100+ Basic Ukrainian Phrases to Survive Your First Conversation with a Native Speaker

Basic Ukrainian Phrases

Today I'm delighted to feature a guest post by Lesley Vos about basic Ukrainian phrases.

If you've got Ukrainian friends or are planning a trip to the country, then the 100+ phrases you learn here are sure to come in handy!

By the time you finish this post, you'll be ready to have your first conversations and deal with common situations in Ukraine with confidence. Enjoy!

Over to Lesley…


Let’s face it…

Even if you’re planning a trip to Ukraine, you’re not probably thinking of learning Ukrainian unless you expect to stay a long time.

It’s one thing if you’re visiting for a number of months, but it’s hard to motivate yourself to put in so much effort learning Ukrainian if you’re just visiting for a few days.

But whether you’re planning a short or a long trip to Ukraine, learning a little of the language is a worthwhile thing to do!

Yes, most young people in Ukraine speak English; and they are responsive, hospitable, and ready to help.

But if you speak some basic Ukrainian, your chances of enjoying the trip and understanding the local culture are significantly higher!

Plus, the appreciative smiles you receive from the locals will more than justify your efforts to learn the basics!

In this post, you’ll learn 100+ common words and basic Ukrainian phrases so you can have your first interactions in the language.

To make it easier for you, I’ve divided the phrases up into the main sections that form the building blocks of conversation:

  1. Saying Hello In Ukrainian
  2. Basic Ukrainian Phrases For Getting To Know People
  3. Ukrainian Question Words
  4. Getting Around In Ukraine
  5. Asking For Directions
  6. Having A Bite To Eat
  7. Asking For Help
  8. Dealing With Problems
  9. Being Polite
  10. Getting Emotional In Ukrainian
  11. Essential Everday Ukrainian Words
  12. Ukrainian Idioms

By the end of this post, I bet you’ll have fallen in love with this beautiful language!

(Note: All of the examples in this post are written in the Cyrillic alphabet, which Ukrainian uses. However, we’ve also included transliterations in case you don’t read Cyrillic yet!)

Saying Hello In Ukrainianukrainian countryside

Ukrainian is a rich language with dozens of words to meet and greet people.

Of course, you don’t have to know them all when want to say hi; but being familiar with the most common ones will help you make a positive impression.

1. Привіт! (pry-vIt) — Hello!]

2. Вітаю! (vi-tA-ju) — Greetings

3. Доброго ранку! (dO-bro-ho rAn-ku) — Good morning!

3. Доброго дня! (dO-bro-ho dnja) — Good afternoon!

4. Доброго вечора! (dO-bro-ho vE-cho-ra) — Good evening!

5. Як ся маєш? (jak sjA mA-jesh) — How are you doing?

6. Як справи? (jak sprA-vy) — How are you?

7. Добре, дякую! (dO-bre, djA-ku-ju) — I’m fine, thanks!

8. А в тебе? (a v tE-be) — And you?

9. Не дуже (ne dU-zhe)— So-so.

Basic Ukrainian Phrases For Getting To Know Peopleukrainian town

Ukrainians are open-minded people, happy to make new friends.

Try these expressions to introduce yourself and get to know locals.

10. Дозвольте представитися (do-zvOlʹ-te pred-stA-vy-ty-sja) — Let me introduce myself.

11. Мене звати… (me-nE zvA-ty) — My name is…

12. Як тебе звати? (jak te-bE zvA-ty) — What is your name?

13. Радий познайомитися! (rA-dyj po-zna-jO-my-ty-sja) — Nice to meet you!

14. Я з… (ja z…) — I’m from…

15. Звідки ти? (zvI-dky tY) — Where are you from?

16. Скільки тобі років? (skILʹ-ky to-bI rO-kiv) — How old are you?

17. Мені 25 років (me-nI 25 rO-kiv) — I am 25.

18. Де ти живеш? (dE tY zhy-vEsh) — Where do you live?

19. Дуже приємно! (dU-zhe pry-jEm-no) — Nice to meet you!

20. Я іноземець (ja i-no-zE-metsʹ) — I am a foreigner.

Ukrainian Question Words

Naturally, if you’re going to keep a conversation going you can’t just talk about yourself! You’ll need to be able to ask a few questions too! Here are the Ukrainian question words you’ll need to learn?

21. Хто…? (khto) — Who?

22. Що…? (scho) — What?

23. Коли…? (ko-LY) — When?

24. Який…? (ja-kYj)/ Яка…? (fem.) (ja-kA) — Which?

25. Де…? (de) — Where?

26. Як…? (jak) — How?

27. Чому…? (cho-mU) — Why?

28. Скільки…? (skIL’-ky) — How much?

Getting Around In Ukraine

Once in Ukraine, you won’t want to miss the chance to walk and see the beauty of the cities and countryside.

These words will help you to understand what buildings you see in front of you or ask people how to get there.

29. Вулиця (vU-ly-tsja) — Street

30. Вокзал (vok-zAL) — Railway station

31. Пошта (pO-shta) — Post office

32. Кафе (ka-fE) — Cafe

33. Ресторан (re-sto-rAn) — Restaurant

34. Ринок (rY-nok) – Market

35. Супермаркет (su-per-mAr-ket) — Supermarket

36. Музей (mu-zEj) — Museum

37. Лікарня (li-kAr-nja) — Hospital

38. Метро (me-trO) — Metro

39. Автобус (av-tO-bus) — Bus

40. Трамвай (tram-vAj) — Tramway

41. Таксі (ta-ksI) — Taxi

Asking For Directions In Ukrainian

Ok, so know you know the names of the places you want to go, but what if you get lost?

These are Ukrainian phrases to help you ask for directions:

42. Де це? (dE tse) — Where is it?

43. Це далеко? (tse da-LE-ko) — Is it far from here?

44. Туди чи сюди? (tu-dY chy sju-dY) — Is it this or that way?

45. В яку сторону… (v jakU stO-ro-nu) — Which side…

46. Як пройти до… (jak proj-tY do) — How to go to…

Having A Bite To Eat In UkraineBorsh

Do you know anything about Ukrainian cuisine?

If not, you’re in for a treat!

When in Ukraine, make sure to visit the local cafes and ask for some of the following delicious foods and drinks:

(Note: If you don’t know what they are you can good the names of the foods to see what they look like!)

47. Борщ — Borsch

48. Пампушки — Pampushky

49. Сало — Salo

50. Сметана — Smetana

51. Вареники — Varenyky

52. Галушки — Halushky

53. Ковбаса — Kovbasa

54. Голубці — Holubtsi

55. Сирники — Syrnyky

56. Медовуха — Medovukha

Some other food and eating-related words and phrases might come in handy are:

57. Я голодний (ja ho-LOd-nyj) — I am hungry

58. Я хочу пити (ja khO-chu pY-ty) — I am thirsty

59. Принесіть, будь ласка… (pry-ne-sItʹ, budʹ LAs-ka)— Bring me, please…

60. Я візьму… (ja vizʹ-mU) — I’ll take…

61. Меню (me-njU) — Menu

62. Сніданок (sni-dA-nok) — Breakfast

63. Обід (o-bId) — Lunch

64. Вечеря (ve-chE-rja) — Dinner

65. Десерт (de-sErt)— Dessert

66. Вино (vy-nO) — Wine

67. Вода (vo-dA) — Water

68. Сік (sik)— Juice

69. Сир (syr) — Cheese

70. Фрукти (frUk-ty) — Fruits

71. Риба (rY-ba) — Fish

72. М’ясо (mjA-so) — Meat

73. Хліб (khlib) — Bread

74. Сіль (silʹ) — Salt

75. Смачного! (sma-chnO-ho) — Enjoy your meal!

Notice that Ukrainian letters Г and Х can have the same transliteration which is /h/ (although we use /kh/ for Х here).

However, these are two different sounds: Г sounds somewhere between /g/ and /h/, while Х is more literally a /h/.

Asking For Help In Ukrainian

76. Вам допомогти? (vam do-po-moh-tY) — Do you need help?

77. Допоможіть мені, будь ласка do-po-mo-zhItʹ me-nI budʹ LAs-ka) — Help me, please.

78. Котра година? (kot-rA ho-dY-na) — What time is it?

79. Дозвольте… (doz-vOLʹ-te) — Let me… (Allow me…)

80. Чи можу я…? (chy mO-zhu ja) — May I…

Dealing with Problemsrural ukraine

Of course, not every conversation will go smoothly.

What should you do when you don’t understand something?

Or if you need to ask someone for help?

It’s important to know some basic phrases you can use for dealing with problems when they arise.

If you need someone to speak more slowly or to repeat something, the best thing to do is just ask them!

Don’t worry about your accent: no one will laugh at you if you speak slowly or make mistakes!

81. Я вас не розумію (ja vas ne ro-zu-mI-ju) — I don’t understand you.

82. Ви розумієте мене? (vy ro-zu-mI-je-te me-nE) — Do you understand me?

83. Я не знаю (ja ne znA-ju) — I don’t know

84. Повторіть, будь ласка! (pov-to-rItʹ budʹ LAs-ka) — Could you repeat, please?

85. Я заблукав (ja za-blu-kAv) — I’m lost

86. Я не розмовляю українською (ja ne ro-zmov-ljA-ju uk-ra-jInsʹ-ko-ju) — I don’t speak Ukrainian

87. Що це? (scho tse) — What’s that?

88. Що це означає? (scho tse o-zna-chA-je) — What does it mean?

89. Говоріть повільніше, будь ласка (ho-vo-rItʹ po-vilʹ-nI-she budʹ LAs-ka) — Could you speak slower?

90. Ви говорите англійською? (vy ho-vO-ry-te anh-LIjsʹ-ko-ju) — Do you speak English?

91. Як туди пройти? (jak tu-dY pro-jtY) — How can I go there?

92. Що з вами? (scho z vA-my?) — Are you okay?

93. Що ви хочете? (scho vy khO-che-te) — What do you want?

94. Скільки це коштує? (skILʹ-ky tse kOsh-tu-je) — How much does it cost?

Being Polite In Ukrainian

No matter what language you speak, politeness goes a long way towards making a positive impression.

Whether you need to make an apology or just want to thank someone, you’re going to use these phrases a lot!:

95. Дякую! (djA-ku-ju) — Thank you!

96. Дуже дякую! (du-zhe djA-ku-ju) — Thank you very much!

97. Будь ласка! (budʹ LAs-ka) — You are welcome!

98. Нема за що! (ne-mA za scho) — My pleasure!

99. Перепрошую… pe-re-prO-shu-ju) — Excuse me…

100. Вибачте! (vy-bach-te) — I’m sorry! (for a mistake)

101. Мені шкода me-nI shko-dA) — I’m sorry (for something bad happened

102. Нічого (ni-chO-ho) — Nevermind

103. Не переживай (ne pe-re-zhy-vAj) — Don’t worry

104. Я розумію (ja ro-zu-mI-ju) — I understand

105. Все гаразд (vse ha-rAzd) — It’s okay

106. Молодець! (mo-lo-dEtsʹ) — Well done!

107. Вітаю! (vi-tA-ju) — Congratulations!

Getting Emotional Ukrainian

Once you’ve mastered the most basic phrases, you may want to get more expressive and talk about your emotions in Ukrainian. Here’s how to do it:

108. Я кохаю тебе! (ja ko-khA-ju te-bE) — I love you

109. Овва! (Ov-va) — Wow!

110. На жаль… (na zhAlʹ) — Unfortunately…

111. Шкода (shko-dA) — It’s a pity

112. Агов! (a-hOv) — Hey!

113. Хай йому грець… (khAj jo-mU hretsʹ) — Damn it…

114. Якого дідька? (ja-kO-ho dIdʹ-ka) — What the hell?

115. Тьху на тебе! (tʹkhU na tE-be) — Darn you!

Essential Everyday Ukrainian Words

There are some words that don’t fit nicely into any one category.

But, they are common, and you probably won’t be able to communicate much without them.

Short and easy to remember, these should be some of the first words you learn in Ukrainian:

116. Так (tak) — Yes

117. Ні (ni) — No

118. Можливо (mozh-LY-vo) — Maybe

119. Завжди (zav-zhdY) — Always

120. Ніколи (ni-kO-ly) — Sometimes

121. Звичайно! (zvy-chAj-no) — Sure!

122. Інколи (In-ko-ly) — Sometimes

123. Сьогодні (s’o-hOd-ni) — Today

124. Завтра (zAv-tra) — Tomorrow

125. Вчора (vchO-ra) — Yesterday

Saying Goodbye In Ukrainianlviv ukraine

Whether you like it or not, the time will come to say goodbye to your new Ukrainian friends!

Their language has lots of different options for how to express yourself in this situation. Here are some of the most useful ones:

126. Бувай! (bu-vAj) — Bye!

127. Па-па! (pa-pA) — See ya!

128. До завтра! (do zAv-tra) — See you tomorrow!

129. До зустрічі! (do zU-stri-chi) — See you soon!

130. До побачення! (do po-bA-chen-nja) — Goodbye!

131. Всього найкращого! (vsʹo-hO na-jkrA-scho-ho) — All the best!

132. Будьте здорові! (bUdʹ-te zdo-rO-vi) — Take care!

133. Гарного вечора! (hAr-no-ho vE-cho-ra) — Have a nice evening!

Bonus Phrases: Ukrainian Idioms

Among the most fascinating aspects of any language are its idioms.

There are expressions with particular meanings that are different from the meanings of each word on their own, and they can often sound funny and illogical.

But isn’t that what makes them interesting to learn them?

English is rich in idioms, but so is Ukrainian!

Here are a few common ones with their literal as well as real translations:

134. Як кіт наплакав (jak kit na-pLA-kav)

135. Кіт в мішку (kit v mish-kU)

136. Собаку з’їсти (so-bA-ku zjIs-ty)

137. Вбити двох зайців одним пострілом (vbY-ty dvokh zAj-tsiv od-nYm pO-stri-lom)

138. Перший хлопець на селі (per-shyj khlo-petsʹ na se-LI)

139. Глухий кут (hlu-khYj kut) – A dead end

140. Сісти в калюжу (sIs-ty v ka-ljU-zhu)

141. Як корова на льоду (jak ko-rO-va na lʹo-dU)

142. Спокійний як удав (spo-kIj-nyj jak u-dAv)

As you may have noticed, some of these idioms have words with the letter Ї in them (such as з’їсти or сивої).

This is a unique letter of the Ukrainian alphabet, which doesn’t appear in other languages that use Cyrillic.

It’s one of the things that makes Ukrainian so melodic.

Pay attention to its pronunciation: it’s /ji/, not /i/ or /y/, so you might need to practice a bit to sound like a Ukrainian.

Now You’re Ready For Your Ukrainian Adventurekiev ukraine

So there you have it! – 100+ words and basic Ukrainian phrases for you to start an unforgettable trip to Ukraine.

With these phrases, you will be able to have basic conversations in this beautiful language as well as understand the locals and get inspired to learn or improve your Ukrainian.


Lesley Vos, a web writer and blogger behind PlagiarismCheck.org. A self-proclaimed bookworm and coffee addict, she travels a lot through her heart lies in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. See more of her work and say hello on Twitter.

Photos 2, 3, 5 and 6 by @alextovstiy

Are you learning Ukrainian? What's your motivation to do so? Let us know in the comments below!

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