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  1. банка под варенье vs. банка под вареньем
  2. бутылка под молоко vs. бутылка из-под молока

The preposition под has several meanings, some of which take the accusative and some of which take the instrumental.

In the Большой толковый словарь, we have:

  • I. 7. Указывает на назначение предмета. Банка под варенье. Бутылка под молоко. Склад под овощи. Отвести сарай под сено.
  • II. 6. Указывает на характер использования предмета. Банка под вареньем. Поле под клевером. Склад под картофелем.

These seem very similar. What is the difference between using the accusative and the instrumental?

Also, из-под has a similar meaning:

  • 4. Указывает на прежнее назначение предмета, служившего вместилищем чего-л. Бутылка из-под молока. Коробка из-под конфет. Банка из-под сметаны. Ящик из-под пива.

Again, this seems fairly similar. What is the difference between using под here and из-под?

3 Answers 3

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  1. The first usage shows what the object is meant for. It implies that the jar hasn't been filled with jam yet, but we plan to do so. It actually means prepared for something.

Банка под варенье. Бутылка под молоко. Склад под овощи.

2.The second point shows that the object is being used. The field is full of clover. The shed is full of hay.

Поле под клевером. Сарай под сеном.

Из-под shows the former usage of the object. It means that the jar is empty, but there was some jam in it some time ago.

Бутылка из-под молока. Коробка из-под конфет.

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Под + acc. refers to the intended content or purpose of something which is generally capable of storing something else or serving more than that purpose.

  • Сейчас, накопив после дефолта деньги, часть людей вкладывает их в нежилые помещения ― под сдачу в аренду.

  • Он уже приканчивал свои орехи, когда в ряду, отведенном под продажу орехов, фасоли, кукурузной муки, появился комсомольский патруль.

  • На участке, отведенном под картофель, в сторонке, поближе к сараю и бане, сажали тыкву.

Под + inst. is used exclusively for crops actually cultivated (as being intended for cultivation as in the examples above) on a piece of land:

  • За десять лет эти облоги разработаны, и в нынешнем году в поле было уже 40 десятин в культуре, из коих 27 десятин были под рожью и 13 под травами.

  • Возможно, сельскохозяйственные земли не займут все участки водосбора, а часть их будет под лесом.

It's synonymous with English "under", as in "under beet, under wheat" etc.

Склад под картофелем and especially банка под вареньем sound most unnatural.

Из-под + gen., of a container, means that that container was designed to (and used to) store something, but is now empty or stores something else:

  • Горшки из-под молока оставляли под цветущим шиповником.

  • Компоненты «адских машин» подсудимые доставляли в столицу из родной республики в мешках из-под сахара.

It's the same as English "milk carton, soda can" etc., where you can tell what the container is for just by looking at it.

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  • I'm not a farmer, but it sounds a bit odd to me to say in English that a field is "under wheat". Normally it would be expressed in other ways, like "a wheat field", "a field of wheat", or even "a field with wheat". Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 20:48
  • Do other native speakers agree that expressions like банка под вареньем sound unnatural? Is this use of под only for crops? Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 20:49
  • @ghostarbeiter Yes, it is certainly unnatural, and could lead to a confusion: "банка под вареньем" may also be understood as "the jar which is under another jar/can/whatever filled with jam".
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 20:57
  • @ghostarbeiter Is this use of под only for crops? Well, not exactly. Say "поле под паром" = "fallow field" :-)
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 28, 2016 at 21:02
  • @ghostarbeiter , I agree, that "банка под вареньем" sounds unnaturally. If you like to say, that jar contains the jam, then "банка с вареньем" sounds more natural.
    – Ken Bekov
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 3:52
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Only 4 is correct for из под.

Под and из под don't have the same meanings.

Use для to express what something is for: Банка для варенья. Склад для овощей. Бутылка для молока. Поле для посева кукурузы.

What is this jar/ bottle/ storage/ field for? Для варенья/молока/овощей/кукурузы. Where is the jar for the jam? Где банка для варенья?

Под can be used to say that something or someone is physically (located) or metaphorically (being oppressed by an ideology or occupation) under something else.

Where is the book/child/kitten? The book/child/kitten is under the table. Книга/ ребёнок/котёнок под столом.

Where is the book? The book is under the jam jar (the jar is being used as a weight in this context) . Книга под банкой с вареньем.

During WWII, many countries were oppressed by the Nazi regime. Во время мировой войны многие страны были под гнетом нацистского режима.

In agriculture под парами is used to say that a plowed field goes unsown for one or more summers. Это поле находится под парами.

Под впечатлением is used to say that someone is under an impression or was impressed.

Я под большим впечатлением от выставки. I was extremely impressed by this exhibition.

Я под впечатлением. I’m impressed.

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