Every language has phrases, whether its greeting phrases or phrases of kindness, we all use them in our everyday language even though we are not always aware of what we say. We sometimes do not pay attention at all to what we are speaking about.


In this article, you'll be able to see how people greet each other in Serbian. You’ll learn about how local speakers use words of kindness, and how they use some expressions when expressing gratitude and good wishes. Not only that, there are some common mistakes that native speakers make, so stay tuned and let's find out what they are!



General greetings


We start off today with the general greetings used in everyday situations when meeting someone and when saying goodbye in Serbian. There are several ways to do so:





Hello / Goodbye (general greeting)




Hello (on the phone)


Hi / Bye


Have a nice day! (as a greeting)


Have a good meal. (politeness)

Dobro jutro!

Good morning!

Dobar dan!

Good afternoon!

Dobro veče!

Good evening!

Laku noć!

Good night!


 When it comes to „zdravo“ and „ćao“, the first one is used more in formal settings or when we want to sound more polite. Whereas „ćao“ is a greeting that we use in informal situations, like with friends, family etc. Both of these expressions can be used when we meet someone and when we say goodbye, the only difference is the setting when we use them.



Must know Serbian phrases


Some phrases which every Serbian learner should know are:






Kako se zovete?

Kako se zoveš?

What is Your name? (formal)

What is your name?  (informal)

Zovem se...

My name is...

Odakle ste?

Odakle si?

Where are You form? (formal)

Where are you from? (informal)

Ja sam iz...

Dolazim iz...

I'm from...

I come from...

Drago mi je!

Nice to meet you!


Good luck!




Let's live long (literal translation meaning cheers!)







Molim Vas!

Molim te!

Please! (formal)

Please! (informal)

Hvala/Hvala ti

Hvala Vam

Hvala lijepo

Mnogo Vam/ti hvala!

Thanks/thank you!

Thank You! – formal

Thank you very much!

Thanks a lot!

A reply to thank you: Molim!

You’re welcome!


PS: Thanks a lot actually has a negative, or sarcastic connotation when used in English, while in Serbian the phrase „Mnogo ti hvala“ actually is a positive expression. But, if you were to use a negative connotation, you would say something like: „E' pa baš ti hvala!“ – meaning the negative of thanks a lot!



Holiday & Birthday greetings


After you spend some quality time in the area where people use the Serbian language, you'll become familiar with the holidays around here and the greetings that come along with them. Here are some useful phrases for the holidays:



Christmas and New Year greetings

Srećna Nova Godina! – Happy New Year!


Birthday greetings

Srećan rođendan – Happy birthday!

Sve najljepše! – All the nicest (for your birthday)!

Sve najbolje! – All the best

Srećan divan dan – Happy great / lovely day!


 Also, here are some additional phrases for you:




Volim te

I love you

Fališ mi

I miss you

Ozdravi brzo

Get well soon!

Pomozite mi

Pomozi mi

Help me! – formal or plural

Help me! - informal


Many people make the mistake of not using the phrase „fališ mi“, and often say „hvališ mi“ instead. This is because people tend to overly correct words. When in school, children are taught to say say thank you in Serbian by saying „hvala“, which is the correct form; but there is another way, which is more informal and technically not correct, being: „fala“. This is mostly used in informal speech or more commonly in rural areas.


Because of this people start to correct words and phrases too much, even when it's not necessary to do so. Consequently some start believing that every phrase that starts with the letter F has to be replaced with the letter H.


So, when you miss someone just tell them „Fališ mi“ and it will be perfectly correct.


If you were to say „Hvališ mi“, this would sound like an incomplete sentence because there is a verb „hvaliti“ in Serbian which means – to praise someone and therefore a direct object must follow this verb. That is why the above example „Hvališ mi...“ would be translated (literally) as: You are praising my...(someone).


Other examples:


  • Hvali mi mamu za dobar posao! Hvali moju mamu!
  • He is praising my mom for a job well done! (At the moment).
  • Pohvalila mi je mamu za super urađen posao!
  • She praised my mom for a job well done!


Hopefully, this article will resolve some of the confusions you might be having with certain phrases in Serbian. As well, hopefully this will make it easier for you to introduce yourself, greet other people, and give them your good wishes!


Hero image by Kyle Broad on Unsplash