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.

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