No in Russian: 10 Ways to Express Denial in Different Situations

Imagine, a friend has invited you to his house for dinner. Everything is just delicious and your friendly host offers you a second plate of their tasty borsch. And no doubt you would have loved to accept, but you’re full and your stomach doesn’t give more of it. How can you politely refuse? It is important to know how to say “yes”, but it is even more important to know when, and in this case how to say “no”.

Today we will learn to express denial and to say “no” in Russian.

1.  Нет!

Let’s start the list with the most common way to express your denial or disagreement. You can use it both independently and in combination with other words. This word is convenient because it is appropriate in any situation and with any person.

Pronounce it like [н’эт / net].

The English equivalent is “No!

Usage example: Did you see my message yesterday? — No (Нет), I didn’t.

2.  Нет, спасибо!

This phrase comes in handy when you refuse something and want to do it politely. One “нет” will not be enough here — it will sound rude.

Pronounce it like [н’иэт спас̀иба / net spas̀iba].

The English equivalent is “No, thank you!

Usage example: Would you like another ice cream? — No, thanks (Нет, спасибо)!

3.  Конечно нет!

The first part of the phrase acts as an intensive. The whole phrase is used to show that you strongly disagree with the interlocutor.

Pronounce it like [кан’иэшнан’̀иэт / kaneshnaǹet].

The English equivalent is “Of course not! Certainly not!

Usage example: Have you seen ghosts? — Of course not (Конечно нет)! Nothing like that exists.

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4.  Не / Не-а!

This is the colloquial version of the word “нет”. Use it in the conversation between friends, close relatives. If you are sure that the situation is rather informal, then feel free to use “не” and your speech will be livelier.

Pronounce it like [н’э (н’̀эа) / ne (ǹea)].

The English equivalent is “Nope!

Usage example: Let’s go to the cinema! — Nope (Не), I wanna walk.

5.  Да нет!

This colloquial expression is pronounced in one word, without a pause, with an emphasis on the last word. Although there is an affirmative “да” here it does not carry an independent meaning, it is an intensive. In addition, this phrase can convey impatience, irritation, and even indignation of the speaker, and in this case have the meaning of “nonsense”. Then, it is pronounced, especially emotionally.

Pronounce it like [дан̀иэт / daǹet].

The English equivalent is “Well, no! Not at all! Not really!

Usage example: Did you notice anything strange that day?Not really (Да нет!)

6.  Не надо!

Use this phrase as a denial in different situations: when you refuse an offer or when you ask the other person to stop.

Pronounce it like [н’э н̀ада / ne ǹada].

The English equivalent is “There is no need. Stop it!

Usage example: Let’s open the window. — There is no need (Не надо), it’s cold enough.

Do you want another anecdote? — Stop it (Не надо), I can’t laugh anymore.

7.  Ни за что!

Use this phrase in response to a proposal if you are sure that you will never, under any circumstances, agree.

Pronounce it like [н’изашт̀о / nizasht̀o].

The English equivalent is “No way! By no means! Never!

Usage example: Will you marry me? — Never (Ни за что)!

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8.  Ни в коем случае!

Use this phrase to prohibit doing something. This phrase is more often used in formal communication, although you can use it in an informal setting, emphasizing the prohibition.

Pronounce it like [н’и ф к̀oй’эм cлyч’aй’э / ni f k̀oyem sl̀uchaye].

The English equivalent is “Not in any case! In no case!

Usage example: Can we make a fire here? — In no case (Ни в коем случае)!

9.  Ничего подобного!

Use this phrase to express a sharp disagreement, complete denial of the other person’s statement.

Pronounce it like [н’ич’ив̀о пад̀обнава/ nichiv̀o padobnava].

The English equivalent is “Nothing of the kind! Nothing of that nature!

Usage example: Look, it’s getting late! We will miss the bus. — Nothing of the kind (Ничего подобного)! They run all night.

10.  Отрицательно!

This is a formal version of the word “нет”. You can use it in an informal setting to emphasize your negative attitude towards what is happening.

Pronounce it like [атр’иц̀ат’ил’на / atrits̀atel’na].

The English equivalent is “Negative!

Usage example: What is your answer? — Negative (Отрицательно)!

How do you feel about this? — Negative (Отрицательно)!

Now you can learn the phrases that will help you say no in different situations and start using them. Then your speech will become freer every day.

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