"Скажите, где Вера?"
Translation:Tell me, where is Vera?
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I think the key difference (regardless of tone), is that the original sentence is a question or request, and your sentence is a command. Even though the sentence above begins with the same directive "tell me" (in both Russian and English), because the sentence finishes as a question, the function of "tell me," is modified, making it a (much less important) part of the request which merely flavors the question a bit. I'm inclined to suggest that another reasonable translation would be: "Say, where is Vera?" Also, while Vocalized tone can certainly change both the question form and the command form of this sentence SIGNIFICANTLY, I think that if a translator were to deliver this question/request in the form of a command, it would almost definitely convey the wrong tone.
It is giving a command, but not necessarily impolitely. Here it is explained what imperative is/does, in English examples so you may better understand:
When asking to a friend you can just say "скажи" and drop the "please". Here, they use "скажите" : either talking to a group or respectfully talking to someone ; but no "please" so it's a respectful "Tell me". But not the most respectful ("скажите пожалуйста") - showing respect but not insisting on it. If you're asking something to a complete stranger for instance you'd better use the "excuse me please" way.
I'm translating скажи and скажите as "say," but that's not colloquial English.
If I were translating a modern play or story, I wonder if "Hey, ..." would be a better translation for "Скажи ...", and " Excuse me ..." for "Скажите ..." Any thoughts from bilingual English/Russian speakers?
Actually, сказать is the Infinitive (base form) of the word, the equivalent of "to say" in English. Every word in Russian and English comes from an infinitive, but as you can see, there are many more types of conjugations in Russian than in English. Сказать declines into скажи(те) when instructing someone to tell you something.
Excuse me, where is Vera? was not accepted, although that is a way to translate it according to the Notes Section. ["Please tell" when asking for information: «Скажи́те, пожа́луйста, где музе́й?» =Excuse me, where is the museum?] Either the exercise or the notes should be changed.
It's a little more nuanced than that. http://russianlearn.com/grammar/category/the_imperative_mood
It just sounds more polite.
So this is really grammatically "imperative form", but the tone is actually relaxed and the meaning is more like "So... where's Vera?" Like you're wondering about it aloud, not interrogating someone.
I kind of got the feeling that (in this case) 'сказать' is used almost like "I think someone should explain where Vera is". Does that make any sense...?
@LuhanLufaw - The English translation here is "Tell me, where is Vera?" Where is translated as где.
Ещё means "still" (as in, "I am still doing my homework"). When used with a perfective verb it can also mean "again" (Сказать ещё [раз]). So, "Скажите ещё, Вера" would mean "Tell me again, Vera".
Difference between скажите и скажи? If anyone can get this, благодарю вас
I wrote "скажети" intstead of " скажите " i got it incorrect. Couldnt they have said correct and underline my mistake?
Generally, single-letter typos are forgiven unless the result is a real (but incorrect) word.
But you made two mistakes in the same word; that's counted as a full error.
It marks the verb as second person plural.
So, the form you would use when you are speaking to several people at once.
Or when you are speaking formally, e.g. to a stranger.
You can be formal without being polite.
"Sir, you can kiss my butt." is formal but not polite, for example.
You can be formal without being polite.
Also, we don't switch from informal to formal and back at the drop of a hat. Either you use "ты" when talking to this person, or you use "вы" and you don't change it just for the politeness sake. Changing the way of addressing is not situational, it signifies a change in the way you relate to each other. In fact, if you are already on "ты" terms with someone, suddenly switching back to "вы" won't be polite, but rather cold an distancing (unless it's an obvious joke between friends of course).