Не За Что Or Ни За Что Posted by on Jan 22, 2021 in Grammar, language

In today’s topic, we will talk about the difference between “нЕ за что” and “нИ за что“.

Even some Russian speakers sometimes make mistakes in the spelling of these two phrases. However, it is important to realize that their meanings are different. Both sound like just one word.

Let’s look at some examples of using не за что and ни за что.

Ne Za Chto

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Не́ За Что

“Не́ за что” [né za shto] is pronounced with the accent on “не́”. Literally, it translates as “for nothing.”

You Are Welcome

In short, it is regarded as a less formal alternative to “you are welcome.” Usually, this phrase is used as a friendly reply after someone has thanked you for something you have done or will do. In other words, if you want to show that it was very easy for you, say “не за что” instead of the more common пожалуйста.”

The expression has a similar meaning as some Eglish ones, such as:

  • “Not at all,”
  • “Don’t mention it,”
  • “Not worth mentioning,” or
  • “No problem.

For example:

– Спасибо, что заглянул! (Thanks for stopping by!)
– Не́ за что! Я всё равно был в этом районе. (Not a problem! I was in the area anyway.)

– Благодарю тебя за помощь с оформлением бумаг. (Thank you for your help with paperwork.)
– Не́ за что. Это моя работа. (Not at all, it is my job.)

(There Is) Nothing To [Verb] For

There is another type of “не́ за что” use. If you add a verb after it, then the construction: “(there is) nothing to [verb] for” will reflect the meaning the best.

For example:

– Его не́ за что винить — он ничего плохого не сделал! (There is nothing to blame him for – he did nothing wrong!)

– Вам не́ за что извиняться. (You have nothing to apologize for.)

Ni Za Chto

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Ни За Что́

“Ни за что́[ni za sh] is pronounced with the accent on “что́“. This expression is also used in various types of sentences.

No Way

In this case “ни за что́” means “never”, “no way.” The full form of “ни за что́” would be “ни за что́ на свете” [ni za chto na svete] (stronger; literally “not for anything [in the world]”).

It is similar to English:

  • “Not at any price” or
  • “Not for love or money.”

For example:

Я ни за что́ не поеду к твоим родителям! (I won’t go to your parents for anything!)

Ни за что́ бы не упустил возможность посмотреть это шоу. (I would never miss the opportunity to watch this show.)

For Free

If someone got something for nothing in exchange, you could say “ни за что́”. But here, the combination is mostly used in a negative context.

For example:

– Ему платят миллионы ни за что́. (He gets paid millions for nothing.)

– Они получили эти билеты ни за что́, абсолютно бесплатно. (They got these tickets for nothing, absolutely free.)

Without Any Reason

If something bad happens without any reason, in vain, or for no purpose, “ни за что́” can also be used.

For example:

Мам, ты злишься на меня ни за что́! Я не брала твои туфли! (Mom, you’re mad at me for no reason! I didn’t take your shoes!)

Здравствуйте. С меня ни за что́ сняли 170 рублей. (Hello. I was charged 170 rubles for nothing.)

(Do) Not [Verb] For Anything

Basically, it is a particular case of emphasizing that none of the choices is suitable.

For example:

Этот сотрудник ни за что́ не отвечает. (This employee is not responsible for anything.)

Вам не нужно ни за что платить. (You don’t have to pay for anything.)

Read about three kinds of negation in Russian.

Of course, the language can be difficult to learn, but ни за что не сдавайтесь (never give up)!

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  1. Carlos R Barron:

    In my e mail when I get Russian phrases ,I would like you to add the approximate pronunciation to English speaking people or just approximate pronunciation to the cyrilic letters.
    The rest is OK espaciba I do not have Russian keyboard.