How to say "Excuse me" in Russian

Saying excuse me in Russian, as many other Russian phrases, depends on who you are talking to: whether it is one person or several, and whether it is a formal or informal situation.

There are two different verbs that mean to excuse in Russian, they are: извини́ть and прости́ть.

Both words are usually interchangeable, although прости́ть is a bit stronger and often used in the meaning to forgive.

Here are some possible versions of excuse me in Russian:

извини́те [eez-vee-née-tye] – formal or informal plural

прости́те [pras-tée-tye] – formal or informal plural

извини́ [eez-vee-née] – informal singular

прости́ [pras-tée] – informal singular

Sometimes you might want to be a bit more verbose and add please to your sentence. Please in Russian is пожа́луйста:

Пожа́луйста, извини́те, я не наро́чно.
[pa-zhá-lus-ta, eez-vee-née-tye, ya nye na-róch-na]
Excuse me please, I did not do it on purpose (formal).

Прости́те, пожа́луйста.
[pras-tée-tye, pa-zhá-lus-ta]
Excuse me please / Forgive me please (formal).

Listen to "Excuse me" in Russian

The audio recording includes all the examples (in bold and blue) listed above.

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