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Thread: Interrogative pronouns, how to use?

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    Interrogative pronouns, how to use?

    Hi everyone!

    I´d like to write a sentence such as, What kind of music do you like? in Russian. To me, I´d write какая музыка ты любишь?, but I´ve searched and found is какую ты любишь музыку. I can´t understand how I get the secret to know if is accusative, genitive or other case when I´m writing что, чей, какой... I know the difference between accusative, dative, genitive, prepositional and instrumental case, but I get confused when I need to write, to speak interrogative pronouns. Can anybody help me, plzzz?

    Thanks in advance)

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    I don't remember much about case system theoretically-wise, so please correct me if I got anything wrong.

    "Ты" is the only word in Nominative here, because it's a subject (a subject is always in Nom.) "Музыку" is accusative because it's a direct object, i.e. an object of the action "to love". "Какую" refers tо "музыка", and thus it adopts accusative too.

    Maybe it will be easier to see if you mentally change the word order and omit "какую": Ты любишь музыку? Omitting "какую" changes the meaning, of course, but the inner mechanics of cases is the same.

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Yes, it has nothing to do with interrogative pronouns. Cases are the same in interrogative and affirmative. (Well, mostly the same.) Basically, to identify a case here you need to know a verb it is agreed with. Любить музыку - to like the music. Verb любить requires direct object in accusative. Of course it is difficult to learn everything but there is a pattern, which you will get intuitively after some practice.
    Last edited by it-ogo; February 20th, 2011 at 05:29 AM.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    So, when I write or speak a sentence with interrogative pronouns I need to put the interrogative pronoun in the same case it refers. For example, What fruit do you like? in Russian will be который фрукт ты любишь?, фрукт doesn´t change because is an inanimate noun of masculine gender and, in the sentence, is in accusative case. который that refers to фрукт doesn´t change because фрукт is an inanimate noun and according to the rules there´s no need to change it. который is in accusative case too. Is it that?

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    So, when I write or speak a sentence with interrogative pronouns I need to put the interrogative pronoun in the same case it refers.
    Renataf -- yes, it sounds like you more or less understand it now!

    The only thing I would add is that in the example you gave ("What kind of fruit do you like?"), I'm pretty sure that most Russians nowadays would prefer to use какой instead of который -- thus, Какой фрукт ты любишь? Or as an example of the feminine accusative, Какую водку ты любишь? And in a seafood restaurant you could ask, Какая рыба у вас свежая сегодня? ("What kind of fish do you have fresh today?" -- note that какая, рыба, and свежая are all in the nominative, just as when one says У меня друг or У нас собака, etc.)

    It's not that using который as an interrogative is grammatically wrong, but simply that it may sound a bit old-fashioned and uncolloquial in a question of this type, so in general it's better to use какой.

    Of course, который is still used as a RELATIVE pronoun, as in:

    Он поднял книгу, которая лежала на полу. ("He picked up the book, which was lying on the floor.")

    But in today's Russian, который is not used so much as an INTERROGATIVE pronoun, except in some traditional fixed idioms.
    Говорит Бегемот: "Dear citizens of MR -- please correct my Russian mistakes!"

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    Thanks a lot gRomoZeka, It-ogo and Throbert McGee!

    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    The only thing I would add is that in the example you gave ("What kind of fruit do you like?"), I'm pretty sure that most Russians nowadays would prefer to use какой instead of который -- thus, Какой фрукт ты любишь? Or as an example of the feminine accusative, Какую водку ты любишь? And in a seafood restaurant you could ask, Какая рыба у вас свежая сегодня? ("What kind of fish do you have fresh today?" -- note that какая, рыба, and свежая are all in the nominative, just as when one says У меня друг or У нас собака, etc.)

    It's not that using который as an interrogative is grammatically wrong, but simply that it may sound a bit old-fashioned and uncolloquial in a question of this type, so in general it's better to use какой.
    It´s really useful for me to know about it)

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renataf View Post
    So, when I write or speak a sentence with interrogative pronouns I need to put the interrogative pronoun in the same case it refers. For example, What fruit do you like? in Russian will be который фрукт ты любишь?, фрукт doesn´t change because is an inanimate noun of masculine gender and, in the sentence, is in accusative case. который that refers to фрукт doesn´t change because фрукт is an inanimate noun and according to the rules there´s no need to change it. который is in accusative case too. Is it that?
    Yes, the logic and cases are right, but native Russian most probably would say "Какие фрукты ты любишь?" (in plural) or "Что из фруктов тебе нравится?"
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Thanks again It-ogo)

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    The only thing I would add is that in the example you gave ("What kind of fruit do you like?"), I'm pretty sure that most Russians nowadays would prefer to use какой instead of который -- thus, Какой фрукт ты любишь?
    Actually, который may sound very natural here, if it is used in a sentence like this: "Который из этих фруктов тебе нравится (тебе больше нравится)?" - "Which one of these fruits do you like (do you like more)?"

    There are more cases where you can use "который" not only as a Relative pronoun, usually in "Which one.." questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxygent View Post
    Actually, который may sound very natural here, if it is used in a sentence like this: "Который из этих фруктов тебе нравится (тебе больше нравится)?" - "Which one of these fruits do you like (do you like more)?"

    There are more cases where you can use "который" not only as a Relative pronoun, usually in "Which one.." questions.
    So, when I say what kind of... it´s more usual какой than который, but when I say which one... there´s no problem to use который?

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    So, when I say what kind of... it´s more usual какой than который, but when I say which one... there´s no problem to use который?
    Yes, correct.

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    Thanks Oxygent!

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