Big News + One Russian Phrase You Should Definitely Memorize

with 7 Comments

Today I have something cool to tell you + a useful Russian phrase to help you talk about what you did today (…or didn’t do, if it was one of those days.)

First, the news. 

I’m making a book of word searches in Russian! It’s 50% massive vocabulary project and 50% fun. 🙂 To help out with artwork, I’ve hired a Ukrainian illustrator. Before we agreed to work together, she drew a test for a word search called “Magical & Mythical Creatures.” This was the result…

Давайте познакомимся- это домовой

Have you heard of a domovoi? Most Russian households have a domovoi. If you treat him right (keep the place tidy, leave him little gifts), he’ll be a blessing. If you don’t show him respect, he’ll retaliate by hiding your keys and causing all kinds of little problems. But as you can see in his picture, he’s really not a bad guy. He hangs out with cats, after all, and you know how picky they can be.

Anya, the illustrator, makes beautiful drawings. I fell in love with her domovoi right away and can’t wait to see what she’ll create next! It’s also neat to coordinate things with her, since we sometimes correspond in Russian instead of English. In fact, she’s taught me several useful phrases in her emails. Today I want to share one of those phrases with you.


Here it is-


Сегодня мне удалось
Today I managed to…
Today I was able to…
Today I succeeded in…


Easy, right? And even better, you can just add не to excuse yourself for something you didn’t get done.


Сегодня мне не удалось
Today I didn’t manage to…
Today I wasn’t able to…
Today I failed to


This is how I first encountered the phrase in Anya’s email. She’d had quite a busy week until finally…


Сегодня мне удалось сесть и порисовать до вечера.
Today I managed to sit down and draw until evening.


Ugh, how did I not learn this phrase before? It’s so short and sweet: мне (не) удалось. I could use this every day (especially when explaining to my husband why the laundry is still dirty or the bed isn’t made yet, haha.) Suddenly, I saw it everywhere, especially in news headlines from the recent G20 summit:


Саммит G20: “Консенсуса достичь не удалось.”
G20 Summit: “No consensus reached.”

“Трампу не удалось забронировать отель в Гамбурге на время G20.”
Trump was unable to book a hotel in Hamburg during G20.

“Путину не удалось «спасти лицо» во время встречи с президентом США.”
Putin was unable to ‘save face’ during his meeting with the US president.


It’s also an often-repeated phrase in interviews with athletes:


“Рада, что сегодня мне удалось победить.”
 I’m happy that I managed to win today.

“Сегодня мне удалось показать всё лучшее, на что способна.”
Today I was able to show the best I’m capable of.
“Слава богу, что сегодня мне удалось забить последний гол.”
Thank God that I was able to make the final goal today.


 And here are a few more examples of quotes and headlines using this phrase:


“Сегодня нам удалось решить большинство проблем.”
Today we managed to solve most of the problems.

“Сегодня мне удалось учиться у одного из лучших.”
Today I was able to learn from one of the best.

“В Астане не удалось договориться по зонам деэскалации в Сирии.”
Astana talks failed to agree on de-escalation zones in Syria.

“России не удалось выйти на первое место в мире по экспорту пшеницы.”
Russia fails to take first place in the world for grain exports.


Now it’s your turn! Leave me a comment below with your answer to one of these questions-


Сегодня мне удалось закончить
Today I managed to finish…

Сегодня мне удалось создать
Today I succeeded in creating…

Сегодня мне удалось встретиться с
Today I was able to meet with…

Сегодня мне не удалось
Today I wasn’t able to


Also, what do you think of Anya’s domovoi? Does he look like the kind of domovoi you’d want in your home?

7 Responses

  1. J.T.
    | Reply

    Russian word searches?

    • J.T.
      | Reply

      Aw, the silly image in my comment didn’t appear. Did I mess up with the coding?

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Very cool, J.T.! 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’ll share the first page on here later this summer- should be a fun one for you. I love doing word searches too!

      PS: Not sure what happened to the image, sorry about that. Maybe I need to enable something? Will check into this…

  2. Robert Kopp
    | Reply

    I think the future of this, “удастся,” is also in frequent use.
    Посмотрим, что нам удастся узнать. “Let’s see what we can find out.”

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      That’s a really good one, Robert! Thank you very much for sharing it here 🙂

      You sent me off on a Google news search for that version of the word-

      Ярмоленко о конфликте с Ханком: вряд ли удастся договориться

      Аналитики объяснили, почему США не удастся помешать поставкам российского газа в Европу

      Трамп уверен, что Макрону удастся вернуть Франции безопасность

      Пушкин объяснил, почему SpaceX не удастся потеснить Россию в космосе

      So useful!

  3. Mikhail
    | Reply

    Only one minor correction, about Putin “saving face”:
    Not “спасти лицо”, but “сохранить лицо”. That sounds more natural.

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Thanks for that correction, Mikhail. 🙂

      It’s interesting that they used that form in the article (, because I totally see how your version fits with the rest of the sentence.

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