Basic phrases

Here are some basic Russian phrases which you can use in everyday conversation, as well as some common words you will see on signs.

может быть or возможноmaybe
большое спасибоthanks very much

The following are some polite ways you can reply to someone who thanks you:

пожалуйстаyou're welcome
не за чтоnot at all
не стоит благодарностиnot at all

Saying hello and goodbye

Here are some different ways to greet people:

приветhi (informal)
здравствуйтеhello (polite)
доброе утроgood morning (used before noon)
добрый деньgood afternoon (used between noon and 5pm)
добрый вечерgood evening (used after 5pm)

The following expressions, on the other hand, are some different things you can say when saying goodbye:

до свиданияgoodbye (literally: until the next meeting)
спокойной ночиgoodnight (literally: calm night)
увидимся!see you! (literally: we will see each other)
до скорого!see you soon!
хорошего дня!have a nice day!
хороших выходных!have a good weekend!

Getting someone's attention and apologising

простите or извинитеexcuse me (can be used to get someone’s attention, to get past someone, or to apologise)

If someone apologises to you, you can reply using one of the following expressions:

ничего страшногоno problem (literally: nothing terrible)
все в порядкеit's OK
не стоит беспокойстваdon't worry about it

Making yourself understood

вы говорите по-русски?do you speak Russian? (polite)
я не говорю по-русскиI don't speak Russian
я не очень хорошо говорю по-русскиI don't speak much Russian
я только чуть-чуть говорю по-русскиI only speak very little Russian
я немного говорю по-русскиI speak a little Russian
пожалуйста, говорите медленнееplease speak more slowly (polite)
пожалуйста, напишите этоplease write it down (polite)
не могли бы вы повторить?could you please repeat that? (polite)
я понимаюI understand
я не понимаюI don't understand

Other basic phrases

я знаюI know
я не знаюI don't know
извините, где здесь туалет?excuse me, where's the toilet?

Things you might see

Запасной выходEmergency exit
От себяPush
На себяPull
Туалет or ТуалетыToilet or Toilets
М (abbreviation of Мужчины)Gentlemen
Ж (abbreviation of Женщины)Ladies
Не работаетOut of order
Не куритьNo smoking
Частная собственностьPrivate property
Вход воспрещенNo entry

Sound is available for all the Russian phrases on this page — simply click on any phrase to hear it.