Russian Conjunctions то … то, то ли … то ли … and не то … не то …

May 14, 2018 | Tags: Russian conjunctions

Did you know that there are 3 Russian conjunctions that are similar, but have different meanings?

То … то …  indicates an alternation of things, states, and actions.

То дождь, то снег. First it rains and then in snows.
То у него простуда, то грипп. First he has a cold and then, a flu.

То ли … то ли … and не то …  не то … indicate uncertainty of the speaker between two or more things. These conjunctions have the same meaning.

He то он заболел,  не то просто на работу не пришёл. I am not sure if he got ill or he just did not come to work.
То ли они развелись, то ли просто расстались. I am not sure if they got divorced and just separated.