Russian for Excuse Me

August 17th, 2009 by Mark Leave a reply »

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Power Phrases Lesson #25
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The word ‘izvineetyeh’ (which can be spelled numerous ways in English) is used in the same situations as ‘Excuse me‘ is in English. So, when you sneeze, you’d say ‘izvineetye.’ Stopping someone of the street for directions? ‘Izvihneetye, pozhaluista.’ But it’s more broad than the English version, covering situations where we’re apt to say “I’m sorry.” (or nowadays, people more and more are using the colloquial “My bad.”). Accidentallly step on someone’s toes? Ask forgiveness with ‘oi, izvineetye’. Walk into a room where your presence wasn’t expected, ‘Oi, izvineetye pozhaluista.’

Russian, of course, has two ways of addressing people, either formally or informally. This version of excuse me is formal because of that last little ‘tyeh’ at the end of the word. But if you’re with a good friend, you wouldn’t want to be so formal. It’d be like saying “Excuse me, Sir,” if you stepped on your buddy’s foot. So, to make the informal version, just say: ‘izvinee.’

Izvineetyeh, gotta run!

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