Categories: "Particles"

Вот (часть первая)

by Don  

The word вот means ‘here’ in the sense of “here it is” or “here they are.” Very often you find it used in very short sentences:

— Где моя книга?
— Вот она.
“Where is my book?”
“Here it is.”
— Где моя сестра?
— Вот она.
“Where is my sister?”
“Here she is.”
— Где мой журнал?
— Вот он.
“Where is my magazine?”
“Here it is.”
— Где мои туфли?
— Вот они.
“Where are my shoes?”
“Here they are.”

Of course, it's possible to add modifiers and clauses to make the sentences longer:

— Вот фотография девушки, которая будет моей женой.
— Это не Скарлетт Йоханссон? Я думал, что она замужем.
— Да, за Райаном Рейнольдсом, но я её уведу от него.
“Here's a picture of the woman who will be my wife.”
“Isn't that Scarlett Johansson? I thought she was married.”
“Yes, to Ryan Reynolds, but I'll snatch her away from him.”
— Вот книжка, в которой записаны все мои пароли.
— Не боишься её потерять?
— Ну, да, поэтому я сделал с неё три копии.
— А где остальные?
— Бог его знает. Я их потерял.
“Here's the book in which all my passwords are recorded.”
“Aren't you afraid of losing it?”
“Well, yes, that's why I made three copies of it.”
“And where are there others?”
“God only knows. I lost them.”

Beginners are sometimes confused about when to use вот and when to use здесь/тут. The primary difference is that вот is only used when you are actively pointing out something or someone; in other words, you are usually either gesturing with your hand or nodding toward the item with your head or glancing toward it with your eyes. Тут and здесь can be used without actually pointing out the item. Thus if you are asking the question whether an item is currently present, you use тут/здесь, not вот:

— Папа здесь?
— Да, он здесь.
“Is Dad here?”
“Yes, he is here.”
— Твой брат тут?
— Нет, он ещё на работе.
“Is your brother here?”
“No, he is still at work.”

Of course, if you point out the person in your answer, you can use вот in the answer, but you still won't use it in the question:

— Папа здесь?
— Да, вот он.
“Is Dad here?”
“Yes, here he is.”

На (часть пятая)

by Don  

Seven-year old Mariana walked into the living room where her father, Alyosha, and I were sitting. She placed an ashtray in front of us and said «Нате». I looked at the two of them in confusion and Alyosha said:

Она думала, что вы тоже будете курить. She thought that you were going to smoke, too.

Alyosha had totally misunderstood the source of my confusion. He thought I was surprised that she thought I would smoke, but really I was confused because I didn't have the foggiest idea of what «нате» meant. It was my first trip to Russia, having had five years of college Russian. It would not have surprised me for someone to say, “Oh, you don't know the difference between ОВИР and УВИР is? The latter is the department where you process the special form that gives foreigners the right to use a public toilet, and the former is the office where that toilet is located. Be sure to bring some small gift to УВИР or they won't put the right stamp on the form, and when you go to ОВИР, be sure to put the seat down when you are done or the babushka who monitors the sinks will yell at you.” That wouldn't have surprised me at all. But to have a little nine-year old Russian girl flummox me with two syllables was downright demoralizing.

It turns out that «на» and «нате» mean “Here you go.” It's used when you are handing something to someone. «На» is used when you are talking with someone in ты form, and «нате» is used when speaking to someone in вы form. That's right. The Russkis have added -те to something that's not a verb. Makes me want to study an easier language, like Pashto or Thai...

«На» and «нате» are very informal words. You will hear them used in homes and among friends. Don't use them in formal circumstances. I once flashed my hotel pass to a doorman in Russia and said «на». He had annoyed me, and my use of «на» really ticked him off. He caused me continual grief for the rest of my stay at that hotel. (It really was rude of me, and I should not have done it. Just because someone is a jerk to you does not mean you should be a jerk to him.)

And here are a couple examples of how it can be used:

— Мам, передай соль.
— На.
“Mom, pass the salt.”
“Here you go.”
Ребята, у меня для вас сюрприз. Я принесла конфеты. Нате, ешьте на здоровье! Kids, I have a surprise for you. I brought some candy. Here you go. Enjoy!

Кто ещё? Что ещё?

by Don  

We previously discussed the word ещё, which by itself usually means still. When you combine it with кто or что, it ends up meaning “else”:

Что ещё ты хочешь? What else do you want?
Кто ещё там был? Who else was there?
— Мы поговорили о музыке и еде.
— И о чём ещё?
— Ну, и о спорте.
“We talked about music and food.”
“And what else?”
“Well, about sports as well.”
— Я рассказала твой секрет Лене и Маше и…
— Нет! Ради Бога, нет! И кому ещё?
— И Ксюше!
— Нет-нет-нет! Не может быть! Это выше моих сил!
“I told your secret to Lena and Masha and…”
“No! Please, God, no! Who else did you tell?”
“I told Ksenia as well!”
“No, no, no! It can't be true! I can't take it!”

This use of ещё is also possible after other question words as well:

— Мы жили и во Франции, и в Германии.
— И где ещё?
— И ещё в Испании.
“We lived both in France and in Germany.”
“And where else?”
“And also in Spain.”
- Где мы только не были летом: и во Франции, и в Германии, и...
- Где ещё?
- Ещё в Испании были.
“Last summer we went everywhere, both to France and to Germany and…”
“And where else?”
“And also to Spain.”
— Каждую неделю мы будем встречаться три раза: в понедельник, во вторник и…
— И когда ещё? В среду?
— Нет, в четверг.
“Every week we will meet three times, both on Monday and on Tuesday…”
“And when else? On Wednesday?”
“No, on Thursday.”

1 2