"Папа на работе, а я - дома."
Translation:Father is at work, and I am home.
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If it is juxtaposition of two things or correction (similar to whereas/but/while), use а:
- Я тут, а ты там. = I am hear and you are there.
- Я инжене́р, а ты пило́т. = I am an engineer and you are a pilot.
- Я пью вино́, а ты нет. = I drink wine, and you don't.
- Э́то вино́, а не сок. = This is wine, not juice.
Note also this pattern:
- На столе́ стака́н, а в стака́не сок = There is a glass on the table, and juice is in the glass.
If you connect two things into a list or follow the same thought, use и:
- соба́ка и ко́шка = a dog and a cat
- Я до́ма, и э́то хорошо́. = I am home, and this is good.
- Я на рабо́те, и Анто́н то́же. = I am at work, and Anton is (at work) too.
That is the general idea. However, "a" is only used in non-sequential events (general facts, habits or simultaneous events). Sequential events, with or without contrast, use "и".
Example of sequential events with contrast: он был атакован акулой и не умер. (= He was attacked by a shark and didn't die).
I recommend reading https://russian.stackexchange.com/questions/1657/difference-between-a-and-%D0%B8
You seem to be the most knowledgeable person here. I’m hoping you might please clarify for me why the dash sign is necessary when writing? I have a handle on what it indicates in speech but cannot understand yet when to use it and when not to do use it when I’m writing down what I hear. Thanks!
A dash is a punctuation mark. It is not obligatory here but still can be used for emphasis (intonation, I mean).
It would be obligatory in a sentence like "Папа ест на работе, а я — дома". Here, it emphasises the fact that the second "eat" is omitted but should be extrapolated by a listener.
It is also obligatory in sentence like "Электрон — элементарная частица" where the two nouns work as a subject and a predicate in a "A is a B"-like sentence.
Normally, Russian uses em-dash — and chevron quote marks « » in books and any professionally formatted text like websites, Wikipedia, etc. However, these characters are not present in the standard Russian keyboard layout, so people don't bother with them when writing emails, comments, etc. A hyphen surrounded by spaces is enough to make it clear it is a dash.
Thanks a lot for the answer, olimo! Yeah, keyboards aren't great; we're missing so much on French keyboards as well. « » and — that we should use in dialogs, or É À Ç, even though these are optionals.
And you're everywhere! How come you're not a moderator or you didn't contribute to the Russian for English speakers course? ;)
Why do we add an "a" to "дом"? I can't find anything here: http://www.russianlessons.net/grammar/nouns_prepositional.php that tells me what to do with a word that ends with a consonant, that has to be declined for the Prepositional case.
I also thought it should have "в"...So, the difference is "в доме" is when you are sure you (or someone is) are inside the house and just "Дома" you (or someone is) are at home, but not necessarily inside the house? Thanks. Greetings from Madeira Island!
В доме is the more literal "in the house, in the building". The adverb дома means "home, at home".
We also have домо́й to express the direction "towards" home (as in "I am going home").
(by the way, this is unique to дом, which is a fairly important location; other nouns do not have associated adverbs of this kind)
@LynnCarey3 - This dash, called a тире, is used in many cases.
Also, it is longer than a regular hyphen (дефис in Russian) which is used when combining two words, like научная фантастика is science fiction, while научно-фантастический фильм would be a science fiction film.
1) Between the subject and the predicate of a sentence when both are nouns in the nominative case
Оптика – раздел физики. (Optics is a branch of physics)
Дуб – дерево. (Oak is a tree)
You would not use it if it's negated with the word не (кошка не дельфин) or in questions (кто твой отец?)
2) Before the words это, это есть, это значит, вот when the subject is a noun in the nominative case or it is an indefinite noun.
Коммунизм – это есть Советская власть плюс электрификация всей страны. (Communism is the Soviet authority plus the electrification of the whole country)
3) Between two separate sentences when the second sentence has a sharp contrast or unexpected result in comparison to the first sentence.
Хотел объехать целый свет – и не объехал сотой доли. (I wanted to travel the whole world, and didn't even travel a fraction of a percent)
4) Between two separate sentences when the second sentence is a result of the first one.
Солнце взошло – начинается день. (The sun has arisen and the day is beginnin')
There's only about a dozen other ways it can be used but honestly in many cases you would be fine to use a regular old conjunction like "and" or "but" (except for the basic "Noun X is Noun Y" or "Doing X is Doing Y" structure where there's no conjoining words). You can read more examples here: http://new.gramota.ru/biblio/readingroom/rules/23-spravka/rules/158-tire
In this case, it seems a little more ambiguous because in the regular sentence "Я дома" you would most likely not use or see the dash. I think it's used here because you have two identical thoughts (Someone is at Location A and someone is at Location B) but the parts of speech used is different - the first half uses a preposition and a noun to show the location while the second half uses just an adverb with no preposition.