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Size in Russian: How to Talk about All Things Big and Small



Talking about size in Russian is one of the building blocks of a learner’s vocabulary. In this post, we discuss phrases that might be useful when talking about big and small things. Whether you’re shopping or ordering drinks at a restaurant, you’ll need to be able to express size.


To further expand your vocabulary, learn Russian online with a tutor who will teach you not only useful phrases to memorize but also strategies for building your own.


Size Vocabulary in Russian

Imagine you’re ordering a cappuccino at a coffee shop in Russia:

  • Можно мне, пожалуйста, капучино? (Mozhno mne, pozhalusta, capuchino?) – Can I have a cappuccino, please? Большой, маленький или средний? (Bol’shoi, malen’kii ili srendii?) – Would you like the big, small, or medium cappuccino?

These are three words you need to learn to express size in Russian.


The same words apply when talking about clothing sizes:

  • Мне кажется, эта юбка мне слишком маленькая. Дайте мне, пожалуйста, размер побольше. (Mne kazhetsya, eta uibka mne slishkom malen’kaya. Daite mne, pozhalusta, razmer pobol’she.) It seems this skirt is too small for me. Can I get it in a bigger size, please?

The word “побольше” (pobol’she – bigger) is the comparative degree of the adjective “большой” (bol’shoi – big).


When describing somebody’s height, Russians use the following adjectives: “высокий” (vysokii – tall), “среднего роста” (srednego rosta – average height), and “невысокий” (nevysokii – short).

  • Тот мужчина в красной куртке очень высокий. (Tot muzhchina v krasnoi kurtke ochen‘ vysokii) That man in a red jacket is very tall.


Useful Phrases for Talking about Size in Russian

How do we order the right size of a drink or ask for the right clothing size? Let’s look at possible answers, starting with drinks:

  • Я бы хотел/а большой капучино. (Ya by khotel/a bol’shoi kapuchino) – I would like a big cappuccino.

Women say “хотела” (khotela – to want); men say “хотел” (khotela – to want).

  • Можно мне, пожалуйста, бокал пива объемом 0.5? (Mozhno mne, pozhalusta, bokal piva ob’yomom nol’ pyat’?) – Can I have a 0.5-liter glass of beer?

As you can see from the example, sometimes Russians name the exact amount when they order drinks.

  • Мне, пожалуйста, маленькую воду без газа. (Mne, pozhalusta, malen’kuiu vodu bez gaza.) – I would like a small bottle of still water.

  • Я буду большую порцию супа. (Ya budu bol’shuiu portsiui supa.) – I will have a large portion of soup.


When talking about clothing, use the following words and phrases:

  • Принесите мне, пожалуйста, размер побольше/поменьше. (Prinesite mne, pozhalusta, razmer pobol’she/pomen’she.) – Please give me a bigger/smaller size.

  • У вас есть размер M? (U vas est’ razmer M?) – Do you have a size M?

  • Я думаю, что мне подойдет размер L. (Ya dumaiu, shto mne podoidyot razmer L.) – I think the size L will fit me.


Become Fluent in Russian by Working with a Tutor

While it’s useful to be able to talk about size in Russian, and to be able to order drinks and buy clothes, to achieve fluency in and master Russian, it is important to learn Russian with a teacher. In this way, you’ll not only learn new words and phrases but also practice them and learn Russian pronunciation.

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