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The Most Useful Intermediate Russian Phrases


Conversational speech consists of many idioms and collocations. The Russian language has its own commonly used phrases, some of which you already encountered at the beginner level. Now, we would like to offer you a concise guide to the most useful intermediate Russian phrases.

When you first started learning Russian, you probably focused on memorizing lists of words. But now that you understand the language much better, picking up entire phrases will help accelerate your Russian learning—even if there are still words you don’t know! 

By using intermediate Russian phrases at the right time and in the right place, you’ll be at your best and will be able to participate in conversations with native Russian speakers.

    ➜ Make sure to go through our Intermediate lesson series to learn even more Russian phrases and to hone your language skills.

A Man Greeting a Woman at a Car Dealership

Interacting with people of diverse backgrounds is a great way to practice your verbal communication skills.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Talking About Past Events
  2. Making and Changing Plans
  3. Listing and Explaining Your Reasons
  4. Making Recommendations and Complaints
  5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations
  6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings
  7. To Conclude

1. Talking About Past Events

Both English and Russian have three main tenses—past, present, and future—with each tense having several different forms. While there are twelve such forms in English, most verbs in Russian have five forms (except for some verbs, which have more). 

As a beginner, you likely focused on learning how to use the present tense. But in order to begin communicating more fluently, intermediate learners should start practicing how to use the different forms of the past tense

Below, we have compiled several intermediate-level Russian phrases for talking about past events. Learning them will significantly enrich your speech!

Girls Having a Party

Parties are fun, but they’re also a great way to practice your speaking skills when learning a foreign language.

Вчера на вечеринке мы весело провели время. 
Vchera na vecherinke my veselo proveli vremya.
“We had fun at the party last night.”

Я начал здесь работать три года назад. 
Ya nachal zdes’ rabotat’ tri goda nazad.
“I started this job three years ago.”

Вчера был худший день в моей жизни. 
Vchera byl khudshiy den’ v moyey zhizni.
“Yesterday was the worst day of my life.”

Когда-то у меня был щенок по кличке Шарик. 
Kogda-to u menya byl shchenok po klichke Sharik.
“I used to have a puppy named Sharik.”

Все выходные шёл дождь. 
Vse vykhodnyye shyol dozhd’.
“It was raining all weekend.”

    ➜ Want to study the past tense in greater depth? Then visit our lesson Precious Russian Memories on to learn about verb conjugation for the past tense. 

2. Making and Changing Plans

Now we will look at the future tense and discover how to make plans in Russian. Maybe you’ve already learned how to use the future tense in one of our free lessons, but if not, make sure to see this lesson for information on how to conjugate the verb быть (“to be”).

Ready? Try to memorize the following intermediate words and phrases in Russian, and feel free to play around with them to make them your own.

A Man Planning His Schedule

Life planning means setting smart goals that are feasible, measurable, and aligned with the broader outcomes you’re seeking.

У тебя есть время в эти выходные? 
U tebya yest’ vremya v eti vykhodnyye?
“Do you have time this weekend?”

Как насчёт русской еды? 
Kak naschyot russkoy yedy?
“How about Russian food?”

Могу ли я привести с собой парня/девушку? 
Mogu li ya privesti s soboy parnya/devushku?
“Can I bring my boyfriend/girlfriend with me?”

На следующей неделе они собираются сделать ремонт в комнате. 
Na sleduyushchey nedele oni sobirayutsya sdelat’ remont v komnate.
“They are going to redecorate the room next week.”

Я хотел спросить, можем ли мы перенести встречу. 
Ya khotel sprosit’, mozhem li my perenesti vstrechu.
“I was wondering if we could reschedule the meeting.”

Давайте в следующий вторник проведём встречу в Zoom, чтобы обсудить подробности. 
Davayte v sleduyushchiy vtornik provedyom vstrechu v Zoom, chtoby obsudit’ podrobnosti.
“Let’s have a Zoom meeting next Tuesday to discuss the details.”

3. Listing and Explaining Your Reasons 

There are many sentence patterns for explaining reasons in Russian. Doing so usually means forming a complex sentence and making use of the appropriate conjunctions, which can perform a range of functions useful for organizing thoughts. 

    ➜ If you haven’t yet, we recommend adding conjunctions to your intermediate Russian vocabulary. Our Level 3 Russian pathway has several lessons about different conjunctions and their uses. 

…потому что… 
…potomu chto…

  • Мы здесь, потому что нам не все равно. 
    My zdes’, potomu chto nam ne vse ravno.
    “We are here because we care.”
  • Я тут, потому что она попросила. 
    Ya tut, potomu chto ona poprosila.
    “I only came because she asked.”

Вот почему… 
Vot pochemu…
“That’s why… ”

  • Нам не все равно, вот почему мы здесь. 
    Nam ne vse ravno, vot pochemu my zdes’.
    “We care; that’s why we are here.”
  • Она попросила, вот почему я тут. 
    Ona poprosila, vot pochemu ya tut. 
    “She asked; that’s why I came.”

Так получилось, что… 
Tak poluchilos’, chto…
“It so happened that…”

  • Оказалось, что это девичья фамилия его мамы. 
    Okazalos’, chto eto devichya familiya evo mamy.
    “Turns out that it’s his mother’s maiden name.”
  • Так получилось, что мне нужно было уехать. 
    Tak poluchilos’, chto mne nuzhno bylo uehat’. 
    “It so happened that I had to leave.”

In Russian, you can use the following words to list your reasons. These words are always hyphenated:

    ★ во-первых (vo-pervykh) – “firstly”
    ★ во-вторых (vo-vtorykh) – “secondly”
    ★ в-третьих (v-tret’ikh) – “thirdly”
    ★ в-четвертых (v-chetvertykh) – “fourthly”
    ★ в-пятых (v-pyatykh) – “fifthly”
    ★ etc. 

Я выбрал это по трём причинам. Во-первых… Во-вторых… И последнее, но не менее важное… 
Ya vybral eto po tryom prichinam. Vo-pervykh… Vo-vtorykh… I posledneye, no ne meneye vazhnoye…
“I chose it for three reasons. First of all… Secondly… Last but not least…”

В первую очередь…
V pervuyu ochered’…
“First of all…”

4. Making Recommendations and Complaints

It’s difficult to imagine the modern world without internet communication. We all, in one way or another, require the internet in our daily lives: sending emails, performing work-related tasks, writing reviews and recommendations… 

In this section, we’ll touch on that last point. You’ll find a variety of intermediate phrases in Russian that you can use to make recommendations or complaints.

A Woman Showing Another Woman Something on a Tablet

Online reviews can help other customers make better choices.

Попробуй. Это лучшее, что я когда-либо пробовал. 
Poprobuy. Eto luchsheye, chto ya kogda-libo proboval.
“You should try this. It’s the best I’ve ever had.”

Нам очень понравилось в этом отеле. Я обязательно вернусь сюда снова. 
Nam ochen’ ponravilos’ v etom otele. Ya obyazatel’no vernus’ syuda snova.
“We loved staying at this hotel. I would definitely go back again.”

Плохое обслуживание. Не рекомендую. 
Plokhoye obsluzhivaniye. Ne rekomenduyu.
“Bad customer service. Would not recommend it.”

Лучшая еда в городе! 
Luchshaya yeda v gorode!
“The best food in the city!”

5. Reaction Phrases for Everyday Conversations

The following intermediate phrases in Russian will help you react more naturally during a conversation. Using the right phrase at the right time can help keep the conversation going and make your speech more fluent and relaxed. The Russian reaction phrases below are simple and easy to remember.

Класс! / Обалдеть! / Здорово! 
Klass! / Obaldet’! / Zdorovo!

Неужели? / Правда? 
Neuzheli? / Pravda?

Да что ты говоришь! / Да ты что! / Не может быть. 
Da chto ty govorish’! / Da ty chto! / Ne mozhet byt’.
“No kidding!”

Боже мой! / Ничего себе! 
Bozhe moy! / Nichego sebe!
“Oh my goodness!”

Ух ты! / Вот это да! 
Ukh ty! / Vot eto da!

Это круто (потрясающе, ужасно, потрясно и т.д)!
Eto kruto (potryasayushche, uzhasno, potryasno i t.d)!
“That’s cool (fantastic, awful, mind-blowing, etc.)!”

Let’s use them in a couple of sample dialogues:

А: Вчера на вечеринке мы весело провели время.
B: Здорово! Я рада за вас.

A: Vchera na vecherinke my veselo proveli vremya.
B: Zdorovo! Ya rada za vas.

A: We had fun at the party last night. 
B: Awesome! I’m happy for you.

А: Вчера был худший день в моей жизни.
B: Правда? Что случилось?

A: Vchera byl khudshiy den’ v moyey zhizni.
B: Pravda? Chto sluchilos’?

A: Yesterday was the worst day of my life.
B: Really? What happened?

6. Etiquette Phrases for Social and Business Settings

All over the world, there are polite phrases used to show good manners, praise others, and encourage one another. In Russia, too, we have “magic words” and other niceties for business and social occasions. Below are a few of the most useful Russian phrases for intermediate learners who want to make a great impression on native speakers.

A Man and a Woman Cheering with Glasses of Wine

Having good manners is an incredibly important life skill.

Приятного аппетита! 
Priyatnogo appetita!
“Bon appétit!”

Добро пожаловать в наш магазин. 
Dobro pozhalovat’ v nash magazin.
“Welcome to our store.”

Пожалуйста, будьте как дома. 
Pozhaluysta, bud’te kak doma.
“Please make yourself at home.”

Пожалуйста, дай мне знать, если возникнут какие-либо вопросы.
Pozhaluysta, day mne znat’, yesli vozniknut kakiye-libo voprosy.
“Please let me know if you have any questions.”

Жду от тебя ответа. 
Zhdu ot tebya otveta.
“I look forward to hearing from you.”

Счастливого пути! 
Schastlivogo puti!
“Have a safe trip!”

Вы не могли бы..? 
Vy ne mogli by..?
“Could you…?”

Прошу прощения за то, что отнял ваше время. 
Proshu proshcheniya za to, chto otnyal vashe vremya.
“I apologize for wasting your time.”

Я хотел бы спросить вас… 
Ya khotel by sprosit’ vas…
“I would like to ask you…”

7. To Conclude

Alright, now we’re sure that if you go to Russia, you’ll have no problems communicating with the locals. Collocations will help you out in any—even the most difficult—situation!

Don’t forget to explore and create your free lifetime account today. Our Russian learning website provides a lot of free information to help you practice grammar, learn vocabulary, and pick up new phrases. 

Also, consider upgrading to Premium PLUS so that you can take advantage of our MyTeacher service. This will give you an incredible opportunity to learn Russian 1-on-1 with a teacher, so you could practice all the new intermediate Russian phrases from this article and ask any questions you might have.

Until next time, happy Russian learning!

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