by Don  

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 домой in the meaning “home/to home/homeword.” Here is a subtlety. In English we can say “She is home right now” and “She is heading home now.” The former indicates location, and the latter indicates motion. In Russian you have to use дома in the former sense because it is a location phrase, and you have to use домой in the latter phrase since it indicates motion. Note also that as an adverb домой cannot be used with a preposition:

— Куда ты идёшь?
— Я иду домой.
“Where are you going?”
“I'm going home.”
— Когда я шла домой, в витрине я увидела красивейшее платье! “When I was walking home, I spotted the most beautiful dress in a [store] window.
Иди домой, мальчишка. Go home, [you rotten] little boy.
Зайди ко мне домой, я помогу тебе написать доклад. Come to my place, and I'll help you write your essay.

That last example is particular interesting. When you want to specify that you are going to someone's home, the word домой can be made more specific by adding a prepositional phrase using к followed by the dative case:

В воскресенье мы ездили к Смирновым домой. On Sunday we went to the Smirnovs' place.
Когда пойдёшь к Пете домой, увидишь полнейший бардак. When you go to Petya's, you'll see it's a complete mess.

Actually in the previous three examples it's more natural to leave домой out, but it's perfectly grammatical to include it.

1 comment

Comment from: john mcenaney [Visitor]

welcome back!!
Is there any easy way to print out your “gems", a page at a time?

When I try it, my printer just keeps going and going. I can do that too, but i thought i would ask?
Hope you caught your breathe again.

Don responds:If you click the title of one of the entries, it should take you to a page that shows only that entry and its comments. But for your purposes, I’d probably just cut from the blog, paste into a word processing program, and print from there.

BTW, if you end up distributing something you print, please give the following credit:

© 2011 by Don Livingston
Russian Word of the Day

Of course, if the article was written in a different year, then use that year.

01/25/11 @ 12:11

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