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In conversation, I wanted to express the idea of "I can't place her" in Russian -- informally/colloquially used when you think you recognise someone from somewhere and yet, frustratingly enough, can't put your finger on from where exactly. E.g.:

I can't place her, but I still feel that her face is vaguely familiar. It'll come back sometime, though it may be just that she resembles someone I know.

I can't place her exactly, but I know she is an instructor of sorts or a teacher, can't be sure which she is, though.

In French and German, there are colloquial phrasings that perfectly match in register -- "J'arrive pas à la remettre", "Ich weiß bloß gerade nicht, wo ich sie hintun soll" -- but its Russian equivalent eludes me.

1
  • place verb (RECOGNIZE) ​ [ T ] to recognize someone or remember where you have seen someone and how you know them: She looks familiar but I can't place her - did she use to work here?
    – V.V.
    May 7 '19 at 20:27
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"Не помню, где я ее видел" / "Не помню, откуда я ее знаю."

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"Не помню, откуда её знаю" or "не могу припомнить, откуда её знаю" - this is the most frequent thing one can hear in this kind of situations.

This can also be used for directly addressing somebody, like in "Что-то не могу тебя припомнить".

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We don't have one expression. You can say.

Я не узнаю ее, я не знаю кто она, не могу вспомнить, кто она, я не признАю, кто она, не припомню ее, не могу точно сказать, кто она... and perhaps more.

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  • I don't agree on "узнаю" part - "я не узнаю" is about not recognizing someone completely. I do think, howere that "примомню" might be used in this context.
    – shabunc
    May 7 '19 at 13:26
  • place verb (RECOGNIZE) ​ [ T ] to recognize someone or remember where you have seen someone and how you know them: She looks familiar but I can't place her - did she use to work here?
    – V.V.
    May 7 '19 at 15:08
0

There is a colloquiall verb for this: "упомнить", "припромнить". "Her" pronoun is ommited

There is a liitle difference in usage (I do not know english terms):

Сложносочинённое предложение:
- "Не могу припомнить, но её лицо смутно знакомо"
- "Не припоминаю, но её лицо смутно знакомо"

Сложноподчинённое предложение:
- "Не могу припомнить, где я её видел"
- "Не могу упомнить, где я её видел"

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