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Thread: покрывать собой

  1. #1
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    покрывать собой

    Hi everyone,

    I'm wondering why the sentence below includes "собой":

    "Многочисленные действующие вулканы ... гейзеры, горячие источники, лавовые поля и ледники покрывают собой почти всю территорию страны."(Source: Wikipedia)
    I get that active volcanoes, geysers etc. cover almost the territory/area of the country as a whole.

    Reading about geographical facts of some countries, however, I can remember to have come across sentences like "Леса покрывают ... ".

    What's the deal with собой and this particular verb? What difference would it make if I didn't use it in this case?

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Well, it is just wrong. It should be without "собой". Though a native speaker can make an error like that.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Thx! I'm glad to hear it's wrong!

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    Well, it is just wrong. It should be without "собой". Though a native speaker can make an error like that.
    I’d say, it’s ok both with «собой» and without.

    The verb «покрывать» (“to cover”) is trivalent: ‘S covers O with I’.
    Semantically, in this sentence, «гейзеры, горячие источники, лавовые поля и ледники» is I (indirect object), «почти вся территория страны» is O (direct object), and S (subject) is not defined.
    But syntactically, «гейзеры, горячие источники, лавовые поля и ледники» takes the position of S (subject). So you need the word «собой» (“with itself”) to be placed to the position of I to show that the syntactic subject is an indirect object semantically. It is analogous to the using of -ся in verbs when you need a passive (the semantic direct object to be a syntactic subject) as in «звук произносится» (“the sound is pronounced”).

    But there are verbs that do not require -ся. E. g., consider the sentence «Оркестр играет музыку громко» (“The orchestra is playing music loudly”). If we want to avoid the subject (‘orchestra’), we can say «Музыка играется громко» (“The music is being played loudly”), but more natural way is to say «Музыка играет громко» (“The music is playing loudly”) — ‘music’ is a syntactic subject here, while semantically it is a direct object.
    The same is true for the word ‘cover’ (with its indirect object instead of direct one), so you can say (both in English and in Russian) “I covers O” with the same meaning as in “O is covered with I”.

    So both variants, with «собой» and without, are correct.

    (Sorry for the muddle and for my terrible English!)
    Please correct my English

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    There is another way to say the same:
    «Почти вся территория страны покрыта многочисленными действующими вулканами,.. гейзерами, горячими источниками, лавовыми полями и ледниками».
    Please correct my English

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soft sign View Post
    The verb «покрывать» (“to cover”) is trivalent: ‘S covers O with I’.
    Though you can easily see that in all cases of usage "покрывать" with I it has very different meaning, namely it means an action "S is putting I onto O" while without I it means a static state "S is positioned on O". Mixing those two constructions is just wrong and weird in my feeling. "Forests are putting themselves on..."?
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    "Forests are putting themselves on..."?
    «Звук произносится» is literally “Sound pronounces itself”. The same thing.
    This is a feature of Russian grammar, this is not wrong.
    (IMHO)
    Please correct my English

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soft sign View Post
    «Звук произносится» is literally “Sound pronounces itself”. The same thing.
    This is a feature of Russian grammar, this is not wrong.
    (IMHO)
    My point is: it is correct grammatically but wrong semantically. "Земли покрываются лесами" and "Леса покрывают земли" mean different things. First is a process, second is a condition (mostly).
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    In other words, in this sentence, if one aims to apply the verb in an accurate way, one not only needs the accusative, but the instrumental as well (Чем покрвывает ... ?). The answer would be собой.

    Makes sense now. Interesting case. Thx for further explanations.

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    Почтенный гражданин Soft sign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    My point is: it is correct grammatically but wrong semantically. "Земли покрываются лесами" and "Леса покрывают земли" mean different things. First is a process, second is a condition (mostly).
    Yes, you're right.
    «Земли покрываются лесами» is definitely a process.
    «Леса покрывают земли» — either condition or process.
    «Леса покрывают собой земли» — either condition or process.
    Please correct my English

  11. #11
    Старший оракул
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cumulus View Post
    In other words, in this sentence, if one aims to apply the verb in an accurate way, one not only needs the accusative, but the instrumental as well
    "Собой" is not required. It's optional provided that it is correct. I think we only can use "собой" if "покрывает" means that something lays on something else and covers it. In the example sentence it has a slightly different meaning. It means that something is spread over all area.
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

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    Aight, I'll bear in mind that it remains optional under certain circumstances. Thx.

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