When would you use one over the other—in what cases? I've looked at dictionary entries but I don't see, or feel any difference, but there must be one.

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  • It depends on context. Would be nice for you to mention it. But overall the meanings of these phrases seem to me very similar and interchangeable
    – Qeeet
    Dec 12, 2021 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


If they are used as standalone interjections (где там!, куда там!, какое там!), I can't say I see any difference either.

The interjections, though, have evolved from rhetorical questions using these constructs. If you are using them as a part of those questions, they should agree with the rest of the sentence, of course, so you can't just swap those freely:

  • ― Какое там равенство шансов! ― воскликнул он. ― Мало того, что она ушла сама.

  • Но отменено, потому что где там шведам теперь нападать, когда Каролус в могиле, а со Швецией трактамен.

  • Куда там каким-нибудь масонам ― об этих понемногу всё стало известно, вплоть до деталей тайных ритуалов.

  • My Russian is pretty good, but I don't get why you need both куда and там in those sentences, etc. Can you give a literal translation?
    – VCH250
    Dec 24, 2016 at 11:39
  • "там" works as an emphasis and is used only in rhetorical questions. You can compare "Куда шведам нападать?", that can be used as a direct question "Where Swedes should attack?" (like the specific place) and "Куда там шведам нападать?" the later implies that they won't attack. Dec 27, 2016 at 15:54

As I understand, there is difference only in where - где and where to - куда.

Look at this phrases like at the questions: Какое там равенство шансов! - What is the equality of chances? где там шведам теперь нападать - literally where Sweden can attack now? and Куда там каким-нибудь масонам? - where are the [to be ?] some masons to?

But, there is, difference is very subtle. You can say: куда там шведам теперь нападать.But "где там каким-нибудь масонам"... Of course you can say so, and I'm already don't see the difference between Куда там and Где там.

Just look at these like at the questions and that's all.

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