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копать / рыть

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by ChicoAnimado, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. ChicoAnimado Senior Member

    Hebrew
    Hello.

    I noticed that in this sentence they use two different verbs to describe the verb dig.

    Сначала мы с Чапкой копали червяков: Чапка рыла лапами землю, а я собирал червяков в баночку.

    Are these two verbs interchangeable?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    In general, рыть refers to the treatment of the substance (рыть землю, песок, рыться в бумагах), and копать may also refer to the extracting something from the substance: копать червей, золото, картошку. So in the latter case they are not interchangeable.
     
  3. ChicoAnimado Senior Member

    Hebrew
    Oh... thank you very much!! :)
     
  4. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I also imagine рыть means "to dig" in general, whereas копать implies use of a tool?
     
  5. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    If we say рыть руками or ногами, it means in general рыть doesn't imply any instrument?
     
  6. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I'm not entirely sure, my feeling is that рыть could be any kind of digging (with or without a tool) while копать is more likely using a shovel... Bout that is up for discussion.
     
  7. Christo Tamarin

    Christo Tamarin Senior Member

    Bulgarian
    The difference is the direction and the purpose. Копать - to dig down with a definite purpose. Рыть - to dig and throw up the soil not referring to the purpose. The difference is similar as that between идти and ходить.
     
  8. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I'm not sure this is correct. For example, рыть траншею, рыть окопы, рыть землю носом (idiom meaning искать), рыть яму (не рой яму другому), рыть нору - all imply very clear purpose.
     
  9. Sotis Junior Member

    Tenerife, Spain
    Russian
    In my opinion, it is mostly the question of possible (or impossible) collocations. In some phrases, these two verbs can be interchangeable: рыть яму and копать яму are practically the same. But we don't usually say мы рыли червей in Russian.
     
  10. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I'm far not sure this is the same. At least, if said alone, I'd imagine the first pit rather made by hand and the second - by instrument (shovel, spade).
     
  11. Sotis Junior Member

    Tenerife, Spain
    Russian
    Sorry, I totally disagree. According to ru.wiktionary.org, рыть means "копать, делая в земле углубления ◆ Нужно было рыть для неё другое русло и давать ей новое направление. А. П. Чехов, «Остров Сахалин», 1893-1895 г. (цитата из Национального корпуса русского языка) Синонимы: копать". Besides, you yourself had such examples as "рыть траншею, рыть окопы". Usually, people don't do it by hand.[h=4][править][/h]
    1. копать
     
  12. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I wrote - if said alone, and meant only example with яма. Anyway in many cases these verbs are not interchangeable.
     

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