How to Say and Respond to "Thank You" in Russian

Ways to say thank you in Russian

Here, in Russia, we like to thank people for everything they do for us. Children are taught by their parents to say thank you every time someone gives them a candy, for example. 

So, this topic is very essential for all of those who want to be polite. Of course, people say thank you all over the world, no matter where they live. But Russians really pay attention to this thing. At least I do. For Russians being grateful is always very important.

Ways to Say Thank You

There are some words of gratitude in Russian language wich will help you sound and look more polite. All the words will be written in cyrillic. Plus, I will give you transliteration in English and pronounciation of every word.

First word is спасибо (spasibo). This simple word is very common. You can use it in any situation, whether it's a business meeting or a casual conversation. There is no difference like in English where we use "thanks" and "thank you" in various cases.

Note the pronunciation of the word "spasibo". Despite the fact that it ends in "o", we still pronunce the last letter as "uh". So, we have spah-see-buh.

You can go on and learn other words to show grattitude, but I assure you that even if you only know spasibo, this will be enough to be polite in most situations.

There is a variety of expressions with spasibo for showing different degrees of gratitude. If spasibo means "thank you" (but it's not a verb like it is in English), so that there are some expressions to say "thank you very much" or "thanks a lot". Большое спасибо means the same as "thank you very much". If you are even more grateful, you can say огромное спасибо. There are also some colloquial variations like громадное спасибо, большущее спасибо and other forms people use in informal converstaions.

In Russian we have the verb wich means to thank (or to express gratitude) - благодарить. Let's look at the conjunction of this verb. It will be useful when you are attending some formal event.

Я благодарю. I thank (I express gratitude).
Ты благодаришь. You thank.
Он/она благодарит. He/she thanks.

Мы благодарим. We thank.
Вы благодарите. You thank.
Они благодарят. They thank.

If you want to express your gratitude to someone (usually officially) for something you should say:

Я благодарю (whom? - put here a noun (a pronoun) in the accusative case) за (for)...

For example:

Я благодарю вас за терпение. - I thank you for the patience.
Мы благодарим читателей за поддержку. - We thank our readers for the support.

Note the preposition "за" which is indispensable in this case.

The phrase "I want to thank" in Russian is "Я хочу поблагодарить". And then you use the same pattern as in the previous example.

Another synonym for благодарить is выражать благодарность. Literally it means to express gratitude, while благодарить is closer to "to thank" in meaning. So, as you can guess, "благодарность" means grattitude in the Russian language.

Благодарить = выражать благодарность

Я хочу поблагодарить (я хочу выразить благодарность)... I want to thank (I want to express my gratitude)...
Я благодарю (я выражаю благодарность)... I thiank (I express my gratitude)...

As in case with spasibo here we also can use adjectives to describe how great our grattitude is:

Я хочу выразить большую (огромную) благодарность...

You might be confused with the verbs выражать and выразить. The point is that the second one is the perfective form of the first one. If you are a beginner, just don't think about it now.

Ways to Respond to Thank You

To make a polite response to "thank you" in Russian, we usually just say пожалуйста. This word also means... please. Yes, it does. A a totally different meaning. So, when you want to ask for something, you use пожалуйста to be polite, and when you need to respond to thank you, it's also the best word to say!

For example:

- Спасибо за помощь. Thank you for your help.
- Пожалуйста. You are welcome.

Or:

Пожалуйста, помоги мне. Please, help me.

Very interesting, right?

There are also other ways to respond:

Не за что. - It's nothing. (no worries, no problem)

Не стоит благодарности. - lit. It's not worth to thank me.

Не благодари. - Don't thank me.

or, when you talk to a group of people or the situation is formal:

Не благодарите.

На здоровье. - lit. For your health. (It's for your health)

And you can also say обращайся, wich means something like "ask me when you need". Don't forget it's обращайтесь, when you are adressing to a group of people or talking to a stranger/boss etc.

Examples:

- Благодарю Вас за урок. Thank you for the lesson.
- Не за что. Я тоже приятно провел время. It's nothing. I had a really nice time, too.

- Спасибо, что занял денег. Thanks for lending me the money.
- Обращайся в любое время. Ask me anytime.

How to say and respond to thank you in Russian


I hope the lesson will help you undertsand how to thank someone in Russian. If you still have any questions, you can ask me anytime. Обращайтесь :)

Personal pronouns in the Russian language

Personal pronouns are basic words you should know in any language. It's almost impossible to avoid them in speaking. So, in this lesson we will learn the personal pronouns in Russian.

If we put personal pronouns in the table for better understanding, they will look like this:

SINGULAR PLURAL
я [ya] - I мы [mih] - we
ты [tih] - you (informal) вы [vih] - you (formal/plural)
он [on]- he они [ah-ni'] - they
она [ah-na'] - she
оно [ah-no'] - it

We use вы not only when adressing more than one person, but also when we're talking to a person we don't know. Plus, there are many situations when we use вы to show that we respect a person we're talking to. For example, it can be an old lady living next door or a professor at the university where you're studying.

The rest of the prepositions are quite easy to understand. If you want to study the pronunciation of these words, watch my video. It also has an exercise part where you can test yourself.


Remembering all these words is not hard. The problem is that you have to place every pronoun into the correct case, and, believe me, it's very hard. Every word changes in every of six cases (!). Let's see how it happens.

Looks very frustrating, right? You need to remember all these cases. Notice that we use the same forms of pronouns in the genitive and the accusative case. Well, at least this fact makes remembering a little easier.

But you will probably ask a question: "How and when should I use all these forms?". Keeping all these words in memory doesn't mean you can find the right time to use them. So we have to study some examples in a context.

Personal pronouns in the nominative case are allways subjects in the sentence.

Genitive case: 

У меня есть собака. - I have a dog.

Accusative case:

Я видел её вчера. - I saw her yesterday.

Мой дядя попросил меня купить ему яблок. - My uncle asked me to buy him some apples.

Dative case:

Дай мне вон ту книгу. - Give me that book.

Я покажу тебе фотографии. - I will show you the pictures.

Instrumental case:

Этот стул сделан им. - This chair was made by him.

Я не пойду в кино с тобой. - I won't go to the cinema with you.

Prepositional case:

Давай поговорим о нас. - Let's talk about us.

Unfortunatelly, there are some other forms of personal pronouns in Russian. I know, you are already sick of them, but don't give up. Let's see how some pronouns change their forms.

ими --> ними

Мы пойдем туда с ними. - We go there with them.

её --> неё

У неё пять детей. - She has five children.

им --> ним  ей --> ней

Я поговорю с ним (с ней). - I will talk to her (to him).

Have a question? Leave a comment, don't be shy. I'll help you as soon as possible. 

9 ways to greet someone in Russian


It is the right time to learn some
greetings in Russian. I should notice that not all of them are commonly used in everyday life. We normally use just 2-3 greeting words for different situations.

So, let's find out how to greet someone in Russian.

Formal greetings

The first one will be very very difficult to pronounce for a foreigner.

Здравствуйте [zdrah-stvooy-tee] - Hello!

This is a formal kind of greeting. We usually say it to people we don't know, to older people and in formal situations. For example, students greet their professor or teacher with the word здравствуйте.

Another form of this word is здравствуй [zdrah-stvooy]. It's less formal but much less common. This word is used to greet only one person, you can't say it to a group of people. Interesting thing that, for example, the teacher can say this word to his student but the student should only say "здравствуйте" to show some respect.

Доброе утро! [dohb-ruh-ee oo-truh] - Good morning!
Добрый день! [dohb-rihy dyen’] - Good afternoon!
Добрый вечер! [dohb–rihy vye-cheer] - Good evening!

More formal, rarely used as a greeting in everyday speaking.

Remember that Russians use these phrases only as greetings. You can't wish a good morning (afternoon, evening) to someone using these expressions.

Доброго времени суток! [dohb-rah-vuh vre-mee-nee soo-tak]

This phrase is not very common but you can use it instead of "добрый день", "добрый вечер" and "доброе утро". This refers to any part of the day. The expression is often used in formal writing, though some experts claim it's not grammatically correct.

How to say hello in Russian

Informal greetings

Привет! [pree-vyet] - Hi!

This is a very common way to greet a friend in Russian. But not only a friend actually. "Привет" is a colloquial word for many situations. We say it to our parents, grandparents, relatives (if we are of the same age or just very close to them), classmates etc. All in all, we can greet with "привет" anyone who we know well or in a good relationship with. Well, if you know your boss well you still can't say this word to him. This is not formal.

Здравствуй [zdrah-stvooy] - Hello.

The word "здравствуй" can be used instead of "привет", but it's very tricky. If you adress it to a friend it might sound awkward. Privyet is used almost all the time in informal situations. It's hard to avoid it. Zdravstvuy is a greeting that older people tend use from time to time.

Здорово! [zduh-ro-vuh] - Hi! (slang)

You need to be really careful with this one. First, it is the way that some Russian men greet each other. I don't remember any woman saying that. Maybe some young girl who acts like a man. This word is very informal. You can use it only when talking to friends.

One more thing, this word looks exactly like another Russian word which means "That's cool!". But in this case the pronounciation and the accent is different.

Приветствую! [pree-vyetst-vuyu] - lit. I greet you!

This phrase can be formal and informal but nobody really uses it in everyday dialogues. Usually someone say Приветствую to a group of people, when wants to greet them all at once. For example, in a TV-Show or a YouTube video.  

It is a form of the verb приветствовать (to greet). You already know Привет, so it gets easier to remember.

Want to know the pronunciation of all the words mentioned in this article? Whatch our video!




Let's finish this lesson. To be honest, I can't recall any other greeting words that is common in Russia. Maybe you have heard some? You can post a comment below if you want to know the meaning. But I assure you, these words will be enough if you are planning to talk to some Russian.

An easy way to learn the Russian alphabet for english speakers


If you want to learn Russian, you need to begin with the alphabet. Otherwise, the ability of reading will be impossible. I can tell you that reading in Russian is simple if you know the pronounciation of every letter. The words are made of letters, which are like bricks. You just put them together to get a syllable, and then a whole word. But as a rule russian letters sounds the same in words as they do separetely. Not like in English. That's a great advantage for learning.

There's an easy way to learn the Russian alphabet. It's not absolutelly easy but it's not difficult to understand. Of course, if you really want it and not going to give up.

First, let's see how the Russian alphabet looks like:


Letters seem a little tricky, right? As you can see, the colors differ. This way I wanted to mark the Russian consonant and vowels. Consonants are blue and vowels are red. There's two letters wich have another color. We will talk about them later.

First letter of Russian alphabet is the same as in English. Actually, the second one too. It just looks differently. Let's find out about each cyrillic letter.

Good news for you, there are 5 letter that you already know from English, and they are pronunced the same way! It's А, О, Т, К and М.

But as you can see, small "м" doesn't look like the English "m". You need to remember this moment. Also the small "к" in the Russian langiuage doesn't have that long tail like "k".

Let's take a closer look at these letters:

A is pronunced the same as "a" in father or rather.

M as in mother, memory, misery, etc.

K as in Kyle, kiss, etc.


T as in talk, tost, etc. But in Russian "т" is more hard. We press our tongue against the top teeth.

O is a little tricky. Because it can be pronounced differently. It is normally pronunced like "o" as in sort or door. But if this letter appears is in the unstressed syllable, it becomes "a". For example, хорошо - [hara'sho].

Another group of Russian letters, which look familar but sound differently, includes В, Е, Н, Р, С, У, Х. Be careful with them.

B is not "b". It is "v". As in vase, village, volume. This letter has a voice, but it becomes voiceless at the end of the word. So, it becomes the "f" sound.

H is not "h". It is "n". As in not, need, nail, etc.


Р is not "p", as in English. It is thrilled "r". Just like in Spanish language, for example. There's no equivalent of this letter in English. Only in some british accents.


C is pronounced as "s". Always. Not "k" or any other way. Only "s", Like in spot, search, spoon, etc.


У is not "y" as is in English. It sounds like "oo". Same as in soon, moon, etc.


Е is pronounced like "ye" if it's the first letter in the word or appears after "ь", "ъ". It sounds very soft after consonant letters. In the unstressed syllable it becomes "ee" like in "see".


Х is not the English "x". It sounds like "kh". Very similar to English "h" in heart or home. But it's stronger than "h".

Now it's time to look at some weird Russian letters which you've probably never seen before.

Б is just "b", like in bee, busy, board. This consonant is voiced. If it's at the end of the word it sounds more like "p", it loses it's voice.

Г is "g" like in go, green, girl, etc. Also voiced. And at the end of the word becomes "k".

Д is another voiced sound. It is pronunced like "d" in door, drill, drop, etc. At the end of the word it is "t".

Ж is [zh] as in azure. This letters loses its voice at the end of the word and becomes [sh].

Ё is "yo", like many rap singers say. Another example where it sounds similar is the word "your".

З is, again, a voiced letter "z". Like in zoo, zebra, etc. At the end of the word it turns into "s".

И is "ee" like in see, bee, read, etc.

Й is a Russian equivalent of "y" as in toy, boy, say, etc.

Л is "l" as in learn, lie, load, etc.

П is a "p" sound, like in pray, piece, post, etc.

Ф is pronunced like "f". Same as in friend, foot, feeling, etc.

Ц - [ts]. Like in hits, for example.

Ч - [ch]. Like in chair or choose.

Ш - [sh]. But note that in Russian this sound is more hard.

Щ - [sh']. This is the soft version of "sh", like you use in English. Every word with "sh" can be examples for this letter.

Ъ is called the hard sign. Makes the preceding consonants hard. But it's mostly used to separate vowels and consonants in words.

Ы... oh, this is a very difficult thing to pronounce. But it's very similar to "i" or "y" that appears in some words (more often in American English). For example, physics, listen. It's not like in sea. The letter ы sounds harder.

Ь is called the soft sign. It doesn't have any sound. It helps in creating soft sounds. To make a consonant soft you need to put "ь" after it.

Э is pronounced like "e". The words say, hey. they are good examples for the pronunciation of this word.

Ю just "you". It sounds exactly like this word.

Я gives the [ya] sound. But when it appears in the unstressed syllable, it becomes "ye".

I think it is enough for one lesson. In the next post we'll take a closer look at all of those letters.

Let's learn Russian from scratch!


Hello, everyone!

If you are here, that means you want to learn Russian. Let's say, it doesn't seem to be a piece of cake and you probably know it. First of all, to learn Russian you need to remember many new letters you have never seen before. They do not look like letters you are accustomed to see. English, Spanish, German and many other languages have almost the same alphabet. They just have a different way to pronounce the letters. But Russian language is a whole different story.

So, Russian is not easy to learn. But we will try to make the learning process as easy as it is possible. We will start learning Russian from the very begining. Having zero percent knowledge does not mean you cannot get some. This might be even better for you to begin from the elementary level because the basics will help you in understanding more difficult things, which Russian language has.

Are you ready to begin?