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Thread: Sentence in accusative or dative case?

  1. #1
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    Sentence in accusative or dative case?

    which sentence is correct?

    я смотрю тебе.
    я смотрю тебя.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiudavidharris View Post
    which sentence is correct?

    я смотрю тебе.
    я смотрю тебя.
    1. None of them is correct. Please provide your translation.

    2. The sentences cannot be in accusative, dative or any other case. It's nouns (or pronouns) which decline by cases, not sentences.
    Consider: Сестра пишет пишет письмо другу брата карандашом на бумаге. = The sister is writing a letter to the brother's friend with a pencil on the paper.
    сестра - nominative, письмо - accusative, другу - dative, брата - genitive, карандашом - instrumental, (на) бумаге - prepositional.

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    я смотрю тебе.
    я смотрю тебя.

    'im watching you'

    how do i say this in russian?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiudavidharris View Post
    'im watching you'
    Not just looking, but watching?

    If I understand you correctly, "I am watching you" implies that you are watching all my actions, in order to know everything I do, and how I do it, right? Or even, you may be spying me (so you might do it secretly)?

    If yes, then your choice is

    to watch (in this context) = наблюдать за + instrumental
    or
    следить за + instrumental (this one may also imply spying).

    So we get: Я наблюдаю за тобой. or Я слежу за тобой.

    смотреть is just "to look"
    If you want to say "I am looking at you", it is "Я смотрю на тебя".

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    "Я смотрю на тебя".
    do we use accusative case on 'на тебя' because of direction and because 'тебя' is the object of the sentence?

    Я наблюдаю за тобой.
    why the instrumental case here?
    why do we need the preposition 'за'?

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    May I advise you something? When learning a foreign language, there is no need to ask "why" everytime. All what you need is to ask "how".

    Every language has its own rules and its own logic.

    In English: "I am looking at you". Why to use "at"? Why not "on"? For me, it seems more logical to say "I am looking on you" (Just kidding, I know I have to use "at", but in Russian we would use "on").
    Why do you say "John helps Mary" and not "John helps to Mary"? Again, the second version would be more logical for Russians.
    Why do you "wait for a bus"? And not just "wait a bus"? (As we would say).
    Why do you "answer a question" and not "answer on a question"? We do "answer on questions" in Russian.
    Why do you "listen to music"? Why to use "to"? We don’t use it, we just "listen music".
    Your things "depend on something", ours "depend from something".
    Your things "consist of some components", ours "consist from some components".

    All the examples above show the thing which is called "verb government". Every language has its own unique verb government. You just have to LEARN which verb requires which case and/or preposition.
    "to look at smth." = "смотреть на + acc."
    "to watch smth." = "наблюдать за + instr." Or "следить за + instr."

    Don’t learn a verb alone! You cannot guess a correct government, you should learn a verb with its government. 2-3 sample sentences for each verb.

    You would unevitably face the same problem when learning ANY other language (not only Russian). Even closely related languages often have different government patterns of some verbs.

    Some links for you for further reading (if you are interested in this):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_(linguistics)
    Case government - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Quote Originally Posted by tiudavidharris View Post
    do we use accusative case on 'на тебя' because of direction and because 'тебя' is the object of the sentence?
    "тебя" in "Я смотрю на тебя" is not an object (at least, it is not a direct object, because there is a preposition).

    But yes, "на тебя" shows some direction (i.e. the direction of where you are looking). And it is a common way to indicate directions using "на + acc." or "в + acc.": подниматься на гору, положить на стол etc.

    It's like as if you would say "I am looking ONTO you". But you have just to learn it.

    Better take 2-3 sentences and try to memorize, so you'll get a pattern:
    Я смотрю на тебя. I'm looking at you.
    Я смотрю на реку. I'm looking at a river.
    Я смотрю на дом. I'm looking at a house.
    Я смотрю на рисунок. I'm looking at a picture.

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    All what you need is to ask "how".
    thank you, i will put that into practice.

    Don’t learn a verb alone!
    im not sure about the context of this
    youre saying dont study a verb by itself. instead, use it with other words?
    or are you saying dont learn a verb by myself?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiudavidharris View Post
    youre saying dont study a verb by itself. instead, use it with other words?
    - that one!

    BTW, I've updated the post with some sentences you can start with.

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    Завсегдатай maxmixiv's Avatar
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    My dictionary gives, among others, these cases of use for "наблюдать":

    1) observe
    2) look (after)
    ..............
    So:
    Мы наблюдали редкое явление природы - полное солнечное затмение. (наблюдали явление - Accusativ without preposition)
    Мы наблюдали за щенком. (за + Instrumental)
    Мы наблюдали за тем, как черепахи делят еду. (за + Instrumental again)

    It clearly shows, that sometimes the verb government can vary along the meaning. Good dictionary should provide all possible occurences.


    tiudavidharris, you are asking very deep questions!
    "Невозможно передать смысл иностранной фразы, не разрушив при этом её первоначальную структуру."

  10. #10
    Увлечённый спикер krwright's Avatar
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    When dealing with verbs, I always recommend the same two sources:

    Katzner's dictionary (a big red one) - it provides several possibilities of words, examples, and often pairs which verbs go with which cases.
    The Big Silver Book of Verbs - provides 555 imperfective-perfective verb pairs, along with full conjugations, which cases the verbs take, and several example sentences.

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    And one more trick: the verb "смотреть".

    When looking at a physical object, we use it with the preposition "на": смотреть на луну, смотреть на небо, смотреть на человека etc.

    But when being used with some kind of art performance, this verb becomes transitives and takes accusative with no preposition:
    смотреть кино (фильм) - to see a movie;
    смотреть спектакль - to see a play;
    смотреть представление - to see a theater performance;
    смотреть балет, смотреть шоу etc.

    Also: смотреть телевизор - to watch TV.

    Moreover, "смотреть" is used without preposition when it means "to look thoroughly": смотреть документы, смотреть записи, смотреть журнал.
    If we say: "Он посмотрел мои документы" and "Он посмотрел на мои документы", the two sentences will be understood differently:
    the former means "He looked through my documents, he checked their content";
    the latter means just "He looked at my documents, maybe without even opening them and without reading what is inside".

    Also, we say:
    Врач смотрит больного - The doctor is testing a patient (in order to diagnose).
    And it is not the same as
    Врач смотрит на больного - The doctor is looking (or even staring) at a patient.

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