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Difference between Chto eto? and Chto eto takoje?

blue-38595_640Что это? = What is this? vs. Что это такое? = What is this?

What is the difference between these 2 questions?
Very often these two questions are interchangeable. The word “такое” adds a little bit more curiosity to the question.

Что это? Это – машина. Что это такое? Это – машина.

But there you can use this phrase if you do not know the meaning of the Russian word. For example:

Что такое лампа? – What is лампа ?  

This is a very simple word, so if the person is a real beginner and asks that, the best answer is just to translate the word лампа into English.

The reply can be: Лампа – это lamp.

On the higher level you can explain the word using Russian or just point at the object.

Лампа – это электрический светильник. ( Wikipedia)

The question Что это такое? can also be used in more aggressive way .
Что это такое? Почему ты повышаешь голос? = What is that? Why are you raising your voice?

About the Author


AnnaOriginally from Russia, Anna has a Bachelor’s in Education and Linguistics from Moscow State Pedagogical University in Moscow, and a Master’s Degree in International and Interactive Communication from University of Lille 1, IAE Business School in Lille, France. Anna speaks fluent Russian, English and French and also knows some Spanish, German, Japanese and Italian. Her education, work experience and many years of teaching and tutoring both in the actual classroom and online helps her understand the needs of students as well as the design, management and promotion of language courses, textbooks and learning materials. As a voice actor Anna has contributed many tracks to the audio components of this course and you can see her on the videos as the lead teacher. Anna is very interested is supporting and promoting the study of the Russian language, as well as introducing Russia’s language and culture to a variety of people world-wide. If you notice any issues or mistakes in the digital or audio components, are interested in reviewing Russian Step By Step Series or in purchasing large quantities, please contact Anna.View all posts by Anna →

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