How to Ask How Are You in Russian | What's up in Russian | How's it going in Russian

vocabulary Feb 01, 2022

Asking "How are you?" in Russian is different than asking it in English. First of all, Russian speakers ask these kinds of questions less often than English speakers because English uses them as greetings. Sometimes English speakers see each other and one says "What's up?", then the other says "How's it going?", and then they part ways. Neither answered the other's question. In Russian these questions are not rhetorical and answers are expected. So, after you learn how to ask "How are you?" in Russian, you need to learn how to answer "How are you?" in Russian.

“How are you doing?” in Russian

Как ты? = How are you?

Pronunciation: "kahk tee" ; /ka:k ti/

This is probably the easiest phrase to remember. In the present tense in Russian we omit the verb to be, so we don't need a word for "are" here. Just "Как ты?" is fine. If you want to change this informal phrase into a formal one, you can say "Как Вы?"

Как дела? = How are things?

Pronunciation: "kahk deh-LAH" ; /ka:k de'la:/

"Как дела" is the phrase most people learn after "Привет". In fact, if you only know 5 words or phrases in Russian, "Как дела?" is probably one of them. And it's obvious why. It's really easy and convenient for English speakers to think of "Привет! Как дела?" as "Hey! How's it going?" or "Hi! What's up?"

The word "дела" is the plural form of "дело", which means "business", as in "It's not your business." (Это не твоё дело.) or "I have some business to attend to." (Мне надо решить кое-какие дела.) You can also say "Он пошёл по делам." meaning "He went to take care of business." So, "дела" is similar to chores or errands. But it's also about happenings, events, and time-consuming activities. The expression "много дел" means "a lot of stuff to do". 

Как делишки? = How's tricks?

Pronunciation: "kahk deh-LEESH-kee" ; /ka:k de'li:ʃki:/

This is a fun, cute way to say "Как дела?" Generally speaking, girls use it more than guys.

Как твои дела? = How are things with you?

Pronunciation: "kahk tvah-EE deh-LAH" ; /ka:k tva:'i: de'la:/

"Как твои дела?" is the question you can ask in informal settings, while "Как Ваши дела?" is the formal version.

Как настроение? = How's your mood?

Pronunciation: "kahk nah-stroy-EN-yuh" ; /ka:k na:stroɪ'enjə/

The word "настроение" is used a lot more frequently than its English equivalent "mood". When someone asks you "Как настроение?" they are really asking "How are you feeling?" Also, in English you "are in a mood". I mean, we use the verb "to be" and the preposition "in" to talk about our mood, for example: "He's in a bad mood today." In Russian you don't say it like that. Instead, you "have a mood", for example: "У него плохое настроение сегодня." (He "has" a bad mood today.)

Someone might also tell you "У меня нет настроения." This literally means "I don't have a mood." But what it really means is "I'm not in the mood." or "I'm in a bad mood."

Как оно? = How is it?

Pronunciation: "kahk ah-NO" ; /ka:k a:'no/

Only use this expression with people you know well. It's very unspecific because "оно" means "it" and the phrase itself doesn't clarify what "it" is.

Как жизнь? = How's life?

Pronunciation: "kahk zheezn" ; /ka:k ʒi:zn/

You would probably only ask this question when catching up with someone you haven't seen for a while.

Как ты поживаешь? = How are you doing?

Pronunciation: "kahk puh-zhee-VIE-yesh" ; /ka:k pəʒi:'va:jeʃ/

Similar to "Как жизнь?", this question helps us catch with a person we haven't seen for some time. "Как ты поживаешь?" uses the informal "ты" with its corresponding verb conjugation "поживаешь", but it becomes formal if you change "ты" to "Вы" and change "поживаешь" to "поживаете". The full formal expression is "Как Вы поживаете?"

Как живётся? = What's it like?

Pronunciation: "kahk zhee-VYOTE-syuh" ; /ka:k ʒi:'vjotsjə/

"What's it like being you?" Another way to translate "Как живётся?" is "How are you living?"

Как жизнь молодая? = How's the young life?

Pronunciation: "kahk zheezn mah-lah-DAH-yah" ; /ka:k ʒi:zn ma:la:'daja:/

Be careful to only use this question with young people. Otherwise, it could be considered a joke. You shouldn't use this one with people you don't know because it would create a socially awkward situation. It's too personal for someone you've just met or someone you don't know at all.

Как там у тебя? = How's it going with you?

Pronunciation: "kahk tahm oo tyeh-BYAH" ; /ka:k ta:m u: tje'bja:/

This one is very informal. "Там" means "there" and adds the meaning of "there, where you are". It could also be used to refer to a situation that is known to both the speaker and the listener, for example if John had an argument with his girlfriend and told Max about it, Max might call the next day and ask "Как там у тебя?" (How's it going over there?) referring to the situation with John's girlfriend. Max could also ask "Как там?" (How's it going?) or "Как там у вас с ней?" (How's it going with her over there?)

Как твоё ничего? = What's up?

Pronunciation: "kahk tvah-YO nee-cheh-VO" ; /ka:k tva:'jo ni:tʃe'vo/

How to correctly translate the English phrase "What's up?" into Russian is a hotly debated topic. In my opinion, the phrase "Как твоё ничего?" is the closest match because of the typical response it produces:

  • Ничего (Nothing)
  • Нормально (OK)

Similarly, in English "What's up?" is typically answered with:

  • Nothing
  • Not much

However, we still need to be on the lookout for a better translation of "What's up?" The question "Как твоё ничего?" is still essentially a question about how you are doing, whereas "What's up?" is really a question about what is new or what is happening. Let's look at an example using modern conversational Russian:

A: Здорово братан! Как твоё ничего? (Hey bro! What's up?)

B: Здорово мужик! Да ничё, так себе. У тебя чё? (Hey man! Sup? Not much. What about you?)

“Hello! How are you?” in Russian                      

Здравствуйте! Как Ваши дела? = Hello! How are you?

Pronunciation: "ZDRAHV-stvooy-tyeh kahk VAH-shee deh-LAH" ; /'zdra:vstvu:ɪtje ka:k 'va:ʃi: de'la:/

It's tempting as an English speaker to rely only on the phrases that lend themselves most naturally to an English translation, but I've found it most helpful to practice using the ones that have little to no translation. There's also the added challenge of speaking with someone older than you or in a position of respect and using the Вы form. "Как дела?" is the phrase everybody knows, but we can make it more formal by saying "Как у Вас дела?" or "Как Ваши дела?"

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our community to know about the latest news and updates from our team.

Join Our Community

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.