There is no good English equivalent of the Russian word есть. The closest translations are to eat, to be, and sometimes even to have. Today we'll look at those three meanings.
Есть - How to say eat in Russian
There are other ways to say "eat" in Russian, such as:
Probably the most commonly used verb is кушать.
A realistic example using есть meaning "eat" would be:
Есть - How to say be in Russian
Есть also means "to be" in Russian. But it can be difficult to remember that in the present tense Russian tends to omit the verb "to be". So, you can say "Я есть Крис", but most people would say just "Я Крис".
Other verbs that also mean "to be":
A realistic example using есть meaning "be" would be:
Есть - How to say have in Russian
We can also use the word есть in a special construction that means "to have". For example, "У тебя есть машина?" (Do you have a car?)
The word "у" means "near", "тебя" means you, "есть" means "to be", "машина" means "car". Literally translated, which is rarely a good way to translate, "у тебя есть машина?" means "Is there a car near you?" But if we translate like a normal human being, then we should use the English verb "have" to express the construction "у тебя" or "у тебя есть".
If we want to use this construction about other people, we need to change the case of the person:
Watch this video for more about this topic and answer this question in comments: Что у тебя есть?
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