Russian Language Blog

Top 10 Russian phrases for expressing love & affection Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 in Culture, language, Russian life


Valentine’s Day is around the corner! If your Valentine happens to be Russian, you might want to update your vocabulary on the subject of love and affection. While there is hardly a person in the world who doesn’t know the meaning of “I love you”, conquering a Russian heart with some authentic Russian vocab might do more than you think.

1. Я тебя люблю (I love you)

Once your feelings have ripened to a certain degree, go ahead and express them. However, don’t throw these words around casually. In Russian culture, the words “I love you” are not typically uttered after every phone conversation or before running out the door for the day.

For listening/comprehension practice, I decided to include one of my personal favorites, a song by Nikolai Noskov, a former Gorky Park member. The title of the song is…You guessed it: Я тебя люблю. Shhh… Listen to the chorus!

2. Ты мне нравишься (I like you)

3. Я по тебе скучаю and мне тебя не хватает (I miss you)

If you are in a long-distance relationship, this little phrase would be useful.

4. Я все время о тебе думаю (I think about you all the time)

For example, Когда ты не со мной, я все время о тебе думаю (When you are not with me, I think about you all the time).

5. С нетерпением жду нашей встречи or не могу дождаться нашей встречи (I can’t wait to see you)

If seeing your Russian sweetheart is on the horizon, arm yourself with this little phrase.

6. Я без ума от тебя (I am crazy about you)

Go for it! Say something daring, like Сегодня я проснулся (female: проснулась) и понял (female: поняла), что я без ума от тебя (Today I woke up and realized that I am crazy about you).

7. Я просто хочу тебя обнять (I just want to hold you).

8. Я бы хотел (female: хотела) с тобой встречаться (I would like to date you)

The following is a clip from a popular Russian comedy show Даешь Молодежь. The gist of the scene is this: the girl asks her guy to put sunscreen on her back before he leaves, the guy agrees, the guy writes “Эта баба занята” (this broad is taken) on her back.

9. Я хочу тебя поцеловать (I want to kiss you)

10. Ты испытываешь ко мне какие-то чувства? (Do you have any feelings for me?) I hope this question is answered before you have to ask it 🙂

Even though love is universal, if you come from different cultures, you are bound to have a period of adjustment. For some this period is short, for others it may seem like an eternity. In an attempt to help you conquer a Russian heart, and improve your Russian vocabulary, I found a great channel that provides a decent selection of subtitled Russian movies. I would recommend you watch a classic Russian comedy “Служебный роман” (2 parts) or a classic Russian drama “Жестокий романс.” Click the channel below to get to the movie selection, then pick either movie from the channel menu on the right. To enable subtitles, click on the little CC sign at the bottom of the YouTube player, make sure that English is chosen, then click ON. Enjoy!

P.S. If you don’t dig my movie selection, this channel offers quite a few movies to choose from. Watch something!… If you are really trying to perfect your word recognition skills!

Всего хорошего! 

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About the Author: Jenya

Born in Russia, I spent the first twenty years of my life in Orenburg, Russia and Mogilev, Belarus. For the last eleven years, I've lived in New Hampshire and Michigan, US. While I continue to absorb and adapt to American culture, I am always thrilled to share my Russian heritage with those who find it interesting. Travel, photography and art play a special part in my life. Twitter: @iamnx2u


  1. Sally:

    And if one is gay, one should just stay in the closet, right?

    • Jenya:

      @Sally Sally, you can use these phrases whether you are straight or gay. As for staying in the closet, one cannot expect all manner of issues to be addressed the same way they are addressed in their own country. You don’t see Russians actively attacking the fact that firearms are legal in the US. Over time, I believe, Russia will become more tolerant on the issue of gay couples.

      • Jenya:

        @Jenya I would also like to add that profanity will be moderated. Thank you for your understanding and let’s find a better way to express our thoughts.

  2. Jennifer Gleason:

    Is the literal translation of мне тебя не хватает “To me, of you, not enough”? If so, how cute is that! : )

    • Jenya:

      @Jennifer Gleason Jennifer, thank you for your interest!
      It is a tricky question 🙂 We can talk about literal translation of isolated words, in which case, yes, the examples you provided would be accurate translations of the words themselves. However, мне тебя не хватает is a set expression and is translated as such, using the closest available equivalent in the target (English) language. So, from this perspective the translation remains the same (I miss you or I wish you were here) because translating the words literally significantly changes the meaning of the phrase, and in many cases creates gibberish. Consider this analogy in English: I can’t get enough of you. If you were to translate this phrase, word for word, into a different language, you most likely would not be able to grasp the true meaning, however, if you know that it is an expression that means “I really like being with you or being in your company”, then the expression makes sense. Expressions are meant to be memorized and should not be translated literally. I hope this helps! 🙂

  3. perlino:

    Я люблю их всех

  4. Jörg:

    Женя, в первую очередь хочу сказать спасибо за твои усилия в написании статей. Я это высоко ценю, потому что ваш блог очень хороший источник для всех, кто хочет учить русский язык.

    А еще у меня есть вопрос к этой теме, правда не к твоим предложениям, но тем не менее: Как будет правильно, если хочется сказать девушке, что она красивая? “Ты восхитительнА.” или “Ты восхитительнАЯ.”? Ты не могла бы вкратце объяснить в чем разница между этими вариантами? Я вот так понимаю, что короткая форма используется, если имеется в виду, что она именно в данный момент, когда я это говорю красиво выглядит, а длинная форма, если имеется в виду, что она сама по себе красивая, т.е. всегда и в любом наряде. Ты можешь это подтвердить? Как русская девушка, ты как восприняла бы эти два варианта?

    Заранее спасибо!

    • Jenya:

      @Jörg Здравствуйте, Jorg! Похоже, что вы уже очень многого достигли в освоении русского языка 🙂 Так держать! The question you asked is an excellent one! Some readers might not be as advanced as you are, so I am providing the answer in English. The main difference between these two words (and many more like it) is that one requires a noun that it refers to to be present while the other one does not. In other words, you would say “Ты восхитительна!” или “Ты восхитительная женщина!” Восхитительная девушка doesn’t really go together, in my opinion. You can also say восхитительный пейзаж, восхитительный голос, восхитительная погода, meaning anything that causes a feeling of admiration, excitement or delight. Many adjectives in Russian are present in both forms. When deciding on the choice between such words, the shorter version is usually self-sufficient while the other one is used to describe a noun that has to be present. For example: Он ИСТОЩЕН! but Его ИСТОЩЕННЫЙ ВИД навел меня на грустные мысли. I hope this helps!

  5. Jörg:

    Thanks a lot for your detailed answer! It does help a lot and provides me even more information than I’d asked for which is awesome. So thanks again and спасибо за комплимент! Очень приятно получить его от носителя языка – это отличный стимул! 🙂

  6. Lada:

    Обожаю эту страницу, слежу зв вашими выпусками. Может подскажите эквивалент в английском языке русским фразам “У кого что болит, тот о том и говорит” и “На детях природа отдыхает” (простите, если вопрос не в тему).

    • Jenya:

      @Lada Спасибо Лада,
      В первом случае можете попробовать “What the heart thinks, the tongue speaks” or “The tongue ever turns to the aching tooth,” что касается “На детях природа отдыхает,” я не уверена, что есть аналогичный эквивалент. Попробуйте спросить в форуме на – этот сайт вообще неплохой источник для переводов разного плана.

  7. Lada:

    Спасибо, Женя. Интересный вариант перевода первой поговорки. Звучит логично. Жду новых постов и удачи Вам во всём.

  8. Brooks:

    I have a friend who is called “jenya” his name is eugene just wondered what Jenya means
    Thank you Brooks

    • Jenya:

      @Brooks Brooks, if he in fact has the same name (which is actually Zhenya; Jenya is my way of making it easier for Americans :-)), then it means “noble” from Greek.

  9. Seg:

    Can “ум.” mean missing someone too?

  10. Inna:

    Thank you! Great blog.

  11. patrick:

    Ahah russian girls like money, but some of them are really faithful and some of them not ! Most of them are smart, grow up really fast, im an african, and can say russian girls really like dark skinned men 🙂 i wouldn’t change my russian girls for other girls, and yea they are good wifes, but crazy as shiii ahah good luck for any guy trying to get a russian 😉

  12. aya:

    thank you for this phrases 🙂
    my bf is Russian, im Indonesian, so this Russian phrases really help me a lot ^_^

  13. Kev:

    Wow. Am I missing something or is this completely useless without the English lettering in the translations? How am I supposed to learn how to pronounce “Ты мне нравишься”???

    • Alex:

      @Kev Learn the alphabet and you will be able to pronounce the phrases, it’s not difficult, or just copy into google translate for the easy option.

      It’s a nice blog, many thanks Jenya!

  14. Л.к.морадов:

    Я россию

  15. Mel:

    Would you help me vet Google translate? I’m looking to say “believe in love” as in, to remind someone to believe that it exists. Would верить в любовь be accurate?

    Thanks very much!