Один, тот же

by Don  

There are several ways in Russian to express the idea of “the same” in the sense of “the same house” or “the same country.” One way is to use один (which is also used as a cardinal number), and another way is to use «тот же». For instance, if you are just starting a conversation, you could say:

Мы с Димой живём в одном доме. Dmitri and I live in the same building.

Oddly enough, in that context you cannot say «в том же доме». What's the difference? Essentially it's this: in order to use «тот же» the noun must have previously been mentioned in the conversation. For instance:

Дима раньше жил в доме № 17 на улице Плеханова. Моя бабушка жила в том же доме. Dmitri used to live in building #17 on Plekhanov street. My grandmother lived in the same building.

Another example. If you are for the first time mentioning your transportation over the weekend, you might say:

Мы с Таней ехали в Санкт-Петербург в одном вагоне. Tanya and I went to St. Petersburg in the same train car.

But if you have already mentioned the train car, then you use the other phrase:

Во втором вагоне шумели два хулигана, но слава Богу в том же вагоне были четверо милиционеров, которые их уняли. In train car number two there were a couple of punks making noise, but thank heavens there were four policemen in the same car who quieted them down.

Of course, the phrases can be used in other cases as well:

Мы с братом влюбились в одну девушку. Не можешь представить себе, как это было сложно. My brother and I fell in love with the same girl. You can't imagine what a mess it was.
Моя сестра была арестована молодым милиционером, и через неделю я был арестован тем же милиционером. My sister was arrested by a young policeman, and a week later I was arrested by the same policeman.

Sometimes один and тот же combine into a single phrase «один и тот же», but we'll save that phrase for another time.


Comment from: Marina [Visitor]

It can be also said: Дима живет в том же доме, что и я.

09/21/11 @ 05:31
Comment from: simik [Visitor]

Russian “офицер” has a narrower sense than English “officer". It’s not used in the sense “policeman". And it is not used in any non-military context, like “government officer", “Chief Executive Officer", “Chief Technology Officer", etc.

Don responds: Good point. I’ll adjust the language.

12/07/09 @ 04:22
Comment from: Brian [Visitor]

What if you’re trying to say “I do the same thing every day.” How do you use the same in this way?

Don responds: I would say «Я каждый день делаю одно и то же» or «Я каждый день делаю то же самое».

12/03/09 @ 20:59
Comment from: Michael Denner [Visitor]

that’s a good one, don. i’d never thought of the distinction you point out–тот же needs a stated antecedent. i am aware of native speakers breaking that rule sometimes, but you’re right–it’s a rule.

12/03/09 @ 11:00
Comment from: Favourite [Visitor]

You forgot to mention that constructions “один” and “тот же” WERE supposed to be binded phrase, but later they became two different forms of one meaning.
Although you can use “один и тот же” without being cautios :) It fits any phrase well enough.

“Мы с Димой живём в одном и том же доме”
“Мы с братом влюбились в одну и ту же девушку”
“Я был дважды арестован одним и тем же офицером”


12/03/09 @ 10:07

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