Every culture has a way of taking familiar words and turning them into something else. Russia is no exception. These uniquely Russian expressions don’t translate literally to English and aren’t essential to everyday conversation, but recognizing these expressions in speech and using them with ease can make you sound like a real Russian!

How do you say "Hi" in Russian?

The most common way to informally greet someone in Russian is by saying “привет” (privyet).

There are other ways to say greet in Russian as well. For example, saying “здравствуйте” (zdravstvuytye) is considered more formal, and used on a more regular basis. If you want your greeting to lie somewhere in between formal and informal, you may say “здравствуй” (zdravstvuy) instead.

Although it isn’t technically a proper way to greet, I have come across эй (ey), which you would use in Russian almost the same way you would use “hey” in English.

How do you properly say "I'm sorry" in Russian?

It depends…

  • If your friend’s dog or granny died, you can say сочувствую (I feel for you) or соболезную (my commiserations, condolences)
  • If they didn’t get the job they wanted or missed the flight, you say мне жаль (I’m sorry) or бывает (Happens…) or не повезло (Bad luck!)
  • If you want to genuinely apologise for something, you say Прости/простите (меня) (Forgive me)
  • If you’re distracted and missed smth or just want to cut in to add your twopence, you say извини/извините (sorry/excuse me)
  • There’s also this slang word “сорян” (a Russified version of ‘sorry’, as you might have guessed), but, depending on the context, it could mean you aren’t actually sorry at all and couldn’t care less. Go figure.

Hope this helps and don’t ever be sorry.

How do I say "shut up" in Russian?

There are several translations for “Shut up” in Russian. The most popular are:

  1. Заткнись (Zatknís') - means “Shut up”
  2. Закрой рот (Zakrói rot) - means literary “Shut up your mouth”.
  3. Замолчи (Zamolchí) - means “Ring off!”.

All of the abovestated examples are rather rude, but not swear words. The last one, if followed with “please” and said calmly, would be a quite polite phrase.

Polite examples:

  1. Замолчи, пожалуйста (Zamolchí, pozhálusta) - means “please stop talking”.
  2. Помолчи, пожалуйста (Pomolchí, pozhálusta) - means “Silence, please”.

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