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What is the correct way to say "under the table" in Russian?

+1 vote


I couldn't explain to my Thai friend why you can't say снизу стола because the right way to say is под столом. I hope there is an explanation that it's not like with this one.

asked Jan 18, 2013 by Ghi (210 points)

2 Answers

+1 vote

These expressions are rather idiomatic when you compare them. You need to "feel" the difference between them.

снизу стола - beneath the table, on the bottom side of the table. It's more technical and mainly refers to the bottom side (низ) of the table (стола). It's suitable when you want to make a contrast to the top side of the table. Therefore you can use it in limited ways.

под столом - under the table. It is more general and refers to the space between the floor and the top of the table. You can use it in almost any situation, even instead of "снизу стола".

answered Jan 18, 2013 by Alex (13,670 points)
+1 vote

Hi Ghi,

Nice question!

1.The answer to this questions is that снизу (synonym внизу) is an adverb, and can be translated into English as "below" or "at the bottom".

For example,

Сверху был крем, снизу - бисквит.

There was cream at the top and bisсuit at the bottom.

2.Под ("under" in English) is a preposition, used with the Instrumental case (meaning position, place) and with the Accusative case (meaning direction).

For example,

Под столом лежал ковëр.

There was a carpet under the table.

Положите ковëр под стол.

Put the carpet under the table.

3.We have just the same situation with cверху (вверху), "at the top", adverb and над, meaning "over", preposition.

Kind regards,

Yulia Amlinskaya,

Russian Language Teacher.

answered Jan 18, 2013 by RussianTeacher (19,690 points)
I don't think this explanation with cases will work, because sometimes the word внизу can be a preposition and therefore be used it with the Genitive case (внизу живота). Also, one can use снизу to point a direction (голос снизу). Right?

Where? снизу 1) place 2) direction внизу - 1) place (as an adverb; as a preposition + G.c) [or maybe there are not too many examples of внизу + G.c.?] под - 1) place (I.c.) 2) direction (A.c.)

So внизу, под can be used with cases, and снизу, под can mean a place or direction... I am pretty confused. Will have to ask someone who knows Thai really good about semantics of their prepositions (as they only have prepositions, not cases). Maybe I'll find the answer there.

Will be glad if you can correct me. Now I'm at the point where I can't correct myself anymore)