How 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 all the 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 on this thing. At least I do. For Russians being grateful is always very important.

There are some words of gratitude in Russian language wich will help you to sound and look more polite. All the words will be written in cyrillic. Plus, I will give you translitration 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 know only "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 as 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 a verb wich means to thank (or to express gratitude) - благодарить. Let's look at the conjunction for 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.

I hope the lesson will help you undertsand how to thank someone in Russian.