There aren’t many cultural differences in how we thank people in Russian compared to English.
However, there’s certainly more than one way to thank someone in Russian.
These nine phrases tackle thanking people informally, formally, casually and in specific situations.
- 1. Спасибо. (Thank you/Thanks.)
- 2. Спасибо за помощь. (Thanks for helping.)
- 3. Большое спасибо! (Thanks a lot!/Big thank you!)
- 4. Огромное спасибо. (Thank you very much.)
- 5. Вы очень добры. (That’s very kind of you.)
- 6. Я очень благодарен. (I’m very grateful.)
- 7. Моё почтение. (Regards.)
- 8. Благодарю Вас. (I’m so grateful to you.)
- Why Should I Learn Multiple Ways to Say “Thank You” in Russian?
1. Спасибо. (Thank you/Thanks.)
This is the most basic way to thank someone in Russian.
Alone, it’s fairly casual. You would use this term when quickly thanking someone for a simple task or around close friends and family.
When paired with a few other words, which we’ll be covering later in this post, it can be more formal. It’s a very versatile word and definitely the one that you should memorize first and foremost.
Here are some example sentences:
Спасибо за подарок. (Thank you for the gift.)
Спасибо за совет. (Thanks for the advice.)
2. Спасибо за помощь. (Thanks for helping.)
This variation of the base “thank you” word спасибо is used specifically when someone does you a favor or helps out in some way.
You can certainly use спасибо alone to thank people for doing you a favor, but Спасибо за помощь is a much more expressive way to communicate that you’re grateful. If someone goes out of their way to help you, be it in a work environment or just with a friend, use Спасибо за помощь. It wouldn’t really be considered formal, but rather a more genuine way of thanking someone.
Take a look at this example:
Sam: Я принёс тебе кофе. (I brought you a coffee.)
Svetlana: Спасибо за помощь. (Thanks for helping.)
3. Большое спасибо! (Thanks a lot!/Big thank you!)
Yet another “thank you” phrase with the base word спасибо.
Be sure to use this term with enthusiasm and projection! Большое спасибо is used when someone does something really kind for you. However, it’s an informal word, so using it in a formal setting could come off as boisterous and inappropriate.
If your boss gives you a raise and you’re not BFFs, shouting this phrase would be similar to shouting, “Whoa, thanks, dude!” Save this one for friends and family.
Here’s an example:
Alexei’s friends: Сюрприз! С Днём рождения! (Surprise! Happy birthday!)
Alexei: Друзья мои, большое спасибо! (My friends, thank you so much!)
4. Огромное спасибо. (Thank you very much.)
спасибо returns yet again with this phrase, which can also be read as “Thank you so much.”
This one is also informal, but it expresses quite a bit more emotion. Consider it an extra large thank you with a side of gratefulness. Typically, this phrase is used when someone you don’t know that well goes out of their way to help you regardless of their standing with you.
Alternatively, this phrase is used in a sarcastic manner if you’re mad about something or at someone.
Here’s an example of this term used in the emotional sense:
Sasha: Привет! Я слышал, что тебе было тяжело, поэтому я сделал тебе печенье. (Hey! I heard that you were having a hard time, so I made you some cookies.)
Tatiana: Огромное спасибо! (Thank you very much!)
5. Вы очень добры. (That’s very kind of you.)
This can also be read as “It’s very kind of you” or “How kind of you!”
This proper way of expressing thanks is probably the most commonly used phrase for formal situations. Where Спасибо is a catch-all “thank you” word for most informal settings, Вы очень добры is ideal for more polite situations.
If a superior member of management at the workplace helps you out or an authority figure in general gives you a hand, this is a good one to use.
Take a look:
Yana: Я рад предложить вам повышение. (I’m pleased to offer you a raise.)
Nikita: О, боже! Вы очень добры! (Oh, my! That’s very kind of you!)
6. Я очень благодарен. (I’m very grateful.)
For the most part, this can be used interchangeably with Вы очень добры.
Я очень благодарен expresses a more personal touch, though. You’re thanking someone formally but also making it clear that you feel deeply grateful in your heart for what they’ve done.
Here’s an example:
Officer Misha : Мы считаем, что вы невиновны. Вы можете идти, сэр. (We believe that you’re innocent. You’re free to go, sir.)
Luka: Я очень благодарен! (I’m very grateful!)
7. Моё почтение. (Regards.)
This can also be read as “My regards” or “My respects.”
This is used pretty much the same way those phrases are used in English. Use Моё почтение when paying your thanks and respects to someone who is deceased or just not present. This is definitely on the formal side of “Thank you” in Russian.
Here’s a prime example:
Aunt Toma: Прошу Вас передать моё почтение Вашей матери. Она помогала мне много раз. (Please give my regards to your mother. She has helped me out many times.)
8. Благодарю Вас. (I’m so grateful to you.)
Save this one for when a person does something extremely kind or generous. Use Благодарю Вас when someone gives you a large sum of money, feeds you when you’re starving or saves your life somehow. You can’t get much more intense than Благодарю Вас.
Take a look:
Artem: Я хотел бы предоставить Вам место для проживания. (I would like to offer you a place to stay.)
Ivan: Благодарю Вас! (I’m so grateful to you!)
Why Should I Learn Multiple Ways to Say “Thank You” in Russian?
- Broadening your vocabulary helps you become fluent. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember when you’re tempted to call it quits after learning just one Russian phrase for “thank you.” The more vocabulary words you know, the closer you are to achieving fluency in Russian. It’s just a simple fact.
- There are formal and informal ways of speaking Russian, so you should know the correct phrases for different situations. We’ll be covering casual and proper ways to thank someone in Russian so you can avoid a potential linguistic faux pas when speaking to a Russian person or traveling abroad to Russia.
- We included sample sentences for each phrase, so you can use context clues for each phrase next time they come up in conversation. Not only does memorizing vocabulary words improve your fluency, but knowing various ways to thank someone can help if you’re relatively new to speaking Russian and find yourself in a conversation with a fluent speaker. Using context clues and these different ways of saying “thank you” will help with face-to-face translating and a fluid conversation.
- It shows you can speak like a native. Many beginners just learn one way to say “thank you.” If you know how to thank a stranger for holding the door open versus a friend for throwing you a party, you’ll set yourself apart as a true Russian speaker.
Who knew there was more than one way to say “Thank you” in Russian?
Now, you might be wondering what to do next with all of these new ways to say “thank you” in Russian. Use these phrases, of course!
And while all of these phrases express gratitude, some may be better suited for certain situations than others. You can listen to how native speakers use them to better understand when one phrase should be used over another.
While you’re watching movies or TV shows, make note of what’s going on when you hear a certain phrase used. You can also observe the phrases native speakers choose by watching Russian videos on a program like FluentU, for example, which teaches Russian through authentic videos. On this program, you can even search for videos using specific words or phrases to really target your learning.
You can also listen to podcasts or radio shows to find more examples of these words in action.
While you probably won’t need to memorize each and every one of these phrases to properly thank someone in Russian, it is good to know these for the purpose of overall fluency. Good luck and усердно учиться (study hard)!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.