Specifically if 2 people were negotiating a deal and it was almost agreed upon.

Then side 1 started demanding to add a detail in the deal and side 2 was refusing this addition.

Then the side 1 said in writing если да то да, а если нет то нет and that they do not understand why side 2 was refusing.

What did side 1 mean?

  1. If side 2 does not agree to the detail then side 1 will not make the deal.


  1. If side 2 will not agree then side 1 will still make the deal.


  1. Something else.
  • It must be "What did side 1 mean?" I edited the question; cancel it if wrong.
    – jwalker
    Aug 5, 2015 at 9:23

3 Answers 3


So, "если да - то да, если не нет - то нет" means basically that all negotiations are done and no more bargaining is accepted. All the sides of negotiations should stick with what they currently have agreement upon. If somebody still believes that something should be changed, then no deal.

So, it is #1 in your classification.

It's not a high style official business slang though. It sound like somebody was pretty fed up with negotiations ;)

Also, it worth to mention that the phrase "да - да, нет - нет" is actually Biblical, though is used in different context. It is from the Gospel of Matthew:

«Но да будет слово ваше: «да, да», «нет, нет»; а что сверх этого, то от лукавого»

This is what Jesus encouraged people to do - instead of making lenghty promises and obligations. Here's the English version of that excerpt:

Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, 'Yes, yes ' or 'No, no'; anything beyond these is of evil.

  • 1
    The phrase in question was said by the same person who demanded a change, so they (side 1) are NOT willing to stick to what's agreed on so far. Still, #1, so +1, and thanks for the interesting quote.
    – jwalker
    Aug 5, 2015 at 9:17
  • Jwalker is correct but I still understand what the saying ment so +1
    – hazoriz
    Aug 5, 2015 at 11:20
  • 2
    So for an idiomatic translation, would "that's it, take it or leave it" be appropriate?
    – David
    Aug 7, 2015 at 0:11

I should only add that some kind of bargaining in business is always acceptable. And although this phrase, while being highly emotional, strictly means that no further negotiations are accepted and the deal is only possible under the current conditions, in practice, it may rather mean that one side believes that the other side is seeking to change the essential conditions which is inappropriate. Anyway, the further negotiations are put under risk.


The meaning may depend on the formality level of the conversation, though the very usage of it is quite informal already. While what @shabunc says may be true, this may also be a way to give a carte blanche, so to speak. Even less formal form would be:

да - так да, нет - так нет.

And the full version of the phrase in this case is:

It would be nice if you agree, but if you don't, it's fine too (though I don't see why).

That said, since even native speakers seem to be giving different interpretations, it won't hurt to ask for clarifications.

  • Are you saying that it is 50/50 option 1 and 2?
    – hazoriz
    Aug 9, 2015 at 14:23
  • @hazoriz That only possible in some context. I.e. when it goes together with the proposal it may mean both (depends on the stress). But if the proposal was clearly refused earlier then giving a kind of cart blanche seems to have a little sense. Having said it, it's still better to reveal some more of the context.
    – Matt
    Aug 9, 2015 at 14:42
  • 2
    @hazoriz BTW. "Нет, то нет" vs "Нет, так нет" has much significance here. The first is usually (1) while the second is usually (2). ("то" is about implication and "так" is about consensus).
    – Matt
    Aug 9, 2015 at 14:46
  • @user4419802 Thank you for the last point
    – hazoriz
    Aug 9, 2015 at 14:51
  • @hazoris this is so intonation and contex-sensitive, that I would not take any risks and ask again. Usage of "то" is surely confusing here.
    – bereal
    Aug 9, 2015 at 14:56

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