Questions tagged [usage]

Covers questions about the usage of a particular word or phrase in different situations and contexts.

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4
votes
3answers
477 views

Why is «Какого цвета» in genitive case?

I came across the sentence «Какого цвета платье?» today. I would've assumed that «Какого цвета» would be in the nominative case and was confused to see this construction. Is there a grammatical rule/...
1
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1answer
152 views

«Для» или «за»? – This store is for the purchase of

I was writing a paragraph, and a sentence within (and the previous sentence) is, in English: (The first store sells mostly bulk produce.) The second store is (a) traditional (store), for the purchase ...
22
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4answers
5k views

Is there a Russian equivalent of “red flag”?

In English, the term red flag is used as a metaphor to mean a sign suggestive of a possible danger or problem: (1) Boyfriend not showing you his home is a huge red flag. (Link) (2) I've just spent ...
6
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8answers
2k views

How should I understand and translate “закатить истерику”?

Some time ago I took a test in which I had to translate some short texts from Russian into English. One of them contained the following sentence: По приходу домой она закатила истерику. My solution ...
2
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3answers
195 views

Do you know something - Вы знаете or Вы знаете ли or Вы не знаете?

I am unsure about these three ways of asking if someone knows something. I was told that in certain contexts, such as when asking for the time, Вы не знаете was the norm. On the other hand, I was told ...
10
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1answer
348 views

Difference between “в кухне” and “на кухне”

I was reading Chekov's short story Ионыч and in the first chapter I found the following sentences: Когда в доме сидели гости, то в кухне стучали ножами. Окна были отворены настежь, слышно было, как ...
3
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3answers
340 views

Is “Утерянные победы” really a good translation of the title of Manstein's book “Verlorene Siege”?

I recently shot through Manstein's Lost Victories in its English translation and later accidentally learned that the Russian translation of that book is titled Утерянные победы. As a learner of the ...
11
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9answers
3k views

How to elegantly say in Russian, “He was never to get what he wanted or, at least, what he said he wanted.”

I got an assignment to translate the following text into Russian: But nothing in Voroshilov's carefully chosen words or courteous demeanor suggested the feverish activity in Berlin and Moscow that ...
14
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5answers
880 views

How can I say “start both hourglasses” in Russian?

I've been given the following task: "Let's suppose you have an hourglass that measures 7 minutes and an hourglass that measures 4 minutes, and you need to time 9 minutes by using only these ...
26
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4answers
2k views

How can I understand this puzzling dialogue with “ну я имею в виду вообще”?

My Russian teacher recently had us, his students, listen some audio recordings of what he called "authentic everyday communications of Russians." We had to understand the dialogues and ...
3
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2answers
132 views

What's the difference between навлечь and привлечь?

What's the difference between those two words? Can i use only влечь?
4
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1answer
115 views

Is there any difference between в общем and в общем-то, and how do they differ from вообще-то?

Is there any difference between в общем and в общем-то, and how do they differ from вообще-то? I've always interpreted в общем(-то) as generally speaking/pretty much, and вообще-то as actually.
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3answers
3k views

What's the meaning of “у нас” in phrases like “он у нас умный”?

The grammatical construction у меня, literally at/near me, is the Russian way to express possession and is also used to express proximity: У меня хорошая подруга. (I have a good friend.) Она сейчас у ...
7
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2answers
223 views

“В об(о,е)их коробках оказались семена” - which vowel should I choose?

Some time ago I took a Russian test that contained the following question: В об(о,е)их коробках оказались семена. 1) обоих 2) обеих 3) оба варианта корректны 4) оба варианта ...
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1answer
133 views

Comprehending these sentences from the story “Рукавичка”

Excerpt: “…А ты кто? (1) – А я кабан-клыкан. Пустите и меня! (2) Вот беда, всем в рукавичку охота! (3) – Тебе ведь и не влезть! (4) – Как-нибудь влезу, пустите!” (5) – Ну что ...
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5answers
324 views

How to respond to “За что тебе поставили четвёрку по сочинению?”

Some time ago I did a homework in which I had to complete two-phrase dialogues by writing a meaningful response to a given question. No context was provided for the questions. One of the questions was,...
4
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1answer
144 views

Is “чалый” a synonym of “рецидивист”?

Several websites I've come across state "чалый" as a synonym of "рецидивист", but I haven't been able to find any definitions of чалый that would suggest it's synonymous with рецидивист. Are they ...
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8answers
3k views

“Член клуба” - how to use “член” in feminine here?

Let's consider this sentence: I'm a member of the Japanese Renju Association. A member translates into Russian as член, but the grammatical gender of this word is masculine, so I'm curious how I can ...
4
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1answer
174 views

My dictionary sometimes lists two imperfective forms

Consider the verb to send, which my dictionary translates as *посылать (imp.), слать (imp.), послать (perf.). My question is about those cases in which there are two imperfective forms, like in this ...
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1answer
214 views

Meaning difference between до свидания, до скорого and до встречи

I have been learning Russian for quite some time now and I have recently doubled my sources, adding another app. With no big surprise for me, some things do not align, in particular about greetings ...
2
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1answer
298 views

Using Russian-style smile in business conversation )

As a freelancer I recently got in contact with a russian agency on LinkedIn. This person used the 'russian-style smile face' ) quite a lot. In order to sympathize with this person I was tempted to ...
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3answers
409 views

Logic behind structures like «в общей сложности»

In one formal texts I encountered this "в общей сложности" used when addressing the total amount of something. An example context below: В общей сложности страны СНГ продемонстрировали падение ...
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3answers
776 views

Is it correct to say, “Не врачам этого не понять”?

A former chief sanitary inspector of Russia, Mr. Onishchenko, recently said the following about the chief infection control doctor of the Stavropol region, Ms. Sannikova: Она долго работает ...
6
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5answers
204 views

Difference between “объединяйтесь” and “соединяйтесь”?

Background I recently saw a translation of the well-known motto "Workers of the world, unite!", but when I looked into it, I found out that there are at least two possible translations: Пролетарии ...
12
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7answers
967 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 ...
3
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7answers
644 views

Why do Russians say that all men are billy goats (все мужики козлы)?

I was given a Russian song as a listening exercise, and, as far as I could discern, its chorus is: И мы не устаем, и с ночи до утра Мы можем говорить, говорить о мужиках. Бокал до дна в трудные ...
27
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4answers
8k views

Why do Russians call some women a dynamo (динамо)?

In English, you call a person a dynamo to say that he or she is extremely energetic (e.g., she was a dynamo in London politics), but Russians mean something entirely different when they call someone a ...
5
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3answers
1k views

How can I say in Russian “to see each other” and “to be exclusive to each other,” in the context of dating?

I cannot find the Russian phrases for these two stages of dating and am humbly asking for your help. I know that Russians say Маша встречается с Ваней (which literally means Masha regularly meets ...
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1answer
170 views

Russian For: No Smoking! [closed]

In England there are no-smoking signs at certain places. What would be written in Russian? For: No Smoking! Thanks.
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6answers
8k views

Why do Russians call a joke a stake (прикол)?

In modern Russian, прикол is a very frequently used word and means a joke, a funny incident, or just anything funny, but the original meaning of this word is very different: a stake to which a ship, a ...
6
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3answers
325 views

Difference between шоссе and автострада?

What are the differences between these two words? Is автострада just the same thing, but less used? Or do they have different meanings?
4
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6answers
384 views

Is it a mistake to say, “Oвчинки выделка не стоит”(sic!)?

In a recent essay of mine, I accidentally mixed up the grammatical cases in an idiom. Namely, I wrote: овчинки выделка не стоит The most common variant of this idiom is: овчинка выделки не стоит ...
1
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2answers
219 views

What does “тоже мне” mean? [closed]

What is the best way to translate these? Тоже мне! Тоже мне герой. Тоже мне новость. -
1
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3answers
366 views

Does the famous Russian translation of Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll imply using drugs?

I recently came across the famous Soviet-era translation by Dina Orlovskaya of Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, which is a part of a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and that translation ...
6
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4answers
689 views

Moving a preposition to after the object

Curious as to what the Russians think about Japanese cars, I did some research and saw an article with the following title: Не престижа ради, а токмо драйва для I knew that ради is an exceptional ...
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3answers
453 views

What's wrong with “я подсела к стене”?

I wrote in an essay, В зале стоял длинный стол с закусками, один из концов которого упирался в стену. Мы подошли к столу и стали за него садиться. Я подсела к стене. My teacher marked the last ...
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5answers
486 views

Is there a positive Russian word for a whistleblower?

Let's suppose some students gather every evening in a student dormitory and make loud noise till late night by playing guitar, talking, singing, laughing, etc., and a female student from the same ...
3
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2answers
266 views

What is the difference between “расскажу о тебе” and “расскажу про тебя”?

(1) Я ему расскажу о тебе. (2) Я ему расскажу про тебя. I know that each of these sentences roughly translates as I will tell him about you, but what is the difference? Do the connotations or ...
3
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1answer
157 views

Usage of “будет” in phrases like “эта задача посложнее будет”

I translated the following snippet for a Russian friend. The last line I translated as "Now this is going to be a bit more difficult." But my friend insists that this doesn't have a future ...
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5answers
493 views

What is the meaning of: “Войну ждали. Но она пришла неожиданно.”?

I recently read an article in Russian written by a doctor of art science for the journal Живая история, and that article is about the Soviet-German war and starts with the following two sentences: ...
4
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1answer
993 views

Why do Russians refer to flatterers as “downlickers” (подлизы)?

Usually used to refer to a flatterer, the Russian word подлиза literally means a downlicker: the prefix под- means down, below, beneath, or under, and the root -лиз- is common to Russian words about ...
4
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3answers
384 views

What does “я сейчас в неадеквате” mean?

I just sent a message to a language exchange partner and instantly received the following response: давай завтра, я сейчас в неадеквате What does this expression mean? Has he tied one on?
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5answers
608 views

Why are German soldiers of WWII commonly referred to in the Russian language as fascists (фашисты)?

I read quite a few Russian materials about WWII and noticed that Russians commonly refer to German soldiers of WWII as фашисты (fascists). Here are some typical examples: (1) Фашисты заняли ...
6
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2answers
244 views

How to complete “налей мне” and “отдай мне обратно”: “чаёк,” “чайка,” or “чайку”?

Here is a question in a test: Как корректно закончить следующие предложения? Налей мне ... . (а) чаёк (б) чайка (в) чайку Отдай мне обратно ... . (а) чаёк (б) чайка (в) чайку I am at a loss as ...
15
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4answers
573 views

“Я считаю Пушкина более талантливым поэтом, чем Блок” or “чем Блокa”?

Here I am sitting late in the evening, struggling with a home test devised by a university teacher of mine, and here is a question in the test: Как корректно закончить следующее предложение? Я считаю ...
4
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1answer
88 views

Semantic effect of postposing a quantifying adjective from its noun

I recently read this sentence in a story related by a very good writer: Щен за мной увязался годовалый, за пальто покусывает. Кинула я ему эту слойку – отстал. In trying to render the meaning ...
5
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2answers
248 views

Meaning of “встал колом”

In this passage, I'm wondering if встал колом is correct (I didn't write this - it was written by a native Russian speaker on a forum for anecdotes), and if so, what is the literal interpretation word ...
9
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8answers
549 views

What does the idiom “что уж там” mean?

I am very much puzzled by the idiom "что уж там" and its sister "чего уж там". Let me show you a few sentences: (1) Давайте везде курить, что уж там, детям в лицо: депутат Госдумы ...
6
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3answers
1k views

How is погода (weather) a count noun?

Wiktionary says that the word погода (weather) has a plural form: погоды. I see in Google that although the word is usually used in the singular form, the plural form is used either. For example, ...
3
votes
3answers
264 views

“Лицам старше 16 лет и более 70 кг” - тут логическое “и” или “или”?

На детской площадке запрещается: пользоваться детским оборудованием лицам старше 16 лет и более 70 кг (Source) May I use the playground equipment if the above rule is to be interpreted formally as ...

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