How to Say “No” in Russian

Generally people don’t have a problem remembering how to say “no” in Russian. Saying “no” is one of the first words we learn in a language. In Russian it’s a very simple “nyet”, with its very informal forms of “nyea” and “nye”. Perhaps to your ear “nyet” alone sounds a bit blunt or even somewhat rude. If you want to say “no” in Russian politely, all you have to do is add “thank you” after “no”, like you would in English. So, “No, thank you” in Russian will be “Nyet, spaseeba”. To say that something is not necessary or needed, go for “nyet, ni nada”, which means “No, there is no need”. Having to say “no” in Russian is not always that simple. There’s a very tricky “no” form that is difficult to explain as it consists of two contrasting words, “yes and no” or, in Russian, “Da nyet”. It’s like you agree in a way, but disagree more. “Da nyet” is mainly used to say “no” in Russian when the speaker is undecided but seems to lean more in the direction of a negative answer. Finally, there is an even more confusing construction of “Da nyet, navernoe” - the famous “Yes, no, maybe”. It is used for saying “no” in Russian when someone is highly uncertain of their negative answer and can possibly change their mind to the final “yes” or to “no” under enough persuasion.

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Watch this video to get some vocal examples of how to say "no" in Russian: