Russian Phrases

By OptiLingo

Learn everyday Russian survival phrases

Now that you know some of the most common words, you have the building blocks that you need to start – many of the same building blocks that Mikey has. The next thing to do when learning a foreign language is to start building those words into sentences that you can use, even if you don’t know the mechanics of the Russian language.

Once you have mastered the alphabet and have memorized your first 50 key words (the words that are important to you), it’s time to pick the phrases that are also going to be useful. These are the kinds of phrases that you can findon the first page of any decent phrase book or in an appendix on their own. They might vary slightly by publisher, but it’s a good starting point. For what it’s worth, by the way, I actually wouldn’t suggest using Google Translate. What you type in English may not be commonly said in Russian, and the translation you get back may not be 100% accurate. Google is good if you are rushed, but it does get some things wrong. Don’t plan to rely on this to get around because you are more likely to confuse people than to clarify what you mean. Take the time to memorize your key words, and then the key phrases and you will be much better off when you need to communicate with native speakers.

This is also the time to start learning about the grammar. Do not worry about buying a book on Russian grammar. Here’s a secret no one wants to tell you about languages: grammar is actually very simple. The entirety of Russian grammar can probably be covered in just a few pages. In reality, we’ve got this great post here on the Russian grammar you can check out. The goal of studying the grammar is not to learn every facet of the language, but just to get a broad sense of its structure; for example, understanding that Russian has masculine, feminine and neuter nouns, but lacks definite or indefinite articles. The point here is to get some broad sense of how the language functions.

We aren’t going to get too bogged down in the details. Basically, the key words that you have identified are going to come up in phrases. Some of them will be easy to identify, such as the nouns. They are the same. Other words are going to be slightly different, or very different in the case of some of the verbs. Notice the way the verbs change for the different key phrases. You don’t need to know all of the mechanics, but you can start getting a feel for the way that the grammar works. Look at the word order; see where pronouns and nouns fall in the sentence, where the verbs are, and all the other components that play minor roles in communication. Adjectives, adverbs, and articles add a lot to a sentence, so knowing where they go will help you start to sound a little more sophisticated than Mikey, even if your vocabulary is still rudimentary.

Why You Need Them

Survival phrases are not only necessary, they have two major benefits when learning a new language.

  1. They let you start to speak right from the beginning.
  2. They give you a sense of accomplishment. Even if you don’t know why you use a particular conjugation, you can get a feel for how a word is conjugated. As you study the words that make the phrases, you will have a point of reference, which makes it much easier too.

Survival phrases will give you the confidence to at least begin to speak the language. You will learn how to pronounce words, and it will be easy to hear them on the radio, TV, and read them online because they are common. These are the phrases that you are either likely to need, or phrases you will want to know in an emergency. Whether you want to use them or end up needing them, key phrases are ones that aren’t likely to be forgotten once you have to know them. There will be ample reasons to use them as you go.

Because the scenarios about Mikey are pretty simple, sometimes even relying on Russian body language with the words, you may feel that the words are enough. That isn’t quite true though. The examples of the 20 key words and phrases did include phrases. This is because of the grammar in those phrases. Since this guide is not meant to drag you through all of the grammar and details of the Russian language, you need the key phrases to get your point across. It might be possible to eventually get your point across with enough gestures, but taking the time to memorize phrases you are likely to need can significantly reduce how silly you look trying to communicate. It also means getting a faster response so that you can go about your business.

Common Phrases You Need to Know

Don’t worry – these phrases are ones that you know you need. Take a few minutes to scroll through them, and I have no doubt you will see the value in learning just a few of these to see their values. Pick the ones you feel are the most relevant to your needs and see just how quickly you can start to sound like someone who has been studying Russian for a while.

Welcome Добро пожаловать! (Dobro požalovat’!)
Hello (General) Здра́вствуйте! (Zdravstvujte!) – formal
Приве́т! (Privet!) – informal
Приве́тик (Privetik!) – informal
Hello (Phone call) Алло́? (Allo?)
How are you? Как дела? (Kak dela?) – informal
Как ваши дела? (Kak vaši dela?) – formal
Как поживаешь? (Kak poživaeš’?) – informal
Как поживаете? (Kakpoživaete?) – formal
Thank you, good. And you? Спасибо, хорошо. А у вас?
Спасибо, хорошо. А вы?
Спасибо, хорошо. А ты?
Fine. And you? Нормально. А вы?
Нормально. А ты?
Long time no see Сколько лет, сколько зим! (Skol’kolet, skol’kozim!)
How many years/summers, how many winters!
Давно не виделись (Davnonevidelis’)
What’s your name? Как тебя зовут? (Kak tebja zovut?) – informal
Как вас зовут? (Kak vas zovut?) – formal
My name is … Меня зовут … (Menja zovut …)
Where are you from? Oткуда вы? (Otkuda vy?) – formal
Oткуда ты? (Otkuda ty?) – informal
I’m from … Я из … (Ja iz …)
Pleased to meet you Очень приятно (Očen’ prijatno)
Приятно познакомиться (Prijatno poznakomit’sja)
Good morning Доброе утро! (Dobroe utro!)
(Morning greeting)
Good afternoon Добрый день! (Dobryj den’!)
(Afternoon greeting)
Good evening Добрый вечер! (Dobryj večer!)
(Evening greeting)
Good night Спокойной ночи! (Spokojnoj noči!)
Доброй ночи! (Dobroj noči!)
Goodbye До свидания! (Dosvidanija!) – formal
(Parting phrases) Пока! (Poka!) – inf
Good luck! Удачи! (Udači!)
Cheers! Good Health! За здоровье! (Za zdorov’e!)
(Toasts used when drinking) Будем здоровы! (Budem zdorovy) – Let’s stay healthy
Have a nice day Хорошего дня! (Xorošego dnja!)
Bon appetit / Приятного аппетита! (Prijatnogo appetita!)
Have a nice meal
Bon voyage / Счастливого пути! (Sčastlivogo puti!)
Have a good journey
Yes Да (Da)
No Нет (Net)
Maybe Может быть (Možet byt’)
I don’t know Я не знаю (Janeznaju)
I understand Я понимаю (Ja ponimaju)
I don’t understand Я не понимаю (Janeponimaju)
Sorry, I don’t understand Russian very well. Izvinitye, ya plokho ponimayu po-russki. (eez-vee-NEE-t’eh ya PLOH-khuh puh-nee-MAH-yu pah-ROOS-kee)
What did you say? Kak vy skazali? (kahk vih skuh-ZAH-lee?)
Please speak more slowly Вы не могли бы говорить помедленнее?
(Vy ne mogli by govorit’ pomedlennee?) – formal
Помедленнее, пожалуйста!
(Pomedlennee, požalujsta!) – informal
Please say that again Повторите, пожалуйста
(Povtorite, požalujsta)
Please write it down Запишите, пожалуйста
(Zapišite, požalujsta)
Do you speak English? Вы говорите по-английски?
(Vy govorite po-anglijski?) – formal
Ты говоришь по-английски?
(Ty govoriš’ po-anglijski?) – informal
Do you speak Russian? Вы говорите по-русски?
(Vy govorite po-russki?) – formal
Ты говоришь по-русски?
(Ty govoriš’ po-russki?) – informal
Yes, a little Да, немного (Da, nemnogo)
(reply to ‘Do you speak …?’)
How do you say … in Russian? Как сказать … по-русски?
(Kak skazat’ … po-russki?)
Speak to me in Russian Говорите со мной по-русски
(Govorite so mnoj po-russki)
Excuse me Извините! (Izvinite!) – formal
Извини! (Izvini!) – informal
How much is this? Сколько это стоит? (Skol’ko ètostoit?)
Sorry Простите! (Prostite!) – formal
Прости! (Prosti!) – informal
Please Пожалуйста (Požalujsta)
Thank you Спасибо! (Spasibo!)
Огpомное спасибо! (Ogromnoe spasibo!)
Большое спасибо! (Bol’šoe spasibo!)
Благодарю вас! (Blagodarju vas!) – formal
Reply to thank you Не за что! (Neza čto!)
Пожалуйста! (Požalujsta!)
Where’s the toilet / bathroom? Где находится туалет? (Gdenaxoditsjatualet?)
This gentleman will pay for everything Этот мужчина платит за всё
(Ètotmužčinaplatitzavsë)
This lady will pay for everything Эта дама платит за всё
(Èta dama platit za vsë)
Would you like to dance with me? Хотите потанцевать? (Xotite potantsevat’?) – formal/pl
Ты хочешь танцевать? (Ty xočeš’ tantsevat’?) – informal
Do you come here often? Ты сюда часто приходишь?
(Ty syuda často prixodiš’?)
I miss you Я скучаю по тебе
(Ja skučaju po tebe) – sg
Я скучаю по вам
(Ja skučaju po vam) – pl/frm
I love you Я тебя люблю (Ja tebja ljublju) – informal
Я вас люблю (Ja vas ljublju) – formal
Get well soon Выздоравливай (Vyzdoravlivaj) – informal
Выздоравливайте (Vyzdoravlivajte) – formal
Поправляйся (Popravljajsja) – informal
Поправляйтесь (Popravljajtes’) – formal
Выздоравливайте скорее (Vyzdoravlivajte skoree) – formal
Go away! Оставьте меня в покое! (Ostav’temenjavpokoe)
Leave me alone! Оставьте меня в покое! (Ostav’te menja v pokoe!) – formal
Оставь меня в покое! (Ostav’ menja v pokoe!) – informal
Help! Помогите! (Pomogite!)
Спасите! (Spasite!)
Fire! Пожар! (Požar!)
Stop! Стой! (Stoj!)
Call the police! Позвоните в полицию! (Pozvonitevpoliciju!)
Позовите полицию! (Pozovite policiju!)
Birthday greetings С днём рождения!
(S dnëm roždenija!)
Поздравляю с днём рождения!
(Pozdravljaju s dnëm roždenija!) – informal
Поздравляю вас с днём рождения!
(Pozdravljajuvassdnëmroždenija!) – formal
Congratulations Поздравления! (Pozdravlenija!)
Поздравляю! (Pozdravljaju!)
Мои поздравления! (Moi pozdravlenija!)
Best wishes Всего́ наилу́чшего! (Vsego nailučšego!)
Всего́ хоро́шего! (Vsego xorošego!)
One language is never enough Одного языка никогда недостаточно
(Odnogo jazyka nikogda nedostatočno)
Знать один язык никогда недостаточно
(Znat’ odinjazyknikogdanedostatočno)
Знать один язык – это недостаточно
(Znat’ odinjazyk – ètonedostatočno)
Christmas and New Year greetings С Рождеством Христовым!
(S Roždestvom Xristovym!)
С Рождеством! (S Roždestvom!) – informal
Счастливого Рождества! (Sčastlivogo Roždestva)
Весёлого Рождества! (Vesjologo Roždestva)
С Новым Годом! (SNovymGodom!)
Поздравляю вас с Новым Годом!
(Pozdravljaju vas s Novym Godom!) – formal
Поздравляю с Новым Годом!
(Pozdravljaju s Novym Godom!)