How to speak correctly

What kind of "coffee", should I write "president" with a capital letter and is it decent to say "agreement" instead of "agreement". There are standard errors that the guardians of the Russian language like to refer to: incorrect stress in the word "simultaneously" or confusion with generic accessory "coffee". But there are more interesting cases. Most native speakers, for example, mispronounce the phrase “opinions differ”: the norm says that the stress in this verb should be on the first syllable.


Coffee is a loan word ending with the letter "e", but masculine. In the overwhelming majority, such words acquire a neuter gender in our language - this is how it works, and this tendency is unusually strong. For example, "metro" used to be also masculine (from "metro"), even the newspaper "Soviet Metro" was published. For foreigners it is always a mystery why in the Russian language "cafe" is neuter, and "coffee" is masculine. But the masculine gender is supported by the presence of obsolete forms of "coffee" and "coffee". Such a peculiar language memorial.

"in Strogin"

Anna Akhmatova was very indignant when they said to her “I live in Kratovo” instead of “I live in Kratovo”. Another writer suggested that everyone who speaks "from Kemerovo" should use the same model to speak "out of the window." Apparently, over the decade during which the new, unrepentant version spread, we managed to forget that this rule always sounded differently. The indelible names of settlements arose from the language of the military, for whom it was important to give the initial forms in the message. Let's take, for example, the same Kratovo - from the declension "in Kratovo" it is not clear whether it is Kratovo or Kratovo. One of the most authoritative dictionaries today, Zaliznyak's dictionary, writes about the non-declining form as follows: "the degree of prevalence of this phenomenon is so great that, apparently, it is already approaching the status of permissible."


"RINGS" - this bogey appears in any thematic discussion. There is a logic according to which stresses are shifted in the language, and, whether we like it or not, these laws work. The transfer of the stress from the ending to the root is natural - “you smoke”, “you cook” and “you give” earlier, too, were pronounced with stress on the last syllable, they just have already gone this way. Despite the fact that it makes everyone very angry, we will indeed say “ringing” in the future.

President and Patriarch

In fact, these words are written from capital letters only during the official title, in the texts of official documents. For example, in the text of the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, this word is written with a capital letter. And in a newspaper article there is no reason for this, and you need to write with a lowercase. Still very tenacious is the myth that “birthday”, when congratulating a person, must be written with two capital letters - no, both words are written with small letters.

"in Ukraine"

This is a very painful question, and it constantly goes beyond the scope of linguistics. We adhere to this position: the norms of the Russian language have been developing for centuries, and they cannot change in five, ten or twenty years to please some political processes. Therefore, in Russian it is correct to say “to Ukraine”. In general, the formation of prepositions is not always amenable to explanation. Why, for example, “at school”, but “at the factory”? It happened so. Many people do not like this, everyone needs to get to the bottom of it. “There must be an explanation for everything” - this is another myth, many things in the language cannot be explained.

There must always be one right option

It's not good when there are two norms, as is the case with the word "curd". This is a very common myth. Variation is by no means a flaw for the language; on the contrary, it is its wealth. And the options are different. There are equal options, as is the case with cottage cheese. There are options for the category "preferred / valid", "modern / obsolete", and even for errors in the dictionaries there are gradations. In the orthoepic dictionary, in the dictionary of difficulties, there is a clear system of marks on this score. Let's say a non-recommended option - "vandal", for example. There are wrong options, there are grossly wrong ones. The approach of thinking that only one option is needed is typical of dictionaries for radio and television workers. There are dictionaries that are aimed precisely at showing the dynamics of change and the richness of the norms of the language. A dictionary is not a textbook, it should not record the only possible options.

Instead of "who is the last" you need to say "who is the last"

Ouspensky wrote about this myth in the fifties in his book "A Word about Words". Ouspensky also explains in the book that every subject - in the same queue - has two edges, and the question is thus untenable. Kolesov has an explanation that this use of "extreme" instead of "last" is borrowed from the Ukrainian language. There is also superstition: everyone started to say en masse "this was my extreme performance, extreme lecture, extreme transmission." The word "last" has several negative connotations. For example, "bad" is the last villain. It is understandable why the use of this word is avoided by people who risk their lives: climbers, divers, circus performers and pilots. But when we hear in the speech of an ordinary person “when I was there the last time, ” it sounds ridiculous.

The word "eat" is spoken only by ill-mannered people

There was such a recommendation in the dictionary of speech etiquette, according to which you can use this verb in relation to children, so women can talk about themselves, but men should not. I don't know how fair it is, but it is there - as a simple recommendation.

The pronoun "you" is always capitalized

In fact, “you” is written with a capital letter only when referring to one person and only in texts of certain genres: personal letters, service notes, leaflets. Incidentally, this is not always obvious to philologists either. There is a section "Conference Calendar" on, where applications from portal users come, and almost every announcement has to be corrected, because the appeal to respected colleagues includes the pronoun "you" with a capital letter.


Pronounce the word "contract" with an emphasis on the last syllable. After all, the agreement is pronounced only by ignoramuses from a rural school.

Electronic dictionaries are less reliable than printed ones

Electronic versions of printed dictionaries are posted on the site - this is the same material. For objective reasons, we have cases of discrepancies in recommendations. For example, people often ask how to stress the word "tiramisu". Previously, we answered that the norm is not vocabulary, and since this word is not well-established, you have the right to choose the option that you like best. An academic edition of the 2012 spelling dictionary was published, and there was recorded "tiramisu" with an emphasis on the last syllable. That is, now that this word has received a registration in the language and dictionary fixation, we will begin to answer in a different way. But, for example, there is no such fixation for the word "arugula" yet. Fluctuations in the spelling of recently borrowed words are quite natural for the language. The same goes for twitter, facebook and others. It is still not clear how to write them. I would write in different ways: in an article I would write "Facebook" using quotes and an uppercase letter, and in a chat - with a lowercase and without quotes.