How (and Why) to Say No in Russian | Detailed Explanation | Useful Intermediate Russian Vocabulary

pronunciation vocabulary Jan 18, 2022

Nyet, нет, no. You can write it in Russian with the Cyrillic alphabet: нет. You can write it in Russian with the Latin alphabet: nyet. Or you can just write it in English: no. But when you say it, say it decisively.

How do you say “No!” in Russian?

No! = Нет!

The word "нет" is pronounced like "nyet" in English or /njet/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). The Russian letter "е" sounds like "yeh" in English or /je/ in IPA.

It can be difficult to remember that the letter "н" in Russian is pronounced like the letter "n" in English. And it can be difficult to recognize when a word is written in English or in Russian. For example, нет <-- This word was written using a Russian keyboard, but this word was written using an English keyboard --> HeT. Is it a new English word "het" or is it the Russian word "нет"?

How do you say “Yes!” in Russian?

Yes! = Да!

The word "да" is pronounced like "da" in English and /da/ in IPA. The letter "д" sounds like "d" in English.

It can be difficult to remember which letter makes the "d" sound because we don't have the letter "д" in English. The mnemonic device I use is associating the letter "д" with the word "дом", which means "house" or "home" in Russian and is pronounced like the word "dome" in English. This helps me remember that when I see the letter "д" it makes the same sound as "dome", which always rhymes with "home".

35 ways to say No in Russian

There are a lot of ways to say No in Russian. For example:

Не = No (with wavering intonation)

Pronunciation: "NYEH" ; /nje/

This is a short version of the full word нет. It's usually accompanied by a drawn-out intonation that adds emotion the longer it is held, similar to strong adjectives (wonderful, terrible, etc.) in English.

A: Пошли кушать. (Let's go eat.)

B: Не, я только что покушал. (No, I've just eaten.)

Неа = Nah

Pronunciation: "NYEH-a" ; /'njeʔa:/

Similar to "Nope!", неа is a fun, cool way to say "No". It's more common to hear (and read) this from young people. Imagine a mischievous child defying its parents and you can copy the intonation used with this word.

A: Одевай шапку быстрее! (Put your hat on fast!)

B: Hеа. (Nah.)

Отказываюсь = I refuse / I say no

Pronunciation: "ut-KAH-zi-vie-yoos" ; /ot'ka:zivaiju:s/

Using the verbs "отказаться" and "отказываться" sounds like a formal rejection or refusal (отказ). Another way to translate "Отказываюсь" would be "I'm saying no".

A: Где Вы были? (Where were you?)

B: Я отказываюсь отвечать на этот вопрос. (I refuse to answer this question.) 

Ни в коем случае = There's no way!

Pronunciation: "nee v KO-yem SLOO-chai" ; /ni: v 'kojem 'slutʃai/

Sometimes people utter this phrase to show total and complete disapproval or rejection of a proposal, similar to "No way!" or "Absolutely not!" in English.

A: Ты не хочешь уволиться? (You don't want to quit?)

B: Ни в коем случае! (No way!)

Ни за что = Not for anything

Pronunciation: "nee za SHTO" ; /ni: za: ʃto/

This phrase is used to say that nothing in the world could make the speaker do something. Basically, it's the equivalent of "You couldn't pay me enough to do that" in Russian.

A: На, покури чуток. (Here smoke a little.)

B: Ни за что! (Not for anything!)

Да нет = Well, no

Pronunciation: "dah NYET" ; /da: njet/

  • It's important to note that many native Russian speakers are not consciously aware of the fact that the word "Да" has two different meanings. The first meaning is "yes" and the second meaning is something like "well" or "and". In conversational Russian the second meaning of "да" is frequently used as an introductory filler word that helps the speaker transition from one point in the conversation to the next.

A: Где Максим? (Where's Maxim?)

B: Да я не знаю. (Well, I don't know.)

  • When comparing the Russian language and the English language with the Russian speakers you meet, you'll inevitably hear someone mention the phrase "Да нет, наверное." Again, many native speakers of Russian do not know that "Да" has two different meanings (although they use them correctly) and some will tell you that the phrase "Да нет, наверное." means "Yes no, maybe." That's not the correct meaning of "Да нет, наверное."
  • And, true, that's a fun little part of the language. But that's not what it really means because this phrase is just another example of the second meaning of the word "да". So, the real meaning of "Да нет, наверное." is "Well, probably not." Knowing the correct meaning of the phrase "Да нет, наверное." we should only use it as a variation of No. It never means yes.

A: Вам нужен пакет? (Do you need a plastic grocery bag?)

B: Да нет. (Well, no.)

Ещё нет = Not yet

Pronunciation: "yee-SHYO nyet" ; /ji:'ʃo njet/

There tends to be some confusion when translating the word "ещё". Should it be translated as "yet" or as "still"? What's the difference? This mostly has to do with English grammar, not Russian grammar. In English, "yet" is used with question and negative verb constructions. It shouldn't be used with positive verbs (although natives commonly break this rule).

A: Ты уже купил книгу? (Have you bought the book yet?)

B: Ещё нет. (Not yet.)

"Yet" refers to an action that is presumed to happen, but does not actually happen until now or later, while "still' refers to an action that began in the past and continues in the present.

Не в этой жизни = Not in this lifetime

Pronunciation: "neh v E-tey ZHEE-znee" ; /nje v 'etei 'ʒi:zni:/

You don't have to be Buddhist or believe in an afterlife to use this phrase. It's a fun way to answer with a strong No and communicates that you are not open to considering something whatsoever.

A: Будешь прыгать с парашютом? (Are you going parachuting?)

B: Не в этой жизни. (Not in this lifetime.)

Я не уверен = I'm not sure

Pronunciation: "yah neh oo-VAIR-en" ; /ja nje u:'veren/

You can translate the word "уверен" as "sure" or as "confident". It basically means that you have a strong belief something is true or correct. "Самоуверенность" means "self-confidence". You can say that you are sure about something with "Я уверен" and say that you are not sure about something with "Я не уверен".

A: Ты хочешь поехать в другой город в эти выходные? (Do you want to go to another city this weekend?)

B: Я не уверен, что смогу. (I'm not sure that I will be able to.)

Не надо = No need

Pronunciation: "nyeh NAH-duh" ; /nje 'na:də/

  • The word "надо" is strange to most English speakers because of the part of speech that it is and how it can be used without further context in many cases. It always communicates some type of necessity, need, or requirement. For example:

A: Я не хочу кушать! (I don't want to eat!)

B: Надо! (You have to.)

  • In many situations we need to show who this necessity or requirement applies to by using the dative case. If I have to do something, then "мне надо", but if you have to do something, then "тебе надо". For example:

A: Ты уже уходишь? (Are you leaving already?)

B: Да, мне надо пойти. (Yes, I need to go.)

  • When we say "не надо" it can sometimes take on the meaning of "No". For example:

A: Купить тебе кока-колу? (Should I buy you some Coca-Cola?)

B: Не надо. (No need.)

  • And it can even be used to tell someone not to do something or to quit doing something, and in these situations it can be translated as "don't". For example:

A: Иди сюда. (Come here.)

B: Отстань! Не надо меня трогать! (Back off! Don't touch me!)

Нет, спасибо = No, thanks

Pronunciation: "NYET spah-SEE-buh" ; /njet spa:'si:bə/

This is probably the most polite way to say No in Russian. Contrary to popular belief, polite words do exist in Russian and they are used by some people in some situations. The reason they seem to be used less frequently than in English is that English polite words are used in almost every sentence with strangers and people in positions of authority or respect, whereas in Russian they are used sparingly - definitely not in every sentence.

A: Купить тебе кока-колу? (Should I buy you some Coca-Cola?)

B: Нет, спасибо. (No, thanks.)

Никогда = Never

Pronunciation: "nee-kahg-DAH" ; /ni:ka:g'da:/

This one is obvious. It expresses the idea of "at no time now or in the future ever". When you use this answer someone can always joke back to you and say "Никогда не говори никогда!" meaning "Never say never".

A: Будешь прыгать с парашютом? (Are you going parachuting?)

B: Никогда. (Never.)

Отрицательно = Negative

Pronunciation: "ah-tree-TSAH-tehl-nuh" ; /a:tri:'tsa:telnə/

  • Remember to say "отрицательно" and not "отрицательный". In English adjectives are used with linking verbs, but in Russian you should use the adverb form of the word. For example:

A: Как ты? (How are you?)

B: Хорошо. (Fine.)

  • We answer the question "Как ты?" with "хорошо", not "хороший". In other words, we use the adverb form in Russian in these cases where we would use the adjective form in English. Instead of just "отрицательно", you could also say "ответ отрицательный", which means "the answer is negative".

A: Ты будешь на тусовке завтра? (Are you going to be at the party tomorrow?)

B: Отрицательно. (Negative.)

  • You don't hear this very often in everyday speech. It's generally used as a creative replacement for No in Russian.

К сожалению, нет = Unfortunately, no

Pronunciation: "ksuh zhah LEHN ee yoo nyet" ; /ksa:zha:'leni:ju: njet/

This is a very polite way to say No in Russian. The phrase "К сожалению", which is made up of two separate words, means "Unfortunately" and can be used in many situations.

A: У Вас есть билеты? (Do you have any tickets?)

B: К сожалению, нет. (Unfortunately, no.)

Я не понял = I don't understand

Pronunciation: "ya nyeh pone-yal" ; /ja nje 'ponjal/

Answering by saying "Я не понял" is a little deeper than just saying No to something. It tells the other person that something is unclear or that there is a communication problem.

A: Давай начинай! (Go ahead and start!)

B: Я не понял как начать. (I don't understand how to start.)

Ни при каких условиях = Under no conditions

Pronunciation: "nee pree kah-KEEHH oo-SLOVE-ee-yahh" ; /ni: pri: ka:'ki:h u'slovi:ja:h/

This isn't a phrase you should use every day. You are more likely to see it in writing, but sometimes a person might use it to answer No in Russian.

A: Будешь прыгать с парашютом? (Are you going parachuting?)

B: Ни при каких условиях. (Under no conditions.)

Ни при каких обстоятельствах = Under no circumstances

Pronunciation: "nee pree kah-KEEHH ahb-stah-YAH-tel-stvahh" ; /ni: pri: ka:'ki:h a:bsta:'jatelstva:h/

Similar to "Ни при каких условиях", this phrase is used more in writing than in speech. Due to its complicated construction it might also communicate a sense of intelligence or at least an extended vocabulary.

A: Будешь прыгать с парашютом? (Are you going parachuting?)

B: Ни при каких обстоятельствах. (Under no circumstances.)

Не сейчас = Not now

Pronunciation: "nyeh say-CHAHS" ; /nje sei'tʃa:s/

If you just want to put something off until later, then saying "не сейчас" is a great way to do that. Just remember that you are not completely saying No and you're likely to be asked the same question again later.

A: Мама, ты можешь мне помочь с домашним заданием? (Mom, can you help me with my homework?)

B: Не сейчас. (Not now.)

Не обязательно = Not necessarily

Pronunciation: "nyeh ah-bee-ZAH-tel-nuh" ; /nje a:bi:'za:telnə/

Sometimes you need a soft No in Russian - the type that doesn't say No to everything, but just refutes something. The word "обязательно" means "necessary" or "owed". You can use the phrase "не обязательно" to mean both "it isn't necessary to" and "not necessarily".

A: Президент будет на мои вопросы отвечать? (Is the President going to answer my questions?)

B: Не обязательно. (Not necessarily.)

Не похоже = It doesn't look like it

Pronunciation: "nyeh pah-HO-zheh" ; /nje pa:'hoʒe/

If you say "не похоже", then you aren't giving a strong No and you should prepare yourself for further questioning. The word "похоже" means "looks like" and can also be used in context of children who look like their parents, for example: "Она похожа на маму." (She looks like her mom.)

A: Получается ты поедешь с нами? (That means you're going with us?)

B: Не похоже. (It doesn't look like it.)

Совсем нет = No, not at all

Pronunciation: "sahv-SYEM nyeht" ; /sa:v'sjem njet/

The word "совсем" means "entirely" or "completely", so when you say "совсем нет" it's a strong No in Russian. You might also translate "совсем" as "altogether".

A: У вас есть ночные клубы в вашем городе? (Do you have nightclubs in your city?)

B: Совсем нет. (No, none.)

Далеко нет = Far from it

Pronunciation: "dah-leh-KO nyeht" ; /da:le'ko njet/

This is a fun, sometimes exaggerated, way to say to No in Russian. The word "далеко" means far or distant and communicates a firm No. 

A: Вы миллиардеры? (Are you billionaires?)

B: Далеко нет! (Far from it!)

Нет, даже близко нет = No, not even close

Pronunciation: "nyeht DAH-zheh BLEEZ-kuh nyeht" ; /njet 'da:ʒe 'bli:zkə njet/

Similar to "далеко нет", this phrase uses the word "близко", which means "close", to show distance and communicate a strong No in Russian.

A: Крис, ты стоматолог? (Kris, are you a dentist?)

B: Нет, даже близко нет. (No, not even close.)

Я не согласен = I don't agree

Pronunciation: "yah nyeh suh-GLAH-sehn" ; /ja: nje sa:'gla:sen/

"Согласен" is a masculine adjective that means "in agreement" or "agreed". When we say "Я согласен" it means "I agree". The feminine form is "я согласна" and the plural form is "мы согласны".

A: Этот фильм противный, да? (That film is gross, right?)

B: Я не согласен. (I don't agree.)

Скорее нет = Probably not

Pronunciation: "skuh-RAY-yeh nyeht" ; /sko'reje njet/

The word "Скорее" means "sooner". In this phrase its meaning is closer to "probably". When you say the phrase "Скорее нет" it's actually a shortened version of "Скорее нет, чем да", which means "Sooner no than yes".

A: Ты будешь на тусе завтра? (Are you going to be at the party tomorrow?)

B: Скорее нет. (Probably not)

Я вынужден отказаться = I have to say no

Pronunciation: "yah VEE-noozh-den aht-kah-ZAH-tsuh" ; /ja: 'vinu:ʒden a:tka:'za:tsə/

If you say "Я вынужден отказаться", then you are saying that there are some circumstances that force you to say no. The word "вынужден" is a masculine adjective that means "forced", "made to do", or "caused to do". The feminine form is "вынуждена" and the plural form is "вынуждены".

A: Мы сейчас едем на пляж. Поедешь с нами? (We are going to the beach right now. Are you going with us?)

B: Было бы здорово, но я вынужден отказаться. (That would be awesome, but I have to say no.)

Нет так нет = No it is

Pronunciation: "nyeht tahk nyeht" ; /njet ta:k njet/

  • When someone makes it clear that their answer is No, you can say "Нет так нет", which literally is like "No, then no" or "No, so no'. It's used as a transition, similar to "OK" or "alright".

A: У тебя есть эта книга? (Do you have that book?)

B: Нет. (No.)

A: Нет так нет, поищу в другом месте. (No it is. I'll look in another place.)

  • If someone asks a question and uses the word "так", then the answer might be:

A: Может, так сделать? (Maybe, do it this way?)

B: Нет, так нет, надо по-другому. (No, not that way, you have to do it differently.)

  • And, of course, Если уж что-то есть, то есть, а если нет - так нет. (If something is, then it is, but if it isn't - so it isn't.)

Не хочу = I don't want to

Pronunciation: "nyeh hah-CHOO" ; /nje ha:'tʃu:/

You can include the personal pronoun "я" and make it "я не хочу" without changing the meaning. If you're talking about somebody else, it'll be "он не хочет" (he doesn't want to), "она не хочет" (she doesn't want to), "оно не хочет" (it doesn't want to), or "они не хотят" (they don't want to).

A: Пошли в кино фильм смотреть! (Let's go to the cinema to see a film.)

B: Не хочу. (I don't want to.)

Я нет = Me, no

Pronunciation: "yah nyeht" ; /ja njet/

The phrase "Я нет" is used to clarify which answer belongs to the speaker. This is useful when someone has asked a question to a group of people and it's unclear who exactly the speaker was addressing.

A: Кто хочет со мной в парк? (Who wants to go to the park with me?)

B: Я нет (Me, no.)

Вообще нет = Absolutely not

Pronunciation: "vahb-SHAY nyeht" ; /va:b'ʃe njet/

Sometimes people write or say "ваще", instead of "вообще". In any case, it's very common in conversational Russian and plays a similar role to the English "definitely".

A: Ты устал? (Are you tired?)

B: Вообще. (Absolutely.)

When we add the word "нет" this phrase becomes a strong No.

A: Ты не любишь собак? (You don't like dogs?)

B: Вообще нет. (Absolutely not!)

Никак = No way, no how

Pronunciation: "nee KAHK" ; /ni: ka:k/

When someone asks a "how" question they use the question word "как". For example, "Как позвать официантку?" means "How do you call over the waitress?" If I tell you "Никак", it means you can't do it. There is no way to do it.

Another example is, "Как ты себя чувствуешь?" which means "How do you feel?" If you answer this question with "Никак", then people will think you don't feel well.

Короче, нет = Anyways, no

Pronunciation: "kah-RO-chay nyeht" ; /ka:'rotʃe njet/

The word "Короче" means "shorter". When we say "короче, нет" we mean that we are making the conversation shorter by giving the answer No. It's like cutting out anything extra that might also be discussed because you've already reached the answer and it's No.

A: Ты надумал поехать во Францию или нет? (Have you decided to go to France or not?)

B: Да дорого и я не знаю французский. Короче, нет. Я не поеду. (Well, it's expensive and I don't know French. Anyways, no. I'm not going.)

Не думаю = I don't think so

Pronunciation: "nyeh DOO-mah-yoo" ; /nje 'du:ma:ju:/

Very much like in English, "Не думаю" or "I don't think so" is another way to say No in Russian. You could also say "Думаю нет" or "I think not".

A: Джон приедет сегодня? (Is John coming today?)

B: Не думаю. (I don't think so.)

Я не буду = I'm not going to

Pronunciation: "yah nyeh BOO-DOO" ; /ja: nje 'bu:du:/

The word "буду" means "I will", but it's often used as an alternative to the word "yes".

A: Вино будешь пить сегодня? (Are you going to drink wine today?)

B: Буду. (I will.)

Likewise, saying "Я не буду." means "no".

A: Хотите попробовать этот салат? (Do you guys want to try this salad?)

B: Я не буду. (I will not try the salad.)

Конечно нет = Of course not

Pronunciation: "kah-NYESH-nuh nyeht" ; /ka:'njeʃnə njet/

When you think something is an obvious no-go you can say "Конечно нет!" It sounds very cocky and shows that you believe the answer to the question asked is self-evident.

A: Поедешь со мной в магазин? (Are you riding to the shop with me?)

B: Конечно нет! Я же болею! (Of course not! I'm sick!)

Reasons to say “Yes!” and “No!” in Russian

It's important to learn the words да and нет because you'll be saying them a lot when you're with Russian-speaking people. Hospitality towards guests is important in Russia and if you get the invitation to go somewhere and try something, you should take it. Most Russians love showing foreigners their hometown and discussing local history and legend.

Drink vodka with Russians

There are a lot of stereotypes out there about Russians drinking vodka and other alcoholic beverages frequently, but the majority of Russians I've personally met either didn't drink much or completely abstained from alcohol. Still, there are some people who perpetuate the stereotype and enjoy the aspect of Russian culture associated with drinking. Even many of those who don't drink will lift a glass of champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve.

As a foreigner in Russia, most people expect that you want to try Russian food, drink, and culture, so they are likely to offer you drinks even if they themselves don't drink. Vodka definitely isn't part of the average Russian's everyday routine - it's saved for celebrations and holidays. If you don't drink, then do not hesitate to say "Нет!" when offered alcohol. Whoever is offering it to you will probably offer it several more times anyways, but it's totally cool if you don't want to drink and you say "Нет! Я не буду пить", which means "No! I won't drink" or just "Я не буду", which means "I won't (drink)".

It is important to understand the differences between drinking culture in Russia and in other countries. In the United States many people have a "drink to get drunk" mentality. If that's the goal of drinking, then you don't eat because it will just slow down the process of getting drunk. However, in Russia it couldn't be more different. The whole point is to "drink to communicate". You should eat between drinks. No one wants to deal with a drunk person. Everyone expects you to be able to control yourself. Get a little buzzed, sure, but don't get drunk.

After a night of drinking in Russia you are likely to either take a taxi home or sleep at the place where you were drinking. The Russian police have a very strict zero tolerance policy on drinking and driving. In the United States you can have one drink and then drive, but in Russia you cannot. However, you are allowed to have open containers in the vehicle and passengers in your car can drink while you drive.

Russian banya

One big reason to say "Да!" is when someone invites you to their баня (banya). A banya is basically a Russian bathhouse or steam room. Technically, the word banya has the same root as the Spanish word "baño", the Turkish word "banyo", the Italian word "bagno", and other words in other languages that mean "bath" or "bathroom". And in Russian this word is about washing yourself in the bathhouse.

A banya is usually a small, wooden building with at least two rooms, but sometimes more. The first room is called the предбанник and that's the room where you change out of your outside, street clothes and into your banya clothes. What are banya clothes? Well, some people wear swimsuits when they go to the banya, some wear only a towel, and others go completely nude. I guess completely nude isn't one hundred percent accurate since they still wear a special banya hat. 

The second room in the banya is the steam room. This is where the action happens. This room includes some important items. First of all, the heater. There is a super hot, wood-burning oven/heater inside the steam room that generates steam and heat. More experienced banya-goers often throw water on the heater to generate more heat and steam or to send a heat wave through the steam room.

There are several levels of seating in the banya. The higher you sit, the hotter it gets. You'll also see a thermometer in the banya to measure how hot it is in the steam room. Some Russians get almost competitive in their banya activities and love to discuss which temperature is ideal, which trees the building should be made of, how the oven should be designed, how much wood should be thrown in the oven, etc.

One of the favorite banya activities of Russians involves something called a веник, which is a small branch of a birch tree with leaves still attached to it. One person lies down on the seating area, while the other person dips the branch in water, touches the branch to the heater to get it nice and warm, and then rubs and smacks it all over the other person's body. The person lying down then turns over and they repeat the process on the other side of their body.

It's typical for the most experienced person to do the smacking and for you to be the one lying down. In other words, they are going to beat you with a birch branch in a hot steam room. Enjoy it! But if it ever feels too hot or you feel too uncomfortable, remember that everyone will respect you more for tapping out and saying "Нет!" than if you agree to do it and have a horrible experience.

Translate English to Russian language

A typical Russian person in Russia doesn't speak English every day. They don't have a lot of opportunities to speak with foreigners from countries outside the former USSR. And that's why they take great pleasure in communicating with foreigners in English.

While speaking English with Russians it's common for them to be unsure of which words to use or how words are pronounced as you encounter situations that they may not be familiar with. This is when they ask you questions about what's correct and what's incorrect. Now, you're probably not an English teacher and might not know what's right from what's wrong in the context of English grammar, but they will want to engage you in this type of discussion.

Feel free to correct their English. In fact, they yearn for someone to correct them. It's better to do it privately because sometimes it's a blow to their ego, but most Russians don't mind you correcting their English speech. It's actually service. You see, when Russians learn languages at school and at university it's all about accuracy. Learning English is more ruled-based and grammar-focused with Russians than with many other groups of students. If you feel weird about it, just tell them that you're comfortable correcting their speech, but that doesn't mean they won't correct your Russian.

You're also likely to meet some Russians who have no English language abilities whatsoever. Why should everyone in Russia speak English? It's Russia after all. They speak Russian. That doesn't mean if they don't speak English, they don't like English speakers. It just means you're going to need a translator, whether that's a machine or a human. Most Russians are very open to the idea of meeting a foreign person, talking with them in very basic English or Russian, and making a connection based on a shared human experience that doesn't necessarily require fluency in a language.

Visit other cities in Russia

Another definite reason to say "Да!" is when you are invited to visit another Russian city with one of your friends or acquaintances. Most people only know Москва (Moscow) and Санкт-Петербург (Saint Petersburg), but there are lots of cities and regions of Russia that are so diverse that they seem like a different country altogether.

If you go to Казань (Kazan) or Уфа (Ufa), you'll get a taste of Tatar culture. Many people speak the Tatar language and some public transportation vehicles make announcements in three languages: Tatar, Russian, and English. Each city has its own character. Новосибирск (Novosibirsk) and Екатеринбург (Yekaterinburg) are the third and fourth largest cities.

“Yes” and “No” in Russian culture

The last thing we need to talk about is the difference between saying "yes" and "no" in Russian and in English. Many of my Russian friends have told me the joke that "In English 'yes' means 'maybe', but in Russian 'yes' means 'yes'." Of course, I counter with "But in Russian 'no' means 'maybe', while in English 'no' means 'no'." This is funny because of the differences in mentality.

When you say "Да!" to an offer in Russian, it's considered an agreement, a deal, a promise. You've given your word to do it. In English people say yes and then change their mind quite often, which can be annoying for Russians, especially when men do it. There is an important phrase Russians say about men: "Мужик сказал, мужик сделал." This means "The (real) man said it, the (real) man did it." Changing your mind is seen as a feminine quality in Russia, while being decisive is considered a masculine quality.

When you say "Нет!" you are likely to be offered the same thing again. That's because sometimes people, especially foreigners, try to be polite by not accepting gifts, food, drinks, etc. even when they really want them. When a Russian-speaking person really wants you to do something they might ask you several times, even after you've said "Нет!", on the chance that you'll finally be convinced and their persistence will have paid off.

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