27 Easy Russian Phrases for Beginners

russian phrases

Russian is probably one of the hardest languages for English speakers. It has a varied vocabulary and complicated grammar structures. Nevertheless, no need to be scared or stressed about this, as you can still speak Russian much earlier than you expect.

One of the hacks to do this is to learn some of the most common and useful Russian phrases. Even if you don’t understand the structure of the phrase well or your vocabulary is limited, it’s fine! Simply knowing which phrase to use in a particular situation is a huge advantage to your experience! The rest will come later as you progress in learning. 

You can use these basic Russian phrases in many situations: 

  • To simply greet people 
  • For small talk
  • While travelling (airports, train or bus stations, hotels)
  • Asking for directions
  • To support random daily conversation
  • In shops, cafes

We strongly suggest you to learn Russian pronunciation and Cyrillic alphabet first before moving on. If you haven’t done that yet, we recommend using LingoDeer to learn it with professional instructions or read our previous article on the Russian alphabet.

Now, without further ado, let’s get started!

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Most Basic Russian Phrases

I’d like to call this first group of phrases “life-saving” phrases. Because they are the most basic, must-know phrases if you wish to communicate with someone in Russian. In some special cases, they can also come to the rescue and avoid embarrassing situations.

I’d like … Я бы хотел(а) … / Можно мне …
Sorry Извините / Прошу прощения
I don’t speak Russian Я не говорю по-русски.
Where is …? Где…?
I don’t understand … Я не понимаю…
Can you say that again? Можете сказать ещё раз?
Do you speak English? Вы говорите по-английски?
Can you help me? Вы можете мне помочь?

These simple phrases are essential and will help you to solve most problems. They sound very polite and make people understand that you may need help and are not very good in Russian. If you need to listen to their pronunciation, we recommend using LingoDeer app with more than 200 daily Russian phrases.

Greetings and Small Talk

Let’s move on to see how can you greet people and what to say in small talk. These Russian phrases are among the easiest ones. You can use them immediately to start a conversation.

When you want to start a small talk, you can say:

How are you? Как дела?
How are you? (formal) Как у тебя дела?
How do you do? Как ты?
How do you feel…(at the new place)? Как тебе (на новом месте)?
How’s life? Как жизнь?
How are you? Как поживаешь?
How’s the weather? Как погода?

And here are some replies:

 

Everything is good. Thank you. Всё хорошо.Спасибо.
What about you? (casual/formal) А ты (вы)?
I’m okay. / I’m fine. Нормально.
Just so-so. Так себе.
Bad. Плохо.

When meeting someone for the first time, you can say:

Hello!(formal) Здравствуйте! 
My name is … Меня зовут …
What’s your name? Как вас зовут?
I’m from America. Where are you from? Я из Америки, а oткуда вы?

 

If you haven’t seen someone for a long time, you can say:

Long time no see. (Literal: many summers, many winters.) Сколько лет, сколько зим.
Great to hear from you. (On the phone) Рада тебя слышать.
What’s new? Что нового?
I’m so happy for you! Я так рад(а) за тебя!

 

When you want to put forward, reject, or agree to a plan, you can say:

Don’t you want to…? Не хочешь…?
Do you want to…? Хочешь…?
I have plans. Sorry. У меня есть планы. Извини.
Great idea! I’m in. Отличная идея! Я за. 
I agree. Согласен. / Согласна.
With pleasure. С удовольствием.

 

If you want to express positivity, you can say:

Great! Здорово!
Just super! Просто супер!
It’s just wonderful! Это просто замечательно!

To say goodbye in Russian, you can use:

See you! До встречи!
See you! Увидимся!
See you later! До скорого!
Be happy! (when parting) Счастливо!
Bye! (formal) До свиданья!
Bye! (casual) Пока!

Useful Russian Phrases for Travelers

In this section, we have highlighted some of the useful travel expressions in Russian. They can become handy whether you are in a hotel, café, taxi or trains.

Do you have available rooms? У вас есть свободные номера?
How much is it? Сколько это стоит?
Do you have … in English? У вас есть … на английском?
Check, please.  Счет, пожалуйста.
1/2/… tickets please. 1 билет (2/3/4 билета, 5/6/… билетов), пожалуйста
Can you take a photo? Не могли бы вы сделать фото?
This is delicious. Это очень вкусно.
Enjoy your meal! Приятного аппетита!
Cheers! За здоровье!
Do you have…? У вас есть…?
Help me, please! Помогите мне, пожалуйста!
Can I please have…? Дайте мне, пожалуйста…

 

Can you imagine how many useful phrase you already learnt from such a short article? This proves the idea that you do not need to learn tons of expressions to be able to communicate. Of course, these are far from enough to support a longer conversation. If you wish to learn more Russian phrases, sentences, grammar, and vocabulary in a simple and easy way, join LingoDeer’s 20 million happy learners today and start your first Russian lesson for free!

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