"This guy is Tom."
Translation:Этот парень — Том.
It's boyfriend if some possession is implied, e.g мой па́рень 'my boyfriend', у него́ есть па́рень 'he has a boyfriend'. But in other contexts, it just means 'a guy'.
Де́ло is a neuter-gendered noun, so we use a neuter-gendered form э́то with it. Па́рень is masculine, so we use masculine form э́тот with it. If you had a feminine noun (e.g. де́вушка), you would use э́та: Э́та де́вушка — Мэ́ри. 'This girl is Mary'.
Also, you might find the guide to using э́то by olimo interesting, if you haven't seen it yet.
Dash is used in place of 'is', unless the subject of the sentence is a pronoun (e.g. я, ты, он, она...). It can be used with a pronoun too, for emphasis.
There are some other uses of dash. Notably, it can be used to end a enumeration that was introduced by a colon (Всё: кни́ги, тетра́ди, карандаши́, — подешеве́ло. 'Everything — books, notebooks, pencils — became cheaper') and it is used to separate the direct speech from author's words («Э́то я» — сказа́л Андре́й. '"It's me," Andrei said.') and to mark direct speech in dialogues.
How do you write the dash mark on a Russian keyboard? I am using Windows 10 and the keyboard layout I have chosen is not the "phonetic" one but the letter layout used by Russians. I seem unable to write the dash with this one, however. Perhaps I need a different path than shift+num? Not sure which one, however.
There is no dash on the typical Russian layout. Russians usually type - for dash and " " for inverted commas.
I use the symbols' Alt codes:
- — is Alt + 0151. In Russian it usually has spaces on both sides (if there is not other punctuation immediately before or after)
- « is Alt + 0171
- » is Alt + 0187
There are standard in texts that were professionally prepared and checked but people generally do not use it in messaging and e-mail (unless they know how to type them and choose to do so).
(I can't comment on Shady_arc's message so I'll comment on yours.)
but lets you type Roman numerals, too
Just in case anyone is interested, numbers from 1 to 10 looked like І, П, Ш, ІУ, У, УІ, УП, УШ, ІХ, Х. This usage is rare in the Internet (since normal Roman numerals are easily available), but can be found sometimes, e.g. in the 2nd part of this document: http://studenchik.ru/2-21913.html (e.g. Х1У – ХУП вв. is 'XIV to XVII centuries').
What did you expect? :) Computer keyboards did not pop into existence from abyss: they look quite similar to the keyboards of typewriters. Russian typewriters did exist—initially produced in the US—and shared a lot of similaties with their English precursors. The minimalistic set of characters is one of features.
A typewriter I had in the early nineties did not even have a 1 — it used an I instead (a capital i, like this button: Ⓘ). It looks quite similar to a normal 1 but lets you type Roman numerals, too (at least, I, II and III). 111 would look weird—however, I3, I4 and 2I8 look kind of fine.
I don't know, I don't use Russian keyboard. :) I use a Linux Ukrainian keyboard layout that includes Russian letters (it has dash on AltGt+minus, but I doubt that'd help you).
Maybe you can't. I'm pretty sure you couldn't in Windows XP; you had to install additional keyboard layout (Ilya Birman's typographical layout is a popular option for Russian) or use some program like AutoHotkey. Microsoft has been updating its layouts in newer Windows versions (at least they have finally added an apostrophe to Ukrainian layout in Windows!), so there might be a way to type it, but I don't know.
A lot of people replace dashes with hyphen/minus signs when the dash is unavailable.
Not in this context.
«Па́рень» means ‘boyfriend’ when the context is about ‘someone’s guy’, e.g. «па́рень Тома́» ‘Tom’s boyfriend’, when some sort of a possession is implied. But in other cases, «па́рень» just means ‘guy, lad, chap, bloke’, something like that.