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Advanced Russian Phrases to Broaden Your Vocabulary

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We recommend this article for those who have largely mastered the Russian language, have learned to build simple sentences on their own, and wish to improve further. If you want to not only speak in Russian but also to do so exactly like a native speaker, then you’re in the right place. The advanced Russian phrases outlined in this article will take your language skills to the next level. 

It’s very difficult to become a fluent speaker in a foreign language, not needing to think about your every word or how to phrase something. The secret, however, is simple: The more you practice, the faster you’ll refine your skills. 

Being able to start and maintain conversations in Russian is a major indicator that you’re getting closer to mastery, which makes it imperative to practice your Russian speaking skills early on. Writing also helps. Dip a toe in the water, and start writing academic essays or powerful resumes in Russian using the advanced words and phrases from this article.

We have prepared for you a comprehensive list of advanced Russian phrases for a variety of contexts. The best way to memorize them is to use them in your daily life as often as possible. If your goal is to sound like a native speaker, you should place particular focus on learning the common Russian idioms and expressions outlined at the end of this article.

Students Communicating with Each Other on a University Lawn

Whether we travel for work or for pleasure, understanding one another without language barriers enhances our lives.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Common Phrases for Writing an Essay
  2. Power Phrases for Your Resume and Cover Letter
  3. Smart Phrases for Business and Meetings
  4. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage
  5. Conclusion

1. Common Phrases for Writing an Essay

To write a really good essay or academic paper, you’ll need to have sufficient vocabulary. Developing the language skills for writing a persuasive argument is crucial. 

Here, we have listed several advanced Russian phrases and expressions for writing a great essay. This is absolutely not an exhaustive list, but it should be enough to help you practice your writing skills and compose an impressive academic paper.


A Girl Writing

To write a good essay, you will need to know some advanced phrases.

1.
С этой целью необходимо рассмотреть ряд ключевых вопросов.
S etoy tsel’yu neobkhodimo rassmotret’ ryad klyuchevykh voprosov.
“To that end, consideration needed to be given to a number of key issues.”

2.
Результаты недавнего исследования предоставляют убедительные доказательства в поддержку этой теории.
Rezul’taty nedavnego issledovaniya predostavlyayut ubeditel’nyye dokazatel’stva v podderzhku etoy teorii.
“The results of a recent study provide strong evidence to support this theory.”

3.
Первостепенное значение для решения поставленных нами задач имеют исследования, непосредственно направленные на изучение теоретических аспектов.
Pervostepennoye znacheniye dlya resheniya postavlennykh nami zadach imeyut issledovaniya, neposredstvenno napravlennyye na izuchenie teoreticheskih aspektov.
“Studies directly aimed at theoretical aspects are of paramount importance for finding solutions to the tasks set by us.”

4.
Сказанное заставляет полагать, что изначальное предположение было верным.
Skazannoye zastavlyayet polagat’, chto iznachal’noe predpolozhenie bylo vernym.
“This leads one to believe that the original assumption was correct.”

5.
Ещё одна ключевая вещь, о которой нужно помнить – это разнообразие.
Yeshchyo odna klyuchevaya veshch’, o kotoroy nuzhno pomnit’ – eto raznoobrazie.
“Another key thing to remember is diversity.”

6.
Многочисленные исследования показывают, что более 70% покупок совершаются импульсивно.
Mnogochislennyye issledovaniya pokazyvayut, chto bolee 70% pokupok sovershayutsya impul’sivno.
“Numerous studies show that over 70% of purchases are made on impulse.”

7.
Трудно найти однозначный ответ на этот вопрос.
Trudno nayti odnoznachnyy otvet na etot vopros.
“It is difficult to find a definite answer to this question.”

8.
Аналогичную ситуацию автор описывает в следующем эпизоде.
Analogichnuyu situatsiyu avtor opisyvayet v sleduyushchem epizode.
“The author describes a similar situation in the next episode.”

9.
Я разделяю точку зрения автора по этому вопросу.
Ya razdelyayu mneniye/tochku zreniya avtora po etomu voprosu.
“I share the author’s point of view on this matter.”

2. Power Phrases for Your Resume and Cover Letter

A resume should be short, clear, and persuasive. It is important to choose your words carefully, opting for those that best highlight your experience and competence. Effective action phrases also improve the content of a resume and its accompanying cover letter. You can use the following advanced Russian words and phrases as a reference.

A Resume

A good resume will showcase your knowledge, skills, experience, expertise, and accomplishments.

1. “optimize costs” (оптимизировать расходы) 
Во время работы в этой компании я оптимизировал расходы и получил экономию в размере миллиона рублей.
Vo vremya raboty v etoy kompanii ya optimiziroval raskhody i poluchil ekonomiyu v razmere milliona rubley.
“While working at this company, I optimized costs and saved a million rubles.”

2. “reduce procurement costs” (сократить затраты на закупки) 
Я внедрил новую систему инвентаризации и сократил затраты на закупки на 20% в первом квартале.
Ya vnedril novuyu sistemu inventarizatsii i sokratil zatraty na zakupki na 20% v pervom kvartale.
“I implemented a new inventory system and reduced procurement costs by 20% in the first quarter.”

3. “develop a project” (разработать проект) 
Я разработал проект водоочистки и решил задачу создания системы водоподготовки.
Ya razrabotal proekt vodoochistki i reshil zadachu sozdaniya sistemy vodopodgotovki.
“I developed a water purifying project and solved the challenge of creating a water treatment system.”

 4. “make a schedule with tasks” (составлять график задач) 
Во время моей работы я составлял график задач на 3 месяца вперёд.
Vo vremya moey raboty ya sostavlyal grafik zadach na 3 mesyatsa vperyod.
“During my work, I made a schedule with tasks three months in advance.”

5. “increase sales” (увеличить продажи) 
За последний год я увеличил продажи на 5%, повысил показатели эффективности отдела.
Za posledniy god ya uvelichil prodazhi na 5%, povysil pokazateli effektivnosti otdela.
“Over the past year, I have increased sales by 5% and increased the performance indicators of the department.”

6. “head a team of” (возглавлять команду из) 
В компании “Спецпроект” я возглавлял команду из трёх человек.
V kompanii “Spetsproyekt” ya vozglavlyal komandu iz tryokh chelovek.
“At the Spetsproekt company, I headed a team of three people.”

7. “design a sales scheme” (спроектировать схему продаж) 
Спроектировал схему продаж.
Sproyektiroval skhemu prodazh.
“I designed a sales scheme.”

8. “be engaged” (заниматься) 
На последнем проекте я занимался адаптацией новых сотрудников и успешно взаимодействовал с госорганами.
Na poslednem proyekte ya zanimalsya adaptatsiyey novykh sotrudnikov i uspeshno vzaimodeystvoval s gosorganami.
“On the last project, I was engaged in the adaptation of new employees and successfully interacted with government agencies.”

9. “prioritize” (расставлять приоритеты) 
Я умею расставлять приоритеты при решении задач.
Ya umeyu rasstavlyat’ prioritety pri reshenii zadach.
“I can prioritize tasks.”

10. “critical thinking” (критическое мышление) 
Также я обладаю критическим мышлением.
Takzhe ya obladayu kriticheskim myshleniyem.
“I also have critical thinking.”

11. “defend one’s point of view” (отстаивать точку зрения) 
Я умею отстаивать свою точку зрения, обладаю навыками презентации и самопрезентации.
Ya umeyu otstaivat’ svoyu tochku zreniya, obladayu navykami prezentatsii i samoprezentatsii.
“I can defend my point of view; I have the skills of presentation and self-presentation.”

3. Smart Phrases for Business and Meetings

Do you plan on working or doing business in Russia? Then you’re going to need some advanced Russian vocabulary for use in business settings. Below, we have listed several advanced Russian phrases that will help you successfully speak during a business meeting and defend your point of view in a discussion.

People of Different Professions

The single most important ingredient for success is knowing how to get along with people.

1.
Первый пункт повестки дня…
Pervyy punkt povestki dnya…
“The first item on the agenda is…”

2. 
Прежде чем мы продолжим, мы должны…
Prezhde chem my prodolzhim, my dolzhny…
“Before we move on, we should…”

3. 
В чём заключается главная проблема?
V chyom zaklyuchayetsya glavnaya problema?
“What is the main problem?”

4.
В завершение мне бы хотелось подчеркнуть основные моменты.
V zaversheniye mne by khotelos’ podcherknut’ osnovnyye momenty.
“I’d like to finish by emphasizing the main points.”

In the corporate world, people sometimes use slang. Although most of these words are borrowed from the English language, foreigners often struggle to understand what they mean. Let’s take a look at a few of these difficult words in Russian.

  • Оффер 
    • Мы сделали клиентам оффер и ждём их ответа. 
      My sdelali kliyentam offer i zhdyom ikh otveta.
      “We made an offer to the clients, and now we are waiting for their answer.”
  • Митинг 
    • У меня сейчас митинг с партнёрами, перезвони позже.
      U menya seychas miting  s partnyorami, perezvoni pozzhe.
      “I am at a meeting with partners, call back later.”
  • Стартап 
    • Наша компания выросла из небольшого стартапа. 
      Nasha kompaniya vyrosla iz nebol’shogo startapa.
      “Our company originated from a small startup.”
  • Денежные потоки 
    • Требую полной прозрачности денежных потоков! 
      Trebuyu polnoy prozrachnosti denezhnykh potokov
      “I demand full transparency of cash flow.”
  • Cолидная компания 
    Solidnaya kompaniya
    “Established company”

The word тенденция is typically used in negative contexts: 

  • Тенденция 
    • Наметилась опасная тенденция. 
      Nametilas’ opasnaya tendentsiya
      “A dangerous trend has emerged.”
  • Делегировать полномочия 
    Delegirovat’ polnomochiya
    “Delegate authority”

4. Advanced Idioms, Sayings, and Proverbs for Everyday Usage

At any level of Russian proficiency, learning idioms is very difficult. This is due to the variety of these expressions as well as their seeming strangeness. 

That said, let’s learn a few useful advanced Russian idioms and proverbs. Some of them have equivalents in English, and some can be explained in simple words.

1.
Бабушка (бабка) надвое сказала.
Babushka (babka) nadvoye skazala.
Literally: “Grandma said in two.”
Meaning: “No one knows what will happen.”

2.
Метать громы и молнии
Metat’ gromy i molnii
Literally: “To fling thunder and lightning”
Meaning: “to be in a temper”

3. 
Обещать золотые горы
Obeshchat’ zolotyye gory
“To promise mountains of gold”
Equivalent to: “To promise the moon”

4. 
Нажать на все кнопки
Nazhat’ na vse knopki
“To press on all the buttons”
Equivalent to: “To pull strings”

5. 
Называть вещи своими именами
Nazyvat’ veshchi svoimi imenami
“To call things by their names”
Equivalent to: “To call a spade a spade”

6. 
Быть между молотом и наковальней
Byt’ mezhdu molotom i nakoval’ney
“To be between the sledgehammer and the anvil”
Equivalent to: “To be between a rock and a hard place”
Meaning: To be in a difficult, dangerous situation where trouble threatens from both sides

7. 
Волосы становятся дыбом.
Volosy stanovyatsya dybom.
“One’s hair stands on end.”
Meaning: It refers to a sense of dread or intense fear.

8.
Как гора с плеч свалилась
Kak gora s plech svalilas’
“As if a mountain had fallen off one’s shoulders”
Equivalent to: “A load off one’s mind”

9. 
Камня на камне не оставить
Kamnya na kamne ne ostavit’
“Not to leave one stone upon another stone”
Meaning: To destroy something to the ground or to criticize something/somebody mercilessly

10. 
Кататься как сыр в масле
Katat’sya kak syr v masle
“To be rolling like cheese in butter”
Meaning: To live content with everything in abundance

Two Girls Speaking

Improve your speaking skills and learn advanced techniques in order to speak confidently.

5. Conclusion

This guide is your starting point on this exciting journey toward learning to speak Russian at an advanced level. Speaking Russian will never be as easy as speaking your native language, but with enough practice, you can still progress by leaps and bounds. The more advanced Russian phrases you learn, the more opportunities you’ll have to practice—and to impress native speakers. The more you learn, the easier it gets!

Visit RussianPod101.com to find a lot more valuable (and free) information. We have prepared plenty of materials for advanced learners: recorded conversations, vocabulary lists, grammar lessons, etc. You can even learn key Russian phrases and use our Russian Word of the Day feature to learn a new word every day. 

Our Premium PLUS members also have access to our MyTeacher service, which allows you to communicate with a personal tutor. They can help you practice advanced phrases in Russian, assign you personalized exercises, and help you achieve success faster. Deepen your knowledge, expand your vocabulary, and get rid of your uncertainty about communicating with native Russian speakers!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how comfortable you feel with the advanced phrases we covered today. Are you eager to start memorizing them, or is something still a bit unclear? We look forward to hearing from you. 

Enjoy learning with RussianPod101.com! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian

The Most Useful Intermediate Russian Phrases

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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 RussianPod101.com 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…
“…because…”

  • 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!
“Awesome!”

Неужели? / Правда? 
Neuzheli? / Pravda?
“Really?”

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!
“Wow!”

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 RussianPod101.com 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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Common Russian Phrases for Beginners

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So, you’ve probably already conquered the Russian alphabet—congrats! Now it’s time to work on your vocabulary. Save the grammar for later. But instead of jumping into word lists right away, let me offer you something better: Russian beginner phrases you can start using today. 

I’ve been learning languages for more than a decade myself. I know that unpleasant feeling of not being able to make up a sentence when it’s finally my time to shine. Learning a few ready-made phrases solves this problem: At the heat of the moment, you won’t have to manipulate separate words. The whole phrase would just pop up in your mind. It’s like magic!

In this article, I’ll cover the 50 most common Russian phrases for beginners. You’ll learn the basic greetings and self-introduction lines, essential courtesy phrases, and some expressions that’ll help you order food in a restaurant, buy a souvenir, and not get lost in the city. This set of phrases will be particularly helpful if you plan to visit Russia, as not many Russians speak English

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Greetings and Self-introductions
  2. Courtesy Phrases
  3. Shopping
  4. Eating Out
  5. Asking for Help
  6. What’s Next?

1. Greetings and Self-introductions

It all starts with a hello! Let’s begin by going over a few basic Russian phrases you’ll need to know as you meet new people and make friends. 

Hello. [formal]Hi. [informal]
Здравствуйте. 
(Zdravstvuyte.)
Привет. 
(Privet.)
These are universal greetings. They can be used at any time of day.

If you want to be more specific (or just want to flaunt your knowledge of Russian), keep reading.

Good morning.
Доброе утро. 
(Dobroye utro.)

Good afternoon.
Добрый день. 
(Dobryy den’.)

Good evening.
Добрый вечер. 
(Dobryy vecher.)

How are you doing? [formal]How are you? [informal]
Как поживаете?
(Kak pozhivayete?)
Как дела? 
(Kak dela?)

I’m fine, thank you.
Всё хорошо, спасибо.
(Vsyo khorosho, spasibo.)

Now, straight to introducing ourselves and getting to know other people.

What’s your name? [formal]What’s your name? [informal]
Как вас зовут?
(Kak vas zovut?)
Как тебя зовут?
(Kak tebya zovut?)

My name is Amelie.
Меня зовут Амели
(Menya zovut Ameli.)

Where are you from? [formal]Where are you from? [informal]
Откуда вы?(Otkuda vy?)Откуда ты?(Otkuda ty?)

I’m from France.
Я из Франции.
(Ya iz Frantsii.)

Nice to meet you.
Приятно познакомиться.
(Priyatno poznakomit’sya.)

Nice to meet you, too.
Мне тоже. 
(Mne tozhe.)

Literally: Me too.

➤ You might be surprised to see how many ways there are to greet people in Russian! Our guide to Russian greetings is there to prove it.

Two Businesswomen Smiling and Shaking Hands

Amelie and Olga just met. How would they greet each other? How would they introduce themselves?
Challenge yourself and come up with a short dialogue for this imaginary scene to practice!

2. Courtesy Phrases

  • Cultural Note:

There’s one word in Russian that can turn a rude thug into a courteous gentleman. And this word is Пожалуйста (Pozhaluysta) – “Please.” Simply adding this word to the end of your request is enough to make you sound polite. 

Interestingly, we use the same word for both “Please” and “You’re welcome.” In the following chapters, pay attention to how it’s used. Пожалуйста. :)

Please.
Пожалуйста.
(Pozhaluysta.)

Thank you.
Спасибо.
(Spasibo.)

You’re welcome.
Не за что.
(Ne za chto.)

Excuse me.
Извините.
(Izvinite.)

I’m sorry. [formal]I’m sorry. [informal]
Простите, пожалуйста.
(Prostite, pozhaluysta.)
Извини.
(Izvini.)

That’s okay.
Ничего страшного.
(Nichego strashnogo.)

Literally: Nothing scary.

Goodbye. [formal]Bye. [informal]
До свидания.
(Do svidaniya.)
Пока.
(Poka.)

A Woman Waving Goodbye to Her Husband and Little Baby as She Leaves for Work

Do you think she’s saying «Пока» or «До свидания»? Why?

3. Shopping 

Do you plan on buying a souvenir for your loved one, or maybe a loaf of bread from a local grocery store? In either case, knowing these beginner phrases in Russian will help you have a smooth shopping experience. 

May I have a bottle of water, please?
Можно бутылку воды, пожалуйста? 
(Mozhno butylku vody, pozhaluysta?)
The base structure:

May I have _____, please?
Можно _____, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno _____, pozhaluysta?) 

[I’d like] a loaf of bread, please.
Булку хлеба, пожалуйста. 
(Bulku khleba, pozhaluysta.)

Do you have milk?
У вас есть молоко?
(U vas yest’ moloko?)

How much is the shirt?
Сколько стоит рубашка?
(Skol’ko stoit rubashka?)

How much in total?
Сколько будет всё вместе?
(Skol’ko budet vsyo vmeste?)

Do you accept credit cards?
Вы принимаете карты?
(Vy prinimayete karty?)

➤ You can find more words and phrases for shopping on RussianPod101.com.


A Young Couple and Their Daughter Choosing Pastries at the Store

You know some Russian already! Help the lady buy a cake.
Word hint: cake – пирожное(pirozhnoye)

4. Eating Out

Russia boasts a number of delicacies that’ll have your mouth watering from the first time you step into a traditional restaurant. Before your trip, make sure to learn these useful Russian phrases for dining out! 

I’m hungry.
Я хочу есть.
(Ya khochu yest’.)

Literally: I want to eat.

I’m thirsty.
Я хочу пить.
(Ya khochu pit’.)

Literally: I want to drink.

For here or to go?
Будете есть здесь или возьмёте с собой?
(Budete yest’ zdes’ ili voz’myote s soboy?)

Could I have the menu, please?
Можно меню, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno menyu, pozhaluysta?)

Do you have a lunch menu?
У вас есть бизнес-ланч?
(U vas yest’ biznes-lanch?)

What would you recommend?
Что бы вы посоветовали?
(Chto by vy posovetovali?)

I’m allergic to…
У меня аллергия на…
(U menya allergiya na…)

I’d like to have a salad.
Я буду салат.
(Ya budu salat.)

I’d like to have soup, please.
Можно мне суп, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno mne sup, pozhaluysta?)

The bill, please.
Можно счёт, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno schyot, pozhaluysta?)

➤ To be able to make a more specific order in the restaurant, check our vocabulary list Useful Phrases for Ordering Food.


A Couple Ordering at a Restaurant

Congrats, you’ve found a bonus phrase!
Вы готовы сделать заказ? (Vy gotovy sdelat’ zakaz?) – “Are you ready to order?”

5. Asking for Help

Our final set of Russian beginner phrases consists of expressions you might need to use during your trip should something go wrong, such as communication issues or getting lost.

Could you help me, please? [formal]Please help me. [informal]
Не могли бы вы помочь, пожалуйста?
(Ne mogli by vy pomoch’, pozhaluysta?)
Помоги, пожалуйста.
(Pomogi, pozhaluysta.)
These simple phrases will get you places. Don’t underestimate the magical powers of “please.”

Lost in Translation

Do you speak English? [formal]Do you speak English? [informal]
Вы говорите по-английски?
(Vy govorite po-angliyski?)
Ты говоришь по-английски?
(Ty govorish po-angliyski?)

I don’t speak Russian very well.
Я плохо говорю по-русски.
(Ya plokho govoryu po-russki.)

I don’t speak Russian.
Я не говорю по-русски.
(Ya ne govoryu po-russki.)

How do you say “Red Square” in Russian?
Как сказать “Red Square” по-русски?
(Kak skazat’ “Red Square” po-russki?)
Quick answer: Красная Площадь (Krasnaya Ploshchad’)

Could you repeat, please? [formal]Repeat, please. [informal]
Не могли бы вы повторить, пожалуйста?
(Ne mogli by vy povtorit’, pozhaluysta?)
Повтори, пожалуйста.
(Povtori, pozhaluysta.)

Or simply:
Что? (Chto?) – “Sorry?”

Could you repeat a little slower, please?
Можно ещё раз, но помедленнее, пожалуйста?
(Mozhno yeshchyo raz, no pomedlenneye, pozhaluysta?)

I don’t understand.
Я не понимаю.
(Ya ne ponimayu.)

I’m sorry; I don’t know.
Извините, я не знаю.
(Izvinite, ya ne znayu.)

Asking for Directions

  • Cultural Note:

It’s time to introduce another important courtesy-related word: «Извините» (Izvinite) – “Excuse me.” It serves the same purpose as its English equivalent and can be used before you “bother” a stranger.

Interestingly, we use the same word for “sorry” as well.

Excuse me, where is the restroom?
Извините, где здесь туалет?
(Izvinite, gde zdes’ tualet?)

Excuse me, I’m looking for the subway.
Извините, я ищу метро.
(Izvinite, ya ishchu metro.)

Is there an ATM around here?
Здесь неподалёку есть банкомат?
(Zdes’ nepodalyoku yest’ bankomat?)

Excuse me, how can I get to the park?
Извините, как добраться до парка?
(Izvinite, kak dobrat’sya do parka?)

Is it far?
Это далеко?
(Eto daleko?)

➤ Check our lesson on directions, and learn how to say “turn right” and “turn left” as well. Fewer chances to get lost in town!

A Tourist Holding and Examining a Map

You’re in Saint Petersburg, and you’re looking for The Hermitage.
You have no GPS, and the map won’t help you since it’s obviously not the map of Saint Petersburg.
How would you ask somebody for directions?

6. What’s Next?

Browse our collection of lessons to learn even more Russian beginner phrases. I bet you’d be especially interested in our Survival Phrases series! It covers more topics that would be particularly useful while traveling in Russia: riding the bus, catching a taxi, greeting a business partner, and more.

After this, you can start to expand your vocabulary and explore some basic grammar. But no need to dive into the grammar just yet: What’s the point of knowing how to combine words if you have no words to combine? At the beginner level, it might be more efficient to focus on word chunks and set phrases instead, like the ones mentioned in this article.

Also, if you happen to have any questions about the Russian beginner phrases we covered, our teachers will help you dispel any doubts. With RussianPod101’s Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal 1-on-1 coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—our teachers are there to help you! You can also choose to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. 

Too many benefits to fit in one paragraph—just give it a try!

Happy learning with RussianPod101.

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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Advanced Russian Words to Help You Level Up

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Have you already mastered the basics of the Russian language? If so, this means you have put in the time and effort to gain an extensive vocabulary and that you can make simple statements with relative ease. Congratulations! 

But as they say, you can always do better. You should be proud of the Russian-language proficiency level that you have achieved up to this point, but remember that there is always room for improvement. To reach the advanced level, you’ll need to study more advanced Russian words and make continual progress by working to improve your skills on a daily basis. 

Thanks to the global spread of the internet, it has become more convenient than ever to learn Russian online. If you would like to improve your Russian skills even further and learn to use the language exactly like native speakers, then you’re in the right place. 

RussianPod101 has compiled this comprehensive list of advanced Russian vocabulary words you’ll need in order to level up. We have included words and example sentences that will definitely allow you to show off your knowledge: academic words, business terms, legal jargon, and alternative “high-end” words to use in place of their simpler counterparts.

A Man Is Sitting in Front of a Laptop

Online learning definitely reduces financial strain as it’s far more affordable compared to attending traditional universities or language classes.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Advanced Academic Words
  2. Advanced Business Words
  3. Advanced Medical Words
  4. Advanced Legal Words
  5. Alternative Words for Academic or Professional Writing
  6. Conclusion

1. Advanced Academic Words

The education systems of the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe differ significantly from the education system in Russia. In this section of our advanced Russian words list, you’ll find words and phrases in Russian that will be useful to know while studying in Russian schools and universities (and, of course, when speaking with students in Russia). The topic of education is very broad, but the purpose of this list is to provide you with the most relevant words for Russian communication in academic settings.

  • Экзамен (Ekzamen) – “Assessment” [noun]
  • Сомнительный (Somnitel’nyy) – “Ambiguous” / “Doubtful” [adjective]
  • Дискуссия (Diskussiya) – “Discussion” [noun]
  • Сессия (Sessiya) – “Examinations” [noun]
  • Диплом (Diplom) – “Diploma” [noun]

Example Sentences:

Сомнительно, что она сдаст экзамен. 
Somnitel’no, chto ona sdast ekzamen.
“It is doubtful that she will pass the exam.”

После показа фильмов проводилась тематическая дискуссия. 
Posle pokaza fil’mov provodilas’ tematicheskaya diskussiya.
“Each showing of the documentary was followed by a panel discussion.”

После удачной сдачи сессии он получил диплом. 
Posle udachnoy sdachi sessii on poluchil diplom.
“After successfully passing the examinations, he received a diploma.”

A Graduate Cap Lying on Top of a Pile of Books

Over four million students were enrolled in Russian institutions of higher education in 2019.

  • Лекция (Lektsiya) – “Lecture” [noun]
  • Урок (Urok) – “Lesson” [noun]

На лекциях и уроках получают знания. 
Na lektsiyakh i urokakh poluchayut znaniya.
“We gain knowledge at lectures and lessons.”

  • Химический (Khimicheskiy) – “Chemical” [adjective]
  • Принципы (Printsipy) – “Foundations” / “Basis” [noun]

Принципы химических реакций
Printsipy khimicheskikh reaktsiy
“Foundations of chemical reactions”

  • Методическое пособие (Metodicheskoye posobiye) – “Guideline” [the word пособие is a noun and методическое is an adjective]
  • Обнаружить (Obnaruzhit’) – “To detect” [verb]
  • Случайно (Sluchayno) – “Randomly” / “Accidentally” [adverb]
  • Приложение (Prilozheniye) – “Appendix” [noun]

Он случайно обнаружил приложение к методическому пособию. 
On sluchayno obnaruzhil prilozheniye k metodicheskomu posobiyu.
“He accidentally discovered an appendix to the guideline.”

  • Таблица (Tablitsa) – “Chart” / “Table” [noun]

Таблица является полезным инструментом. 
Tablitsa yavlyayetsya poleznym instrumentom.
“The chart is a useful tool.”

  • Кругозор (Krugozor) – “Prospect” / “Horizons” [noun]

У него широкий кругозор. 
U nego shirokiy krugozor.
“He has broad horizons.”

  • Абзац (Abzats) – “Paragraph” [noun]

Абзац форматируется как заголовок. 
Abzats formatiruyetsya kak zagolovok.
“A paragraph is formatted as a heading.”

  • Решающий (Reshayushchiy) – “Crucial” [adjective]
  • Ядерный (Yаdernyy) – “Nuclear” [adjective]

Первым пунктом повестки дня должна стать ратификация улучшений решающего инструмента обеспечения ядерной безопасности. 
Pervym punktom povestki dnya dolzhna stat’ ratifikatsiya uluchsheniy reshayushchego instrumenta obespecheniya yadernoy bezopasnosti.
“At the top of the agenda should be the ratification of improvements to a crucial nuclear security instrument.”

  • Расписание (Raspisaniye) – “Schedule” / “Timetable” [noun]
  • Минимальный (Minimal’nyy) – “Minimum” [adjective]

Студенты получили ориентировочное расписание с минимальным количеством занятий. 
Studenty poluchili oriyentirovochnoye raspisaniye s minimal’nym kolichestvom zanyatiy.
“Students received an indicative timetable with a minimum number of classes.”

  • Ориентировочный (Oriyentirovochnyy) – “Preliminary” / “Approximate” [adjective]
  • Общежитие (Obshchezhitiye) – “Dormitory” [noun]

В общежитии был беспорядок. 
V obshchezhitii byl besporyadok.
“The dormitory was a mess.”

  • Формат (Format) – “Format” [noun]

Сдайте работу в формате pdf. 
Sdayte rabotu v formate pdf.
“Submit your work in PDF format.”

  • Среда (Sreda) – “Medium” [noun]

Питательная среда содержит лактопептон. 
Pitatel’naya sreda soderzhit laktopepton.
“The nutrition medium contains lactopeptine.”

  • Продолжительность (Prodolzhitel’nost’) – “Duration” [noun]

Продолжительность занятия — 30 минут. 
Prodolzhitel’nost’ zanyatiya — 30 minut.
“The duration of the lesson is 30 minutes.”

  • Убеждённый (Ubezhdyonnyy) – “Convinced” [adjective]

Убеждённый европеец, он рассматривал европейский идеал строго в рамках международного сотрудничества. 
Ubezhdyonnyy yevropeyets, on rassmatrival yevropeyskiy ideal strogo v ramkakh mezhdunarodnogo sotrudnichestva.
“A convinced European, he set the European ideal squarely in a framework of international cooperation.”

2. Advanced Business Words

Business vocabulary is not limited to business contexts; many of the advanced Russian words presented below are used in ordinary everyday conversations as well. While going through this list, keep in mind that each specialty requires a specific vocabulary set. Daily meetings with colleagues, negotiations with business partners, communication by phone and email—all these things require a special skill set and a specific set of vocabulary.

  • Стратегия (Strategiya) – “Strategy” [noun]
  • Встречное предложение (Vstrechnoye predlozheniye) – “Counteroffer” [noun]

Встречное предложение партнёра было частью запасной стратегии. 
Vstrechnoye predlozheniye partnyora bylo chast’yu zapasnoy strategii.
“The partner’s counteroffer was part of a fallback strategy.”

  • Фискальный (Fiskal’nyy) – “Fiscal” [adjective]

Бухгалтерский и налоговый учёт фискального накопителя
Bukhgalterskiy i nalogovyy uchyot fiskal’nogo nakopitelya
“Accounting and tax accounting of the fiscal driver”

  • Сотрудничество (Sotrudnichestvo) – “Collaboration” / “Cooperation” [noun]
  • Соглашение / Договор (Soglasheniye / Dogovor) – “Agreement” [noun]

Частью сотрудничества является подписание договора. 
Chast’yu sotrudnichestva yavlyayetsya podpisaniye dogovora.
“Part of cooperation is the signing of an agreement.”

  • Бюджет (Byudzhet) – “Budget” [noun]

Бюджет академии увеличился на 11 процентов. 
Byudzhet akademii uvelichilsya na 11 protsentov.
“The budget for the academy was raised by 11 percent.”

Russian Rubles

Russia was the sixth-largest economy in the world in 2019, the World Bank estimates. In nominal terms, Russia ranks eleventh.

  • Бухгалтер (Bukhgalter) – “Accountant” [noun]
  • Отдел (Otdel) – “Department” [noun]
  • Визитка (Vizitka) – “Business card” [noun]

На визитке бухгалтера был указан его отдел. 
Na vizitke bukhgaltera byl ukazan yego otdel.
“The accountant’s business card indicated his department.”

  • Валюта (Valyuta) – “Currency” [noun]
  • Товар (Tovar) – “Commodity” [noun]
  • Покупатель (Pokupatel’) – “Customer” [noun]

Покупатель купил товар за валюту. 
Pokupatel’ kupil tovar za valyutu.
“The buyer bought the product with foreign currency.”

  • Эффективность (Effektivnost’) – “Efficiency” [noun]

Отдел повысил показатели эффективности. 
Otdel povysil pokazateli effektivnosti.
“The department has improved efficiency indicators.”

  • Упаковочный лист (Upakovochnyy list) – “Packing list” [the word лист is a noun and упаковочный is an adjective]
  • Срок (Srok) – “Deadline” / “Time” [noun]
  • Счёт (Schyot) – “Invoice” [noun]

Срок поставки по счёту и упаковочному листу — сегодня. 
Srok postavki po schyotu i upakovochnomu listu — segodnya.
“The invoice and packing list delivery time is today.”

  • Инвестиции (Investitsii) – “Investment” [noun]
  • Директор (Direktor) – “Managing director” [noun]
  • Переговоры (Peregovory) – “Negotiation” [noun]

Директор провёл переговоры, касающиеся инвестиций. 
Direktor provyol peregovory, kasayushchiyesya investitsiy.
“The managing director negotiated investments.”

  • Вакансия (Vakansiya) – “Opening” / “Vacancy” [noun]

Вакансия руководителя этого проекта заполнена. 
Vakansiya rukovoditelya etogo proekta zapolnena.
“The leadership vacancy on this project has been filled.”

  • Прибыльный (Pribyl’nyy) – “Profitable” [adjective]
  • Заказ (Zakaz) – “Purchase order” [noun]

Компания выполнила прибыльный заказ
Kompaniya vypolnila pribyl’nyy zakaz.
“The company has completed a profitable order.”

  • Резюме (Rezyume) – “Resumé” / “Curriculum vitae” [noun]

Я отправила моё резюме на вакантные места. 
Ya otpravila moyo rezyume na vakantnyye mesta.
“I sent my resumé for a few job openings.”

  • Подпись (Podpis’) – “Signature” [noun]

Подпись не нужна, только инициалы. 
Podpis’ ne nuzhna, tol’ko initsialy.
“You don’t have to sign it; just your initials.”

  • Поставка (Postavka) – “Supply” [noun]
  • Налог (Nalog) – “Tax” [noun]

Поставка не облагается налогом. 
Postavka ne oblagayetsya nalogom.
“The supply is tax-deductible.”

  • Сделка (Sdelka) – “Transaction” / “Deal” [noun]

Сделка была прибыльной. 
Sdelka byla pribyl’noy.
“The deal was profitable.”

3. Advanced Medical Words

Imagine that you’re in Russia when you start to feel unwell. To get the help you need, you’ll have to describe your symptoms and overall condition (knowing a little about the Russian health system would help, too). In this section, we’ll introduce you to the most useful advanced Russian words related to healthcare. 

  • Биопсия (Biopsiya) – “Biopsy” [noun]

Эндометриальная биопсия нужна, чтобы проверить эффективность прививки. 
Endometrial’naya biopsiya nuzhna, chtoby proverit’ effektivnost’ privivki.
“An endometrial biopsy is needed to test the vaccine efficacy.”

  • Деменция (Dementsiya) – “Dementia” [noun]

Совет фонда считает, что у меня деменция. 
Sovet fonda schitayet, chto u menya dementsiya.
“The foundation board thinks I have dementia.”

  • Ординатура (Ordinatura) – “Residency” [noun]

Мне так сильно понравилась ординатура, что я прошёл её дважды.
Mne tak sil’no ponravilas’ ordinatura, chto ya proshyol yeyo dvazhdy.
“I liked residency so much that I did it twice.”

  • Заболевание (Zabolevaniye) – “Disease” / “Illness” [noun]

Заболевание является серьёзным тормозом для развития. 
Zabolevanie yavlyayetsya ser’yoznym tormozom dlya razvitiya.
“The disease is a major problem for development.”

  • Рецепт (Retsept) – “Prescription” [noun]

Врач выписал мне рецепт. 
Vrach vypisal mne retsept.
“The doctor wrote me a prescription.”

A Doctor Is Consulting with a Patient

Health is one of the crucial things in life that money can’t buy. Please, stay healthy!

  • Астма (Astma) – “Asthma” [noun]

Ну, у её дочери астма. 
Nu, u yeyo docheri astma.
“Well, her daughter has asthma.”

  • Зависимость (Zavisimost’) – “Addiction” [noun]

Ричардс лечился от алкогольной зависимости в 2006 году. 
Richards lechilsya ot alkogol’noy zavisimosti v 2006 godu.
“Richards was in rehab for alcohol addiction in 2006.”

  • Поликлиника (Poliklinika) – “Outpatient department” [noun]

Поликлиника была создана для диагностики. 
Poliklinika byla sozdana dlya diagnostiki.
“The outpatient department was set up to provide diagnostic care.”

  • Медицинский центр (Meditsinskiy tsentr) – “Health care center” [the word центр is a noun and медицинский is an adjective]
  • Cтоматологический (Stomatologicheskiy) – “Dental” [adjective]

Стоматологические клиники и медицинские центры в России могут быть частными. 
Stomatologicheskiye kliniki i meditsinskiye tsentry v Rossii mogut byt’ chastnymi.
“Dental clinics and medical centers in Russia can be private.”

  • Медицинский полис (Meditsinskiy polis) – “Health insurance certificate” [the word полис is a noun and медицинский is an adjective]

Медицинский полис будет только через месяц. 
Meditsinskiy polis budet tol’ko cherez mesyats.
“The health insurance certificate will be ready in a month.”

  • Приёмный покой (Priyomnyy pokoy) – “Emergency room” [the word покой is a noun and приёмный is an adjective]
  • Больничная палата (Bol’nichnaya palata) – “Hospital ward” [the word палата is a noun and больничная is an adjective]

В приёмном покое много больничных палат. 
V priyomnom pokoye mnogo bol’nichnykh palat.
“There are many hospital wards in the emergency room.”

  • Операционная (Operatsionnaya) – “Operating room” [noun]
  • Реанимация (Reanimatsiya) – “Intensive care unit” [noun]
  • Пациент, больной (Patsiyent, bol’noy) – “Patient” [noun]

Из операционной пациента перевели в реанимацию. 
Iz operatsionnoy patsiyenta pereveli v reanimatsiyu.
“The patient was transferred from the operating room to the intensive care unit.”

  • Стационарный больной (Statsionarnyy bol’noy) – “Inpatient” [the word больной is a noun and стационарный is an adjective] Please note that the word больной can also be used as an adjective, just as “patient” can be a noun or an adjective in English.  
  • Амбулаторный больной (Ambulatornyy bol’noy) – “Outpatient” [the word больной is a noun and амбулаторный is an adjective]
  • Медсестра (Medsestra) – “Nurse” [noun]
  • Терапевт (Terapevt) – “Physician” [noun]
  • Отоларинголог (Otolaringolog) – “ORT specialist” [noun]

Медицинское обслуживание стационарных и амбулаторных больных осуществляется разными группами докторов и медсестёр, в том числе терапевтами и отоларингологами. 
Meditsinskoye obsluzhivaniye statsionarnykh i ambulatornykh bol’nykh osushchestvlyayetsya raznymi gruppami doktorov i medsestyor, v tom chisle terapevtami i otolaringologami.
“Medical services for inpatient and outpatient care are provided by various groups of doctors and nurses, including physicians and ORT specialists.”

  • Записаться на приём (Zapisat’sya na priyom) – “To make an appointment” [verb]

Записаться на приём было очень сложно. 
Zapisat’sya na priyom bylo ochen’ slozhno.
“It was very difficult to make an appointment with a doctor.”

According to statistics, more than half of Russians trust alternative and complementary medicine. Previously, only old ladies knew and shared amongst themselves all the recipes of alternative medicine; now, these recipes can be found on TV and the internet. Healing properties are attributed to herbal tinctures, the steam of boiled potatoes, and other methods of alternative medicine. Here are some advanced Russian words related to complementary medicine:

  • Народная медицина (Narodnaya meditsina) – “Alternative medicine” / “Complementary medicine” [the word медицина is a noun and народная is an adjective]
  • Грелка (Grelka) – “Hot water bottle” [noun]
  • Горчичник (Gorchichnik) – “Mustard plaster” [noun]
  • Отвар (Otvar) – “Brew” [noun]
  • Целебные травы (Tselebnyye travy) – “Medicinal herbs” [the word травы is a noun (plural of трава – “herb”) and целебные is an adjective]

Отвар из целебных трав, горчичники и грелка являются популярными средствами в народной медицине. 
Otvar iz tselebnykh trav, gorchichniki i grelka yavlyayutsya populyarnymi sredstvami v narodnoy meditsine.
“Medicinal herb brews, mustard plasters, and a hot water bottle are popular remedies in alternative medicine.”

4. Advanced Legal Words

While these legal words and phrases may be long, difficult to remember, and even harder to spell, they’re sure to prove useful in a number of contexts. Memorize these advanced Russian words to get a leg up in the business world and to enrich your personal life (these are words you might find used on news stations and in the paper). 

  • Гражданин (Grazhdanin) – “Passport holder” / “Resident” [noun]
  • Закон (Zakon) – “Law” [noun]
  • Нарушать закон (Narushat’ zakon) – “To break the law” [verb]

Граждане не должны нарушать закон. 
Grazhdane ne dolzhny narushat’ zakon.
“Residents must not break the law.”

  • Тяжба (Tyazhba) – “Lawsuit” [noun]
  • Юрисконсульт (Yuriskonsul’t) – “Legal adviser” [noun]
  • Законный представитель (Zakonnyy predstavitel’) – “Legal representative” [the word представитель is a noun and законный is an adjective]

Законный представитель и юрисконсульт помогут с судебными тяжбами. 
Zakonnyy predstavitel’ i yuriskonsul’t pomogut s sudebnymi tyazhbami.
“A legal representative and a legal adviser will help with filing a lawsuit.”

  • Нотариус (Notarius) – “Notary public” [noun]

Нотариус проверяет чистоту сделки и следит за тем, чтобы недвижимость продавалась свободной от долгов. 
Notarius proveryayet chistotu sdelki i sledit za tem, chtoby nedvizhimost’ prodavalas’ svobodnoy ot dolgov.
“A notary public verifies the purity of a deal and ensures that property is sold free of debts.”

  • Бездействие (Bezdeystviye) – “Omission” / “Nonfeasance” [noun]

Такие нарушения могут иметь место в силу действия или бездействия государства.
Takiye narusheniya mogut imet’ mesto v silu deystviya ili bezdeystviya gosudarstva.
“Such violations can occur by state action or omission.”

  • Юрист (Yurist) – “Lawyer” [noun]
  • Суд (Sud) – “Court” [noun]
  • Спорить (Sporit’) – “To dispute” [verb]

Юрист оспорил это решение в суде. 
Yurist osporil eto resheniye v sude.
“The lawyer disputed this decision in court.”

A Russian Courtroom

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is the highest judicial body of constitutional supervision in the Russian Federation.

  • Мошенничество (Moshennichestvo) – “Fraud” [noun]
  • Прокурор (Prokuror) – “Prosecutor” [noun]

Прокурор предъявил обвинение в мошенничестве. 
Prokuror pred’yavil obvineniye v moshennichestve.
“The prosecutor indicted for fraud.”

  • Обжалование (Obzhalovaniye) – “Appeal” [noun]
  • Виновный (Vinovnyy) – “Liable” / “Guilty” [adjective]
  • Обвинительное заключение (Obvinitel’noye zaklyucheniye) – “Indictment” [the word заключение is a noun and обвинительное is an adjective]

Виновный обжаловал обвинительное заключение. 
Vinovnyy obzhaloval obvinitel’noye zaklyucheniye.
“The person found guilty appealed against the indictment.”

  • Судебное постановление (Sudebnoye postanovleniye) – “Injunction” [the word постановление is a noun and судебное is an adjective]

Это судебное постановление у нас в кармане. 
Eto sudebnoye postanovleniye u nas v karmane.
“This injunction is in the bag.”

  • Правосудие (Pravosudiye) – “Justice” / “Justice systems” [noun]
  • Приговор (Prigovor) – “Verdict” / “Sentence” [noun]

В то же время женщины теряют доверие к системе правосудия, если приговоры минимальны и не обеспечивают им какую-либо защиту. 
V to zhe vremya zhenshchiny teryayut doveriye k sisteme pravosudiya, yesli prigovory minimal’ny i ne obespechivayut im kakuyu-libo zashchitu.
“At the same time, women lose faith in justice systems where sentences are minimal and fail to offer them any protection.”

  • Свидетель (Svidetel’) – “Witness” [noun]

Свидетель видел золотой рисунок. 
Svidetel’ videl zolotoy risunok.
“The witness saw a gold stripe.”

  • Правоотношение (Pravootnosheniye) – “Legal arrangement” / “Legal relation” [noun]

Ссылка на конкретное правоотношение может не вполне подходить для некоторых правовых систем. 
Ssylka na konkretnoye pravootnosheniye mozhet ne vpolne podkhodit’ dlya nekotorykh pravovykh sistem.
“The reference to a defined legal relationship might not easily be accommodated in certain legal systems.”

  • Права человека (Prava cheloveka) – “Human rights” [noun]

Права человека также являются основой внешней политики. 
Prava cheloveka takzhe yavlyayutsya osnovoy vneshney politiki.
“Human rights also constitute one of the key pillars of foreign policy.”

5. Alternative Words for Academic or Professional Writing 

To write a really good essay, you need to have a sufficient vocabulary of advanced Russian words. Developing the necessary language skills for writing a persuasive argument is crucial. In this section, we’ll equip you with the words and phrases you’ll need to write a great essay or to compose other forms of academic/professional writing. We have also included a number of advanced Russian words that are hard to pronounce, long, or hyphenated. 

Alternative Words

In the first column, you’ll find a simple Russian word; in the second column, you’ll find a more advanced or nuanced replacement you could use instead. 

поэтому (poetomu) – “so”
Conjunction
таким образом (takim obrazom) – “therefore”
Conjunction
Таким образом, курс рубля повысился. 
Takim obrazom, kurs rublya povysilsya. 
“Therefore, the ruble has been appreciated.”

большой (bol’shoy) – “big”
Adjective
огромный (ogromnyy) – “huge” / “enormous”
Adjective
Это огромный успех. 
Eto ogromnyy uspekh. 
“This is a huge success.”

любить (lyubit’) – “to love”
Verb
обожать (obozhat’) – “to adore”
Verb
Я обожаю этот сериал. 
Ya obozhayu etot serial. 
“I adore this show.”

хорошо (khorosho) – “good”
Adjective
прекрасно / замечательно (prekrasno / zamechatel’no) – “beautiful” / “wonderful”
Adjective
Это прекрасно, просто замечательно. 
Eto prekrasno, prosto zamechatel’no. 
“It’s wonderful, just beautiful.”

Complex Linking Words

  • Для того чтобы (Dlya togo chtoby) – “For the purpose of” / “In order to” 

This linking word can be used to introduce an explanation.

Example:

Нужно прийти домой пораньше, для того чтобы успеть сделать уроки.
Nuzhno priyti domoy poran’she, dlya togo chtoby uspet’ sdelat’ uroki.
“You need to come home early in order to have time to do your homework.”

  • Другими словами / Иными словами (Drugimi slovami / Inymi slovami) – “In other words” 

Use the linking word другими словами or иными словами when you want to express something more simply so that it’s easier to understand, or to emphasize or expand upon a point of view.

Example:

Иными словами, он переживает кризис.
Inymi slovami, on perezhivayet krizis.
“In other words, he is in a state of crisis.”

Complicated Words for Russian Learners

Are you up for a challenge? Then try memorizing a few of these more complicated Russian words for advanced learners! 

  • Подбираться, подкрадываться (Podbirat’sya, podkradyvat’sya) – “To sneak up” / “To creep up” [verb]

Он подобрался незаметно. 
On podobralsya nezametno.
“He crept up unnoticed.”

  • Растеряться (Rasteryat’sya) – “To become confused” [verb]
  • Вдобавок (Vdobavok) – “In addition” [adverb]

Я растерялась и вдобавок забыла, что хотела сказать.
Ya rasteryalas’ i vdobavok zabyla, chto khotela skazat’.
“I was confused and, in addition, forgot what I wanted to say.”

  • Неудовлетворённость (Neudovletvoryonnost’) – “Discontent” [noun]

Они вечно показывали неудовлетворённость работой. 
Oni vechno pokazyvali neudovletvoryonnost’ rabotoy.
“They were forever discontent with work.”

  • Правописание (Pravopisaniye) – “Spelling” [noun]

Одно ясно — его правописание оставляет желать лучшего. 
Odno yasno — yego pravopisaniye ostavlyayet zhelat’ luchshego.
“One thing is certain—his spelling leaves much to be desired.”

  • Самообладание (Samoobladaniye) – “Self-control” [noun]

Самообладание очень важно в любом обществе. 
Samoobladaniye ochen’ vazhno v lyubom obshchestve.
“Self-control is crucial to any society.”

  • Приспосабливаться (Prisposablivat’sya) – “To adapt” [verb]

Эти голограммы способны учиться и приспосабливаться. 
Eti gologrammy sposobny uchit’sya i prisposablivat’sya.
“These holograms have the ability to learn and adapt.”

  • Орудовать (Orudovat’) – “To work by tool” / “To wield” [verb]

Я даже не знаю, как орудовать ножом. 
Ya dazhe ne znayu, kak orudovat’ nozhom.
“I wouldn’t even know how to wield a knife.”

  • Махнуть рукой (Makhnut’ rukoy) – “To give up” / “A lost cause” [verb]

А ты, на тебя можно махнуть рукой. 
A ty, na tebya mozhno makhnut’ rukoy.
“You, however—you’re a lost cause.”

  • Истолковывать (Istolkovyvat’) – “To interpret” / “To translate” [verb]
  • Ненадлежащий (Nenadlezhashchiy) – “Improper” [adjective]

Ненадлежащее поведение и поступки можно оценивать и истолковывать по-разному. 
Nenadlezhashcheye povedeniye i postupki mozhno otsenivat’ i istolkovyvat’ po-raznomu.
“Improper behavior and conduct can be appraised and interpreted in different ways.”

  • Несподручно (Nespodruchno) – “Awkwardly” / “Inconveniently” / “Uncomfortably” [colloquialism] [adverb]

В смысле… для меня это, как бы, несподручно. 
V smysle… dlya menya eto, kak by, nespodruchno.
“I mean, I’m not comfortable with that.”

Hyphenated Words

In the Russian language, compound words are often hyphenated. These words include compound nouns, compound names, the names of compass points, shades of color, and so on. Here are some examples:

  • Северо-восточный (Severo-vostochnyy) – “Northeast” [adjective]

Подул северо-восточный ветер. 
Podul severo-vostochnyy veter.
“The northeast wind blew.”

  • Фруктово-ягодный (Fruktovo-yagodnyy) – “With/made from fruits and berries” [adjective]
  • Изумрудно-зелёный (Izumrudno-zelyonyy) – “Emerald-green” [adjective]

Это был фруктово-ягодный изумрудно-зелёный джем.
Eto byl fruktovo-yagodnyy izumrudno-zelyonyy dzhem.
“It was a fruit and berry emerald-green jam.”

  • Диван-кровать (Divan-krovat’) – “Convertible sofa bed” [noun]
  • Купля-продажа (Kuplya-prodazha) – “Buy/sell” / “Sale and purchase” [noun]

Фирма занималась куплей-продажей диванов-кроватей. 
Firma zanimalas’ kupley-prodazhey divanov-krovatey.
“The company was engaged in the sale and purchase of sofa beds.”

  • Мало-помалу (Malo-pomalu) – “Little by little” [adverb]

Мало-помалу каждая часть головоломки становится на своё место. 
Malo-pomalu kazhdaya chast’ golovolomki stanovitsya na svoyo mesto.
“Little by little, every piece of the jigsaw is falling into place.”

  • Перекати-поле (Perekati-pole) – “Rolling stone” [noun]

Потому что ты и я, мы — перекати-поле. 
Potomu chto ty i ya, my — perekati-pole.
“Cause you and I, we’re rolling stones.”

6. Conclusion

In this article, you have learned more than 100 new advanced Russian words and phrases that will help you improve and enrich your Russian vocabulary

RussianPod101.com has plenty of resources designed to help you reach your Russian learning goals, no matter your current proficiency level. If you’re feeling confident, we recommend creating your free lifetime account today and checking out our advanced Russian course

In case you found this topic a bit difficult to grasp on your own, you can upgrade to Premium PLUS in order to use our MyTeacher service. A personal tutor will gladly help you memorize and use new Russian words and phrases, provide you with personalized assignments, and more! 

Before you go: Which of the above words and phrases do you find most useful? Please, let us know in the comments.

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Russian Phone Call Phrases for Everyday Use

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If you’re studying Russian as a foreign language, it’s important for you to practice your oral communication skills as regularly as possible. 

Speaking on the phone with native Russians is a great way to hone your speaking skills, become familiar with new words and expressions, and gain more confidence in yourself. But we understand that it can be a daunting task for language learners! 

To help you get a strong start, we’ve compiled a list of all the basic Russian phone call phrases you need to know. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be able to make and take phone calls in Russian with ease—whether you’re chatting with a friend or reserving a table at an upscale restaurant.

Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating the Reason for the Call
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending the Phone Call
  9. Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Conclusion

1. Picking up the Phone

The first set of Russian phone call phrases you’ll need to know are those for greeting the caller. Here are a few standard greeting expressions you can use: 

  • Aлло. (Allo.) – “Hello.”
  • Я вас слушаю. (Ya vas slushayu.) – “I’m listening to you.”
  • Слушаю. (Slushayu.) – “I’m listening.”

A Woman Holding a Blue Handset

It’s said that 95% of Russian phone conversations start with Алло.

2. Saying Who You Are

Once you’ve greeted the caller, it’s time to introduce yourself. You can use any of the following Russian phone phrases for this:

  • Это ___. (Eto ___.) – “This is ___.”
  • Это говорит ___. (Eto govorit ___.) – “This is ___.”
  • Вас беспокоит ___. (Vas bespokoit ___.) – “This is ___.”

3. Stating the Reason for the Call

After introducing yourself, you’ll need to explain why you’re calling. There are several ways to do this, depending on the situation. These Russian phone call phrases and their English equivalents will be helpful:

  • Вы мне звонили. (Vy mne zvonili.) – “I’m returning your call.”
  • Я звоню, чтобы спросить / уточнить / подтвердить… (Ya zvonyu, chtoby sprosit’ / utochnit’ / podtverdit’…) – “I’m calling to ask / clarify / confirm…”
  • Мне нужно поговорить с кем-то насчёт… (Mne nuzhno pogovorit’ s kem-to naschyot…) – “I need to talk to somebody about…”

A Person Taking Notes

If you’re not confident in your knowledge of the Russian language, it’s a good idea to come up with what you’re going to say during the phone call in advance.

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

If there’s a specific person you’d like to speak to, you can use one of these basic Russian phone phrases to let the receiver know this: 

  • Я хочу поговорить с ___. (Ya hochu pogovorit’ s ___.) – “I want to talk to ___.”
  • Это ___? (Eto ___?) – “Is this ___?”
  • Могу я поговорить с ___? (Mogu ya pogovorit’ s ___?) – “May I talk to ___?”
  • Пожалуйста, позовите ___. (Pozhaluysta, pozovite ___.) – “Call ___, please.”

5. Asking Someone to Wait

If you receive a call and need some time to check something, you could ask the other person to wait by using one of these basic Russian phone phrases: 

  • Подождите минутку, я проверю. (Podozhdite minutku, ya proveryu.) – “Just a moment, let me check.”
  • Минуточку. (Minutochku.) – “Just a minute.” [very informal]
  • Вы подождёте немного? (Vy podozhdyote nemnogo?) – “Will you wait a bit?”
  • Не вешайте трубку. (Ne veshayte trubku.) – “Hold the line, please.”

A Woman Talking on the Phone and Checking the Time

If you’re really busy with something and will not be available in the next few minutes, don’t make the other person wait. It’s better to have him or her call you back.

6. Leaving a Message

If you’re unable to reach the person you wanted to speak with, you should be able to leave them a message. Here are a few ways you can leave a message over the phone in Russian:

  • Передайте ___, что… (Peredayte ___, chto…) – “Let ___ know that…”
  • Можете, пожалуйста, попросить [имя] перезвонить на номер [номер телефона]? (Mozhete, pozhaluysta, poprosit’ [imya] perezvonit’ na nomer [nomer telefona]?) – “Can you please tell [name] to call me back at [phone number]?”
  • Передайте ___, что я звонила/звонила. (Peredayte ___, chto ya zvonila/zvonila.) – “Please tell ___ that I’ve called.”

7. Asking for Clarification

As we mentioned earlier, it can be quite difficult for a non-native speaker to talk over the phone in Russian. If you fail to understand what the other person is saying, you can ask for clarification by using one of these simple Russian phone phrases: 

  • Можете, пожалуйста, повторить? (Mozhete, pozhaluysta, povtorit’?) – “Could you repeat, please?”
  • Вас плохо слышно. (Vas ploho slyshno.) – “I can’t hear you well.”
  • Я не расслышал / расслышала. (Ya ne rasslyshal / rasslyshala.) – “I didn’t hear.”
  • Пожалуйста, говорите погромче. (Pozhaluysta, govorite pogromche.) – “Speak louder, please.”

An Impatient Woman on the Phone

Talking to a Russian consultant using the Russian phone conversation phrases we’ve covered? Remember that he or she is probably overwhelmed with work, so be patient!

8. Ending the Phone Call

There are a few different ways you could end your phone call, depending on the situation. Below are several phrases you could use to sound polite and friendly while ending the conversation. 

  • Я могу вам чем-то ещё помочь? (Ya mogu vam chem-to eshchyo pomoch’?) – “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
  • Вы мне очень помогли, спасибо! (Vy mne ochen’ pomogli, spasibo!) – “You helped me a lot, thank you!”
  • Спасибо за помощь. (Spasibo za pomoshch’.) – “Thank you for your help.”
  • Увидимся в… (Uvidimsya v…) – “See you at…”
  • До встречи. (Do vstrechi.) – “See you.”
  • Хорошего дня / вечера. (Horoshego dnya / vechera.) – “Have a good day / evening.”
  • До свидания. (Do svidaniya.) – “Goodbye.”
  • Пока. (Poka.) – “Bye.”

9. Sample Phone Conversations

Now that you know quite a few Russian phone call phrases, it’s time to take it a step further. We’ve prepared two sample dialogues for you. The first one is an informal chat between two friends and the second one is a formal conversation between one of the friends and a cafe manager. You’ll see some of the phrases we’ve covered already in these dialogues, so be attentive while reading!

Conversation #1

Дима:
Алло.
Allo.
“Hello.”

Рома: 
Алло, Дима, это Рома.
Allo, Dima, eto Roma.
“Hello, Dima, this is Roma.”

Дима: 
Привет, Рома, рад тебя слышать! Как у тебя дела?
Privet, Roma, rad tebya slyshat’! Kak u tebya dela?
“Hello, Roma, glad to hear from you! How are you?”

Рома: 
Дела отлично, твои как?
Dela otlichno, tvoi kak?
“I’m fine, what about you?”

Дима:
пойдёт. Что нового?
Poydyot. Chto novogo?
“I’m okay. What’s new?”

Рома: 
Ничего особенного… Слушай, я тут хочу пообедать в субботу в новом кафе на Арбате. Называется «Кофебум». Может, слышал?
Nichego osobennogo… Slushay, ya tut hochu poobedat’ v subbotu v novom kafe na Arbate. Nazyvaetsya «Kofebum». Mozhet, slyshal?
“Nothing special… You know, I want to have lunch at a new cafe on Arbat on Saturday. It’s called Сoffeeboom. Have you heard about it?”

Дима: 
Да, я собирался туда сходить, но всё никак.
Da, ya sobiralsya tuda shodit’, no vsyo nikak.
“Yes, I was going to go there, but still haven’t.”

Рома: 
Здорово! Буду я, Женя и Макс. Ты пойдёшь с нами?
Zdorovo! Budu ya, Zhenya i Maks. Ty poydyosh’ s nami?
“Nice! There will be Zhenya, Max, and I. Will you join us?”

Дима: 
А во сколько вы собираетесь?
A vo skol’ko vy sobiraetes’?
“Well, what time are you going to meet?”

Рома: 
В три.
V tri.
“At three.”

Дима: 
Отлично, я как раз к этому времени освобожусь.
Otlichno, ya kak raz k etomu vremeni osvobozhus’.
“Nice, I’ll be free right by this time.”

Рома: 
Вот и договорились! Тогда до скорого.
Vot i dogovorilis’! Togda do skorogo.
“I guess we’ve got a deal. See you soon!”

Дима: 
До скорого!
Do skorogo!
“See you!”

Friends Having a Meal Together

Lunch with friends is certainly a good plan for Saturday!

Conversation #2

Екатерина: 
Кафе «Кофебум», на связи менеджер Екатерина, чем я могу вам помочь?
Kafe «Kofebum», na svyazi menedzher Ekaterina, chem ya mogu vam pomoch’?
“This is manager Ekaterina from Coffeeboom Cafe, what can I help you with?”

Рома: 
Здравствуйте, Екатерина, я хотел бы забронировать у вас столик на субботу.
Zdravstvuyte, Ekaterina, ya hotel by zabronirovat’ u vas stolik na subbotu.
“Hello, Ekaterina, I’d like to book a table for Saturday.”

Екатерина: 
Минутку… Какое время вас интересует?
Minutku… Kakoe vremya vas interesuet?
“Just a minute… What time are you interested in?”

Рома: 
Три часа дня.
Tri chasa dnya.
“Three in the afternoon.”

Екатерина:
Сколько будет гостей?
Skol’ko budet gostey?
“How many guests will be there?”

Рома: 
Четыре человека.
Chetyre cheloveka.
“Four people.”

Екатерина: 
На чьё имя бронировать?
Na ch’yo imya bronirovat’?
“For whom should I book?”

Рома: 
Роман.
Roman.
“For Roma.”

Екатерина: 
Хорошо, забронировала вам столик на имя Роман, на субботу, на три часа дня.
Horosho, zabronirovala vam stolik na imya Roman, na subbotu, na tri chasa dnya.
“Okay, I’ve made a reservation for Roma, on Saturday, at three in the afternoon.”

Рома: 
Всё верно, спасибо!
Vsyo verno, spasibo!
“That’s right, thank you!”

Екатерина: 
Будем вас ждать! До свидания.
Budem vas zhdat’! Do svidaniya.
“We’ll be waiting for you. Goodbye.”

Рома: 
До свидания.
Do svidaniya.
“Goodbye.”

10. Conclusion

In this guide, you’ve learned more than 30 Russian phone call phrases! You can use them to engage in simple dialogues, in both formal and informal situations. 

But don’t stop yet! 

There are many other Russian phone phrases for use in specific situations, not to mention a wealth of additional expressions and vocabulary to discover. 

If you’re serious about your studies and want to learn about the Russian language and culture in a fun, engaging manner, check out RussianPod101.com! We provide numerous study materials, including vocabulary lists and audio/video lessons for learners at every level. 

Struggling to get very far on your own? Then you might enjoy the benefits of our MyTeacher service. You can study with an experienced private tutor who speaks the language natively. They can help you better understand certain concepts and even help you with your pronunciation! 

Before you go: Have you ever made a phone call in Russian? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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Mind the Gap: 15 Russian Filler Words

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Filler words. They come to the rescue when you run out of words. Sometimes, literally. They’re there when you hesitate with your answer, stutter trying to cover a lie, or…um just need a second to think. 

Today, we’ll be talking about Russian filler words and how to use them. But first, let’s set the stage… Let’s say I asked you to name out loud five movies with Matt Damon. Yes, right now. For real. 

Done? 

What was the sound you made when you were (painfully) trying to remember the fifth one? That’s a filler. 

I’m sure you could come up with at least a couple more filler words yourself if I told you they pop up whenever you stammer. And I bet “like” or “um” would be the first ones to cross your mind! And you’d be right. That’s the type of word we’ll be talking about today.

Contrary to common belief, filler words are not useless. They express hesitation, impatience, and surprise. They give you some time to gather your thoughts. And today, you’ll learn the top 15 Russian filler words and get a step closer to fluency. 

Filler words are extremely common, and knowing them is key to understanding native Russian speakers. Not to mention that it’s very common for even intermediate and advanced learners of Russian to just thoughtlessly insert a filler from their native language here and there. Voilà. Love it!

In this article, you’ll learnabout the functions of fillers, take an in-depth look into our list of Russian filler words, and find out some ways you can substitute—or even completely omit—fillers when speaking. Well, get ready to take notes!

A Woman Standing in Front of a Chalkboard and Thinking

Um… Yes! The Martian as well!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words?
  2. The 15 Most Common Russian Fillers
  3. Are Filler Words Our Friends?
  4. What’s Next?

1. What are filler words?

Filler words (or fillers) are words and sounds that we use to fill pauses while speaking. They send a signal to our partner that we haven’t finished our thought yet and just need more time to find the right words. 

Some filler words serve as a link between two ideas. But they’re more decorative than they are meaningful. In this regard, they’re similar to transition words. (Basically, the first word in this sentence is a transition word, just to give you an example.)

In some cases, fillers provide clues about the speaker’s emotions and attitude: uncertainty, hesitation, impatience, you name it. And no, it’s not only about negative emotions. Fillers can also help you gently approach delicate topics, for example, or let your partner know that you’re about to say something.

Types of Russian Filler Words

We can divide Russian fillers into two groups: linking words and “parasite words.”

Linking words are the transition words we mentioned earlier. They serve as a “bridge” that facilitates the transition from one idea to another. Even though, technically, you won’t lose much by removing them from a sentence, they’re still common in speech as well as writing. If you wrote essays in school, I bet you’re quite familiar with the concept of connecting two ideas.

Parasite words are junk words and sounds that serve no purpose other than filling the gaps in your speech. They’re harmless if not overused, but an excess of parasite words in your speech makes it interrupted and hard to follow. For this reason, most public speaking coaches recommend keeping them in check. I mean, no need to be a psycholinguist to notice the attitude we have toward parasite words. Just look at the name.

A Woman Trying to Understand What a Man Is Saying

“He’s really hard to follow…”
What “parasite words” do you know in your language?

2. The 15 Most Common Russian Fillers

Below, you’ll find both linking words and parasite words. Try your linguistic hunch at deciding which word belongs to which group. A tiny hint: If the word can be removed without affecting the meaning of the sentence at all, it’s a junk word. 

Also, pay attention to the punctuation. Russian fillers are often separated from the rest of the sentence with commas. 

#1

Ну (nu)“Well”
[often used before giving an answer to a question or to summarize]
Russian– Почему опоздал?
– Ну, я проспал.
Ну, я пошёл.
Romanization(Pochemu opozdal?)
(Nu, ya prospal.)
(Nu, ya poshyol.)
English“Why are you late?”
“Well, I overslept.”
“Well, I’m off.” [leaving]

#2

Слушай (slushay) “Listen”[used to attract attention before a question or an offer; informal]
Слушай, ты сейчас дома? Я к тебе заеду.
(Slushay, ty seychas doma? Ya k tebe zayedu.)
“Listen, are you home now? I’ll drop by.”

Слушайте (slushayte) is the formal version of it. It can also be used when addressing several people.

Слушайте, а давайте сходим в кино?
(Slushayte, a davayte skhodim v kino?)
“Listen, why don’t we go to the movies?” [formal or plural]

Слышь (slysh’) is a vulgar version of the first two. If you want to put on the face of a bad guy, go ahead with this one; otherwise, you’d sound blatantly rude. It is, however, a common slang term among not-the-most-polite guys who you might encounter in certain suburbs of large Russian cities. Anyway, if anybody’s addressing you this way, I’d refrain from interacting with them. Let me tell you, the communication is not going to be friendly.

#3

В общем (v obshchem) – “Bottom line” / “In short”[used to summarize; emotionally neutral]
Мы расстались. В общем, упустил я свой шанс.
(My rasstalis’. V obshchem, upustil ya svoy shans.)
“We broke up. Bottom line, I missed my chance.”
Надоело с ним ругаться. В общем, хватит с меня.
(Nadoyelo s nim rugat’sya. V obshchem, khvatit s menya.)
“I’m tired of arguing with him all the time. In short, I’ve had enough.”

#4

Короче (koroche) – “So” / “Long story short”
or Короче говоря (koroche govorya)
[used to summarize; can sometimes imply impatience]
Короче, был у меня друг…
(Koroche, byl u menya drug…)
“So, I had this friend once…”

Мне позвонили из той компании. Короче, меня не взяли на работу. 
(Mne pozvonili iz toy kompanii. Koroche, menya ne vzyali na rabotu.)
“I got a call from that company. Long story short, I didn’t get the job.”

#5

Так вот (tak vot) – “So”
[used to refer to a previous piece of information]
Помнишь его сына? Так вот, он поступил в Оксфорд. 
(Pomnish’ ego syna? Tak vot, on postupil v Oksford.)
“Do you remember his son? So he got into Oxford.”
Помнишь дом, который я тебе показывал? Так вот, мы его купили.
(Pomnish’ dom, kotoryy ya tebe pokazyval? Tak vot, my yego kupili.)
“Do you remember the house I showed you the other day? So we bought it after all.”

#6

Так сказать (tak skazat’) – “So to speak”
[used when one cannot come up with a better word]
Она выиграла в лотерею. Повезло, так сказать.
(Ona vyigrala v lotereyu. Povezlo, tak skazat’.)
“She won the lottery. Lucky, so to speak.”
Я решил искать другую работу. Хочу сменить обстановку, так сказать.
(Ya reshil iskat’ druguyu rabotu. Khochu smenit’ obstanovku, tak skazat’.)
“I’ve decided to look for another job. I need a change of scenery, so to speak.”

#7

В принципе (v printsipe) – “Basically” / “Technically” / “As far as it goes”
[used to skip over some details or look at the bigger picture]
Мне, в принципе, больше нечего сказать. 
(Mne, v printsipe, bol’she nechego skazat’.)
“Technically, I have nothing more to say.”
В принципе, мне здесь нравится.
(V printsipe, mne zdes’ nravitsya.)
“As far as it goes, I like it here.”

#8

И всё такое (i vsyo takoye) – “And that sort of thing” / “And so on”
[used to imply more things of the same kind]
Он жалуется, что ему некогда и всё такое.
(On zhaluyetsya, chto yemu nekogda i vsyo takoye.)
“He’s complaining that he doesn’t have time and that sort of thing.”
Хочу на Мальдивы: пляж, море, солнце и всё такое.
(Khochu na Mal’divy: plyazh, more, solntse i vsyo takoye.)
“I want to go to the Maldives because of the beach, the sea, the sun, and so on.”

A Guy Playing a Game on His Computer

«Он жалуется, что ему некогда и всё такое…»
What’s been keeping him busy?
Try to answer in Russian!

#9

Как-то так. (Kak-to tak.) – “That’s about it.”
or Вот как-то так. (Vot kak-to tak.)
[used as an independent sentence; concludes an explanation; means “That’s the end of my thought.”]
Как ты нашёл эту работу?
– Как обычно. Увидел объявление, отправил резюме, прошёл собеседование. Как-то так.
– (Kak ty nashyol etu rabotu?)
– (Kak obychno. Uvidel ob’yavleniye, otpravil rezyume, proshyol sobesedovaniye. Kak-to tak.)
– “How did you find this job?”
– “As usual. I saw the posting, sent my CV, and passed the interview. That’s about it.”

#10

Просто (prosto) – “Just”
[used when looking for an excuse; the speaker might feel guilty]
Я просто подумал, что так будет лучше.
(Ya prosto podumal, chto tak budet luchshe.)
“I just thought it would be better this way.”
Я просто проходил мимо.
(Ya prosto prokhodil mimo.)
“I was just passing by.”

#11

Это… (eto) “Um” / “You know” / “Well”
or Это самое… (eto samoye)
[used when the speaker is really struggling to find the right words or delaying their reply as long as they can]
Я это… передумал.
(Ya eto… peredumal.)
“You know, I…um…changed my mind.”
Я его это самое… Выкинул.
(Ya yego eto samoye… Vykinul.)
“I…well…I threw it away.”

#12

Типа (tipa) – “Like” / “Sort of”
[used when the speaker is being slightly sarcastic about their own words; sometimes just a junk word]
Мы с ним типа «друзья».
(My s nim tipa druz’ya.)
“We are, like, ‘friends’.”
Типа того. (Tipa togo.) – “Something like that.” / “Sort of.”
– Так вы с ним друзья?
– Типа того.
– (Tak vy s nim druz’ya?)
– (Tipa togo.)
– “So you’re friends?”
– “Sort of.”

#13

Как бы (kak by) – “Kinda” / “Sort of”
[similar to “типа” and pretty often used as simply a junk word]
Не мешайте! Мы тут как бы работаем.
(Ne meshayte! My tut kak by rabotayem.)
“Don’t disturb us! We’re kinda working here.”
Я как бы его помощник.
(Ya kak by ego pomoshchnik.)
“I’m kinda his assistant.”

#14

Блин (blin) – “D*mn” [lit. “pancake”]
[mild expletive]
[might get out of hand as it can be inserted anywhere in the sentence; breaks the flow completely]
Я, блин, никак не могу до него дозвониться.
(Ya, blin, nikak ne mogu do nego dozvonit’sya.)
“D*mn, I still can’t get through to him.”
Я, блин, везде, блин, поискал уже, блин.
(Ya, blin, vezde, blin, poiskal uzhe, blin.)
“D*mn, I’ve already d*mn looked in every single d*mn place!”

#15

Э-э-э… (e-e-e) – “Er”
[sound of perplexity or active thinking]
– Ты дом закрыл?
– Э-э-э… Вроде да.
– Столица Аргентины?
– Э-э-э… Сантьяго? Нет, Буэнос-Айрес!
– (Ty dom zakryl?)
– (E-e-e… vrode da.)
– (Stolitsa Argentiny?)
– (E-e-e… Sant’yago? Net, Buenos-Ayres!)
– “Did you lock the house?”
– “Er… Yes, I guess.”
– “What’s the capital of Argentina?”
– “Erm… Santiago? No, Buenos Aires!”

A Businessman Looking at His Wristwatch and Talking on the Phone with a Concerned Look on His Face

Which of the previous examples describes this situation well?

3. Are Filler Words Our Friends?

Short answer—yes and no. Sorry for the ambiguity. 

If you check again the functions of filler words, you’ll see that sometimes they can help you out. Using Russian fillers in your conversations with native speakers can signal to your partner that you’re about to say something or need some time to let your brain catch up with your tongue. 

Some fillers are like good red wine: a bit bitter, but probably harmless if used in moderation. (Excessive use, on the other hand, will have some consequences.) And yeah, it might also help your speech flow. We all become eloquent under the spell of wine.

The parasite words though… You should probably wave them goodbye. They bring nothing to the table and litter your speech if overused. And in many formal situations, such as interviews and public speeches, they can make you sound more hesitant and less confident. 

Should you study Russian filler words anyway? 

That’s a yes. Even if you’re not going to use them yourself, you’ll hear them a lot. 

RussianPod101 has some tips for you on how to Improve Your Listening Skills. Make sure to read through them if you feel like listening isn’t your strongest suit (yet).

But if you do decide to cut some filler words from your speech…

Here are some ideas to help you “purify” your speech. These tips actually helped me limit the use of “ну” back in the day. It was my personal favorite. These tips might be useful for your native language as well!

  • First of all, you need to learn how to spot your junk words. For this, you can read a short text (a news article, for instance) and then summarize it out loud while recording yourself. When listening to your recording, mark all the fillers you hear. Focus on the one that pops up the most. You’ll work at reducing its use in your speech from now on. 
  • Record yourself one more time now, paying attention to limit that one word you’ve chosen. Listen again. Is it already getting better? Repeat as many times as you need.

Don’t try to get rid of all the small imperfections in your speech at once. It’d make you too self-conscious, and you might start stuttering. That’s not our goal. Pick one word and stick to it.


  • Also, you can ask a friend or relative to poke you every time you use the “forbidden” word. 
  • Don’t be scared of pauses. “Awkward” is not the only adjective for “silence” in a conversation. Make it meaningful, resting, calming. You choose.
  • Try to use shorter sentences. Even simple ideas, when stacked, will need some linking eventually. Your convo partner will also benefit from having the info split into digestible chunks.
  • Calm down. You might overuse junk words when you’re anxious, hesitant, or preoccupied. Slow down. Breathe in. Breathe out. Think about speaking slower. It’ll give your brain more time to process the information before you put it into words.
  • Use more meaningful synonyms. When you do need some time to think, instead of “это…” or “э-э-э…” (which don’t make you sound very smart), you can use:

Дай(те) подумать… (Day-te podumat’…) – “Let me think…” [informal / formal]
Минутку. (Minutku.) – “Just a moment.”
Я думаю… (Ya dumayu…) – “I think…”
Мне кажется… (Mne kazhetsya…) – “It seems to me…”

And, again, no need to aim at 100% purity. Even if you decide to say goodbye to some junk words, don’t turn them into your foes. They’ll keep popping up here and there anyway, it’s only natural. Remember: perfectionism and eloquence rarely go hand in hand.

➤ Feel free to also check out RussianPod101’s advice on How to Improve Your Speaking Skills.

Someone Holding a Pair of Scissors and Getting Ready to Cut a Red Ribbon

Cut your junk words one at a time.

4. What’s Next?

To sum it all up, we use fillers when we hesitate, look for the right words, or want to connect two ideas. Native speakers mostly use filler words spontaneously and unconsciously. If you want to insert them in your speech as well, be prepared to make some deliberate efforts at first. Just don’t get carried away and drop an occasional filler from your native language. Keep it Russian till the end!

Also, remember to not overuse the fillers. Yes, most of them do serve as linking words, but an overabundance of them will make your message difficult to follow. If you feel like you need some help getting rid of the fillers in your speech, here’s some advice:

1) Start cutting them one by one by being more conscious of what you say.
2) Try altering the speed of your speech.

And don’t become desperate in your pursuit of perfection! 

So, how many Russian filler words out of our top 15 can you recall from memory? Don’t peek into your notes just yet! To practice, start using two or three fillers in your Russian sentences or at least try to notice them in the speech of Russian speakers.

By the way, if you happen to have more questions about Russian filler words, our teachers will help you dispel any doubts. With MyTeacher, a Premium PLUS service from RussianPod101, you get personal 1-on-1 coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—our teachers are there to help you! You can also opt to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and even voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. Too many benefits to fit in one paragraph. Just give it a try!

Eager to learn more? RussianPod101 has lots to offer! 

  • Our vocabulary lists will equip you with more meaningful words to use between (or in place of) fillers. 
  • You should also check out our list of 20 essential Russian idioms that will make you sound like a native speaker. Some of them are really funny!
  • Our article of essential Russian Business Phrases will help you hesitate less during important meetings!

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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Russian Love Phrases: “I Love You,” in Russian & More

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Love is one of the best feelings ever, and it’s one that frequently cuts across international borders and cultural backgrounds. 

If a Russian has caught your eye or completely stolen your heart, learning even a few basic phrases in his or her language might just win them over. 

In this article, we’ll talk about everything from flirting to marriage and introduce you to the many ways you can say “I love you,” in Russian. You’ll learn the most common pick-up lines, how to express your abiding love in Russian, how to propose to that special someone, and more. 

Save these popular Russian love phrases for the person of your heart, and get ready for a whirlwind of romance! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More
  2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Endearment Terms
  5. Must-Know Love Quotes
  6. Conclusion

1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More

Before you learn how to say “I love you,” in Russian, you need to know how to start communicating with the person you like. The phrases below will help you make the right first impression. Keep in mind that girls almost never make the first move in Russia, so these expressions are appropriate for use by men only.

  • Девушка, можно с Вами познакомиться?
    Devushka, mozhno s Vami poznakomit’sya?
    “Can I get to know you better, girl?”

In English, it’s not common to start a conversation with this type of phrase, but it works well in Russian (despite being kind of a cliche). 

  • Вы очень красивая.
    Vy ochen’ krasivaya.
    “You’re very beautiful.”

This is one of the most popular compliments to offer a woman. You can use it in any informal situation, even as a conversation starter.

  • Ты мне нравишься.
    Ty mne nravish’sya.
    “I like you.”

Keep in mind that this phrase is much less serious than “I love you,” in Russian. It’s used more like a compliment. Before saying it, make sure you know the girl quite well as it may sound weird coming from a stranger.

  • Я хочу пригласить тебя на свидание.
    Ya hochu priglasit’ tebya na svidaniye.
    “I’d like to ask you out.”

After you’ve gotten to know each other a bit more, it’s time to take bigger steps. For example, you might want to ask the girl out on a date using this phrase.

  • Давай поужинаем вместе?
    Davay pouzhinayem vmeste?
    “Let’s have dinner together.”

Here’s another good phrase to show your interest and make a date.

  • Потанцуешь со мной?
    Potantsuyesh’ so mnoy?
    “Would you like to dance with me?”

This question is suitable if you want to ask a girl to dance when at a club or a restaurant.

  • Я могу тебе позвонить?
    Ya mogu tebe pozvonit’?
    “May I call you?”

If you want to continue your acquaintance with the girl, then don’t hesitate to ask this question.

A Man Flirting with a Woman and Getting Her Number

Russian flirting rules are almost the same as anywhere else, so don’t be shy!

2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More

Sooner or later, you’ll fall in love deeply and will want to start talking about your feelings. There are many ways of saying “I love you,” in Russian, and we’ve picked out the very best for you. All of these phrases are appropriate for use by both men and women, so we’ve prepared both male and female versions where needed.

  • Я люблю тебя.
    Ya lyublyu tebya.
    “I love you.”

This is a classic, go-to phrase for expressing your love in Russian.

  • Я влюбился / влюбилась в тебя с первого взгляда.
    Ya vlyubilsya / vlyubilas’ v tebya s pervogo vzglyada.
    “I fell in love with you at first sight.”

You can use this romantic Russian phrase to really woo your partner. Remember: A man says “влюбился,” and a woman says “влюбилась.”

  • Я постоянно думаю о тебе.
    Ya postoyanno dumayu o tebe.
    “I’m thinking about you all the time.”

This is a sweet yet more casual way of declaring your love in Russian. You may use this expression even at the very beginning of your relationship.

  • Я схожу по тебе с ума.
    Ya skhozhu po tebe s uma.
    “I’m crazy about you.”

This one isn’t as common among Russians, and it sounds less trivial than the other love declarations we’ve covered so far. 

  • Я не могу без тебя жить.
    Ya ne mogu bez tebya zhit’.
    “I can’t live without you.”

We recommend only using this phrase when you’re in a serious relationship.

  • Ты – лучше всех на свете!
    Ty – luchshe vsekh na svete!
    “You are the best!” (literally, “You’re better than anyone else in the world!”)

This romantic Russian phrase shows that you really appreciate your partner as a person.

  • Я тебя обожаю.
    Ya tebya obozhayu.
    “I adore you.”

This is a very informal way of saying “I love you,” in Russian. You may say it at any stage of your relationship.

  • Ты мне очень нужна / нужен.
    Ty mne ochen’ nuzhna / nuzhen.
    “I need you very much.”

Saying this phrase is not as thrilling as saying “I love you,” in Russian, though they connote the same meaning. If you’re saying it to a girl, you should say “нужна,” and if your partner is a man, say “нужен.”

  • Я всегда рядом.
    Ya vsegda ryadom.
    “I’m always near.”

Saying this phrase shows that you care about your sweetheart, and that he or she can rely on you.

A Man Surprising a Woman with a Bouquet of Flowers

Never forget that actions are more important than words!

3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

Is your relationship getting serious? Are you thinking about taking steps toward a solid commitment with the man or woman of your dreams? Then there are a few more love phrases in Russian you should learn! The following expressions are universal, unless otherwise noted.

  • Я хочу познакомить тебя со своими друзьями.
    Ya khochu poznakomit’ tebya so svoimi druz’yami.
    “I want to introduce you to my friends.”

This is one of the first indicators for your sweetheart that your intention is really serious.

  • Я хочу познакомить тебя с моими родителями.
    Ya hochu poznakomit’ tebya s moimi roditelyami.
    “I want to introduce you to my parents.”

This phrase is much more serious than the previous one. It’s appropriate to say this to your partner after at least a few months of being in a relationship.

  • Давай жить вместе.
    Davay zhit’ vmeste.
    “Let’s live together.”

This is another phrase you should put off using until a bit later in your relationship, not at the very beginning. 

  • Ты выйдешь за меня?
    Ty vyydesh’ za menya?
    “Will you marry me?”

This expression is for use by men only! If you want to spend the rest of your life with your girlfriend, you can make a beautiful proposal with this phrase. Most women dream of hearing this phrase! 

  • Давай заведём ребёнка.
    Davay zavedyom rebyonka.
    “Let’s have a baby.”

This offer usually comes some time after the marriage proposal, and it’s really cute!

A Man Is Proposing to a Woman

Going to make a proposal? Don’t forget to turn your imagination on!

4. Endearment Terms

Couples from all over the world tend to address each other using cute nicknames, and Russians are no exception. Below, you’ll find some adorable pet names you can use with your lover. 

  • Дорогой / Дорогая
    Dorogoy / Dorogaya
    “My dear,” “Honey”

This term is popular among married couples. The first form is used to address a man, and the second to address a woman.

  • Родной / Pодная
    Rodnoy / Rodnaya
    “Honey”

This is an endearment term only used between people who are really close. Like in the previous example, the first form is for men, while the second is for women.

  • Моя любовь&
    Moya lyubov’
    “My love”

When they have been together for quite a long time, Russian couples like to address one another with the term “my love.”

  • Моя радость
    Moya radost’
    “My joy”

This term perfectly objectifies the happiness that another person brings into your life. 

  • Мой ангел
    Moy angel
    “My angel”

This sounds not only sweet, but also somewhat more significant than the previous phrases. 

  • Душа моя
    Dusha moya
    “My soul”

This is a term of deep affection. When you call somebody “my soul,” it means that this person is of great importance to you.

  • Солнышко
    Solnyshko
    “My sun,” “Sunny”

This is one of the most common words used to express affection in the Russian language.

  • Зайка
    Zayka
    “Bunny”

In most cases, this word is used toward girls. 

  • Котёнок
    Kotyonok
    “Kitten”

This word is also more appropriate when used toward girls, but some guys don’t mind being called a “kitten” either!

A Cat Hiding under a Bed

Before calling somebody “котёнок”… make sure your real cat is not very jealous!

5. Must-Know Love Quotes

Want some extra romance in your life? Watch the movie From Russia with Love, listen to some mood music, or…simply read these love quotes in Russian

  • Моё любимое место – рядом с тобой.
    Moyo lyubimoye mesto – ryadom s toboy.
    “Together with you is my favorite place to be.”
  • Если бы мне пришлось прожить эту жизнь снова, я бы нашел тебя раньше.
    Esli by mne prishlos’ prozhit’ etu zhizn’ snova, ya by nashyol tebya ran’she.
    “If I were to live my life again, I’d find you sooner.”
  • Если я знаю, что такое любовь, то только благодаря тебе.
    Esli ya znayu, chto takoye lyubov’, to tol’ko blagodarya tebe.
    “If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
  • Лучше любить и потерять, чем не любить вовсе.
    Luchshe lyubit’ i poteryat’, chem ne lyubit’ vovse.
    “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
  • Если любовь не безумна, то это не любовь.
    Yesli lyubov’ ne bezumna, to eto ne lyubov’.
    “When love is not madness, it is not love.”

6. Conclusion

In this article, you’ve learned how to say “I love you,” in Russian, as well as the most common and useful Russian love phrases. But as beautiful as these phrases are, there’s still a lot more to learn about Russian if you want to master the language of your lover’s heart. 

On RussianPod101.com, you’ll find tons of materials to help you communicate with your loved one. With a free lifetime account, you’ll gain access to tons of video and audio lessons, our themed vocabulary lists, and a variety of tools for effective learning and studying. 

Also, don’t forget to check out our Premium PLUS service MyTeacher. This service provides you with a tutor with whom you can work 1-on-1 to really achieve mastery over the language. He or she can teach you more romance phrases, for instance, and help you learn their pronunciation. 

Before you go: What pick-up line in Russian are you most likely to try? And which of the Russian endearment terms do you like the most? Please, let us know in the comments section below!

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Negation in Russian: Don’t Be a “Yes-man”

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the new experiences and discoveries that the magic “yes”-word can draw us toward. But sometimes we have to say no. Be it an invitation to a boring party, your kid begging for a 57th toy at the store, or a fast-food clerk offering you extra double mustard for your burger. 

“No.”

With me, you’ll learn about the subtleties of negation in Russian. Together we’ll unearth the simple ways of negating words and statements, discuss the infamous double negation, and go over the most common negative words and expressions. I’ve also saved negation in questions and imperative sentences for last. You’ll be well-prepared, on all fronts!

A German Black Forest Cake

Can you say no to this?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. 3 Simple Ways to Say “No”
  2. Double Negation: Negative Pronouns and Adverbs
  3. Negation in Questions & Using the Negative Imperative
  4. More Typical Negative Phrases for the Road
  5. What’s Next?

1. 3 Simple Ways to Say “No”

Yes, you have some variety here. But don’t hold your breath: they’re not interchangeable, and each has its own function in the sentence.

1. НЕ (versatile simple negation)

We use не for simple negation. In other words, to make the opposite of a word. Just placing it in front of the word you want to negate will do the trick.

Verbs

  • Не думаю. – “I don’t think so.”
    (Ne dumayu)
  • Я его не вижу. – “I don’t see him.”
    (Ya yego ne vizhu)

Nouns

  • Это не кот, а собака. – “It’s not a cat, it’s a dog.”
    (Eto ne kot, a sobaka)
  • Это самолёт, а не птица. – “It’s a plane, not a bird.”
    (Eto samolyot, a ne ptitsa)

Pronouns

  • Это не я. – “It wasn’t me.”
    (Eto ne ya)
  • Это не его дом. – “That isn’t his house.”
    (Eto ne yego dom)

Numbers

  • Я тут не первый раз. – “It’s not my first time here.”
    (Ya tut ne pervyy raz)
  • Их не двое, а трое. – “There are three of them, not two.”
    (Ikh ne dvoye, a troye)

Adjectives

  • неинтересный фильм – “not an interesting movie”
    (neinteresnyy fil’m)
  • несмешная шутка – “not a funny joke”
    (nesmeshnaya shutka)

Adverbs

  • Это не всегда хорошо. – “That’s not always good.”
    (Eto ne vsegda khorosho)
  • Пушкин известен не только в России. – “Pushkin is famous not only in Russia.”
    (Pushkin izvesten ne tol’ko v Rossii)

You might’ve noticed that sometimes we separate the particle не from the other word, and sometimes we merge them. At this moment, just remember that we write не separately with most verbs, nouns, pronouns, and numbers. Adverbs and adjectives are much more capricious in this regard. It’s difficult to even sum it up in one paragraph, so let’s get back to it once you’ve leveled up to the advanced stage. That’s ‘simple’ negation, right?

2. НИ (strong negation)

This particle for strong Russian negation is mostly used for emphasis.

Rejecting both options

  • Мне не нравится ни то, ни другое. – “I don’t like either of them.”
    (Mne ne nravitsya ni to, ni drugoye)
  • Не хочу ни торт, ни печенье. – “I want neither cake, nor cookies.”
    (Ne khochu ni tort, ni pechen’ye)

“Not a single…”

  • Он ни разу не позвонил. – “He didn’t call even once.”
    (On ni razu ne pozvonil)
  • Она ни слова не сказала. – “She didn’t say (a single) word.”
    (Ona ni slova ne skazala)

“No matter…”

  • Как бы мы ни старались, ничего не получалось. – “No matter how hard we tried, nothing worked.”
    (Kak by my ni staralis’, nichego ne poluchalos’)
  • Я буду с тобой, что бы ни случилось. – “I’ll be with you no matter what.”
    (Ya budu s toboy, chto by ni sluchilos’)

НИ usually triggers a double negation. You can try to guess what this means by looking at the examples above, and then check the next chapter to see if you were right.

3. НЕТ (negation of the whole sentence)

Used as a negative reply.

  • – Ты дома? (Ty doma?) – “Are you home?”
    – Нет. (Net) – “No.”
  • – Кушать хочешь? (Kushat’ khochesh’?) – “Are you hungry?”
    – Нет. (Net) – “No.”

Нет is pretty neutral overall, but if you want to sound more polite in a formal setting, you can use: 

Нет, извините. (Net, izvinite) – “No, sorry.” 

Or:

Нет, спасибо. (Net, spasibo) – “No, thank you.”

A Black and White Cat with Green Eyes

That’s a dog. Am I right?
You can try to convince me otherwise in Russian.

2. Double Negation: Negative Pronouns and Adverbs

When the strong negation particle ни (or negative words starting with ни) is used together with the simple negation particle (не), this creates double negation in Russian. Negations stack up instead of canceling each other out. In a sense, it’s like a cumulative effect.

Let’s say you’re in a dark room and can only move by touch. In English, you’d say “I see nothing.” In Russian, it would be:

  • Я ничего не вижу. (Ya nichego ne vizhu) [lit. “I don’t see nothing.”] 

That’s how it works.

Double simple не, however, might have the opposite effect: they can be mutually destructive.

  • Я не мог не засмеяться. – “I couldn’t help but laugh.” [lit. “I couldn’t not laugh.”]
    (Ya ne mog ne zasmeyat’sya)
  • Не могу об этом не думать. – “I can’t stop thinking about it.” [lit. “I can’t not think about it.”]
    (Ne mogu ob etom ne dumat’)

Now, what are these negative words starting with ни? Grammatically speaking, some of them belong to pronouns and some—to adverbs. The biggest difference is that pronouns usually decline (change their form depending on the grammatical case) while adverbs don’t. But for your convenience, I’ve put them all in one place, and left a note as well.

Wiktionary can help you with the declensions. Just copy/paste or type the Russian word in the search box, then find “Declensions.” Try it out with the word “никто,” for instance.

Also, some negative pronouns and adverbs have a ‘sibling word’ with one letter that is different. The stréss shifts, changing the pronunciation of the word together with its meaning. Some of these words ‘take the wrong path’ and lose their negative attribute to become a completely new word.

Никтó (nikto) – “nobody” [declines]

Никто не пришёл. 
(Nikto ne prishyol)
“Nobody came.”
Нéкто (nekto) – “somebody unfamiliar / little-known”

Некто постучал в дверь. 
(Nekto postuchal v dver’)
“Somebody knocked.”
Никогó (nikogo) – “nobody” [“никто” in Genitive]

Дома никого нет. 
(Doma nikogo net) 
“There is nobody home.”
Нéкого (nekogo) – “there is nobody to…” [declines]

Ей некого позвать на день рождения. 
(Yey nekogo pozvat’ na den’ rozhdeniya)
“She has nobody to invite to her birthday.”

❗️no double negation with “некого”
Ничтó (nichto) – “nothing” [declines]

Ничто его не беспокоит. 
(Nichto yego ne bespokoit)
“Nothing worries him.”
Нéчто (nechto) – “something”

У меня уже есть нечто подобное.
(U menya uzhe yest’ nechto podobnoye)
“I already have something similar.”
Ничегó (nichego) – “nothing” [“ничто” in Genitive]

Ничего не осталось. 
(Nichego ne ostalos’)
“There’s nothing left.”
Нéчего (nechego) – “to have nothing to…” [declines]

Мне нечего надеть. 
(Mne nechego nadet’)
“I have nothing to wear.”

❗️no double negation with “нечего”
Нигдé (nigde) – “nowhere”

Его нигде нет. 
(Yego nigde net)
“He’s nowhere to be found.”
Нéгде (negde) – “there is no place to…”

Ему негде жить. 
(Yemu negde zhit’) 
“He has no place to live.”
Никудá (nikuda) – “(to) nowhere”

Никуда не пойдёшь, ты наказан. 
(Nikuda ne poydyosh’, ty nakazan) 
“You aren’t going anywhere, you’re grounded.”
Нéкуда (nekuda) – “there is nowhere to…”

В этом городе некуда пойти вечером. 
(V etom gorode nekuda poyti vecherom) 
“In this town, there is no place to go out at night.”
Никогда (nikogda) – “never”

Я никогда не был в России. 
(Ya nikogda ne byl v Rossii) 
“I’ve never been to Russia.”
Нéкогда (nekogda) – “no time to…”

Мне некогда этим заниматься. 
(Mne nekogda etim zanimat’sya) 
“I have no time for this.”
Никак (nikak) – “by no means,” “impossible”

Никак не могу найти свои ключи. 
(Nikak ne mogu nayti svoi klyuchi)
“It’s impossible to find my keys.”
Нискóлько (niskol’ko) – “not a bit”

Мне нисколько не страшно. 
(Mne niskol’ko ne strashno) 
“I’m not scared a bit.”
Нéсколько (neskol’ko) – “some,” “a couple” [declines]

Тут есть несколько интересных мест. 
(Tut yest’ neskol’ko interesnykh mest)
“There are a couple of interesting places here.”
Никакой (nikakoy) – “none,” “not one” [declines like an adjective, combines with a noun]

У меня нет никаких идей. 
(U menya net nikakikh idey)
“I don’t have any ideas.”
Ничей (nichey) – “nobody’s” [declines, has a gender and number, used with a noun or separately]

Ему не нужны ничьи советы. 
(Yemu ne nuzhny nich’i sovety) 
“He doesn’t need anybody’s advice.”

A: Это чей карандаш? (Eto chey karandash?) – “Whose pencil is it?”
B: Ничей. (Nichey) – “Nobody’s.”
Нéзачем (nezachem) – “there is no need to…”

Незачем об этом беспокоиться. 
(Nezachem ob etom bespokoit’sya) 
“There is no need to worry about that.”
Ниотку́да (niotkuda) – “out of nowhere”

Он появился как будто из ниоткуда. 
(On poyavilsya kak budto iz niotkuda) 
“It’s like he appeared out of nowhere.”
Нéоткуда (neotkuda) – “from nowhere”

Помощи ждать неоткуда. 
(Pomoshchi zhdat’ neotkuda) 
“There won’t be any help coming (from anywhere).”

A Guy Looking into a Mostly Empty Fridge at Night

How would you complain in Russian about the absence of food in the fridge?
One of the phrases mentioned above might come in handy.

3. Negation in Questions & Using the Negative Imperative

Russian word order is a blessing. It’s relatively flexible, yet it doesn’t change according to the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence; it can be subtle, but is overall easy to get along with. So why this ode to the word order all of a sudden? 

Right, the questions. When you ask a negative question, nothing changes in terms of word order. Just place the negation where it belongs: simple negation in front of the word you wish to negate, other negative words depending on the context.

  • Почему ты не ешь? – “Why aren’t you eating?”
    (Pochemu ty ne yesh’?)
  • Тебе не с кем пойти? – “Don’t you have anybody to go with?”
    (Tebe ne s kem poyti?)

An interesting thing about negative Russian questions is that sometimes negation can actually mean affirmation. Gently drawing your attention to the examples before you get confused:

  • Не хочешь чего-нибудь выпить? = Хочешь чего-нибудь выпить? 
    ([Ne] khochesh’ chego-nibud’ vypit’?)
    “Would you like to drink something?”
  • Ты не работал вчера? = Ты работал вчера?
    (Ty [ne] rabotal vchera?)
    “Did you work yesterday?”
  • Не хочешь куда-нибудь сходить? = Хочешь куда-нибудь сходить?
    ([Ne] khochesh’ kuda-nibud’ skhodit’?)
    “Would you like to go out?”

That might be a hard pill to swallow. But seriously, when in doubt, stick to the ‘affirmative’ questions. 

➤ By the way, we have an article about Russian questions if the topic has piqued your interest.

The same formula works for the imperative sentences. When you don’t want somebody to do something, simply put не in front of the ‘prohibited’ action.

  • Не смотри! (Ne smotri!) – “Don’t look!” [informal]
  • Не ходи туда! (Ne khodi tuda!) – “Don’t go there!” [informal]
  • Не смейтесь! (Ne smeytes’!) – “Don’t laugh!” [formal]

➤ If you struggle to understand how the Russian imperative works, you can figure it out with one of our lessons in the Upper Beginner series.

A Guy Flirting with a Female Colleague

Ask your Russian colleague out. Give it a shot; you have a hint in this chapter.

4. More Typical Negative Phrases for the Road

(That are not always negative)

To wrap up our article on negation in the Russian language, let’s go over a few negative phrases that will come in handy on a daily basis. 

  • Ничего! (Nichego) – “It’s okay.”

– Прости, я не смогу прийти.
(Prosti, ya ne smogu priyti)
“Sorry, I won’t be able to come.”

– Ничего!
(Nichego)
“It’s okay.”

  • Очень даже ничего. (Ochen’ dazhe nichego) – “Not half bad.”

А эта машина очень даже ничего. – “Well, this car isn’t half bad.”
(A eta mashina ochen’ dazhe nichego)

  • У меня нет… (U menya net) – “I don’t have…”

У меня нет телевизора.
(U menya net televizora)
“I don’t have a TV.”

У меня нет девушки.
(U menya net devushki)
“I don’t have a girlfriend.”

  • больше не… (bol’she ne) – “not… anymore”

Я больше не могу есть.
(Ya bol’she ne mogu yest’)
“I can’t eat anymore.”

Она больше не может ждать.
(Ona bol’she ne mozhet zhdat’)
“She can’t wait anymore.”

  • ещё не… (yeshchyo ne) – “not yet”

Я ещё не готов.
(Ya yeshchyo ne gotov)
“I’m not ready yet.”

Они ещё не пообедали.
(Oni yeshchyo ne poobedali)
“They haven’t had lunch yet.”

  • почти не… (pochti ne) – “hardly,” “barely”

Я почти не спал прошлой ночью.
(Ya pochti ne spal proshloy noch’yu)
“I barely slept last night.”

Я почти не говорю по-русски.
(Ya pochti ne govoryu po-russki)
“I barely speak any Russian.”

  • совсем не… (sovsem ne) – “not at all”

Я совсем об этом не подумал. 
(Ya sovsem ob etom ne podumal)
“I haven’t thought about it at all.”

Я совсем не устал. 
(Ya sovsem ne ustal)
“I’m not tired at all.”

  • чуть не… (chut’ ne) – “nearly”

Я чуть не упал.
(Ya chut’ ne upal)
“I nearly fell.”

Я чуть не проспал. 
(Ya chut’ ne prospal)
“I nearly overslept.”

  • не-а (ne-a) – “nope”

– У тебя есть ручка?
(U tebya yest’ ruchka?)
“Do you have a pen?”

– Не-а.
(Ne-a)
“Nope.”

A Guy Slipping on the Wet Floor with a Wet Floor Sign Beside Him

Я чуть не упал!

5. What’s Next?

Have you learned a lot about Russian negation today? I hope for this one, the answer will be affirmative! 

Let’s do a quick recap. 

  • For a simple negation, you put НЕ in front of the word.
  • For a strong negation, you use НЕ plus НИ.
  • For a negative reply, you say НЕТ.

There are also a bunch of Russian negative pronouns and adverbs that can be used in a sentence. How many can you recall right away, without peeking into the notes? Some have a ‘sibling’ word that might seem similar, but they’re pronounced differently, so pay attention to the stress! The very meaning of the word depends on it, after all. No pressure.

Negation doesn’t cause much trouble in questions and imperative sentences. Just a small two-letter particle is placed in front of the word. 

By the way, if you still have more questions about Russian negation, our teachers will help you dispel any doubts. With RussianPod101’s Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal 1-on-1 coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask anything about Russian grammar, vocabulary, or culture—our teachers are there to help you! You can also opt to receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. There are too many benefits to fit in one paragraph, just give it a try!

Eager to learn more? RussianPod101 has more to offer! 

  • A video on word order, negative sentences, and questions. Three-in-one.

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Russian?

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Russian is not an easy language to learn. It often takes much longer to master than one might imagine when first starting out. 

If you’re like most of us, your time is quite limited and you might be wondering this all-too-common question among aspiring learners: How long does it take to learn Russian? 

Even though this question has no definite answer, we’ll try to discuss it as thoroughly as possible in the article below. We’ll talk about the different factors that can affect the speed of your learning progress, how long it takes on average to achieve each level of Russian, and how to learn Russian fast and effectively

Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. How Long Will it Take to Learn Russian? 3 Defining Factors.
  2. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Elementary Level?
  3. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?
  5. Conclusion

How Long Will it Take to Learn Russian? 3 Defining Factors.

First of all, let’s look at three of the biggest factors that impact how long it takes to learn Russian. Ask yourself how each of these points applies to you or your situation; this will give you a better idea of what to expect for the road ahead. 

Language Experience

Since you’re reading this article, you must know a good bit of English. If English is the only language you speak, then you might not like what we’re going to say next. Unfortunately, learning Russian can be a real challenge for native English speakers

This is because the two languages are not at all similar. As a Slavic language, Russian has very specific pronunciation, grammar, and syntax rules that you’ll need time to get used to. The good news is that you’re not alone. Just think of all the other people reading this article who are thinking about learning Russian (or who have already taken the plunge). 

    → Any time you have a question to ask or a frustration to vent, you can head over to the RussianPod101 forum to chat with other learners and native speakers.

Now, how long would it take to learn Russian if you know a second (or even a third) non-Slavic language in addition to English? In this case, you’ll face many of the same problems but will also have one big advantage. Because you know more than one language, your brain is already accustomed to the process of studying foreign lexicology, grammar, etc., so it will take you less time to pick up Russian.

What if you belong to the minority of people reading this who know Belarussian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, or any other Slavic language? Let us tell you that you’re lucky. Your path to learning Russian will be really easy, because you’ll understand many of the concepts straight away.

A Boy with a Book

If you already know one Slavic language, it won’t be difficult for you to guess the meanings of some Russian words.

Motivation

How can you expect to learn the Russian language effectively without being motivated? It’s simply impossible, so you’d better come up with some kind of motivation before you start. Just think of why you need to accomplish this.

You’ll be most motivated to continue your Russian studies if you know you’ll get certain benefits from it later. Maybe Russian-language skills will help you get accepted to the university of your dreams, get promoted at work, or win the heart of someone you love? Such motivation will push you forward really quickly!

Passion for linguistics is another great source of motivation. Some people are so hungry for new languages that they study them one after another. 

There are also foreigners who simply love Russia and want to learn more about it, including the language that the Russians speak. Their main motivation is interest.

Self-Discipline and Schedule

It’s no surprise that mastering any language requires not only motivation, but also discipline. If you only studied Russian when you felt like it, for fun, it would take much longer to learn than if you studied with a specific goal in mind and on a regular basis. 

If you’re wondering how to learn Russian quickly without sacrificing quality, remember one simple thing: The more you speak Russian, write in Russian, and listen to Russian speech, the better your results will be. To study systematically, most people attend language courses. People with a high degree of willpower study on their own. In either case, the learners in question study according to a set schedule.

That said, there’s one other way to learn Russian well: immerse yourself in a Russian-speaking environment. In this case, you wouldn’t need to be very disciplined or bound to a schedule. If you ever have the opportunity to spend at least several months in Russia, don’t miss it!

A Timer in the Shape of a Tomato

If you have troubles with self-discipline, you can try the Pomodoro Technique.

How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Elementary Level?

Taking the first steps into the world of the Russian language is incredible! You’re enthusiastic and full of energy at this stage. However, the very beginning is also when you’re most likely to lose interest just as quickly as you gained it, so be careful.

How long should it take to learn Russian if you want to achieve the elementary level, or A1? If you’re an absolute beginner, 6 weeks of intensive study will be enough. By intensive, we mean about 120 hours of studying. This figure may sound scary, but in fact it’s only 20 hours per week for 1.5 months (or 2 hours per day for about 2 months).

At this stage, your main goal is to memorize the Russian alphabet, a few useful words, and the most important everyday phrases. Start by learning the necessary vocabulary, and then a bit later you should practice making full sentences. Don’t forget that memorizing words in context is much easier than doing so without context.

After 120 hours of practice, your vocabulary will be wide enough to help you get by in a limited number of everyday situations. You’ll be able to:

  • make an order in a Russian cafe or restaurant;
  • buy something in a Russian shop;
  • ask a native speaker for directions.

In other words, an elementary knowledge will help you survive while traveling in Russia, but no more. If you want to communicate with Russians confidently, you need to achieve at least the intermediate level.

A Man Making an Order at a Restaurant

Going to visit Russia? Basic knowledge of the Russian language will be extremely helpful!

How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Intermediate Level?

If you’ve succeeded in achieving the elementary Russian level, then you’re probably really excited to level up again! But you should be aware that reaching this level will require much more time and effort than the previous one. 

Most students achieve the intermediate level (B1) in approximately 1.5 years. During this time, they spend around 500 hours actively learning. This equates to no more than 1 hour daily. 

Of course, you can go on learning Russian for 2 hours per day as you’ve been doing. Doing so, you’ll break new ground in 9 months. But keep in mind that your motivation will probably be a bit lower than it was at the very beginning. 

At this stage, you must pay attention to:

  • understanding grammar rules and implementing them; 
  • learning more complicated vocabulary, patterns, and structures;
  • mastering pronunciation.

The main sign that you’ve reached the intermediate level will be your ability to:

  • understand the most important parts of podcasts, YouTube videos, TV shows, and movies (with the use of English subtitles);
  • read adapted texts or books (with the frequent use of a dictionary);
  • participate in everyday conversations with native speakers (though you still won’t have enough knowledge to hold spontaneous, complex conversations). 

At the intermediate level, you’ll sometimes be unsure about how to compose sentences, pronounce words, and the like. This is absolutely okay! All these doubts will go away once you reach the advanced level.

A Group of People Taking a Selfie

Wanna make Russian friends? If you know Russian at the intermediate level, it will be easy!

How Long Does it Take to Achieve the Advanced Level?

Most students are satisfied with the intermediate level, and there’s only a small number of foreigners who decide to achieve the advanced one. If you want to be one of them, prepare to double your time and effort.

The advanced level is also called C1. The process of achieving it usually takes 900 hours. This is about 3 years of everyday practice. At this level, you’ll be able to:

  • understand texts related to various themes and read Russian literature;
  • write letters, issues, and essays on problematic topics;
  • understand audio information as a whole;
  • maintain conversations with the help of different linguistic tools.

Keep in mind that this is not the end of your studies. After a few more years of regular practice, you can approach C2 and become a real expert in the Russian language—in other words, you’ll be able to speak like a native. But the only possible way to reach this level of fluency is to live in Russia for some time. This will allow you to become familiar with various Russian accents and learn slang words most widely used by locals.

A Woman Holding an Open Book Above Her Head

Even though reading Russian books seems too difficult for you right now, it’s not impossible—believe us!

Conclusion

Now you know that mastering a language is a complex process that takes constant learning and practicing. But don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. You’ll find tons of free materials on RussianPod101.com that will satisfy your language learning cravings. 

Don’t forget that we also offer our Premium PLUS students one-on-one coaching with a private tutor through MyTeacher. This will certainly speed up your progress and ensure you gain a more thorough knowledge of the language and culture.

Before you go: What’s your Russian-language proficiency level? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Russian Proverbs: A Glimpse of Russian Wisdom

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“Better late than never.”
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

You’re constantly surrounded by proverbs, and you probably don’t pay much attention to them until you start learning a new language. This is where the fun begins: The meanings of foreign proverbs can be difficult to guess, you can’t usually translate them literally, and some of them don’t even have an equivalent. Yes, you’ll find a few Russian proverbs like this. But what if you look at them from another angle?

Have you ever wondered where proverbs come from? Many of them haven’t changed in centuries! They’ve been carrying wisdom from one generation to another, up until modern times. We use proverbs to console a beloved one, to give advice, or to cheer somebody up. Proverbs can be controversial, and some of them tackle the same issue from different (sometimes opposite!) angles. All in all, they reflect who we are and the values we stand for, and these values are different from one country to another.

Today, you have the chance to get a glimpse of Russian wisdom through Russian proverbs. These wise words will provide you with insight into the Russian attitude toward money and friendship, work and discipline, consolation and disapproval. You might not become enlightened right away, but I hope these proverbs get you curious to learn more about Russian people and culture.

A Woman Giving the Thumbs-up Sign

Хорошее начало — половина дела.
“Good beginning is half the battle.”

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Worldly Wisdom
  2. Studies and Work
  3. Taking Risks
  4. Discipline
  5. Money
  6. Friends & Family
  7. Sarcasm
  8. What’s Next?

1. Worldly Wisdom

♦︎ Before you jump at the opportunity to broaden your cultural horizons, my advice is to get familiar with the proverb, read the literal translation, then think about the meaning it might convey. Simply connecting the English proverb with its Russian equivalent won’t leave any trace in your memory. Give it a good guess first. Remember: “Easy come, easy go.”

RussianНет худа без добра.
(Net khuda bez dobra)
LiterallyThere’s no bad without the good.
Keep your chin up! Whatever trouble comes your way, don’t let it spoil your mood. Even the most difficult situation might have an advantage.

“Every cloud has a silver lining.”

RussianПервый блин всегда комом. 
(Pervyy blin vsegda komom)
LiterallyThe first pancake is always lumpy.
Don’t get frustrated if you fail when trying something for the first time. It’s uncommon for one to succeed right away.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

RussianУтро вечера мудренее.
(Utro vechera mudreneye)
LiterallyThe morning is wiser than the evening.
When you’re struggling to come up with a solution, you should give your mind some rest. It might reward you with bright ideas afterward!

“Sleep on it!”

RussianСлово не воробей: вылетит — не поймаешь.
(Slovo ne vorobey: vyletit — ne poymayesh’)
LiterallyA word is not a sparrow: once it flies out, you won’t catch it.
You should be careful with what you say. Words can hurt.

“What’s said can’t be unsaid.”

RussianПоспешишь — людей насмешишь.
(Pospeshish’ — lyudey nasmeshish’)
LiterallyIf you rush things, you’ll just make others laugh.
It’s fine to take your time, one step at a time. Don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of saving time.

“Haste makes waste.”

RussianВ каждой шутке есть доля правды.
(V kazhdoy shutke est’ dolya pravdy)
LiterallyThere is a grain of truth in every joke.
It’s believed that we joke about what actually matters to us. Obviously, that’s not always the case, but sometimes people read too much into it.

“Many true words are spoken in jest.”

2. Studies and Work

Students and working professionals alike can gain something of value from these Russian proverbs about work and learning! 

RussianПовторение — мать учения.
(Povtoreniye — mat’ ucheniya)
LiterallyRepetition is the mother of learning.
When it comes to learning, one would have to be quite talented (or using mnemonics) to remember something on the first try. Don’t shy away from reviewing key vocabulary lists and grammar rules once in a while to brush up on them.

“Practice makes perfect.”

RussianКто не работает, тот не ест.
(Kto ne rabotayet, tot ne yest)
LiterallyHe who does not work, neither should he eat.
Diligence and hard work are encouraged—strongly enough to threaten you with starvation.

“One has to sing for his supper.”

RussianБез труда не вытащишь и рыбку из пруда.
(Bez truda ne vytashchish’ i rybku iz pruda)
LiterallyWithout effort, you can’t even pull a fish out of the pond.
Again, the message here is that you need to put in some effort to get a positive result.

“No pain, no gain.”

RussianРабота не волк, в лес не убежит. 
(Rabota ne volk, v les ne ubezhit)
LiterallyWork isn’t a wolf, it won’t run into the forest.
However, sometimes you can relax and not rush into action right away. Use this saying as an excuse. 

“Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”

Now wait a minute… Isn’t that the opposite of what all those “go-achieve-it-all” books advise?

Habits for Highly Effective Language Learners


Russian Pancakes with Red Caviar

Russian pancakes with red caviar
Even if the first one was lumpy, practice makes perfect.

3. Taking Risks

Risk-taking is really two sides of the same coin. Here are some Russian proverbs and sayings on the topic that cover both sides of the story! 

If you feel adventurous

RussianКто не рискует, тот не пьет шампанского.
(Kto ne riskuyet, tot ne p’yot shampanskogo)
LiterallyThose who don’t take risks don’t drink champagne.
Some believe that this expression originated from car racing, where the rally winners were showered with champagne. Others claim the proverb dates back to the early champagne-making days when bottles would accidentally explode, so going down to pick one up in the cellar was a risky adventure. Anyway, whatever side you take, remember:

“Who dares wins.”

RussianНе попробуешь — не узнаешь.
(Ne poprobuyesh’ — ne uznayesh’)
LiterallyIf you don’t try, you’ll never find out.
This one is self-explanatory. You need to give it a chance to see if it’s going to work out.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

RussianПоживём – увидим. 
(Pozhivyom – uvidim)
LiterallyWe will live and then we will see.
No need to pretend to be Nostradamus and try to predict the future. Sometimes it’s better to patiently wait and see what happens next.

“Time will tell.”

Russian– Ни пуха ни пера. 
– К чёрту!


Ni pukha ni pera. 
K chertu!
Literally “Neither fluff, nor feather.”–
“(Go) to the devil!”
Use the first phrase to wish somebody luck. And to receive it, don’t forget to send the person to the devil. (That’s not really nice, if you think about it.)

The expression arose among hunters. “Fluff” and “feather” implied game and game birds respectively. Hence the superstition: If you wish somebody luck directly, the evil spirits would show up to deprive you of your hard-earned spoils. So, after bad-mouthing each other, the hunters could head to the forest with peace of mind. Nowadays, it’s used whenever you want to wish somebody luck, similar to “Break a leg.”

♦︎ It’s often truncated to just “Ни пуха.” But you should still respond with “К чёрту!”

If you are on the cautious side

RussianЛучше синица в руках, чем журавль в небе.
(Luchshe sinitsa v rukakh, chem zhuravl’ v nebe)
LiterallyA tomtit in your hands is better than a crane in the sky.
It’s preferable to have something small but certain than to risk losing everything by trying to get something better.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

RussianТише едешь — дальше будешь.
(Tishe yedesh’ — dal’she budesh’)
LiterallyDrive slower, and you will get further.
Slow down. Take a breath. Those who don’t rush will succeed. 

The proverb works well both figuratively and literally. Drive safely!

“Little by little, one travels far.”

RussianСемь раз отмерь, один отрежь.
(Sem’ raz otmer’, odin otrezh’)
LiterallyMeasure seven times before cutting once.
In Russian, we encourage you to think not twice, but seven times, before you take action. 

“Look before you leap.”

RussianЗа двумя зайцами погонишься — ни одного не поймаешь.
(Za dvumya zaytsami pogonish’sya — ni odnogo ne poymayesh’)
LiterallyIf you chase after two hares, you’ll end up not catching even one.
It’s better to focus on one thing instead of spreading yourself too thin.

“Grasp all, lose all.”

A Student Studying and Highlighting Something in a Textbook

Your friend is having an exam tomorrow. How would you wish him luck in Russian?

4. Discipline

Most of these are used by parents trying to adjust their kids’ behavior to “expected” standards. 

RussianЛюбопытной Варваре на базаре нос оторвали.
(Lyubopytnoy Varvare na bazare nos otorvali)
LiterallyNosy Barbara got her nose torn off at the market.
Don’t ask awkward questions. Don’t touch this. Don’t do that.

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

RussianМечтать не вредно.
(Mechtat’ ne vredno)
LiterallyDreaming won’t hurt.
Feel free to dream big, but—just so you know—you won’t get anything.

Parents typically use this phrase when their child acts up begging for a toy in the shop. It can also be used to sober up a friend and discourage them from fantasizing too much.

“Yeah, dream on!”

RussianХорошего понемножку.
(Khoroshego ponemnozhku)
LiterallyJust a bit is enough.
Know your limits and don’t expect much. 

“Enough is enough.”

RussianВ большой семье клювом не щёлкают.
(V bol’shoy sem’ye kyuvom ne shchelkayut)

also

Кто не успел, тот опоздал.
(Kto ne uspel, tot opozdal)
LiterallyYou don’t snap your beak in a big family.

also

Who’s late is late.
So basically, the “first come, first served” rule in action.

“You snooze, you lose.”

Phrases Your Parents Always Say


5. Money

Could you use a little advice in the financial department? Then study these Russian proverbs about money and gain some useful Russian insight on the matter. 

RussianСкупой платит дважды.
(Skupoy platit dvazhdy)
LiterallyThe stingy one pays twice.
Those who only chase low prices might end up buying something else instead. You usually get what you pay for. 

“Buy nice or buy twice.”

RussianКопейка рубль бережёт.
(Kopeyka rubl’ berezhet)
LiterallyA kopeck saves a ruble.
In order to save much, you shouldn’t neglect little.

“Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves.”

RussianКрасиво жить не запретишь.
(Krasivo zhit’ ne zapretish’)
LiterallyYou can’t forbid living well.
This one can be used ironically, in reference to people who live beyond their means—or with envy (and a glimmer of hope) when gossiping about the rich.

“Living well isn’t against the law.”

RussianСобака на сене лежит; сама не ест и другим не даёт.
(Sobaka na sene lezhit; sama ne yest i drugim ne dayot)
LiterallyA dog is lying on the hay: won’t eat it itself and won’t let others eat either.
This proverb expresses disapproval of people who only hold onto something so that the others can’t use it. Greedy and selfish rolled into one.

“Dog in the manger.”

Money-Related Expressions for Everyday Life


An Older Man on Vacation Holding a Fan of Money and a Cigar

Красиво жить не запретишь.

6. Friends & Family

Wherever you are in the world, relationships are an essential aspect of everyday life. That in mind, here are a few Russian proverbs about friendship and family.

RussianДруг познаётся в беде.
(Drug poznayotsya v bede)
LiterallyYou get to really know your friend when trouble comes.
A person who helps you during a difficult time is the person you can trust. 

“A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

RussianНе имей сто рублей, а имей сто друзей.
(Ne imey sto rubley, a imey sto druzey)
LiterallyDon’t have a hundred rubles, rather have a hundred friends.
Friendship is more valuable than money. (Nobody said one excludes the other, though.)

“A friend at court is better than a penny in a purse.”

RussianВ гостях хорошо, а дома лучше.
(V gostyakh khorosho, a doma luchshe)
LiterallyIt’s good to be visiting, but it’s better at home.
If you feel relief coming back home and share the idea of “My house is my castle,” you know very well where this proverb comes from.

“There is no place like home.”

RussianС милым рай и в шалаше.
(S milym ray i v shalashe)
LiterallyIf you’re with your loved one, it’s a paradise even in a hut.
You can endure any trouble if you’re with your beloved one—even living in poor conditions.

“Love in the cottage.”

RussianМуж и жена — одна сатана.
(Muzh i zhena — odna satana)
LiterallyThe husband and the wife are the same demon.
This proverb refers to a couple with the same interests, aspirations, and ways of thinking and acting. I’d say you were lucky to find a person like that, but the proverb has a rather pejorative connotation.

“They are, indeed, of the same breed.”

Top 10 Quotes About Family

Top 10 Quotes About Friendship


7. Sarcasm

We’ve all said sarcastic things from time to time, no? Let’s conclude our list of Russian proverbs with some sarcastic sayings and phrases. 

RussianКогда рак на горе свистнет.
(Kogda rak na gore svistnet)
LiterallyWhen the crawfish whistles on the mountain.
When you hear this, rest assured: whatever you’ve been talking about is not going to happen. No crawfish have been detected whistling yet.

“When pigs fly.”

RussianЛюбовь зла, полюбишь и козла.
(Lyubov’ zla, polyubish’ i kozla)
LiterallyLove’s evil, you might even fall for a goat.
Interestingly, in Russian, we use the same word for both “male goat” and “jerk” (козёл). Anyway, falling for either of them is a dubious pleasure.

“Love is blind.”

RussianСила есть — ума не надо.
(Sila yest’ — uma ne nado)
LiterallyThe strong don’t need to be smart.
This phrase can be used to express your disapproval of people who prefer to solve problems with force, or those who thoughtlessly show their strength off.

“All brawn and no brains.”

RussianДо свадьбы заживёт.
(Do svad’by zazhivyot)
LiterallyIt will heal before your wedding.
You’ll often hear this said when you hurt yourself. It works best with kids; you might need to come up with something else if the person you’re trying to comfort is already married, though…

“You’ll be alright.”

RussianПлохому танцору яйца мешают.
(Plokhomu tantsoru yaytsa meshayut)
LiterallyPoor dancer is impeded by his own balls.
It’s always easier to blame circumstances or other people than to accept your failure. Well, when there’s nobody else to accuse, blame your body parts… (That’s dud advice, by the way.)

“A poor workman blames his tools.”

A Little Girl Who Skinned Her Knee

Kids being kids. How would you console her in Russian?

8. What’s Next?

Today you’ve discovered more than thirty Russian proverbs! There’s a saying for every possible situation in life, and what we’ve seen today was just the tip of the iceberg. Did you learn anything new about the way Russians treat friendship, family, and work? Which proverb caught your attention most of all? Let us know in the comments below!

Was it easy to guess the meaning of the proverbs without reading the translation right away? Many proverbs aren’t self-explanatory, and you might need some help interpreting them, especially when it comes to connotations. Our teachers on RussianPod101.com will help you dispel any doubts. With our Premium PLUS service, MyTeacher, you get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. Feel free to ask about a confusing proverb you’ve seen recently or any other language-related question. Tutors will be there for you if you decide to work on your Russian, as well: you’ll receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. Just give it a try!

Eager to learn more? This material will help you learn more about Russian culture:

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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