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What is the difference between the expressions "один и тот же" and "тот же самый"?

For example,

Это один и тот же дом.

Это тот же самый дом.

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There is at least the following difference:

  • один и тот же ~ the object that is one and the same. Right now, with all you have: some objects you are talking about are in fact one object.
  • тот же самый ~ the same object (as something else)

So "Это один и тот же дом" only makes sense when you are, for example, pointing at two pictures of houses and claim "This is the same house!". There is no comparison because there is nothing to compare to: what you have now — is all that matters. Note that in such situation you cannot say "This is the same house as...!" because there is no "..." in your situation, only two photos that match.

Otherwise (if you are referring to your previous dialogue or some visit to the house) you use "Это тот же самый дом" ~ "It is the same house" (as before).

If you want to use "один и тот же", then you are forced to include the full explanation "Этот дом и тот, в котором я был вчера, по-моему — один и тот же дом" (This house and the one I was inside yesterday are, I think, one and the same house).

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    I think it's perfectly valid to say "Это тот же самый дом что мы видели вчера". – Artemix Jul 20 '14 at 5:38
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    Which is exactly what I have written: "тот же самый" actually suppose "тот же самый (что и...)" – Shady_arc Jul 20 '14 at 8:03
  • What about "одно и то же" and "то же самое"? – Barbara Jul 20 '14 at 12:58
  • "Это одно и то же" → "These two(three, four...) are the same", while using "Это то же самое" hints at "It is the same thing (as something mentioned)". – Shady_arc Jul 20 '14 at 13:51
  • This is a very good example (with 2 photos of the same house) that distinctly shows the difference. I would even narrow it: suppose you first show 2 photos of the same house at the same time then you say: 'это один и тот же дом'. You can refer either to #1 or #2 because both photos are in focus. But then in a different scenario you first show photo #1 and then photo #2 (hiding or putting away #1 from focus) and then you say: 'и вот это - тот же самый дом' - by this you mean 'same house as #1'. – Vitaly Sazanovich Jul 29 '14 at 13:20

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