In this example:

Вот только дай мне закончить школу, и я сразу же от вас уеду и буду жить, как мне хочется.

Does вот только mean the same as как только, perhaps with a more emotional bent? Can it be used in a situation where the speaker isn't necessarily upset?


1 Answer 1


They differ.

как только is a conjunction which can introduce subordinate clause of timing, translated as soon as, right after

вот только can't function like that, it can be translated as just or simply and вот is added for emphasis but can be omitted

So this sentence in English should read something like

Just let me graduate (first), OK, and I'll leave you right away....


Just wait till after I graduate, OK, ....

It can be used in contexts where it doesn't express displeasure of the speaker, in these cases it imparts the statement a tenor of promise or prediction i guess.

вот только too can be translated as soon as but in Russian it's not a full synonym of как только and it only can introduce first clause in a compound sentence.

Когда школа я не болею, а вот только начнется лето, (и) я сразу же заболею

Rehashing the sentence by swapping clauses to read

Когда школа я не болею, но я сразу же заболею, вот только начнется лето

doesn't sound idiomatic, unlike it would do with the conjunction как только

In this function вот только in one clause is often (or perhaps always) coupled with adverbs either of immediacy (сразу (же), тут же, тотчас) or surety (обязательно, непременно) in the next clause and requires verbs in future tense in perfective aspect in both

вот только ...., (и) сразу/тут же / обязательно....

Depending on the context either part of вот только can be omitted.

  • 2
    in the sentence of the OP they are not synonymous, in other contexts, showcased in the reply they can be partly synonymous (i've corrected myself), in particular you can't use idiomatically вот только with verbs past tense, and they differ in their syntactical usage Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 18:04
  • Баян, ¿is this possibly related to another curious usage of вот that I recently found: Ты думаешь, что твой сын плохо себя ведет? Ты еще погоди. Вот станет он подростком, ты его вообще не узнаешь.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 14:23
  • 1
    @CocoPop yes, this is similar, however только is incompatible with this construction, basically it doesn't convey the connotation of immediate and certain causality, but does that of prediction. Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 14:38

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