In English I if I want to refer to something specific or non specific I can just do it by adding articles. For example:

I saw a house. (non specific house) = Я бачив дім


I saw the house. (Specific house) = Я бачив дім?

What is the way to make such sentence in specific form in Ukrainian language, if any?


2 Answers 2


It depends on the context. If you want to stress it that you saw this specific house, you might use demonstrative pronouns like "цей" ("this") or "той" ("that"). In this case, you would say:

Я бачив цей / той дім. — I saw this / that house.

However, it is true that we don't use definite and indefinite articles (at least not that I have heard of.) So, you will have to use "цей" ("this") or "той" ("that") if you need to stress it.

Other than that, the sentence "Я бачив дім" can mean both "I saw a house," and "I saw the house."

Example 1:

-- Ти колись бачив дім у своєму житті? (Have you ever seen a house in your life?)

-- Так, я бачив дім (Yes, I have seen a house.).

Example 2:

-- Ти бачив дім, про який я казав минулої ночі? (Have you seen the house I was talking about the other night?)

-- Так, я бачив дім (Yes, I have seen the house.).

  • 1
    We sure don't use articles because there are none in the Ukrainian language.
    – Enguroo
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 2:36
  • @Enguroo ain't it right?)
    – P. Vowk
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 7:30
  • 4
    I agree with the answer. We usually don't use articles. If we want to emphasize a, we say якийсь "some"; if we want to emphasize the, we say цей "this" or той "that".
    – Sasha
    Commented Oct 9, 2018 at 7:32
  • Also you can use words as вже (already). Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 5:38
  • 1
    As a side note, a house more naturally translates to Ukrainian as будинок rather дім. дім is more like home.
    – Kukunin
    Commented Oct 20, 2019 at 20:23

This is a bit too old, but maybe someone will stumble upon this answer anyway.

Ukrainian, lacking articles, often uses word order to indicate comment and topic (topic earlier, comment later) among other methods like obvious specifiers ("той", "оцей", etc) or intonations. See, for example:

– Де та книжка, що ти читала вчора? (Where's the book you were reading yesterday?)
– Книжка лежить в мене на столі. (The book is on my table).

In the above "В мене на столі лежить книжка" would feel disharmonious, despite being perfectly correct grammatical. While in the example below

— В тебе є щось на столі? (Do you have anything on your table?)
— Так, в мене на столі лежить книжка. (Yes, there is a book on my table).

the inverse would be true: "Книжка лежить в мене на столі" would feel disharmonious.

Of course, this is not used in all cases, but I find this to be more important in Ukrainian than in English.

In the example you provided ("I have seen a/the house"), depending on context, you may even say "Дім я бачив".

— Бачив різьблений флюгер на її хаті? Витвір мистецтва! (Have you seen a carved vane on top of her house? It's a masterpiece!)
— Дім я бачив, а от на дах уваги не звернув. (I have seen the house, but didn't look at the roof).

  • 1
    «Would feel disharmonious, despite being perfectly correct grammatical». I would add that it would feel disharmonious in the typical tone. But a speaker sometimes can make even an unusual word order to sound harmoniously by accompanying it with a correspondingly-unusual tone, e.g. “Де та книжка, що ти читала вчора?” — “У мене на столі (!) лежить книжка” (or, to better imagine the tone: “Де та книжка, що ти читала вчора?” — [touchily, aggresively] “Ти [знову] питаєш, де (!) та книжка? [Я ж тобі тричі казала:] У мене на столі (!!!) лежить та книжка”).
    – Sasha
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 4:14
  • 1
    In a language everything is context dependent and, consequently, almost everything is possible. The question is only in the frequency of occurrences of weird combinations.
    – Physmatik
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 20:03

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