Assuming, that I recently received unexpected news that both, surprised me and hit me emotionally. I'm literally lost for words and don't know what to say. I am not voiceless in a medical sense, nor out of words to a lack of vocabulary-knowledge. I am just overly surprised.

How would I express that in Russian? I came up with a collection of possible alternatives, but I'm not sure whether they express surprise, a form of mutism or simply a lack of knowledge.

  1. У меня нет слов.

  2. Я потеря́л дар ре́чи.

  3. Я безмо́лвен.

  4. Мне не хвата́ет слов.

In my opinion, the first phrase fits best in order to express surprise.

The second phrase sounds more like a physical inability to speak (mutism)?

The third phrase, I'm completely unsure about. Also mutism?

The fourth sounds like a lack of vocabulary to me. Can I also use this sentence to express surprise?

3 Answers 3


I would say that both 1. and 4. are correct (2. and 3. seem to be quite literary and out of use today).

As a precision I would add that the word order may be changed (in the oral speech) to emphasize on the emotion, and you don't necessarily have to precise у меня.

Слов нет. Нет слов! / Нету слов! Слов не хватает!

Thus you emphasize on the idea of a scandal that hurts you and want to make the other person feel your anger.

It is probably slightly different from У меня нет слов which is more used in a narrative, when speaking with more distance about the thing that shocked you.

  1. It fits best in neutral style, so you are right here.

  2. It has nothing to do with medical ability. It's a literary (poetic) alternative for No.1. Notice that дар - gift - implies it's a metaphor.

  3. Another poetic word. cnf Безмолвное море - Voiceless/Silent sea...

  4. It means LACK of vocabulary, but due to any psychological reason (not just surpise, it could be shock, confusion, etc.), but could also mean that you are literally not a good speaker and have lack of vocabulary.


As a native speaker I can agree with you that first example is perfect for this situation, also you can say "Я не знаю что сказать по этому поводу" and "Без комментариев".

Second and fourth examples are relevant too but frankly third "Я безмолвлен" sounds more like old Russian and in modern society it's very unlike to hear that from people.

  • 1
    Без комментариев implies that I do not want to comment on a certain subject, opposed to being unable to reply due to surprise, shock or confusion. May 21, 2019 at 7:32
  • @user1438038 not only, it can also mean precisely what we are talking about. For example something bad or inappropriate happened and you see it and say "Без комментариев..." - like "I have no words...".
    – turik97
    May 21, 2019 at 13:03
  • 'Без комментариев' translates to English as "No comment for the press". It's an official term. May 21, 2019 at 17:00
  • @AndreyChistyakov yes - in English. But in Russian sometimes we say it in the way that you shocked by situation and can't pick appropriate words to what's happening.
    – turik97
    May 21, 2019 at 19:33
  • Russians have taken the sentence from English translated series because "свежо, ново и по-заграничному". It's folk neologism and would disappear as the term will go to the Russian political context. May 22, 2019 at 7:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.