Learn the difference between some confusing similar Ukrainian words! Яка різниця між … – What is the difference between вчитель and викладач, відпустка and канікули, блокнот and ноутбук, зараз and тепер, любити and кохати?

In this article, I will compare some similar Ukrainian words and show how differently they are used. I really hope this kind of information is useful for you because I know the feeling of confusion myself when it comes to English! 

1. ВЧИТЕЛЬ – ВИКЛАДАЧ – ПРОФЕСОР

difference between вчитель викладач

Ваш чоловік вчитель історії? – Раніше був, коли працював у школі. Тепер він викладач, працює в університеті. Зараз він пише дисертацію, в майбутньому хоче стати професором.

The word вчитель / вчителька is used most of the time for a primary or secondary school teacher. It also has an additional meaning of somebody giving general life advice like “sensei” or “mentor”.

Олена Петрівна – моя улюблена вчителька в школі, вона дуже розумна і добра. – Оlena Petrivna is my favorite teacher at school, she is very clever and kind.

Викладач – is a person who teaches in an institution of higher education, this word describes any kind of lecturer or university professor.

Мій тато не лише письменник та редактор, він також викладач в університеті. – My dad is not only a writer and editor, he is also a lecturer at the university.

A Ukrainian професор usually has a doctorate degree. So every teacher in university is викладач, but only a few of them are професори.

Listen to the Ukrainian Lessons Podcast Episode #8 to learn more jobs and professions in Ukrainian (for beginners!)

2. ВІДПУСТКА – КАНІКУЛИ

difference between відпустка канікули

Коли ти йдеш у відпустку? – Влітку, коли у дітей будуть канікули.

Let’s review two words that Ukrainians use when they talk about vacations.

The first word is канікули. Канікули are taken by students and politicians and occur several times throughout the year.

літні канікули  — summer school break

зимові канікули – winter school break

парламентські канікули — parliamentary recess

The second word is відпустка – a vacation, a leave. Відпустка is taken by people who work. It comes from the verb відпускати –to let go.

декретна відпустка — maternity leave

Я навіть не пам’ятаю, коли востаннє була у відпустці. – I can’t even remember the last time I was on vacation.

Як Ви зазвичай проводите відпустку? – How do you usually spend your vacation? Whatever you do, гарної вам відпустки – have a great vacation!

Listen to two Ukrainians talk about their vacation plans in the Ukrainian Lessons Podcast Episode #59 | Відпустка – Vacation plans & the verbs of movement in Ukrainian

3. БЛОКНОТ – ЗОШИТ – НОУТБУК

difference between блокнот ноутбук

Де мій блокнот? – Я бачила його на столі, біля ноутбука.

Every portable computer (notebook or laptop) Ukrainians call ноутбук.

If someone asks you – Візьми, будь ласка, ноутбук – he wants you to take a portable computer, not a notebook for writing – зошит or блокнот.

Зошит – notebook, writing-book; exercise book, copybook.

Блокнот – notebook, notepad, writing pad.

Interested in technology? Listen to Ukrainian Lessons Podcast Episode #51: Техніка і технології + Давальний відмінок | Electronics and technology + Dative Case

4. ЗАРАЗ – ТЕПЕР

difference between зараз тепер

У Лондоні зараз ранок.

Sometimes it really can be rather confusing, but most of the time it’s all about a couple simple rules.

Зараз has several meanings:

1) something happens on a daily basis (similar to Present Simple in English)

Я зараз живу в Києві. – I live in Kyiv now.

2) something is happening right now

Він зараз спить. – He’s sleeping now.

3) something will happen very soon

Зараз почнеться шоу. – The show is about to start.

Зараз він повернеться. – He’ll be back right away.

Тепер always shows some change, some before and after aspect:

1) something is different now (not as it used to be in the past)

Я тепер живу в Україні. – I live in Ukraine now (it means that I used to live in another country)

Він тепер веган. – He is a vegan now (he used to eat meat before)

2) something happens as a result of something

Я з’їла гамбургер, тепер у мене болить живіт. – I ate a hamburger, now my stomach hurts.

5. ЛЮБИТИ – КОХАТИ

difference between любити кохати

https://ukr-mova.in.ua/library/sunonimu/koxatu-j-lyubutu

Both words mean to love.

We use a verb кохати to express strong romantical feelings (to your partner, GF, BF, wife, husband).

Я кохаю свою дружину. – I love my wife.

Любити has multiple meanings. The same as кохати it also can be used to express romantical feelings.

Я люблю тебе! – I love you! But Я кохаю тебе has its own unique charm. You can кохати the only one person.

Люблю сan be said to a person you appreciate or about favorite things.

Я люблю своїх дітей. – I love my kids.

Він любить свою роботу. – He loves his job.

Do you want to learn more Ukrainian love phrases to impress your feelings? Here are 10 Ukrainian love expressions and romantic words with different variations.

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Are there other confusing Ukrainian words you are having trouble with? Share them in the comments below!


Looking for more resources to improve your Ukrainian vocabulary? Check our 1000 most common words in Ukrainian with interactive flashcards.

Also, you can learn Ukrainian step by step with our free Ukrainian Lessons Podcast.

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Iryna Podoliak

In 2013, Iryna graduated from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and got a Master's degree in Philology. She specializes in the methodology of teaching Ukrainian as a foreign language. Iryna worked with students from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Estonia, Poland. She appreciates the opportunity of cultural and worldview interchange during the lessons. Iryna is interested in early learning methods as she has a little son.

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