by Don  

If you want to know where someone has arrived from, the word you use is the interrogative adverb откуда “from where”:

Откуда ты пришёл?
Откуда ты приехал?
Where have you come from?

Of course answering the question is quite complex since there are at least three different words that mean ‘from’ in Russian. (If you would like a thorough overview to the to/from/at words and their use, click here.) Very often people will use the word without including a verb of motion. If they have just met you, they usually mean it in the sense of “What is your national or local origin?”

— Откуда вы?
— Я из Америки.
“Where are you from?”
“I'm from America.”
— Откуда он?
— Он с Камчатки.
“Where is he from?”
“He is from Kamchatka.”
— Откуда она?
— Ты не узнал по произношению? Она из Одессы.
“Where is she from?”
“Couldn't you tell by her pronunciation? She is from Odessa.”

Откуда is often used in sentences talking about the source of someone's information. In that context it is best translated as ‘how’:

— Откуда ты знаешь Пашу?
— Мы вместе учились в школе.
“How do you know Pavel?”
“We went to school together.”
— Откуда ты узнала, что я попал в аварию?
— Угадать не трудно. Твоей машины всю неделю не видно, и ты ходишь в гипсе.
“How did you figure out that I was in an accident?”
“It wasn't hard to figure out. Your car hasn't been around all week, and you are walking around in a cast.”
— Откуда ты знаешь столько русской грамматики, a я ничего не знаю?
— Я каждый день готовлюсь к урокам, а ты всё тянешь до последнего момента. Другими словами, я хорошая студентка, а ты лентяй.
“How come you know so much Russian grammar when I don't know anything?”
“I do my homework every day, and you put off everything till the last moment. In other words, I'm a good student, and you are a lazy bum.”

No feedback yet

Form is loading...