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How to Pay a Compliment in Russian

Paying someone a compliment is a great way to make that person feel special and to praise someone’s skills or talent. Today we’re going to learn how to pay compliments in Russian. If you want to learn how to brighten someone’s day using fluent Russian, order a Russian lesson.

How to Construct a Compliment in Russian

Compliments are as varied as people’s characteristics. However, while it’s impossible to list all the possible combinations that exist in the Russian language, you can learn three basic phrases and constructions.

You Look...

Let’s start with complimenting someone’s appearance. It is said that Russian women are very beautiful, so try to remember these phrases—you may need them!

  • Ты выглядишь прекрасно. (Ty vyglyadish’ prekrasno.)

  • You look great!

Instead of “прекрасно” (prekrasno) you can also use another adverb. For instance,

  • Хорошо (khorosho) – good

  • Отлично (otlichno) – excellent

  • Классно (klassno) – cool (spoken)

  • Чудесно (chudesno) – wonderful

Remember, if you’re talking with someone you’ve just met or with an older person, say “Вы” (Vy – you) instead of “ты” (ty – you):

  • Вы чудесно выглядите! (Vy chudesno vyglyadite.)

  • You look wonderful!

These phrases can be used to compliment both men and women.

You Have...

When you want to pay a compliment in Russian focused on someone’s talents, use the following construction:

  • У вас/у тебя… (U vas/u tebya…)

  • You have…

  • У тебя красивая улыбка. (U tebya krasivaya ulybka.)

  • You have a beautiful smile.

Use a noun that denotes a certain characteristic, such as voice, with an adjective. The formula is “У вас/у тебя” (u vas/u tebya) + adjective + noun.

  • У вас красивый голос. (U vas krasivyi golos.)

  • You have a beautiful voice.

  • У тебя отличное чувство юмора. (U tebya otlichnoe chuvstvo uimora.)

  • You have a great sense of humor.

  • У тебя отличный вкус. (U tebya otlichnyi vkus.)

  • You have great taste.

Instead of красивый (krasivyi – beautiful) and отличный (otlichnyi – great), you can also use some of these adjectives:

  • Прекрасный (prekrasnyi) – gorgeous

  • Великолепный (velikoplepnyi) – magnificent

  • Шикарный (shikarnyi) – classy

I Like...

To compliment anything from clothing to looks, use the “I like” construction.

  • Мне нравится… (Mne nravitsya…)

  • I like…

The formula is usually “Мне нравится” + personal pronoun + noun that denotes what you like.

  • Мне нравится твое платье. (Mne nravitsya tvoyo plat’e.)

  • I like your dress.

  • Мне нравится твоя сумка. (Mne nravitsya tvoya sumka.)

  • I like your bag.

You can also adjust the sentence structure by adding a phrase after “I like” to explain exactly what it is you like:

  • Мне нравится, как ты выглядишь. (Mne nravitsya, kak ty vyglyadish’.)

  • I like how you look.

  • Мне нравится, как ты поешь. (Mne nravitsya, kak ty poyosh’.)

  • I like the way you sing.

How to Respond to Compliments in Russian

To reply to any compliment, say, “спасибо” (spasibo), which means “thank you.” You can also say, “спасибо, мне очень приятно” (spasibo, mne ochen’ priyatno – thank you, that’s nice of you).

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