How to say “here” in Russian: difference between здесь, вот, and тут

This article covers the different ways how to say “here” in Russian: "здесь" vs. "вот" vs. "тут." They all translate as "here" in English, but with nuances in their different meaning.

Вот

"Вот " means "here," as in when you’re pointing at something or pointing something out. It is commonly used to convey the meaning, "here is/are" or "there is/are." For example:

  • Вот мой дом. = Here is my home.
  • Вот книги. = Here are the books.

Other meanings of Вот

Вот can also be used to impart certain nuance to sentences.

Show contrast

  • С Ричардом я дружу, а вот сАннойникак не лажу. = I’m friends with Richard, but I just can’t get on with Anna.

Give warnings

  • Вот вцем расскажу об этом. = Now I’m going to tell everyone about this.

Express emotions

  • Вот дурак! = What an idiot!

Cite examples

  • Вот это не подлежит сомнению. = Now this, for instance, is beyond doubt.

Здесь

"Здесь" means "here," as in "where something is" - the most common meaning of "here" in English. It has the same meaning as "тут," but is considered more bookish and part of written speech. "Здесь" answers the question "где?" ("where?"). For example:

  • Где ты работаешь? = Where do you work?
  • Я работаю здесь. = I work here.

Тут

"Тут" also means "here," as in "where something is" and answers the question "где?" ("where?"). "Тут" has the same meaning as "здесь," but is considered more colloquial and informal. A common phrase you'll definitely here come up is "тут и там" ("here and there"). For example:

  • Поищу каких-нибудь заработков тут и там. = I'll try to pick up some odd jobs here and there.

Russian joke: "здесь вам не тут"

Here's an example of a Russian joke / absurdist expression that involves two of the words we covered today: "здесь" and "тут." (The joke is that such phrase is totally absurd).

A common funny way to comment on inappropriate behavior in Russian is to say "здесь вам не XYZ" ("you are not at XYZ"). For example:

  • Здесь вам не детский сад! = This is not a kindergarten here! (i.e., start acting like an adult!)

A comical and slightly absurd way to play with this expression is to replace the "XYZ" portion with "тут." The joke is that "здесь" and "тут" both have the exact same meaning - "here." You would expect a somewhat pompous person to imperiously scold someone with this phrase in a setting that has over-the-top rules and procedures.

  • Здесь вам не тут! = You aren't where you're not anymore!

If that doesn't make sense, this clip from the 1989 film, Souvenir for the Prosecutor (Сувенир для прокурора) should demonstrate the sort of vibe saying "здесь вам не тут!" implies.

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