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Thread: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

  1. #1
    Новичок PaulTex's Avatar
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    Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    I understand that in order to say that something (or someone) is absent or does not exist, we use the genitive case and не было, such as:
    Его здесь нет.
    Его там не было.

    But I have seen some examples in which the nominative is used:

    1. Here is an example from a conversation in the Pimsleur Russian Audio series:
    Вы когда-нибудь были в Петербурге?
    Нет, я никогда не был в Петербурге.
    или.. Я никогда там не был.

    This uses the nominative Я and не был.

    Why not:

    Меня никогда там не было.

    2. Another example, from Modern Russian 1, Lesson 1:
    Скажите, вчера было собрание?
    Было, но я там не был.

    Modern Russian 1, Lesson 8 states: :The nominative may be used for the subject (together with не plus был, была, было, or были) if the focus is not on the absence itself, but on some other element of the sentence.

    So, are examples 1 and 2 correct?

    Thank you.
    Спасибо

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    My understanding here is that OBJECTS are expressed in the genitive case when they are being negated, not subjects.

    In your first example the subject is neither non-existent not absent. It simply describes a state of being.

    For example, in the English sentence "There are no apples here", The apples are the object --> Здесь нет яблокы (genitive case)
    This is the same sort of expression as "He is not here", even though it doesn't look that way in English.

    Like everything else in language learning, you'll just have to pay attention to examples as you see them, even if the rules seem to not be immediately apparent

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    Меня никогда в Петере не было is not correct.

    вчера было собрание, но меня там не было is possible.

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    For example, in the English sentence "There are no apples here", The apples are the object --> Здесь нет яблок_ (genitive case)
    Здесь нет яблок - plural
    Здесь нет яблока - singular
    Пишу с ашипками

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    We use "кто-то не был" when we say about person's actions or experience. I never stayed in St.P. I didn't attend a meeting.

    "Кого-то не было" means that somebody was absent:
    У меня алиби: меня не было в Петербурге в день убийства.

    The difference is subtle sometimes and these constructions can often be used interchangeably.
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boroda
    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    For example, in the English sentence "There are no apples here", The apples are the object --> Здесь нет яблок_ (genitive case)
    Здесь нет яблок - plural
    Здесь нет яблока - singular
    Oops

  7. #7
    Hanna
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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    Quote Originally Posted by Boroda
    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    For example, in the English sentence "There are no apples here", The apples are the object --> Здесь нет яблок_ (genitive case)
    Здесь нет яблок - plural
    Здесь нет яблока - singular
    This should win a prize as one of the most confusing grammar rules ever!!!

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna
    Quote Originally Posted by Boroda
    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    For example, in the English sentence "There are no apples here", The apples are the object --> Здесь нет яблок_ (genitive case)
    Здесь нет яблок - plural
    Здесь нет яблока - singular
    This should win a prize as one of the most confusing grammar rules ever!!!
    They're both in genitive case.
    If I was kiddin' you, I'd be wearin' a fez and no pants. (Lennie Briscoe)

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna
    Quote Originally Posted by Boroda
    Quote Originally Posted by paulb
    For example, in the English sentence "There are no apples here", The apples are the object --> Здесь нет яблок_ (genitive case)
    Здесь нет яблок - plural
    Здесь нет яблока - singular
    This should win a prize as one of the most confusing grammar rules ever!!!
    This is quite beside the topic but my 12 points go to the rules covering counted nouns with adjectives. These rules are so straight from hell...
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

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    Re: Expressing Absence Using Genitive. Always?

    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker
    This is quite beside the topic but my 12 points go to the rules covering counted nouns with adjectives. These rules are so straight from hell...
    Вам не нравятся три простых правила?

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