If you’re interested in taking Serbian online lessons, you must have already heard about the basics, such as the way to say hello. However, a step further from greeting people is to learn how to thank them. As people, we give things throughout the day numerous times on numerous occasions and for various reasons. Therefore, if you wish to learn how to say thank you in Serbian, seek no more. The article you’re about to read will show you the variations in expressing gratitude for people’s help, services, or compliments they give you.
The list of ways to say THANK YOU in Serbian
As you might already know, the solution everyone chooses by default when expressing gratitude in Serbian is ‘Hvala.’ The word ‘hvala’ is the equivalent of English ‘thank you’ or ‘thanks.’
However, repeating just one word can get dull. Also, it can lack precision, as different circumstances, occasions, and relations require us to seek more subtle solutions. Thus, to sound more fluent, you must step up your game. Or, to be more precise, search for different ways of saying thanks as you learn Serbian.
If you spend some time in Serbia, you’ll quickly learn that the natives give thanks and acknowledge other people’s favors in various expressions. So, to help you sound confident and to the point in each situation, we’ll show you multiple ways to say thank you in Serbian, along with examples.
The importance of expressing gratitude
From the very moment a child is born, its parents spend a lot of time teaching them the importance of having good manners and etiquette. Expressing your gratitude in a simple and sophisticated way will set the tone of your conversation and help you get people’s respect.
For instance, if you’re staying in Serbia and have a Serbian friend, learn a couple of new expressions. This will show your respect and acknowledgment of their culture and language. And what better way to do so than by expressing your sincere gratitude?
Similarly, if you’re wandering around Serbia and meeting the locals regularly, you will probably need some help with directions, recommendations, etc. Again, this is where your honest attempt to learn new words and expressions will go a long way, even if your pronunciation isn’t perfect. Believe us. The locals will be delighted by your attempts and see it as a beautiful act of goodwill.
So, let’s go ahead and start learning and practicing the Serbian expressions of saying thank you.
Formal vs. informal ways of saying thanks
Firstly, it’s essential to differentiate between formal and informal language. This largely depends on your situation and the age and status of the person you are conversing with.
Similar to Italian and French, Serbian also has two different ways of addressing another person based on their relationship. For example, the pronoun ‘ti’ (you) is used for informal conversations with peers, partners, friends, and family members.
On the other hand, the pronoun ‘vi’ (the formal ‘you,’ basically you in the plural form) denotes formality and a certain degree of respect. Children usually use ‘vi’ when talking to adults and anyone older who’s not a family member. ‘Vi’ is also a solution adults choose when talking to strangers in formal situations or at work.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the expressions you use will reveal your relationship with the person you’re talking to. So, we recommend staying neutral when unsure of which option to go for. A simple ‘hvala’ or a more formal option is always better. After all, it’s better to sound overly polite than possibly disrespectful.
With that said, most natives will shrug off your wrong choice of wording due to you being a learner. That’s why you shouldn’t feel pressured when talking to the natives. They very highly regard people who try to learn their language.
Finally, let’s learn the most common and helpful examples of saying thanks in Serbian. Knowing these will help you sweep your teacher and natives off their feet!
The examples of saying thank you in Serbian
Depending on the degree of thankfulness you feel and the impressions you want to make, there are different ways of expressing gratitude in Serbian.
HVALA – Thank you or thanks
‘Hvala’ should be your go-to phrase. We use this option to say thanks both in formal and informal situations. Using it with a smile and a nod, you will seem more sincere in expressing gratitude.
However, bear in mind that this phrase is the most general one. So, if your situation requires something more specific, consider other options.
An example of using ‘Hvala.’
In the supermarket:
Kasirka (the cashier): Vaš račun je 2500 dinara. (That would be 2500 dinars.)
Ti (you): Izvolite. (Here you go.)
Kasirka: Izvolite vaš kusur. (Here’s your change.)
Ti: Hvala. Doviđenja. (Thank you. Goodbye.)
Hvala ti (informal)
We use the hvala + ‘ti’ pronoun when you are thankful to a particular person. This way, your gratitude expression sounds more meaningful.
Tvoj prijatelj (Your friend): Izvoli knjigu koju si mi tražio. (Here’s the book you asked for.)
Ti: Setio si se! Hvala ti. (You remembered! Thank you!)
Hvala vam (formal)
To show respect to the person you’re saying thank you to, you should go for ‘Hvala vam.’
Menadžer (The manager): Bravo Džone, odlično urađen projekat. (Well done John. The project you did is amazing.)
Ti: Hvala vam. (Thank you.)
Even though ‘thanks a lot in English can sometimes be used when a person’s being ironic, in Serbian, that’s rarely the case. So instead, we usually use ‘Hvala puno’ when demonstrating a higher degree of gratitude.
Let’s say you just got a text from your university friends saying:
Čestitam na položenom ispitu. (Congrats on passing the exam!)
In this case, it would be appropriate to answer: Hvala puno! (Thanks a lot!)
Hvala za sve
When we want to give our thanks for multiple things, we say ‘Hvala za sve,’ which means ‘Thanks for everything.
So, let’s say you stayed with a friend and their family in Serbia, and once the time comes for you to go back home, it would be appropriate to use this expression.
Doviđenja! Hvala za sve! (Goodbye! Thanks for everything!)
In this specific case, it’s obvious you mean thank you for being wonderful hosts, the food, and your help and time.
Hvala lepo, Mnogo hvala, Hvala najlepše
Hvala lepo cannot be translated into English, but we use it when wanting to thank someone nicely. For example, this would be a good answer if you receive a compliment.
Mnogo hvala is a more formal version of ‘Hvala puno,’ meaning you won’t use this expression with your friends and family.
Hvala najlepše is a superlative form of ‘hvala lepo’. Therefore, using this expression would mean you feel thankful and obliged to someone. For example, if you got lost and somebody put a lot of effort into showing you your way around, this would be the appropriate expression of gratitude.
Hvala od srca
If you’re feeling honestly indebted to somebody, you can use the expression ‘Hvala od srca,’ which means ‘thank you from the bottom of my heart’.
However, be cautious when using this one and do not use it too often. Otherwise, it will lose its meaning.
Beskrajno hvala, Beskrajno sam vam zahvalna/zahvalan
Beskrajno hvala is an excellent phrase to know when you are grateful beyond limits. However, if you wish to make it more personal, females should go for the beskrajno sam zahvalna option, while males should choose beskrajno sam vam zahvalan.
People usually use this expression when giving their sincere gratitude to doctors for saving someone’s life or for people being there by their side during difficult times.
Hvala unapred is typically an option we use in emails, as we tend to thank the other party in advance. Like in English, you can use this phrase at the end of the email in Serbian.
The takeaway from how to say thank you in Serbian
We hope you found the ways to say thank you in Serbian helpful and that you’ll soon be able to put them into use. If there is an expression you like but aren’t sure how to properly use, feel free to ask us in the comments. Happy learning!
For other useful phrases in Serbian check out our YouTube video “30 Survival Phrases in Serbian Language”: