Category: "Adverbs of motion & location"

Домой

January 24th, 2011 — posted by Don

There are three words that native speakers of English often confuse at first in their studies of Russian:

  1. The first one of those is дома, which is an adverb that means “at home.” It never changes its endings.
  2. The second is домой, which is an adverb that means “home” in the sense of “homeward/to home.” It never changes its endings.
  3. The third is дом, which is a noun that means “house” or “building” and occurs in the singular and plural of all six cases.

Today we are focusing on домой in the meaning “home/to home/homeword.” Here is a subtlety. In English we can say “She is home right now” and “She is heading home now.” The former indicates location, and the latter indicates motion. In Russian you have to use дома in the former sense because it is a location phrase, and you have to use домой in the latter phrase since it indicates motion. Note also that as an adverb домой cannot be used with a preposition:

— Куда ты идёшь?
— Я иду домой.
“Where are you going?”
“I'm going home.”
— Когда я шла домой, в витрине я увидела красивейшее платье! “When I was walking home, I spotted the most beautiful dress in a [store] window.
Иди домой, мальчишка. Go home, [you rotten] little boy.
Зайди ко мне домой, я помогу тебе написать доклад. Come to my place, and I'll help you write your essay.

That last example is particular interesting. When you want to specify that you are going to someone's home, the word домой can be made more specific by adding a prepositional phrase using к followed by the dative case:

В воскресенье мы ездили к Смирновым домой. On Sunday we went to the Smirnovs' place.
Когда пойдёшь к Пете домой, увидишь полнейший бардак. When you go to Petya's, you'll see it's a complete mess.

Actually in the previous three examples it's more natural to leave домой out, but it's perfectly grammatical to include it.

Слева

July 1st, 2010 — posted by Don

One of the words you use in Russian to describe where something is located is the adverb слева, which can be translated "on the left" or "on the left-hand side." When you get experience your first Russian-language tours in Russia, your tour guide will certainly use the word in phrases like this:

Слева находится Китайский цирк. On the left-hand side is the Chinese Circus.
Слева вы увидите изввестный Татарский театр. On the left you will see the well-known Tatar Theater.

To express the concept "to the left of," you add the preposition от followed by the genitive case:

Слева от банка находится ювелирный магазин. To the left of the bank there is a jewelry store. or A jewelry store is located to the left of the bank.
Слева от Юры сидит Наташа. Она владеет тремя языками. Sitting to the left of Yuri is Natalya. She has mastered three languages.

Although слева can be used to indicate location, the word can also mean "coming from the left" or "from the left" or "from the left side":

Слева ко мне подкрался карманник. A pickpocket snuck up to me on the left-hand side.
Всегда подходи к лошадям слева, а то они тебя лягнут. Always approach horses from the left, otherwise they'll kick you.

Справа

June 25th, 2010 — posted by Don

One of the words you use in Russian to describe where something is located is the adverb справа, which can be translated "on the right" or "on the right-hand side." When you experience your first Russian-language tours in Russia, your tour guide will certainly use the word in phrases like this:

Справа находится Зимний дворец. On the right-hand side is the Winter Palace.
Справа вы увидите Исаакиевский собор. On the right you will see St. Isaac's Cathedral.

To express the concept "to the right of," you add the preposition от followed by the genitive case:

Справа от банка находится ресторанчик. To the right of the bank there is a little restaurant. or A little restaurant is located to the right of the bank.
Справа от Кати сидит Ванька. Он такая свинья, не заводи с ним разговоры, а то пожалеешь. Sitting to the right of Ekaterina is Ivan. He is such a pig. Don't start talking to him or you'll regret it.

Although справа can be used to indicate location, the word can also mean "coming from the right" or "from the right" or "from the right side":

Незнакомая девушка подошла ко мне справа, и, к моему удивлению, онa подсунула мне свой телефон. A girl I didn't know approached me from the right and, to my surprise, slipped me her phone number.
Слева было несколько ям, по-этому скорая помощь подъехала справа. There were some potholes on the left, so the ambulance approached from the right-hand side.

В гостях

April 14th, 2010 — posted by Don

The second important phrase in Russian that deals with visiting is «в гостях». It is a location phrase, which means it is used with location verbs, not motion verbs. In Russian when you are at someone's home or office, you express that idea with the preposition у followed by the genitive case. Thus:

В понедельник я был в гостях у дяди. On Monday I visited my uncle.
Мы завтра будем в гостях у Натальи. Tomorrow we will visit Natalya.
Когда я была в гостях у друзей, мы каждый день парились в бане. When I was visiting my friends, we used the sauna every day.

Of course you can add other phrases that specify where the person was located when you visited them:

На прошлой неделе я был в гостях у дяди в Новгороде. Last week I visited my uncle in Novgorod.
Летом у нас в гостях в деревне были племянники из города. Мы научили их, как доить корову. In the summer our nephews from the city were visiting us in the village. We taught them how to milk the cow.
— Не поверишь, но в августе я была в гостях у друга в Пуэрто-Рико, и у меня была возможность спеть дуэт с Рики Мартином.
— Ты права, не верю.
“You're not going to believe this, but in August I was visiting a friend in Puerto Rico, and I had the opportunity to sing a duet with Ricky Martin.”
“You're right. I'm not going to believe that.”

В гости

April 13th, 2010 — posted by Don

One of the important phrases in Russian that deals with visiting is «в гости». It is a motion phrase, which means it is used with motion verbs, not location verbs. In Russian when you go to someone's home or office, you express that idea with the preposition к followed by the dative case. Thus:

В понедельник я ездил в гости к тёте. On Monday I went to visit my aunt.
Мы завтра пойдём в гости к Игорю. Tomorrow we will go visit Igor.
Когда я ехала в гости к друзьям на поезде, я была в одном купе с членом Академии наук. When I was riding the train to visit my friends, I shared a compartment with a member of of the Academy of Sciences.

Now here is where it gets interesting. In English if you mention that place you are going to in addition to the person, that place is expressed as a location phrase. In Russian that place shows up after the preposition в/на + accusative, in other words in a motion phrase:

Зимой я всегда летаю в гости к сестре в Канаду. In the winter I always fly to Canada to visit my sister.
Летом к нам в гости в деревню всегда приезжают племянники из города. In the summer our nephews from the city come to visit us in the village.
— Не поверишь, но в августе я полечу в гости к другу в Вашингтон, познакомлюсь с Бараком Обамой.
— Ты права, не верю.
“You're not going to believe this, but in August I'm flying to Washington to visit a friend and I'm going to meet Barak Obama.”
“You're right. I don't believe it.”

There is another phrase «в гостях» that treats visiting as a location instead of a motion. We'll discuss it in a day or two.