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Thread: Это

  1. #1
    Почётный участник ShakeyX's Avatar
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    Exclamation Это

    Few questions about a few sentences I came across in Rosetta Stone.

    Извините, что значит это слово - For this sentence just wondering in what case all the words are in. For example if it was a feminine word in place of слово would Эта decline to Эту. Also where does что come in this. In the form Subject - Verb - Object how would this sentence look, just for my peace of mind.

    Does Это have a separate usage apart from that where Этот is the infinitive (masculine nominative). For example Что это, is used when you can't possibly know the gender of what it is your observing.

    Any other uses for Это?

    And finally, observe this picture from Rosetta Stone, I'm fine with most of it until it says Такое instead of Такой which I would expect as Стадион is a masculine word.



    EDIT: also noticed Это стадион instead of Этот in the last panel... I'm sure there is a logical explanation

    What gives? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    Ok, so the magic word "это" is used in Russian to denote two different things: "it" and "this/that" and I think that is a primary source of confusion.

    The word "это" implies the neuter gender. In your example above, "Что [это] такое стадион?" the girl is literary asking: "What [kind of thing] that [is that you call a] stadium?" So, one of the possible answers to such question would be: "Это стадион." ("This [is the kind of thing that I call a] stadium.")

    Hope it helps.

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Извините, что значит это слово - For this sentence just wondering in what case all the words are in. For example if it was a feminine word in place of слово would Эта decline to Эту. Also where does что come in this. In the form Subject - Verb - Object how would this sentence look, just for my peace of mind.
    Perceptive questions! Here, это слово is in the nominative (subject), and что is in the accusative (direct object). Compare:

    Что значит этот каламбур? ("What does this pun mean?")
    Что значит эта песня? ("What does this song mean?")

    Regarding Что это такое? ("What's that thing?"), it's sort of a fixed expression and такое is always neuter to agree with это, regardless of the grammatical gender of the thing. And "Что такое [specific noun]?" also always has the neuter form такое, even if the specified noun is masculine or feminine. For instance:

    "Что такое гамбургер (m.), Человек? И что такое любовь (f.), о которой вы говорите? У нас нет таких понятий" -- спросил инопланетянин. ("What is a hamburger, Human? And what is this love, of which you speak? We have no such concepts..." -- asked the space-alien.)

    On the other hand, the phrases Кто это такой? ("Who is that [male] person I'm pointing at?") and Кто такой [name of guy]? ("Who is Mr. So-and-so"?) can change the ending from masculine такой to feminine такая or plural такие, depending on whom you're referring to:

    Кто это такой? ("Who's that dude?")
    Кто это такая? ("Who's that lady over there?")
    Кто это такие? ("Who are those people?")
    Кто такой Винни-Пух? ("Who is Winnie-the-Pooh?")
    Кто такие мормоны? ("Who are the Mormons?")
    Кто такая Жанна д'Арк? ("Who is Joan of Arc?")
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

  5. #5
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    Everything written above is correct. Especially I liked the link, it provides a very detailed answer. I would just add some simple explanation of my own
    OK, there are two "это"s: "это" used as a noun, and "это" used as an adjective. Both of them have the same meaning ("this"), but they differ in their syntactic usage.

    When "это" substitutes a noun, it is used independently. In this case, "это" is always neuter and singular. It is often called "unchangeable это", but I would say it is not an accurate statement. "Это"-noun never changes its gender and number, but it does change cases.

    Consider the following examples:
    Это стол. (Стол is masculine!) – This/that/it is a table.
    Это книга. (Книга is feminine!) – This/that/it is a book.
    Это окно. (Окно is neuter!) – This/that/it is a window.
    Это столы. (Noun in plural!) – These/Those/they are tables.
    Это книги. (Noun in plural!) – These/Those/they are books.
    Это окна. (Noun in plural!) – These/Those/they are windows.

    All the examples above are in Nominative.

    However, "это"-noun can be used in any other grammar case:
    От этого зависит наше будущее. (Это in Genitive) – Our future depends on this/that/it.
    К этому надо привыкнуть. (Это in Dative) – One has to get used to this/that/it.
    Я это знаю. (Это in Accusative – the same form as the Nominative) – I know this/that/it.
    Я не умею этим пользоваться. (Это in Instrumental) – I do not know how to use this/that/it.
    Я ему об этом уже рассказал. (Это in Prepositional) – I have already told him about this/that/it.

    When "это" is used to describe a noun, it behaves like an adjective, and it is not independent (makes no sense without a noun it modifies). In this case, "это" agrees with the noun in gender, number and case.
    Compare below:
    Это стол. (Стол is masculine!) – This/that/it is a table.
    but:
    Этот стол большой. – This table is big.

    Это книга. (Книга is feminine!) – This/that/it is a book.
    but
    Эта книга большая. – This book is big.

    Это окно. (Окно is neuter!) – This/that/it is a window.
    but
    Это окно большое. – This window is big.
    Note: here the both forms are the same, because of the neuter gender of "окно".

    Это столы. (Noun in plural!) – These/Those/they are tables.
    but
    Эти столы большие. – These tables are big.
    etc. (all the examples above are in Nominative).

    Now with the "oblique" cases (other than Nominative):

    Genitive: Я не могу без этого стола. Я не могу без этой книги. Я не могу без этого окна. Я не могу без этих вещей. – I cannot do without this table/this book/this window/these things.
    Dative: Подойди к этому столу. Подойди к этой книге. Подойди к этому окну. Подойди к этим вещам. – Come closer to …
    Accusative: Я вижу этот стол. Я вижу эту книгу. Я вижу это окно. Я вижу эти вещи. – I see …
    Instrumental: Я доволен этим столом. Я доволен этой книгой. Я доволен этим окном. Я доволен этими вещами. – I am satisfied with …
    Prepositional: Я говорю об этом столе. Я говорю об этой книге. Я говорю об этом окне. Я говорю об этих вещах. – I speak about …

    It's interesting to note that some languages even have completely different words for "this"-noun and "this"-adjective. E.g., in Japanese "this"-noun is KORE / SORE / ARE (depending on whether it is close to the speaker, or close to the listener, or far away from both). But "this"-adjective is KONO / SONO / ANO.
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  6. #6
    Administrator MasterAdmin's Avatar
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    There are some good explanations above. Just wanted to add that "это" is unchangeable when it means "there is/there are". The source of all confusion is because unchangeable "это" has the same form as neuter singular (nominative and accusative) of the demonstrative pronoun "этот" (this, this one, that).

    это - doesn't change form

    этот - declensions (looks like это in Neut.sg.)
    Masc. sg. Fem. sg. Neut. sg. Plural
    nominative э́тот э́та э́то э́ти
    genitive э́того э́той э́того э́тих
    dative э́тому э́той э́тому э́тим
    accusative э́тот, э́того э́ту э́то э́ти, э́тих
    instrumental э́тим э́той, э́тою э́тим э́тими
    prepositional об э́том об э́той об э́том об э́тих

    In the original Rosetta's example, Это стадион means "This is a stadium" because the woman points to the picture of the stadium.
    The verb "to be" is not used in Russian in the present tense, you can sometimes see a dash after это instead of the verb "to be". Это - стадион.

    The woman could also give a definition of the stadium like this:
    Стадион - это место, где много народу.
    Stadium is a place where there is a lot of people.
    Crocodile and maxmixiv like this.
    ~ Мастерадминов Мастерадмин Мастерадминович ~

  7. #7
    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Nice example is in "Alice in Wonderland". Russian translation goes in line with English text very nicely (which rarely happens). Look yourselves!

    .........
    — I proceed. "Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him: and even Stigand, the patriotic archbishop of Canterbury, found it advisable — "'
    'Found what?' said the Duck.
    'Found it,' the Mouse replied rather crossly: 'of course you know what "it" means.'
    'I know what "it" means well enough, when I find a thing,' said the Duck: 'it's generally a frog or a worm. The question is, what did the archbishop find?'
    .........
    - "...Эдвин, граф Мерсии и Моркар, эрл Нортумбрии, присягнули на
    верность чужеземцу, и даже Стиганд, славный любовью к отечеству архиепископ
    Кентерберийский, нашел это достохвальным..."
    - Что, что он нашел? - неожиданно заинтересовалась Утка.
    - Нашел это,- с раздражением ответила Мышь.- Ты что, не знаешь, что
    такое "это"?
    - Я прекрасно знаю, что такое "это", когда я его нахожу,-
    невозмутимо ответила Утка.- Обычно это - лягушка или червяк. Вот я и
    спрашиваю: что именно нашел архиепископ?
    .........

  8. #8
    Почётный участник ShakeyX's Avatar
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    All above is understood, thanks so much for your comments.

    Just a thought, as I can't find an example; As it is omitted for example я мужчина (я быть мужчина - I "AM" a man), but man is not in the accusative мужчину, even though I guess technically it is the object.

    But was just wondering in past and future where it isn't omitted, for example "I was a man"... would it be я был мужчину or мужчина! Is it a verb which disobeys the rules?

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    1. The verb "быть" (to be) is not a transitive verb! And "мужчина" is not an object! "To be" (both in English and in Russian) is a copula verb. And what comes after "to be" is grammatically a predicate.

    2. The present tense of "быть" is rarely used in modern Russian. But if you decide to use it, it should be "есть", not "быть". "Быть" is infinitive (to be), "есть" is its present tense (am/is/are). So, not "я быть мужчина", but "я есть мужчина". But in 99% of cases you do not need this form.

    3. In past and future there is a tricky thing with "to be" in Russian. You can keep the predicate in nominative:
    "Я был мужчина", "Я буду мужчина".
    But it is more natural to put it in instrumental:
    "Я был мужчиной", "Я буду мужчиной".

    This only works in past and future (not in present)! It is hard to explain why, but you may think of it as if you were describing a role:
    "I played a role of a man", "I will play a role of a man". When describing a role, we use instrumental:
    "Он работает врачом" - "He works as a doctor".
    ShakeyX likes this.

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    ShakeyX, may I give some advice to you?

    The questions you ask are good questions, they are "deeply thought" (BTW, is there such an expression in English)?
    But they relate to the very basics of the Russian grammar, and any good grammar book surely explains everything of this stuff.

    You are welcome to ask your questions in the forum, but I would advise you to find a Russian reference grammar book. There should be a rich choice of them!

  11. #11
    Почётный участник ShakeyX's Avatar
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    Боб I fully understand what you are saying and it's true. I am just in a state of deep deep poverty at the moment (Russian lady came to England and tried to show off London to the full extent, now I'm poor haha!) I've been looking at some books and definitely will invest in one when the next loan comes in. It's just because it's so fresh to me, only started 4-5 months ago and have taken to it and I find the explanations from this website far better than many websites explanations.

    I do need to get a grammar book though soon because I am flooding this forum with every thing that pops into my head haha.

    And being from Nottingham (a big source of horrible horrible nonsensical slang) I would say deeply thought.. but I say deep for anything. For example; if someone said I looked ugly my response could be... ah man that was DEEP! but I just checked Wiktionary and deeply is an adverb so I guess it's possible.

  12. #12
    Старший оракул
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    No problem, you are fine! I just advised you what I think can help you the best

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    Grammar books are so boring
    They cannot compare to this forum.
    It is amazing, how many people know so much about grammar!

  14. #14
    Почётный участник ShakeyX's Avatar
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    Just re-read all of this information as it again slipped me up. I fully understand the difference between unchangeable Это and Этот/Эта/Это/Эти!

    However the use of Такое in the example is still throwing me off. So it is neutral because it is linked to the unchangeable это but the reasons for us using this rather than the word that we have already identified confuses me. I think (if it is possible) if someone could put it in the formation, Subject/Verb/Object or atleast identify them because I'm struggling to understand its usage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crocodile View Post
    Ok, so the magic word "это" is used in Russian to denote two different things: "it" and "this/that" and I think that is a primary source of confusion.

    The word "это" implies the neuter gender. In your example above, "Что [это] такое стадион?" the girl is literary asking: "What [kind of thing] that [is that you call a] stadium?" So, one of the possible answers to such question would be: "Это стадион." ("This [is the kind of thing that I call a] stadium.")

    Hope it helps.
    So is there an invisible Быть in the mix somewhere aswell, could a "-" be used in this sentence, and also could the это or any other words for that matter be included to make me understand.

    Cheers

  15. #15
    Почётный участник ShakeyX's Avatar
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    On another completed random note... do <<XXX>> marks equal the english "XXX" quotation marks

  16. #16
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Yes,
    «...» - Cyrillic-style quotation marks. We have no them in Russian keyboard layout, but, for example, MSWord replaces English " to those when we type in Russian.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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