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  5. "Они отличаются."

"Они отличаются."

Translation:They differ.

December 15, 2015



Does this mean "they differ" literally, as in their opinions differ, or just "they are different"?


It just means they are different (from one another).


They are different = они разные. Though the meaning are the same.))


I was going to ask the same question. Why can't duo avoid ambiguous statements or translations like this one, I still don't understand. "They are different" would have been perfectly clear.


"They differ" in normal English usually means "they disagree in a mild way."


not necessarily. you could be talking about inanimate objects, or places, or something.


If it were inanimate objects, we'd say, "they are different". "They differ" is possible, but it is highly formal and not colloquial at all.

And geneven is correct - "they differ" almost always refers to a minor difference of opinion or point of view. If animate objects differ physically, then we say, "they are different from each other". Again, "they differ" could apply to physical traits, but it's highly formal and stylized, non-colloquial. Unusual and not natural.


At a beginner's level (and duolingo is for beginners) it makes absolutely no sense to use words in a literary, very formal and outdated sense like that. Using the wrong speech level is a serious mistake, because it inevitably leads to misunderstanding. Of course in a maths lecture I could say that two functions differ by a constant, but in "real life" I can't think of circumstances where I would use the verb differ in that way. And it's even worse without adding "by something". Who would seriously claim that they would say "those two cars differ?".


You know.. actually I think in Russian it's also more common to say "they differ by ... any feature" - они отличаются ... какими-то свойствами/характеристиками.


Interesting, in bulgarian saying "отличават се" means they differ from their surrounding, not among themselves (which would be различават се, not far off from различаться).


does the reflexive here imply from each-other?

[deactivated user]


    English speakers say "They differ/are different from each/one another" They would never say baldly "They differ"


    Native English speaker here. I agree. I even put "They differ from each other," and was marked wrong. I just assumed with the reflexive -ся, that I should include "from each other," otherwise it could be connotated that they differ not just from themselves, but from a larger group. But, of course, I don't know the context.

    [deactivated user]

      Without -ся, отличать would mean ‘to distinguish, to discern, to tell apart’.

      Отличаться doesn’t specify what they are different from: it can be some larger group, or themselves.


      Does отличаются come from отлично?


      It's the other way around. "Отлично" literally means "different", but it aquired the new meaning of "outstading" and then "exellent" over time. The literal meaning is still occasionally used in some contexts, but it's rare.


      They are the same root, yes.


      What is wrong with 'They stand out'

      [deactivated user]

        I think 'they stand out' has a positive connotation (i.e. they differ in a good way), while Russian is neutral.


        "They stand out" isn't necessarily a positive thing (especially if "they stand out like a sore thumb").


        i'm not native speakers of neither english nor russian, but in my opinion "they differ" sounds too vague.


        Can I say "Они разние" also?


        Разные. Yes, the meaning is the same, but it's closer to "they are different" I think.


        Probably the easiest way to say "they disagree" would be "они не согласны" (if you want to say "they disagree with each other" -> "они друг с другом не согласны").

        [deactivated user]

          No, it's not a possible translation.


          Они отличаются = Они разные = They are diffrent.

          They differ - они различают (отличают).


          how can the adverb отлично and the adjective отличный mean both perfect/excellent and different? Is this like мир meaning both peace and world, or is there some subtle shading to the sense of excellence or difference?


          To be different -> to stand out -> to excel

          Basically, "perfect" is "different" with positive connotations. It's not rare for a word to shift from neutral tone to positive or negative.




          This is a horrible phrase to learn here as it has differing context meanings


          Such nonsense! Would anybody ever say "they differ" in real life?

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