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Thread: A Few More Questions about Grammar

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    Подающий надежды оратор Astrum's Avatar
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    A Few More Questions about Grammar

    Осенью с деревьев опадают листья - In autumn the leaves fall from trees.

    Why is "с деревьев", in the intrumental case? Is instrumental used in place of "from" in this case?

    Мне нравится наблюдать за дождём из своего окна - I like watching the rain from my window.

    I'm confused as to why "за дождём" is used also, and why is "своего" there?


    Я видел, как молния ударила в это дерево

    Why is there "как"?

    One last final question. In the sentence "Конец холодам", why is "холодам" used instead of "холодно"?

  2. #2
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    деревьев - gen., not instr.
    наблюдать за чем-то think of look after something
    своего - my
    как - means you saw a lightening hitting the tree, not just the fact.
    конец холодам - the end to the cold weather (of the cold weather). Конец холодно - The end cold (coldly) doesn't make much sense.

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    This is called "government": certain prepositions or contructions require a specific case.
    C(со) + GEN is used for the meaning "down (from)".

    За requires Instrumental in several meanings; most important of those are "behind"(place, rather then motion to get behind smth) and "to get something": "Магазин был за остановкой", "Я сходил за булочками".

    Я видел как../Я слышал как../Я чувствовал как... is a standard consturction to express the idea of seeing/hearing and so on different thing as they happen. Like in English sentences "I saw him painting the wall", "I heard her being shot", "I felt rain drops running down my forehead". One of the things that are as easy in Russian as they are in English. Whatever the event was, just use "как" + sentence with no changes (). For example "rains drops run down my forehead" --> "rain drops were running down my forehead" --> "капли дождя стекали по моему лбу"--> "Я чувствовал, как капли дождя стекали по моему лбу" **
    ** if a sentence describes a process "rain drops were running down my forehead" in imperfective, you may as well use present tense after "как": "Я чувствовал, как по моему лбу стекают капли дождя".

    "Конец холодам": "холода" means "cold weather" in general. "Конец холодно" is ungrammatical. Would be something like "The end to the is cold". "Холодно" is a short-form adjective, so it makes zero sense to use it as a NOUN in an oblique case (short-form adjectives are only ever used in a nominal predicate,i.e. as the verb in the sentence).

    "свой" is a reflexive pronoun "oneselve's", which means my/his/her/John's/cat's and so on, depending on who or what is the subject of the sentence you use it in. Or a clause. Yes, I mean in a sentence like "I said that he must call his mother" use of "свой" in place of "his" will clearly refer to "his mother" rather than "my mother". "I" am the subject of the main sentence, but in the clause "he must call his mother" - it is "he" who is the subject.
    This reflexive pronoun declines like an adjective, which is hardly a surprise. Because is is used just as an adjective: to describe nouns. Note that "себя" (oneself) clearly cannot have a Nominative (because it only refers to a subject of the sentence, which already is in Nominative somewhere else). Свой works as an "adjective", so it does have Nominative свой/своя/своё/свои depending on the gender and number of a word it refers to.

    You don't have such a pronoun in English, so in complex sentences pay close attention, if there is such subject at all. In my example above, "Я чувствовал, как капли дождя стекают по моему лбу", you cannot use "свой". The clause "Rains drops were running down my forehead" has "rain drops" as a subject, and these clearly got no forehead. So "капли дождя стекают по своему лбу" is nonsense.

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    Подающий надежды оратор Astrum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shady_arc View Post
    This is called "government": certain prepositions or contructions require a specific case.
    C(со) + GEN is used for the meaning "down (from)".

    За requires Instrumental in several meanings; most important of those are "behind"(place, rather then motion to get behind smth) and "to get something": "Магазин был за остановкой", "Я сходил за булочками".

    Я видел как../Я слышал как../Я чувствовал как... is a standard consturction to express the idea of seeing/hearing and so on different thing as they happen. Like in English sentences "I saw him painting the wall", "I heard her being shot", "I felt rain drops running down my forehead". One of the things that are as easy in Russian as they are in English. Whatever the event was, just use "как" + sentence with no changes (). For example "rains drops run down my forehead" --> "rain drops were running down my forehead" --> "капли дождя стекали по моему лбу"--> "Я чувствовал, как капли дождя стекали по моему лбу" **
    ** if a sentence describes a process "rain drops were running down my forehead" in imperfective, you may as well use present tense after "как": "Я чувствовал, как по моему лбу стекают капли дождя".

    "Конец холодам": "холода" means "cold weather" in general. "Конец холодно" is ungrammatical. Would be something like "The end to the is cold". "Холодно" is a short-form adjective, so it makes zero sense to use it as a NOUN in an oblique case (short-form adjectives are only ever used in a nominal predicate,i.e. as the verb in the sentence).

    "свой" is a reflexive pronoun "oneselve's", which means my/his/her/John's/cat's and so on, depending on who or what is the subject of the sentence you use it in. Or a clause. Yes, I mean in a sentence like "I said that he must call his mother" use of "свой" in place of "his" will clearly refer to "his mother" rather than "my mother". "I" am the subject of the main sentence, but in the clause "he must call his mother" - it is "he" who is the subject.
    This reflexive pronoun declines like an adjective, which is hardly a surprise. Because is is used just as an adjective: to describe nouns. Note that "себя" (oneself) clearly cannot have a Nominative (because it only refers to a subject of the sentence, which already is in Nominative somewhere else). Свой works as an "adjective", so it does have Nominative свой/своя/своё/свои depending on the gender and number of a word it refers to.

    You don't have such a pronoun in English, so in complex sentences pay close attention, if there is such subject at all. In my example above, "Я чувствовал, как капли дождя стекают по моему лбу", you cannot use "свой". The clause "Rains drops were running down my forehead" has "rain drops" as a subject, and these clearly got no forehead. So "капли дождя стекают по своему лбу" is nonsense.
    Ok, so in cases where it wouldn't be right to say something like "Я (глагол), что", we say "Я (глагол), как"?

    The question about the prepostional case with "холодом", I just should remeber that, right? It applies to all nouns when you're trying to say "the end of (noun)"?

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astrum View Post
    Ok, so in cases where it wouldn't be right to say something like "Я (глагол), что", we say "Я (глагол), как"?
    It would really depend on what the verb is. As Shady_arc said, как is often used after verbs that mean "to perceive" or "to observe" or "to sense", etc. Thus видеть ("to see"), смотреть ("to watch"), слышать ("to hear"), слушать ("to listen"), чувствовать ("to feel"), etc. (Note that in English, we can sometimes use "as" after such verbs -- "to listen as the birds sang" -- but we wouldn't normally say "to hear as the birds sang"; we'd say "to hear the birds sing[ing]".)

    Also, compare these three sentences:

    1. "Yesterday I heard that canaries sing." (Someone informed me of the fact that canaries have this ability -- something I learned for the first time only yesterday!)
    2. "Yesterday I heard the canaries singing." (I personally witnessed this singing as it was occurring yesterday.)
    3. "Yesterday I listened while the canaries sang." (Basically same as #2, but with "listen" instead of "hear", to emphasize that you were actively paying attention to the birdies' songs.)

    The first could be translated:
    Вчера я слышал, что канарейки поют.

    And the second:
    Вчера я слышал, как канарейки поют.

    And the third:
    Вчера я слушал, как канарейки поют.

    Notice (to reiterate Shady_arc's point) that the verb поют is present-tense in all three sentences ("they are singing") -- even though я слышал and я слушал are past-tense, and despite the fact that in the second and third sentence, you're describing something that the birds did in the past, not something that they're doing right now (or that canaries "do in general," like in #1).

    You can think of it this way: in #2 and #3, the act of "singing" WAS in the present with respect to the act of hearing/listening. (For more info, Google on "sequence of tenses" -- English, in general, features so-called "sequence of tenses," but Russian often does not.)

    The question about the prepositional dative case with "холодом", I just should remember that, right? It applies to all nouns when you're trying to say "the end of (noun)"?
    Nope! Usually, "the end of (noun)" would take the (noun) in the genitive case. "A movie" is фильм; and конец фильма means "the end of the movie" (it's also used in movies to mean "The End", right before the closing credits).

    Note that in конец холодам, the word холодам is actually the dative plural. (Prepositional plural would be холодах and prep. sing. холоде.)

    The noun холод is "coldness", but when used in the plural, it's translatable as "cold weather" (not "coldnesses"!). The nominative pl. is холода, and thus you could say первые холода этого года, "the first cold weather of this year."

    So the expression конец холодам literally means "end TO cold weather" (dative). And you could also use the genitive of the plural конец холодов ("end OF cold weather"). I think the dative form холодам was used just for stylistic reasons in your example.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Подающий надежды оратор Astrum's Avatar
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    Thanks once again, it's really helpful to me.

    And I didn't realize that it was the noun form of "холодный", thanks again, I'm sure that I'll have more questions in the near future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    So the expression конец холодам literally means "end TO cold weather" (dative). And you could also use the genitive of the plural конец холодов ("end OF cold weather"). I think the dative form холодам was used just for stylistic reasons in your example.
    Not for stylistic reasons, but rather to express a certain thought. Something like "Here comes the end to cold weather". Just stating "End of the cold weather" wouldn't be the same. You may use it the same with people "Тебе конец" would be something like "You are done for" (correct me if I got it wrong). "Конец тебя" looks weird, even ungrammatical, and "твой конец" with current usage will remind of one's rod.

    As for sequence of tenses, you may use the verb in a subordinate clause in Past, "Вчера я слушал, как канарейки пели". It is just you don't have to.

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shady_arc View Post
    "Тебе конец" would be something like "You are done for" (correct me if I got it wrong).
    Wait, the word is К-О-Н-е-ц?!?! All these years I've been spelling and pronouncing it TOTALLY wrong, with 6 letters. (But at least I got the -е-ц part correct!)

    Just kidding -- and "You're done for" is correct.

    and "твой конец" with current usage will remind of one's rod.
    Век живи, век учись!

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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    yeah, doesn't that just grab ya? For forty years I was saying софа incorrectly. Must be those two-syllable words....

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    "Я видел, как молния ударила в это дерево" means you saw it in process.
    "Я видел, что молния ударила в это дерево" means you just saw something that indicates so. For example you saw it a paper report or saw the tree after the strike, next morning.

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    It's much better to say: Я слышал, как поют канарейки. The verb must be before the noun. конец is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable.

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    For forty years I was saying софа incorrectly.
    I simply do not use this word and say дивАн instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anixx View Post
    ......
    "Я видел, что молния ударила в это дерево" means you just saw something that indicates so. For example you saw it a paper report or saw the tree after the strike, next morning.
    Здесь лучше не "видел", а что-то вроде:
    Видимо, молния ударила в это дерево.
    По всей видимости, в это дерево ударила молния.
    Было видно, что молния ударила в это дерево.

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    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    .........
    1. "Yesterday I heard that canaries sing." (Someone informed me of the fact that canaries have this ability -- something I learned for the first time only yesterday!)

    The first could be translated:
    Вчера я слышал, что канарейки поют.
    ..........
    Мы можем использовать в таких ситуациях "услышать" (не "слышать"), но лучше -- "узнавать", поскольку речь идёт об интересном факте, а не о процессе (пения)
    Вчера я узнал, что канарейки поют.
    Вчера я услышал, что канарейки поют.

    Слышал мы говорим тоже, но тогда я бы убрал указание на время (вчера):
    Я слышал, что канарейки поют.
    Здесь употребление "слышать" вместо "узнавать" вносит оттенок неуверенности: я не уверен что канарейки поют (иначе я бы сказал просто "канарейки поют"):

    – Должно быть, вчерашний вечер сильно отличался от остальных, – сказал Пуаро, – возможно, вы даже видели, как преступник входил в лавку: такой высокий блондин с бородой, не так ли? Русский, как я слышал.
    "It must have been very different last night" - said Poirot. "Possibly you even observed the murderer enter the shop-a tall fair man with a beard was he not? A Russian - so I have heard."

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