100 Common Phrases in Russian to Keep Any Conversation


Want to come to Russia or just start a simple conversation with a native speaker online? Whatever your plan is, you’ll definitely need a bunch of phrases, to begin with.

So, I picked up 100 common phrases in Russian and easy sentences that are essential for every language starter. They will help you to enter any conversation and will significantly ease your vocation. For your convenience, I split them up into several groups:

  • Greetings
  • Being polite
  • At the airport
  • Using city transport
  • In a restaurant
  • In a shop
  • Getting to know new people
  • Maintaining a simple conversation
  • Dealing with problems
  • Dealing with medical emergencies
  • Question words
  • The basic answers
  • Special occasions 
  • Farewells

For you to learn the essential basics in the easiest possible way, I prepared a PDF list of the words in Russian that you can download, print out and use wherever you are. They will ease your life if you keep it under the belt when on your trip to Russia. Just click on the button and get it right now for free.

Russian pronunciation may seem unusual, so the transcriptions in brackets and audio will help you to learn to pronounce these phrases correctly.

Greetings

common Russian phrases

The very first word of a conversation is a greeting, so if you’re going to travel to Russia, you’ll use them very often!

They really help to establish rapport with any native speaker. Actually, Russian people respect those, who learn their language. So, even one simple greeting may help you to get a new friend.

  • Привет – Hi
    • Pri-vjet
  • Здравствуйте – Hello
    • Zdra-stvui-ti
  • Доброе утро – Good morning
    • Dob-ra-e ut-ra
  • Добрый день – Good afternoon
    • Dob-rij d’en’
  • Добрый вечер – Good evening
    • Dob-rij v’e-chir

These were essential things, but if you want to dive deeper into the question of Russian greeting rituals and learn some more expressions, I have a great article right here and here.

Being Polite

We all know, that being polite is essential. Unfortunately not that’s many people in Russia know English, so you could express gratitude or say thank you in their language.

  • Спасибо – Thank you
    • Spa-si-ba
  • Большое спасибо – Thank you very much
    • Bal’-shoe spa-si-ba
  • Пожалуйста – You are welcome
    • Pa-zha-lu-sta
  • Не за что – You are welcome (for a little service)
    • Ne za shta
  • На здоровье – You are welcome
    • Na zda-rov’e
  • Извините – I’m sorry (when you ask for something)
    • Iz-vi-ni-ti
  • Простите – Excuse me
    • Pras-ti-ti

Haven’t found the word you were looking for? You are very likely to find in my post where I explore polite phrases in details.

At the Airport

common Russian phrases

The airport service and custom workers know English well, but if you feel more confident and relaxed with a couple of phrases at hand, here they are:

  • Рейс – Flight
    • Reis
  • Выход к самолету – Gate
    • Vi-had k sa-ma-l’e-tu
  • Билет – Ticket
    • Bi-let
  • Паспорт – Passport
    • Pas-part
  • Регистрация на рейс – Check-in
    • Ri-gist-ra-tsi-ja na reis

Using Public Transport

Okay, you’re finally in Russia. Here you’ll see some types of public transport that are not typical for other countries such as route taxis. Route maps of public transport may seem unclear at first, so don’t hesitate to ask locals about routes and destinations. Here is the vocabulary that will help you to deal with this problem.

  • Автобус – Bus
    • Av-to-bus
  • Метро – Subway
    • Mit-ro
  • Marsh-rut-ka – Route taxi
    • Marsh-rut-ka
  • Станция – Station (in metro)
    • Stan-tsi-ja
  • Остановка – Bus stop
    • As-ta-nov-ka
  • Этот автобус идёт на … (name your stop)? – Does this bus go to…?
    • Ee-tat av-to-bus i-d’ot na…?
  • Как пройти в метро? – How to get to metro?
    • Kak prai-ti v mit-ro?
  • Когда следующий поезд в…? – When is the next train to…?
    • Kag-da sle-du-ju-shii po-izd v…?

Talking in a Restaurant

Russian phrases common

In most of the “touristy” restaurants, you can find at least one person who can understand English. But you weren’t lucky enough to meet one, so here are your basic phrases.

  • Можно меню? – Can I have the menu, please?
    • Mozh-na mi-nu?
  • Извините – Excuse me! (Calling a waiter)
    • Iz-vi-ni-ti
  • Столик на одного / двоих – A table for one / two, please
    • Stolik na ad-na-vo
  • Вы ещё открыты? – Are you open yet?
    • Vi je-she atk-ri-ti?
  • Можно сесть там? – Can I sit over there?
    • Mozh-na sest’ tam?
  • Что вы посоветуете? – What do you recommend?
    • Shto vi pa-sa-v’e-tu-i-ti?
  • Что это? – What’s this?
    • Shto eta?
  • Принесите, пожалуйста… (add the item you want) – Bring us … please
    • Pri-ni-si-ti pa-zha-lu-sta…
  • На ваш выбор – It’s up to you/You can decide
    • Na vash vi-bar
  • Можно счёт? -May I have a bill, please?
    • Mozh-na shet?

In a Shop

Russian phrases common

Of course, you will not leave the country without a souvenir. Russians usually don’t haggle in shops, but if you are in the market, don’t hesitate to ask for a discount. The following sentences will save you a pretty penny.

  • Сколько это стоит? – How much is it?
    • Skol’-ka eta stoit?
  • Это слишком догого. – It’s too expensive for me
    • Eto slish-kam do-ra-ga
  • Можете сделать скидку? – Can you do me a discount?
    • mo-zhi-te sde-lat’ skid-ku
  • Я ищу … – I’m looking for… 
    • Ja i-shu…
  • Я просто смотрю. – I’m just looking around
    • Ja pros-ta smat-r’u
  • Где примерочные? – Where are the changing rooms?
    • Gd’e pri-m’e-rach-ni-je?

Conversations in shops will involve numerical information, and if you feel like you want to know more about it, don’t miss this post where I teach how to count from 1 to 1,000,000,000 in 6 easy steps.

Getting to Know New People

Despite their reputation of being gloomy people, locals don’t mind to get acquainted with new people. So, grab these expressions and don’t hesitate to use them.

I know from personal experience how hard it is to begin a conversation in a foreign language. That’s why I would advise you to train the following sentences a little bit beforehand:

  • Как вас зовут? – What’s your name?
    • Kak vas za-vut?
  • Я Джон. – I’m John
    • Ja John
  • Кто Вы по профессии? – What’s your profession?
    • Kto vi pa pra-fe-sii?
  • Сколько Вам лет? – How old are you?
    • Skol’-ka vam let?
  • Мне 21 – I’m 21
    • Mnje 21
  • Откуда Вы? – Where are you from?
    • At-ku-da vi?
  • Я из Америки/Англии/Канады – I’m from America/England/Canada
    • Ja iz A-me-ri-ki/ Ang-lii/ Ka-na-di
  • Приятно познакомиться – Nice to meet you
    • Pri-jat-na paz-na-ko-mo-tsa

All the above-mentioned options are respectful and polite, so you can use them in every possible situation without having to worry about it.

Maintaining a Simple Conversation

basic russian phrases

The following step is a small talk with a native speaker. I know, that it may go in very different directions, but these phrases are like a lifeline. They will help you to maintain a little friendly conversation.

  • Как дела? – How are you?
    • Kak di-la?
  • Спасибо, хорошо. – I’m fine, thanks
    • Spa-si-ba ha-ra-sho
  • А у Вас? (for other people) – And you?
    • A u vas?
  • Чем занимаеnтесь? – What have you been up to?
    • Chem za-ni-ma-i-tis’
  • Прекрасная погода, не правда? Lovely weather, isn’t it?
    • Prik-ras-na-ja pa-go-da

Making Questions

The following mini-list is small but super helpful! With these words, you’ll be able to learn anything you want. Say a question word and then add a magic “this”-word. Use your imagination together with a “sign language” and ask any questions you need!

After the Russian “where” you can add any noun you know or point a place on your map and the sense will be clear.

  • Это – This
    • E-ta
  • Что…? – What…?
    • Chto?
  • Кто…? – Who…?
    • Kto?
  • Где…? – Where?
    • Gd’e?
  • Когда…? – When?
    • Kag-da?
  • Сколько…? – How many/ How much?
    • Skol’-ka?
  • Можно? – May I…?
    • Mozh-na?
  • Сколько времени? – What time is it?
    • Skol’ka vr’e-m’a?

Giving Basic Answers

russian sentences

If you’re planning to talk with native speakers, you definitely need to know how to answer these questions. Very often, nodding your head is not enough, so this is a minimal set of possible replies that will help you participate in the conversation.

  • Да – Yes
    • Da
  • Нет – No
    • N’et
  • Конечно – of course
    • Ka-n’esh-na
  • Не знаю – I don’t know
    • Ni zna-ju
  • Возможно – Maybe
    • Vaz-mozh-na
  • Я так не думаю – I don’t think so
    • Ja tak ni du-maju
  • Редко – Rarely
    • R’ed-ka
  • Часто – Often
    • Chas-ta
  • Иногда
    • I-nag-da

Having learned these, you might be interested to know what are the lexicons and traditions for ‘refuse’ and ‘agreement’.

Dealing with Problems

Questions will arise here and there, but no panic! Russian people very willingly come to help to any foreigner. To say, “what’s the problem,” you can use the following phrases.

  • Вы не могли бы мне помочь? – Could you help me?
    • Vi ni mag-li bi mne pa-moch?
  • Подскажите, пожалуйста…? – Could you tell me, plese…
    • Pad-ska-zhi-ti pa-zha-lu-sta
  • Я потерялся – I got lost
    • Ja pa-ti-r’al-s’a
  • Вы не могли бы повторить? – Could you repeat, please?
    • Vi ni mag-li bi pav-ta-rit’?
  • Извините, можно помедленнее? – Could you repeat it more slowly, please?
    • Iz-vi-ni-ti mozh-na pa-med-linee?
  • Я не понимаю. – I don’t understand
    • Ja ni pa-ni-ma-ju
  • Я не говорю по-русски. – I don’t speak Russian
    • Ja ni ga-va-ru pa rus-ki
  • Вы говорите по-английски? – Do you speak English?
    • Vi ga-va-ri-ti pa-ang-lis-ki?
  • Что значит …? – What means…?
    • Shto zna-chit?
  • Напишите это, пожалуйста – Could you write it down, please?
    • Na-pi-shi-ti eta pa-zha-lu-sta

Asking for Directions

russian basic language

Getting around requires more than comfortable footwear. You also need a vocabulary that will help you identify proper directions to help you get around.

  • Поверните направо – Turn right
    • Pa-vir-ni-ti na-pra-va
  • Поверните налево – Turn left
    • Pa-vir-ni-ti na-l’e-va
  • Идите вперёд – Walk ahead
    • I-di-ti vpi-j’od
  • Идите назад – Walk back
    • I-di-ti na-zad
  • Идите прямо – Go straight
    • I-di-ti pr’a-ma
  • Развернитесь – Turn around
    • Raz-vir-ni-tis’
  • Далеко – Far
    • Da-li-ko
  • Близко – Near here
    • Bliz-ka
  • Рядом с… – Near with
    • R’a-dam s…

Dealing with Medical Emergencies

Hopefully, you will never need the following expressions, but if you happened to be in a situation when you need to ask for medical help, these expressions will come in handy.

  • Вызовите скорую – Call an ambulance
    • Vi-za-vi-ti sko-ru-ju
  • Вызовите врача – Call a doctor
    • Vi-za-vi-ti vra-cha
  • Мне нужен доктор – I need a doctor
    • Mne nu-zhin dok-tar
  • Мне плохо –  I don’t feel well
    • Mn’e plo-ha
  • Рядом есть больница? – Is there a hospital near here?
    • R’a-dam est’ bal-ni-ca
  • Болит здесь – It hurts here
    • Ba-lit zd’es’
  • У меня температура – I have a fever
    • U mi-n’a tim-pi-ra-tu-ra

Attending Special Occasions 

conversation in russian

If you’re attending a special occasion like a birthday party, or just a family dinner, pay close attention to the following:

  • Добро пожаловать – Welcome
    • Dab-ro pa-zha-la-vat’
  • Приятного аппетита – Bon appetit
    • Pri-jat-na-va a-pi-ti-ta
  • Мои поздравления – My congratulations
    • Mai pazd-rav-l’e-ni-ja
  • За Вас! – To you! (a common cheers)
    • Za vas

Russia has many unknown traditions, and the ones you think you know because of Western movies may be less accurate than you think. Take a look at this  post, where I explain how to drink with Russians.

Farewells

Whether you are ending your journey and saying bye to your friends or just leaving a cafe, saying a farewell in Russian is always a good idea! The following list covers everything from a simple informal “bye” to heart-warming “take care”

  • Пока  – Buy (for friends)
    • Pa-ka
  • Счастливо – Buy (for friends)
    • Shis-li-va
  • До свидания – Goodbye
    • Da-svi-da-nja
  • Увидимся – See you
    • U-vi-dim-s’a
  • До завтра – See you tomorrow
    • Da zav-tra
  • Хорошей поездки – Have a safe trip
    • Ha-ro-shei pa-jezd-ki
  • Береги себя – Take care
    • Bi-ri-gi si-b’a

Need a broader list of farewells? This post will help you for sure! There you will find great examples for every possible situation: from leaving your beloved to saying goodbye to your business partner.

Anastasia Korol

Anastasia Korol is an enthusiastic Russian language tutor. She gives effective, goal-oriented lessons to students all over the world. Thousands of people have already followed her Instagram.

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