcats were fighting under the window.
Ты видишь того кота? Я вчера видел, как он прогнал двух немецких овчарок. Do you see that tomcat? Yesterday I saw him chase off two German Shepherds.
Господи, наш кот опять нассал на кухне. Надо его кастрировать.* Good Lord, our cat has pissed in the kitchen again. We should neuter him.
Кот подкрался к мыши и прыгнул на неё. The cat snuck up on the mouse and pounced on him.

The Russians have a phrase that means “very little” which is related to cats, and that is «кот наплакал», literally “the tomcat cried.” For instance,

— Сколько у тебя денег?
— Кот наплакал.
“How much money do you have left?”
“Next to none.”
— Сколько осталось водки?
— Кот наплакал.
“How much vodka is left?”
“Scarcely a drop.”

* Warning: don't use the word нассать in polite company. It's pretty crude.

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