Results 1 to 4 of 4
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By Полуношник

Thread: Past tense of BE in plural

  1. #1
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Rep Power

    Past tense of BE in plural

    The first sentence should be correct but it sounds bad to me. Why is были wrong?

    У его мамы было две работы.
    У его мамы были две работы.

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Russia, Siberia
    Rep Power
    Both sentences are ok.

    There is difference, but I cannot explain it.

  3. #3
    Почтенный гражданин xXHoax's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Washington State
    Rep Power
    Verbs only ever agree with subjects. Работы isn't plural-nominative(By modern standards: ) its singular-genitive. In the past (Old Church Slavonic times), работы would be in the 'dual' number, and the verb would agree with it in the dual. They had singular, dual, and plural, with verb forms that agreed to all of it, as well as all the cases for all nouns' endings. But when the dual-number's endings died, it was approximated into genitive(because after a while it started to look the same in most cases) . I'm not sure if russians still consider nouns after "two" to be in a remnant-dual-number, or if they're just inconspicuously considered in the genitive. I would think that the modernday subject would be... два? были makes sense if you think about it, but it doesn't really match up with the strict matching system of the cases. Sure, there are two things, but neither are a subject of the word быть.

  4. #4
    Старший оракул
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Rep Power
    George1992 likes this.
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
    Прямой путь не предлагать!

Similar Threads

  1. Immediate future by using the past tense
    By Yuki in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: September 16th, 2008, 01:56 AM
  2. question about past tense particles
    By sperk in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: August 15th, 2006, 07:17 PM
  3. The best way to say that in the past tense?
    By Rtyom in forum Learn English - Грамматика, переводы, словарный запас
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: June 16th, 2005, 05:01 PM
  4. Past tense verb + было
    By Moryachka in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: April 19th, 2005, 12:42 AM
  5. Future / Past Tense questions
    By fantom605 in forum Grammar and Vocabulary
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: March 9th, 2005, 05:48 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Russian Lessons                           

Russian Tests and Quizzes            

Russian Vocabulary