Из (часть первая)

by Don  

One of the prepositions that takes the genitive case is из, which means ‘from’. But not all froms are created equal in Russia. Let's start thinking about to/from/at in Russian like this. There are three words for to, three words for at, and three words for from. And they are related, roughly speaking, like this:

If you go "to" a place using… then you'll be "at" that place using… and you'll return "from" that place using…
в + acc в + pre из + gen
на + acc на + pre с + gen
к + dat у + gen от + gen

So if you go to a place using в, and you are at that placе using в, then you come back from it using из. That applies to most cities and countries and places of business:

Она только что пришла из аптеки. She just came back from the pharmacy.
Он только что приехал из Москвы. He just returned from Moscow.
Мы только что прилетели из Гонолулу. We have just returned [by air] from Honolulu.
— Откуда он?
— Из Перми.
“Where is he from?”
“From Perm.”

These aren't the only contexts which require из, but it's a good start to keep them in mind.

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