7

So in these examples:

  1. він якраз в магазині зараз.
  2. Я якраз хотіла зробити пару знімків того критого мосту по дорозі.
  3. Якраз ії я розумію

I've seen people translate this usage of "якраз" as "actually". Then in this case, what would the difference be if I'd used instead "насправді"?

9

Dictionaries, indeed, translate якраз as actually. The problem is that both якраз and actually have several different meanings that do not perfectly match:

  • Actually (1) = really; in fact;

    I will check what you're actually doing.

    A good Ukrainian equivalent for this meaning would be насправді.

  • Actually (2) = the truth is; surprisingly:

    I thought he's tall. Actually, he's short.

    Here, actually = якраз.

As you may expect, words that have several meanings would not always retain all these meanings when translated.

Ukrainian якраз has a certain overlap with the English one, but not precisely. I believe it is better to explain it with short dialogues.

  • Якраз (1) = right at the moment; right at the opportunity.

    Moment:

    — You said he will go to the shop.
    — You caught me right at the moment when he is in the shop. — Він якраз у магазині

    Opportunity:

    — Let's go to a neighboring town.
    — Good idea, I just wanted to take a photo of that covered bridge in the midway — Я якраз хотіла зробити пару знімків того критого мосту по дорозі.

    Note that він якраз у магазині can be the opportunity, too:

    — I forgot to buy milk.
    — Call him to buy it for you. He's at the shop right now.

  • Якраз (2) = on the contrary; surprisingly;

    Imagine a dialog:

    — I understand her.
    — No, you said don't understand anyone.
    — (yes, I agree that I don't understand anyone, but) I do understand her nevertheless. — Якраз ії я розумію

  • Якраз (3) = fit for

    There's one more meaning of якраз, just for completeness:

    These shoes fit for me — Ці туфлі мені якраз.

2
  • Thanks for the great answer. About the second meaning, if I'd used "якраз таки", would it fundamentally change the meaning, or only add a "although one can think so". From my experience it's used for objections or clarification of something. But asking just in case. Aug 1 at 10:56
  • @ЛугеУшчимі, you're absolutely right. Таки is a conjunction to provide several meanings. one of which (#3 in linked page) is to denote objection. And #4 for emphasis. Combining it in "якраз-таки" does not change the meaning but it emphasizes the effect. I should also say that many people use this conjunction intuitively, so it's more matter of taste than of the hard rules.
    – bytebuster
    Aug 1 at 16:44

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