Хорошо. A good (ha) word to learn, and one of the first I ever learned when starting on DuoLingo. As a quick breakdown, in case you don’t know, хорошо (pronounced kho-ro-sho) means “good,” “okay,” or “well” in Russian. A versatile word, wouldn’t you think? Lots of situations call for a word like that, such as when you’re saying food tastes good, you’re doing well, or acknowledging something. I sure thought so for a lot longer than I’d have liked.
Looking back at my 3 ultra casual years and 1 serious year of self-studying the Russian language, I could name off countless times I’ve used хорошо, and continuing to look back, I know that a major percentage of those times were unnatural and incorrect. Such is life, I guess. But I don’t want others to have to make the same mistakes.
In looking up new words to add to your vocabulary, many (including myself until recently) forget to check what kind of word you are learning, or don’t bother to look up synonyms to find better translations. This can lead to assuming individual words are used in many more instances than they actually are.
Хорошо is an adverb, which, as I’m sure most already know, means it’s used when describing a verb, adjective, or another adverb. For example, “I slept well last night” (“Я спал хорошо” in Russian*), or “You did well on your test” (“Ты хорошо сдал экзамен”). This, of course, means that using хорошо in sentences such as “The Prince of Egypt is a good movie,” is incorrect, as that’s describing a noun.
This, of course, breeds a new problem: what do I use instead of хорошо, and when do I use what?
In the simplest words…
- Use хорошо (kho-ro-sho, lit. “well”) when you’re describing a verb, adjective, or another adverb. “I slept well last night,” or “Я спал хорошо.”
- Use хороший (kho-ro-shee, lit. “good”) as an adjective. “This is a good plan,” or “Это хороший план.”
- Use отлично (ot-lich-no, lit. “excellent”) to say an occasion or action is good, such as when you praise someone. “That’s good! Well done!” or “Отлично! Молодец!”
- Use вкусно (vkoos-no, lit. “yummy”) when praising or describing food or drink. “This soup is good!” or “Это вкусно суп!”
- Use понял (pon-yal, lit. “okay, alright”) to acknowledge or understand something, such as when a parent tells you to do something. “Okay, got it,” or “Понял.”
- And use мне нравится (mhye nrav-it-sya, lit. “I like..”) to say you enjoy or like something, or thought it was good, such as a movie or book. “The Prince of Egypt is a good movie” or “Мне нравится фильм ‘Принц Египта'”
I personally have written these down, as well as their literal definitions and example sentences, on a small scrap of paper and taped it to the wall above my bed to assist my memorization, but you do what you like! Thank you to Fedor for giving such a clear definition to these words when I found little information elsewhere, and I look forward to sharing my recent studies with you all in the future.
*Please note that I’m not certain if there are more natural sentences to use. These are merely what my English-speaking brain came up with that were relevant to the topic. If you speak better Russian than me and would like to recommend better sentences, by all means leave a comment.