How to Say Please in Russian, Pronunciation, and Examples

Please do not disturb sign on door in English and in Russian.
Please do not disturb sign on door in English and in Russian.

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The best and most popular way to say please in Russian is пожалуйста, which literally translates as "have mercy, Sir" or "grant/give, Sir". However, there are several other ways to say please. This list includes ten of the most common ways to say please in Russian.

01
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Пожалуйста

Pronunciation: paZHAlusta

Translation: please, Sir/have mercy, Sir

Meaning: please

The word in its current form appeared in the middle of the 19th century, but its origins go much further back in Russian history. It is a combination of пожалуй (paZHAlooy)—grant, give—and ста (stah), thought to have come either from стать (stat')—become—, or from сударь (SOOdar)—Sir.

It is suitable for all registers and situations, from very formal to very informal.

Example:

- Ну пожалуйста, ну помоги. (noo paZHAlusta, noo pamaGHEE)
- Come on, please, just help me.

02
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Будьте добры

Pronunciation: BOOT'tye davRY

Translation: be kind

Meaning: please, would you be so kind

A slightly more formal expression than пожалуйста, this way of saying please is still quite versatile and suited to most situations. It is worth remembering that both words change depending on whom you are addressing:

  • будьте добры (BOOT'tye dabRY) - plural all genders OR respectful singular
  • будь добр (BOOT' DOBR) - masculine singular
  • будь добра (BOOT' dabRAH) - feminine singular

Example:

- Будьте добры, два билета до Москвы. (BOOT'tye dabRY, dva biLYEta da masKVY
- Two tickets to Moscow, please.

03
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Будь другом

Pronunciation: BOOT' DROOgam

Translation: be a friend

Meaning: please

A much more informal expression, будь другом is used in conversations with close friends and family. The expression does not change when addressing a female.

Example:

- Будь другом, передай хлеб. (BOOT' DROOgam, pyereDAY KHLEP)
- Could you pass the bread, please?

04
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Сделайте одолжение

Pronunciation: ZDYElaytye adalZHYEniye

Translation: do me a favor

Meaning: could you do me a favor?

Сделайте одолжение can be formal or less formal depending on the context. It changes to сделай одолжение when addressing one person or someone you usually address as ты (singular you). The expression is often used in a sarcastic way.

Example:

- Сделай одолжение, не влезай. (ZDYElay adalZHYEniye, nye vlyeZAY)
- Do me a favor, stay out of this.

05
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Сделайте милость

Pronunciation: ZDYElaytye MEElast'

Translation: do a kind thing, do a merciful thing

Meaning: please, could you be so kind

This expression is very formal and can be seen as archaic in some parts of Russian society. However, it is still used in modern Russia. The singular "you" version, сделай милость (ZDYElay MEElast'), is less formal. Both can be used in an ironic or passive-aggressive way.

Example:

- Сделайте милость, передайте вашему коллеге, что я заходил. (ZDYElaytye MEElast', pyereDAYtye VAshemoo kalLYEghye, shto ya zakhaDEEL)
- Could you be so kind and let your colleague know that I have been to see him.

06
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Бога ради

Pronunciation: BOga RAdee

Translation: for god's sake, for heaven's sake

Meaning: I'm begging you

An intense way to say please, бога ради is suitable for all registers. Another version of this is Христа ради (khrisTA RAdee)—for Jesus' sake.

Example:

- Я тебя умоляю, бога ради, прости меня. (ya tyBYA oomaLYAuy, BOga RAdee, prasTEE myNYA)
- I'm begging you, please forgive me.

07
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Будьте любезны

Pronunciation: BOOT'tye lyuBYEZny

Translation: be polite/be nice

Meaning: would you be so kind as...

A formal and polite way to say please in Russian, this expression changes based on gender and number of people:

  • Будьте любезны (BOOT'tye lyuBYEZby) - plural all genders OR respectful singular
  • Будь любезен (BOOT' lyuBYEzyn) - singular masculine
  • Будь любезна (BOOT' lyuBYEZna) - singular feminine

It can also be used to mean "excuse me."

Example:

- Будьте любезны, подскажите, как дойти до метро. (BOOT'tye lyuBYEZny, patskaZHEEtye, kak dayTEE da myetROH)
- Excuse me please, could you tell me how to get to the subway.

08
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Прошу

Pronunciation: praSHOO

Translation: I'm asking you

Meaning: please, I'm asking you

Прошу can be used in any situation and register.

Example:

- Я вас очень прошу, поймите меня. (ya vas Ochyn praSHOO, payMEEtye myNYA)
- I'm asking you to please understand.

09
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Я умоляю тебя/вас

Pronunciation: ya oomaLYAyu tyBYA

Translation: I'm begging you

Meaning: I'm begging you

Used in the same way as its English translation, this expression is suited to any social setting.

Example:

- Я вас умоляю, помогите. (ya vas oomaLYAyu, pamaGHEEtye)
- I'm begging you, please help.

10
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Не сочти за труд

Pronunciation: ny sachTEE za TROOD

Translation: don't consider this as a job/something difficult

Meaning: please, I'd be grateful

Used both in formal and informal settings, не сочти за труд is not as common as the other expressions.

Example:

- Не сочти за труд, подвезёшь меня? (ny sachTEE za TROOD, padvyZYOSH myNYA?)
- Would you give me a lift/a ride, please?