What is the difference between здравствуйте and здравствуй?
There are 2 personal pronouns for “you” in Russian (or actually 3):
ты - singular
Вы - singular, honorific
вы - plural
We usually use “Вы”:
- to much older people;
- to superiors;
- to strangers.
At school pupils use “Вы” addressing to a teacher, but teachers use “ты” addressing to a pupil. At university both students and professors use “Вы”.
In Internet we tend to use “ты”. When I speak with Steve in Russian via Skype I use “ты”, but if we meet offline some day, I will use “Вы”, I suppose. It is just a reflex: if you speak to a person who are much older, you should use “Вы”.
Another interesting point is that in e-mails we tend to write “Вы” from lowercase letter.
Ok, it was preamble :))
The difference between “здравствуй” and “здравствуйте”.
“здравствуй” is singular, and used when you are addressing to person with whom you are “на ты”.
“здравствуйте” is plural and used when you are addressing to several people or to person with whom you are “на Вы”.
When you are not sure what variant you should use, say “добрый день” (доброе утро, добрый вечер). It is neutral greetings and can be used as to close friends, as to complete strangers. When I get a job in a company where I work now, I always used “доброе утро”, and if person said me back “Привет!” I used “ты” with him, and if he said “Здравствуйте”, I used “Вы”.
And the last point: if you are with some person “на Вы”, you usually address to him using the whole name (first name + patronymic name). But in my company we use the combination first name + patronymic name only when we are addressing to CEO and other directors. We don’t use patronymic name when we address to director of our department. The only person in our department whom we address by the whole name is one manager, who are also is a professor in university, and almost everybody in our department used to be his students.
“who are also is”
That is a great explanation Rasana.
In the changes that we hope to see shortly in the system, these explanations will be much more visible, right below the lesson texts. In this way we will build up our own grammar explanations for our beginner texts, where they can easily be seen by our learners.
This is also a great way to make learners aware of you as a tutor (and an excellent one I might add as one of your learners). Keep it coming!!
здравствуйте means “Hello” in a more formal way than здравствуй