Questions tagged [выбор-слова]

Questions about the difference in meaning or usage between two or more words.

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57
votes
14answers
40k views

What does the phrase "Да нет" mean?

Does it mean yes, or does it mean no, or something else?
51
votes
10answers
15k views

What's the difference between "лежит на столе" and "стоит на столе"?

Can anyone explain the difference between the following sentences: "Чашка лежит на столе" vs. "Чашка стоит на столе" "Мяч лежит на столе" vs. "Мяч стоит на столе" "Лэптоп лежит на столе" vs. "Лэптоп ...
40
votes
10answers
6k views

Usage of "про" instead of "о"

One of the prepositions I never learned in Russian courses is про, which I only met later when communicating with native speakers or when reading. Is it possible to give a good rule of thumb about ...
38
votes
2answers
6k views

How can "to teach" and "to learn" be translated to Russian?

I know that there are several Russian verbs can be used to translate the English verbs "to teach", "to study", and "to learn", e.g. учить, выучить, научить, учиться, изучать, ... However, I am a bit ...
37
votes
8answers
7k views

When is it more appropriate to use здравствуйте rather than привет?

As far as I understand, both of these mean more or less the same thing. Rosetta Stone, that introduced me to the Russian language seems to prefer здравствуйте, but it seems привет is more commonly ...
27
votes
9answers
18k views

Why do Russians call their women expensive ("дорогая")?

My question is in the title of this post, and I do not know what else to say. I am just puzzled. Okay, to avoid my post being put on hold for being too succinct, I will add a couple of naive thoughts ...
25
votes
11answers
7k views

Usage patterns of "надо" vs. "нужно"

What are the mechanics behind using надо over нужно or vice versa? What governs when they are interchangeable and when not? To be perfectly clear: I have no problems simply using whichever sounds ...
24
votes
5answers
2k views

What's the difference between -либо and -нибудь?

The pairs кто-нибудь and кто-либо, когда-нибудь and когда-либо etc. have slight differences in meaning, and each particle is used in specific settings, but I can't quite pinpoint what the difference ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

Difference between "мир" and "свет"

What's the difference between мир and свет to mean world? When would one use one over the other, and are there any set expressions where these are not interchangeable?
22
votes
9answers
6k views

Russian word for a male zebra

Let's suppose I am writing a fictional but realistic story about a male zebra. Here is the problem. On the one hand, the grammatical gender of the Russian word "зебра" is feminine, so it is ...
22
votes
13answers
12k views

What is the difference between "теперь" and "сейчас"

It seems to me that these two words have the same meaning. The dictionary doesn't help much, it gives them as synonyms. Although the meaning of "сейчас" is more general and can refer to past events: ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

Possessive constructions: "мой" vs. "у меня"

What is the difference between the following sentences: Мой папа в командировке. У меня папа в командировке. How can I explain to foreign students when to use "мой" or "у меня"?
19
votes
4answers
713 views

What are the different ways of saying "but"?

I've been told that in Russian, there are at least two ways of saying "but." One is a, and the other is но. They both translate into the same word but (a or но?) they appear to have two somewhat ...
18
votes
7answers
4k views

Russian words for magic. Etymology, usage and connotations

Something that I realised early on when learning Russian were the different words Russians would use where an English speaker would just say magic: The first word I came into contact with was ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are United Nations and United Arab Emirates translated as "Объединённые", but United States as "Соединённые"?

Are there two different ways to be "United", or is one simply the more modern usage while the other was used historically in previous centuries?
15
votes
4answers
6k views

The difference between "свой" and "мой"

What's the difference between свой (своя и т.д.) and мой (моя и т.д.) when Russian people speak they seem aware of the difference but still I can't wrap my head around it.
15
votes
5answers
13k views

What's the difference between "вот" and "здесь"?

Both words translate as here, but in which context should I use one over the other? There's a question about it on the Q&A of masterrussian.com that already gives me a rough understanding. That ...
14
votes
2answers
7k views

Different words for "German" in Russian?

The Russian word for German is немецкий which means something like, "voiceless" or "mute." And yet the country is sometimes referred to as Германия. Why the difference between the two?
14
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the difference between дыра and дырка?

What is the difference in usage, if any, between дыра and дырка? For comparison, my impression is that нуль and ноль are largely equivalent except that there are some standard phrases using one word ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the difference between помнить and вспомнить?

Looking помнить and вспомнить up in a dictionary yields the same results. Is there any difference between them?
14
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the proper use of the word ли?

My understanding is that it means "whether" in some contexts, but can mean "if" in others. What is the difference in usage? And what might be the difference between ли and Если, assuming that they ...
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Difference between "использовать" and "пользоваться"

I know that the verb to use can be translated to Russian as использовать (with accusative) or пользоваться (with instrumental). I wanted to ask if there is a difference in meaning / usage between ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Various words for "priest". What are their emotional connotations?

There are various words used for "priest" in Russian language: поп, батюшка, священник, иерей, ксендз... What are emotional connotations of this words and when are they appropriate to use?
13
votes
1answer
702 views

Is there a difference between "отель" and "гостиница"?

Is there a difference between words отель and гостиница? Can I always use either of them for some given estate?
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Is there a difference between "кидать" and "бросать"?

In many cases, you can find that words which initially appear to be absolute synonyms actually have slight differences in meaning, so that one can be used in a specific setting while the other cannot. ...
13
votes
5answers
693 views

Using "когда-то" to refer to the future

I feel it is safe to say that outside of any context, когда-то defaults to meaning "at some point in the past", at least in the dialect I am speaking. I might even go so far as to say that that's the ...
13
votes
1answer
4k views

больница vs госпиталь

Меня учили, что это синонимы. Но по прочтении некоторых книг мне кажется, что все-таки некоторая смысловая разница есть. А какая?
12
votes
10answers
4k views

What's the difference between "люблю" and "обожаю"?

I was doing a Clozemaster exercise and it asked to translate "I love reading" to Russian. I thought of putting Люблю читать but the correct answer that the exercise wanted was Обожаю читать. What's ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Why does Russian have three words for marriage?

They are свадьба, женитьба, and замужество. According to wiktionary, женитьба is marriage from a man's perspective (despite being feminine) and замужество a woman's (despite being neuter). Is it ...
12
votes
3answers
10k views

"На английском" or "по-английски"?

I was wondering if there's any difference between на английском and по-английски (for example when asking how to say something in English).
12
votes
4answers
394 views

Is "мочиться" a vulgar or indecent word to any extent?

This is a famous quote from Heart of a Dog (Собачье сердце) Если я, входя в уборную, начну, извините за выражение, мочиться мимо унитаза и то же самое будут делать Зина и Дарья Петровна, в уборной ...
12
votes
7answers
1k views

How should I translate "the fighting boar" in Grenfell's poem into Russian?

My Russian teacher, whom you know by his tough approach to teaching the language, strongly pushed me to try to translate English poems into Russian, and we agreed I'd have a look at Hymn to the Wild ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why does she say "Я понимаешь" and not "Я понимаю"?

I've heard people say "понимаешь" when they clearly intend to mean "I understand", such as in this line from the Serebro song Не Время: Я понимаешь, я это чувствую потом мы всё ...
12
votes
5answers
9k views

What is the difference between "всё" and "все"?

I thought that всё referred to inanimate/abstract concepts - like in всё равно or это всё - and все was used with animate - like все студенты. But I've seen the two used in virtually the same contexts ...
12
votes
3answers
575 views

Why does скучать mean both "to be bored" and "to miss"

I was writing a letter to a friend where I said "скучаю тебя" (to mean "I miss you"). But then I remembered that "скучать" means "to be bored" and I panicked because I thought I misremembered the verb ...
12
votes
4answers
5k views

What does "ёшкин-кот" mean?

What does "ёшкин-кот" mean? And when do I use it?
12
votes
2answers
1k views

сдавать/сдать экзамен

During my Russian classes and later, I never felt comfortable with the expressions "to take an exam" and "to pass an exam" as сдавать экзамен and сдать экзамен. It doesn't seem to me like taking an ...
12
votes
3answers
422 views

When are diminutive forms of time words (e.g., часик, неделька, годик) used?

I was searching the Russian National Corpus recently and in the results I noticed that nouns referring to duration in time are sometimes marked with a diminutive suffix, as in the following examples: ...
11
votes
5answers
3k views

What people are called boars ("кабан") and why?

I discovered yesterday that the Russians often use the word "кабан" ("wild boar") or its Old Russian analogue "вепрь" to talk about people: (1) Что ещё раз доказывает, ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Speed and Velocity in Russian

In physics we would in English use the terms speed and velocity differently: Speed is a number (magnitude). Velocity is a vector (magnitude and direction). In English this is traditional from more ...
11
votes
4answers
784 views

Почему люди путают цифры и числа?

Очень часто наблюдаю во всевозможных источниках, что люди почему-то путают понятия число и цифра. Например: 3 млрд. - очень большая цифра для ... Хотелось бы озвучить цифру... И дальше ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between "ещё" and "больше"?

I know they both mean 'more' ? But there useage seems to differ, is there a rule of thumb?
11
votes
3answers
718 views

спускаться/опускаться, но подниматься

If a person goes up (e.g., on a staircase), then человек поднимается. If an elevator is going up, then лифт поднимается. That's the same verb for the person and for the elevator. However, if a person ...
11
votes
3answers
602 views

Particle же vs Particle -то

What is the difference in the meaning between the particles "же" and "-то"? For example, Он же не пришёл. Vs. Он-то не пришёл.
11
votes
3answers
470 views

Is there a difference between "порадовать" and "обрадовать"

When someone is about to tell you some long-awaited news: Угадай, что мне сказал шеф сегодня. Guess what my boss told me today. you may ask him y saying one of these phrases: Давай, порадуй ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the difference between "рядом", "около" and "возле"?

These three words mean 'near'. It seems около & возле are synonyms. Can the same be said for рядом?
10
votes
9answers
2k views

Is there any difference between торопиться и спешить?

Can спешить replace торопиться in this sentence, for example: “на вашем месте я не торопился бы критиковать все направо и налево…”
10
votes
3answers
303 views

Difference between "прах" and "пепел"

Is there any significant difference between the nouns прах and пепел. I understand they both refer to ashes, but are they completely interchangeable?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is "мне хорошо" an odd response to "как дела"?

I was told that "мне хорошо" would sound very strange as a response to "как дела", and indeed I've never seen or heard in such a context, but I don't completely understand why. I've seen it in ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Разница между словами "бунтарь", "мятежник" и "бунтовщик"

Викисловарь говорит: бунтарь: 1. подстрекатель или участник бунта 2. перен. тот, кто протестует, борется против чего-либо; непокорный человек бунтовщик: подстрекатель или участник бунта ...

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