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I'm not sure what подать connotates anything more, except that it is 'to pass something to someone', much like дать. It seems that 'passing something' is always done by hands, but that is the same as дать, I think.

So what is the difference and how can I use them apart correctly?

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The word подать (in the sense you're talking about) means "to pass something which is close but you can't quite reach it".

You would say подай мне, пожалуйста, соль "pass me the salt, please" if you wanted someone to pass you a salt shaker which you could otherwise get yourself, but would have to stand up and bend over the table to do that.

Or, if you were standing on the step stool and trying to fix a lamp, you would say to your wife подай мне отвёртку "hand me the screwdriver" if the screwdriver were lying on the floor next to the stool.

Подать can be usually replaced by дать, but sometimes подать is better if you need to be more precise.

For instance, this phrase:

Он стреляет, а она ему подаёт патроны

unequivocally means that he's doing the shooting, and she's standing next to him passing him ammunition.

If you replaced it with давать:

Он стреляет, а она ему даёт патроны

this could rather mean that he does not have his own ammo and she provides him with it, not necessarily during the shooting itself.

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Дать is a Russian word commonly used as English verb to give. Example:

Открой кассу и дай мне деньги. - Open the register and give me the money.

Meanwhile подать is indeed usually used as to pass or to hand. Examples:

Подай мне ключи, пожалуйста. - Hand me the keys, please.

Не мог бы ты подать мне соль? Я хочу посолить салат. - Could you pass me the salt? I want to salt the salad.

Russians usually use the verb подать in a situation when they want to get some object which is located nearby, but are unable to grab it without moving because the desired object is located too far away from them, so they ask another person, who is located near the object, to pass (подать) that object to them.

Also keep in mind that the verb дать is also used as to let. Example:

Ты уже достаточно играл, дай теперь поиграть другим. - You've played enough already, let others play as well.

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