Карта, карточка

by Timur  

The Russian word карта is translated as map. It can also be translated as card, whether it’s a collectible card (коллекционная карта), or a playing card (игральная карта). The dimunitive is карточка and is usually used to describe smaller sized cards, like a business card (визитная карточка) or a postcard (почтовая карточка).

Карта and карточка are very similar words but are rarely used interchangeably. For example, it would be incorrect to call a topographic map топографическая карточка, or refer to a postcard as a почтовая карта. Don't call a map карточка, and in most cases try not to refer to a small card as a карта, and you'll be fine.

Picture of a discount card
Image from contact-plus.ru

The discount card is one of the exceptions where you can either say дисконтная карточка or дисконтная картa.


Here are some examples with the words карта and карточка:

На следующей заправке нам надо купить карту Калифорнии, а то мы совсем заблудимся. At the next gas station, we need to buy a map of California or we’ll be completely lost.
Сергей очень любил играть в карты и в конце концов опять проиграл всю свою зарплату за этот месяц. Sergey loved to play cards very much and as a result has once again lost all his pay for the month.
Патрик Бейтман помешан на своих визитных карточках и постоянно ими хвастается. Patrick Bateman is obsessed with his business cards and constantly shows them off.
Я потерял свой кошелёк, в котором лежали мои водительские права и все кредитные карточки. I lost my wallet which contained my driving license and all the credit cards.

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