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There seems to be many variants of the same in Russian: "один и тот же", "этот же", "такой же", etc.

What rules govern the use of these?

For example, in the following sentences, how do I know which variant to use?

1) Why do you wear the same clothes everyday?

2) "Where should we meet?" "Same place as last time."

3) I go to the same university as him.

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    Roughly saying, "такой же" = "same as"; "тот же" = "the same as", "один и тот же" = "the same". – Matt Apr 7 '16 at 13:36
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Один и тот же – this is used to describe something that doesn't change from one occasion to another, usually with negative connotation:

Каждый день повторялось одно и то же – он обещал прийти вовремя, но снова опаздывал. // The same thing repeated every day – he kept promising to come on time but was always late.

Каждый год одно и то же – в марте холодно и повсюду грязь. // Every year it's the same – cold in March and dirt everywhere.

Этот же – this is used to refer to an object or person, mentioned somewhere before:

Вчера он заходил в магазин. Этот же человек был замечен на вокзале. // Yesterday he went to the shop. The same man was spotted at the railway station.

Я купил машину в прошлое воскресенье. В этот же день я попал в аварию. // I bought the car last Sunday. On the same day I got into accident.

Такой же – this is used to express that object/person has the same qualities as another object/person:

Ты такой же дурак, как и твой отец. // You are an idiot just like your father.

Гастроскопия - такая же неприятная процедура, как и колоноскопия. // Gastroscopy is a procedure as unpleasant as colonoscopy.

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"такой же" = having the same qualities, similar

"один и тот же", "этот же" = exactly that one

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I would rather say, that in English many different meanings are expressed with "the same".

1) Why do you wear the same clothes everyday?

Here you describe one set of clothing. Answer to question "какую [одежду]?" is "одинаковую", "одну и ту же".

Почему ты носишь каждый день одно и то же? (одну и ту же одежду, одинаковую одежду).

http://i.stack.imgur.com/3IB9C.jpg

Квадраты А и В одного и того же (одинакового) цвета? Я думала, они разные.

2) "Where should we meet?" "Same place as last time."

Answer to question "где?" is "там" or "в [описание] месте".

Где встретимся? Там же, где в прошлый раз? (В том же месте, что и [в] прошлый раз?).

3) I go to the same university as him.

Answer to question "какой [университет]?" is "тот же".

Мы с ним ходим в один [и тот же] университет.

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  • I'd add an example for "такой же": "he was wearing the same T-shirt as I" – "он был в такой же футболке как и я". And another thing to add: "этот же" can be used instead "тот же", but with an emphasis, like "the very same" – Alissa Apr 7 '16 at 11:20
  • "На фотографии он в этой же футболке" = he took the T-shirt off me and wear it for the foto. "На фотографии он в той же футболке" = we have two identic T-shirts. – Nadia Solovyeva Apr 7 '16 at 11:27
  • +1 Такой же should be added with both meanings similar and the same to make it a perfect answer. – V.V. Apr 7 '16 at 14:06
  • "They're wearing the same shirt" has two possible meanings in English: they are wearing the same single/literal/physical shirt vs. they are (each) wearing the same brand/style shirt. In Russian there is no ambiguity: "они носят ту же футболку" vs "они носят такую же футболку". This is why some are describing the latter as meaning "similar" though it will often translate as "same". – Magnus Dec 21 '19 at 13:33

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