How to say Hello in Russian | Free Russian Video Lesson (with a quiz)

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Different ways to say Hello in Russian


It is very important to learn various ways to greet in Russian if you want to understand better Russian mentality, to discover interesting Russian expressions and their origin, and to distinguish formal, semi-formal, informal and colloquial ways to say "Hello" in Russian.


Greeting in Russia is as important as in France. It is polite to say hello to shop assistants and service workers. So, if you don't want to be seen as impolite, it is better to learn the most common phrases to say hello in Russian like здравствуйте (Yes, I know, it looks scary and it is difficult to pronounce even for Russian natives).

Watch this video, learn new expressions and test yourself. The script of the video with the quiz is right under the video.


Free Russian Video Lesson - "Different ways to say Hello in Russian"


Here is a list of different ways to say Hello in Russian:


Formal ways to greet in Russian

1) Здравствуйте [zdrástvuite] - Hello

Can be used with:

- Officials (police, social workers);

- Other types of service workers (cafe, shops);

- Elderly people (respect);

- Colleagues, boss (depends on organization).

Semi-formal ways to greet in Russian

1) Доброе утро [dóbraye útra] - Good morning

Used in the mornings until 12 pm

Can be used with:

- Friends and family members;

- Colleagues;

- Strangers (officials, workers, etc.)

2) Добрый день [dóbryi dyen'] - Good afternoon

Used starting from 12 pm

Can be used with:

- Friends and family members;

- Colleagues;

- Strangers (officials, workers, etc.)

3) Добрый вечер [dóbryi vyécher] - Good evening

Used in the evenings starting approximaly from 6 pm

Can be used with:

- Friends and family members;

- Colleagues;

- Strangers (officials, workers, etc.)

Colloquial ways to greet people in Russian

1) Здрасте [zdrás'te] - Hello

Used a lot orally as it sounds less formal than Здравствуйте

Don't use it in written speech.

Can be used with:

- Colleagues;

- Strangers (officials, workers, etc.)

Try to avoid using this greeting for official meetings and presentations

ЗДРАСТЕ also can be used as an ironic way to say that you are:

- Surprised

Здрасте, зачем ты это сделал? (Why have you done it?)

- Perplexed

Здрасте, и что мне теперь делать? (What am I supposed to do now?)

ЗДРАСТЕ is often used with a word "приехали" (arrived):

- Sarcastic way to show your surprise

Здрасте, приехали! Ну и зачем ты это сделал? (Oh, really? And why have you done this?)

Informal ways to greet in Russian

1) Здравствуй [zdrá-stvui] - Hello / Hi

It is rather an informal Russian greeting and one of the forms of ЗДРАВСТВУЙТЕ

It is rarely used in speech nowadays.

Can be used to address acquaintances and persons you don't know well.

Instead of ЗДРАВСТВУЙ, it is better to use a word ПРИВЕТ with young people and people you know well.

2) Привет [pri-vyét] - Hi

It is the most popular informal greeting

Can be used with:

- Friends, family members, groupmates;

- Good acquaintances;

- Neighbours of your age or younger;

- Colleagues of your age or younger;

- Children

In a group of people of your age it is more natural to use informal greetings like привет.

Russian slang words to greet people

Здорово / здарова [zda-ró-va] - Hey

It's a slang greeting usually used by men. English equivalent = Hey man!

Used mostly by men. Women can use it as well but it sounds rude.

Don't address it to women, officials and elderly people.

Idiomatic ways to greet in Russian

1) Какие люди [ka-kiye lyú-di] - That's you

Used when one unexpectedly meets a friend, a family member or a close acquaintance.

Can also be used as a sarcastic way to show that you are surprised to see somebody.

2) Кого я вижу [kagó ya vizhu] - Look who is here

Used when one is surprised to see a person (can be ironic).

Can be addressed to a friend, a family member, a close acquaintance, colleague.

3) Сколько лет, сколько зим [skól'ka let, skól'ka zim] - Long time no see.

Used when one hasn't seen a person for a really long time.

Can be addressed to a friend, a family member, a close acquaintance, colleague.

4) Какая встреча! [kakáya vstrécha] = What a lucky meeting!

Used when one is surprised to see a person (unexpected meeting).

Can be used with:

- Friends;

- Family members;

- Close acquaintances;

- Colleagues.

5) Какими судьбами? [kakimi sud'bámi] - What brings you here?

One can use this phrase when he or she wonders what somebody is doing at a particular place.

Can be used with:

- Friends;

- Family members;

- Close acquaintances;

- Colleagues.

6) Как я рад тебя видеть [kak ya rad tebyá videt'] - How happy I am to see you

To show how happy you are to see somebody (can be said with sarcasm)

Can be used with:

- Friends;

- Family members;

- Close acquaintances;

- Colleagues;

- Other acquaintances.


Want to learn more? You can check my video lesson on different ways to say goodbye in Russian.


Now you can take a quiz on how well you know different ways to say hello in Russian.


Test "How to say Hello in Russian?"

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