Languages › Russian How to Say Hello in Russian (Informal and Formal) Share Flipboard Email Print Shrovetide celebration in Russia. JackF / Getty Images Languages English as a Second Language Spanish French German Italian Japanese Mandarin Russian By Maia Nikitina Russian Language Expert M.F.A., Creative Writing, Manchester Metropolitan University Diploma in Translation (IoLet Level 7, Russian), Chartered Institute of Linguists Maia Nikitina is a writer and Russian language translator. She holds a Diploma in Translation (IoLet Level 7) from the Chartered Institute of Linguists. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Maia Nikitina Updated April 30, 2020 The most common way to say hello in Russian is Здравствуйте (ZDRASTvooytye), but there are more details you need to know in order to navigate all the likely social encounters. The most important thing to remember is that the way you say hello in Russian depends on who you are speaking to. Russian has two main registers: formal and informal. To know which greeting to use, you need is to establish if you are in a formal or an informal situation. Formal situations include speaking to someone you don’t know or only know a little, as well speaking with people to whom you want to show respect, such as your teachers, officials, people of a higher rank, in-laws, or simply people older than you. Informal register applies to conversations with your friends and family, as well as young children (although on some formal occasions it is appropriate to address children in a formal way, too). Informal Conversation Greetings Russian word: ПриветPronunciation: preeVYETMeaning: Hello Use this word when addressing your friends, family members (unless they are your in-laws), and children. Russian word: ЗдоровоPronunciation: ZdaROHvahMeaning: Hey This is a more familiar greeting, only used among close friends. It can be translated as Hey or Yo! Formal Conversation Greetings Russian word: ЗдравствуйтеPronunciation: ZDRASTvooytyeTranslation: hello, or how do you do? Здравствуйте is the safest bet when you find yourself in a formal situation. Literally translated as "stay healthy," this formal greeting is appropriate when speaking to acquaintances, people you don’t know, colleagues, older people, or people you respect. Russian word: ЗдравствуйPronunciation: ZDRASTvooyTranslation: Hello Be careful to use this expression only with those whom you already address as ты (singular you). This makes it much less formal than Здравствуйте, but more formal than Привет. Russian word: Доброе утроPronunciation: DOBraye OOtraTranslation: Good morning Доброе утро is used in the same way as you would use good morning in English–with everyone and anyone, in the morning. Russian word: Добрый день and Добрый вечерPronunciation: DOBry DYEN’ and DOBry VYEcherTranslation: Good afternoon and good evening Just like Доброе утро, these phrases can be used in any situation, formal or informal. Other Greetings Russian word: Как у тебя / у вас дела?Pronunciation: Kak oo tyeBYA / oo VAS dyeLAHTranslation: How are you? Once you have gotten past hello, use Как у тебя / у вас дела? to ask How are you? Remember to choose the correct form of "you" (singular у тебя or plural у вас) based on who you are speaking with. Russian word: Как дела?Pronunciation: Kak dyeLAHTranslation: How are things? Как дела? is a shortened, and very common, alternative to Как у тебя / у вас дела? Как (вы) поживаете (Kak (vy) pazheeVAyetye) and Как (ты) поживаешь (Kak (ty) pazheeVAyesh) can be used instead of Как дела. This translates literally as how are you living? and means how do you do. As before, remember to choose the correct form of address: Как (вы) поживаете? When speaking to those whom you address as you pluralКак (ты) поживаешь? When talking to your friends and family When someone asks you how you are, the best way to respond is with Хорошо, спасибо, meaning fine, thanks. Another option is to say Нормально, спасибо (narMAL’nah, spaSEEbah) – okay, thanks. This is a more informal variation used among good friends. Russian word: Хорошо, спасибоPronunciation: HaraSHOH, spaSEEbahTranslation: Fine, thanks You can also use: Russian word: Прекрасно, спасибоPronunciation: pryekRASnah, spaSEEbahTranslation: Great, thank you Russian word: Неплохо, спасибоPronunciation: nyepLOHkha, spaSEEbahTranslation: Not bad, thanks Saying Goodbye in Russian Russian word: До свиданияPronunciation: dah sveeDAHnyaTranslation: Goodbye When it comes to saying goodbye, the well-known До свидания is appropriate for most situations, but you may also opt for a more familiar Пока (paHAH) – bye. Just be careful to only use Пока with people you already address as ты (ty) – you, plural. Below are other ways to say goodbye: Russian word: Мне пораPronunciation: mnye paRAHTranslation: I have to go This expression is usually a precursor to another, more final, greeting. For example, the speaker may say Ну, мне пора, до свидания (NOO, mnye paRAH, da sveeDAnya) – well, I have to go, goodbye. Russian word: Увидимся!Pronunciation: ooVEEdimsyaTranslation: See you soon (used with friends and family) Russian word: СчастливоPronunciation: schastLEEvahTranslation: Happily (literally, but means have a good day or good luck) Use Счастливо in most situations apart from the very formal ones. Russian word: Удачи!Pronunciation: ooDAchiTranslation: Good luck! This expression is often preceded by Ну (noo), meaning well. Ну, удачи! therefore translates as well, good luck! Russian word: Счастливого путиPronunciation: shasLEEvava pooTEETranslation: Have a good trip Счастливого пути is a variation of Счастливо. It is fine to use it in any formal or informal situation. Russian word: Доброй ночиPronunciation: DOBray NOOchiTranslation: Good night Russian word: Спокойной ночиPronunciation: spaKOYnay NOOchiTranslation: Good night Доброй ночи and Спокойной ночи both mean the same thing: good night. Used interchangeably, both expressions are appropriate for formal and informal situations, although Доброй ночи has a slightly more formal register.