4

I always thought this meant That's right! -or- Exactly! In response to someone coming up with a correct answer or statement. However, recently, I had the following exchange, in which it was intimated that I misused it:


СОБЕСЕДНИК: Привет! У меня вопрос: "Proper nouns are normally invariant for number: most are singular, but a few, referring for instance to mountain ranges or groups of islands, are plural (e.g. Hebrides)" "invariant for number" значит неизменны, в единственном или множественном числе. Я правильно понимаю?

Я: Вот именно!

СОБЕСЕДНИК: Только по-русски лучше сказать «Именно!». Если употреблять это слово. А лучше, если хочется сказать что-то необычное, ну то есть не просто «да, правильно», сказать «В точку!» (это как попасть точно в цель, такое значение).


That led me to think that I've been misusing Вот именно for a long time. So my question is When do you use it? What was wrong with my use of it?

5

In short, Вот именно! isn't meant to be a response to a question, but a form of unsolicited approval of a statement.

It doesn't have to bear a grumbling tone, it can be expressed enthusiastically, in which case it has connotations of See? THAT'S what i'm talking about!

2

You misused it, but the version именно! wouldn't improve the answer: it's just a colloquial simplification of вот именно! or именно так! in the meaning of confirmation, and that simplification doesn't belong to sophisticated style of speech (it's an incomplete expression). The expression вот именно! is suitable when you hear a correct judgment and want to use it for making your own point on its basis. If you just want to approve someone's point, именно так! is better since it never expresses irony, which is possible with вот именно!. Another suggestion ("да, правильно") was correct. You could also answer that question "Безусловно!", "Конечно", "Совершенно верно". "В точку!" would better fit a situation where the other person has just made an unexpectedly good guess.

2

The вот particle adds a grumbling tone to the expression:

-- Опять на обед капуста, лучше бы мяса дали!

-- Вот именно.

-- Cabbage again. I'd like some meat much better!

-- My thought exactly.

It may also sound a bit sarcastic:

-- Уже 11, пора мне вставать.

-- Вот именно!

-- It's 11 already. Time for me to get up from bed.

-- Nice of you to remember that.

The word именно alone will not have these connotations if said in neutral (not grumbling or sarcastic) tone of voice, but anyway it sounds old fashioned to me.

Именно так - is a formal and polite way to express that you're totally agree/support what was just said.

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