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Thread: Full meaning of оно

  1. #1
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    Full meaning of оно

    Привет!

    When using оно работает, what does the word "It" refer to? Would be a machine, like a car or tool? Or can it also include intangible things like an idea or process? For example if I thought of a way to solve a problem and I want tell someone about and finish by saying it works (meaning the idea) would I still use оно работает?

    спасибо,

    Ранди

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    SAn
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    Re: Full meaning of оно

    "Оно" is not directly correspond to "it". "Оно" is a pronoun for neuter gender. So, from this point of view there is no any difference in usage between "оно", "она" and "он".

    Устройство (device) — оно работает. "Устройство" has neuter gender.
    Машина (machine, car) — она работает. "Машина" has feminine gender. The idea is also "she" in Russian.
    Пылесос (vacuum cleaner) — он работает. "Пылесос" has masculine gender.

    If your question was about "what can work" in Russian, then you are right: "эта машина работает", "эта идея работает", "этот инструмент работает". There is also phrase usually used for intangible things: "эта идея рабочая", "этот метод рабочий" etc. There is slight difference of meaning between "работает" and "рабочий": "работает" usually means that it is doing some work right now, but "рабочий" means that it can do some work in principle.

    There is also exclamation in Russian: "Оно работает!". It can be applied for masculine and feminine subjects only if you do not mention the subject in previous or following speech.

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    Завсегдатай Crocodile's Avatar
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    Re: Full meaning of оно

    It's slightly different than the usage of "it" in English. My answer cannot replace the proper tutorial, but, in general, the words in Russian belong to three genders. So, basically, you'd have to memorize the words along with their gender. For example, the word "hammer" (молоток) is masculine in Russian, a "screwdriver" (отвёртка) is feminine, and a "drill bit" (сверло) is the middle gender (оно). In many cases you'll find that the ending of the word can hint on the gender.

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    Re: Full meaning of оно

    I can add that objects which protrude usually have masculine gender, while several pits, holes, and objects you can put something into, have feminine and neuter genders. I think this is somehow connected with human anatomy. But you should be careful because there are many exceptions from this rule.

    Masculine: Сук (bough, knot), бугор (bump, lump), холм (hill), корень (root), палец (finger), нож (knife), ...
    Feminine: Дырка (hole), кружка (mug), кастрюля (pot), сумка (bag) ...
    Neuter: Ухо (ear), окно (window), ...

    I learned somewhere that "cork" in French is masculine (it is logical), but in Russian ("пробка") it is feminine! Very strange because battle is also feminine in Russian.

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    Re: Full meaning of оно

    Quote Originally Posted by SAn
    I can add that objects which protrude usually have masculine gender, while several pits, holes, and objects you can put something into, have feminine and neuter genders. I think this is somehow connected with human anatomy. But you should be careful because there are many exceptions from this rule.
    NO! NO! NO! It's just your wishful thinking, I'm afraid. Surely you can find a number of nouns, that fit into this theory. But there are as much or even more of them that do not.
    Just a few examples:
    Feminine: гора (mountain), скала (rock), вилка (fork), отвертка (screwdriver), палка (stick), etc.
    Masculine: котел (cauldron), стакан (glass), бокал (wine class), портфель (briefcase), саквояж (travelling bag), чемодан (suitcase), etc.

    The proper way to learn a gender of the noun is to look at its ending. There are exceptions to this rule, but in most cases it will help.
    Feminine:
    1) most nouns ending with -а, -я: собака, толпа, свинья, песня
    2) some nouns ending with : дочь, мышь, ночь, печь

    Masculine:
    1) nouns ending with a consonant: отец, сосед, ребенок, цветок
    2) a few nouns ending with -а, -я: папа, дядя

    Neutral:
    1) Nouns ending with -о, -е: солнце, поле, окно, утро
    2) exceptions, ending with (they should be memorised): дитя; время, имя, знамя, семя, стремя, вымя, пламя, племя, темя, бремя

    It may seem a little confusing at first, but most nouns fit into rule #1 (i.e. -а/-я = Feminine, consonant = Masculine, -о/-е= Neutral), and you'll learn to recognize exceptions with time.

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    Re: Full meaning of оно

    Quote Originally Posted by SAn
    I can add that objects which protrude usually have masculine gender, while several pits, holes, and objects you can put something into, have feminine and neuter genders. I think this is somehow connected with human anatomy. But you should be careful because there are many exceptions from this rule.
    Such absurd inferences appear when someone takes Sigmund Freud's theories too seriously.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Full meaning of оно

    don't forget that consonants include the special consonant й -- трамвай, музей.

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    Re: Full meaning of оно

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    NO! NO! NO! It's just your wishful thinking, I'm afraid. Surely you can find a number of nouns, that fit into this theory. But there are as much or even more of them that do not.
    Hey! This was just a joke to keep up the conversation!

    Жалуется буфетчица из Центрального Дома литераторов: «Какие безграмотные эти писатели, всегда говорят: дайте мне одно кофе. И только один Расул Гамзатов правильно говорит: дайте мне один кофе и... один булка».

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