How to Say “What Are You Talking About?” in Russian

Learning how to ask “What are you talking about?” in Russian is a great way to enhance your language skills and engage in conversations with native speakers. Whether you’re looking for a formal or informal way to express this question, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we will explore various methods of saying “What are you talking about?” in Russian, providing you with tips and examples to help you grasp the nuances of the language.

Formal Ways to Say “What Are You Talking About?”

When addressing someone formally, it is important to use polite expressions. Here are a few ways to ask “What are you talking about?” in a formal setting:

1. Что вы говорите? (Chto vy govorite?)

This is a straightforward and polite way to ask “What are you talking about?” in Russian. It can be used in formal situations, such as addressing strangers or people in positions of authority.

Example: Вы только что сказали важную новость. Что вы говорите? (You just mentioned an important piece of news. What are you talking about?)

2. О чем вы говорите? (O chem vy govorite?)

This phrase translates to “About what are you talking?” and is another formal way to ask someone what they are discussing. It shows respect and politeness.

Example: Я не понимаю, о чем вы говорите. Можете объяснить? (I don’t understand what you are talking about. Could you explain?)

Informal Ways to Say “What Are You Talking About?”

When talking to friends, family, or in casual situations, you can use more relaxed language. Here are a couple of informal ways to express this question:

1. О чем ты говоришь? (O chem ty govorish?)

This phrase is similar to the formal version but uses the informal pronoun “твоя” (ty) meaning “you” rather than the formal “вы” (vy). It can be used with friends and peers.

Example: Ты говоришь о своей поездке? О чем ты говоришь? (Are you talking about your trip? What are you talking about?)

2. Что ты говоришь? (Chto ty govorish?)

Using the informal pronoun “ты” (ty), this phrase is a simpler way to ask “What are you talking about?” in casual contexts. It can be used among friends, family, or colleagues you have a close relationship with.

Example: Что ты говоришь? Я с тобой не согласен. (What are you talking about? I disagree with you.)

Regional Variations

Russian is widely spoken across various regions, and, therefore, some phrases may have regional variations. However, when it comes to the expression “What are you talking about?”, the differences are minimal and do not alter the meaning significantly. The phrases provided above are suitable for use in most Russian-speaking regions.

Tips for Using the Expressions

Here are a few additional tips to help you make the most of your knowledge of these phrases:

  • Pay attention to the context in which you are speaking. This will help you determine whether a formal or informal version is appropriate.
  • Remember to use correct pronunciation when practicing these phrases.
  • Pair these questions with active listening skills to engage in meaningful conversations.
  • Practice using these phrases with native Russian speakers to gain confidence and improve your fluency.


Mastering the phrase “What are you talking about?” in Russian opens up opportunities for engaging discussions in various social settings. From formal to informal contexts, now you have a range of options to express this question effectively. Remember to consider the formality of the situation and regional variations, although they won’t significantly affect the meaning. Keep practicing, listening, and immersing yourself in the language to further enhance your Russian skills!

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