Дом (часть вторая)

by Don  

We previously mentioned that 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 a couple quirks of дом, which means “home/building.” The standard endings of the noun are:


It turns out that there are actually two possible endings for the genitive singular after prepositions. One can say either «из дома» and «из дому», but they don't mean the same thing. The former means “(from) the building,” and the latter means “(from) home,” i.e., “from one's own home.” Notice particularly that when saying «из дому» the preposition is stressed, but both syllables of дому are unstressed. Here are some examples of the contrast:

Она вышла из дома. She stepped out of the building.
She left the building.
Она вышла из дому. She left home (temporarily).
She stepped out of her house.
Мальчик выбежал из дома. The boy ran out of the house.
The boy ran out of the building.
Мальчик выбежал из дому. The boy ran out of his house.

The distinction works as well with the preposition до:

Папа дошёл до дома и стал ждать маму. Dad got to the building and started to wait for Mom.
Мне пора идти до дому. До свидания. It's time for me to go home. Goodbye.

That last use of до дому is a bit old fashioned, but it lends a bit of elegance to one's conversation.


Comment from: Shady_arc [Visitor]

That’s right, nowadays “из дому” is seldom used, one would rather say “на улицу” or “из дома". But you may encounter them in old literature, so they are a good thing to know. The hard thing about cases is the government and the accepted use of expressions, which may experience changes across the centuries.

01/12/11 @ 04:10
Comment from: olimo [Visitor]  

Actually, “из дому” is very rarely used in common speech. Generally we say “из дома” for both “from home” and “from the building”.

“Мне пора идти до дому” — we’d rather say “Мне пора идти домой” or “Мне пора домой” or even “Мне пора” :)

01/12/11 @ 00:46

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