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Thread: very quickly, is тебя in Мне жаль тебя accusative or genitive?

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    very quickly, is тебя in Мне жаль тебя accusative or genitive?

    Hi,

    Not able to answer this myself. I have a feeling I knew which it was, but as I didn't understand why, I have now forgotten...

    Rich B

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    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    I'm only guessing, but I suspect it's genitive (I'm sorry for you).
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    That was my guess, too! I'll try asking a native speaker...

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Мне жаль тебя.
    Я думаю, что здесь тебя в винительном падеже. Я вижу тебя (вин.). У меня нет тебя (род.) Не изменилось.
    Когда речь идет о неодушевлённом предмете, мы скажем: мне жаль книгу, я вижу книгу (вин.), но у меня нет книги (род.) То есть после жаль тот же падеж, что и после вижу. Просто нужно запомнить.

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    I think it is accusative if it is used in the sense of "I am sorry for you". If it is used in the sense of "I don't want to give you away (grudge)" then it can be either accusative or genitive (мне жаль книгу/книги).
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Мне жаль дочь.
    Как тебе не жалко родной матери?

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    I think it can perfectly be said "мне жаль книгу" and "мне жаль книги" as well. The same with "мне жаль этот дом"/"мне жаль этого дома", etc. So, my guess is you can't figure out what case is used for "тебя" in the example you gave.

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric C. View Post
    I think it can perfectly be said "мне жаль книгу" and "мне жаль книги" as well. The same with "мне жаль этот дом"/"мне жаль этого дома", etc. So, my guess is you can't figure out what case is used for "тебя" in the example you gave.
    Please check the It-ogo's post carefully. Different cases are used for different sense. I hardly can imagine any context where "мне жаль тебя" would imply "тебя" in genitive case. Since "мне жаль тебя" is "I feel sorry for you", "тебя" is in accusative case here.
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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Hmmm, Ozhegov's dictionary gives the example Ему жаль потраченного времени.

    I suppose that the sentence could either be translated "He regretted having wasted his time," or "He resented the wasted time" -- but "to regret" implies sadness, while "to resent" implies mild anger at the situation, so I'm not sure which English word is better in this context.
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    Завсегдатай chaika's Avatar
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    >жаль потраченного времени.
    either way, it's Genitive, not Accusative.

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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Are adverbial phrases the norm for this kind of thing? How is "I'm happy for you" said? Мне счастливо тебя. ?? Мне счастье тебя?

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraph View Post
    Are adverbial phrases the norm for this kind of thing? How is "I'm happy for you" said? Мне счастливо тебя. ??
    Я очень рад/рада за тебя/вас.


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    Старший оракул Seraph's Avatar
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    Благодаря Лампаде! (This one is dative, right?)

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    Старший оракул CoffeeCup's Avatar
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    жаль потраченного времени / жаль потраченное время
    Both are acceptable. There were explanations by it-ogo (click here) and Полуношник (click here).
    So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

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    Okay,

    So, my original example seems to have been in the accusative case, which makes sense.

    From Throbert McGee:- "to regret" implies sadness, while "to resent" implies mild anger
    So which of these does "жаль" translate best as? I would have thought sorrow rather than irritation, as I think I've seen it used that way before.

    Rich B

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    From it ogo:- If it is used in the sense of "I don't want to give you away (grudge)" then it can be either accusative or genitive (мне жаль книгу/книги).
    Is the word 'book' being used here just to demonstrate the endings used, or is this another quirky idiom...?
    By "I don't want to give you away", do you mean "I don't want to give you to someone else!" or "I don't want to reveal you?" Either way it is a meaning for this phrase that I would not have guessed from looking at it.

    Thanks,

    Rich B

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    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    No idioms, there are different meanings of the word "жаль/жалко".
    Here is an article from Multilex:

    жаль предик. безл.
    1. (кого-л.) переводится личн. формами: pity (smb.), be / feel* sorry (for smb.)
    ему жаль его — he pities him, he is / feels sorry for him
    ему до слёз жаль её — the sight of her brings the tears to his eyes
    2. (+ инф.):
    мне жаль смотреть на него — it grieves me to look at him
    3. (чего-л.) переводится глаголом: grudge (smth.)
    ему жаль куска хлеба — he grudges a bit of bread
    мне жаль тратить время — I grudge spending all that time
    для вас ему ничего не жаль — there is nothing he would not part with to please you
    4. (что, если; прискорбно) is is a pity (that, if)
    ему жаль, что — he is sorry that
    как жаль! — what a pity!
    очень жаль — it's a great pity
    Meaning 1 (normally for animate) requires accusative.
    Meaning 3 (normally for inanimate) requires either genitive (usually) or accusative.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    I think it is accusative if it is used in the sense of "I am sorry for you". If it is used in the sense of "I don't want to give you away (grudge)" then it can be either accusative or genitive (мне жаль книгу/книги).
    I think that it-ogo’s post sorted things out fairly well. It’s just that it was a bit confusing because he used the phrase to give away, which means to reveal or betray, to mean to give something to somebody, to lend. So, if I feel sorry for the book, for it was a great book but it burned down in a fire and I don’t have it anymore, then:
    Мне жаль книгу.
    If I grudge giving the book to you, I don’t want to part with it, then:
    Мне жаль книги. Although it wouldn’t be much of a mistake or any mistake at all to say in this case Мне жаль книгу too.

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    Thanks it-ogo and alexB, that's a lot clearer. Funny how even simple things can expand into a lot of new areas fore me.

    Rich B

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    And thanks it-ogo for the link to Multilex/SlovoEd, that's a serious resource there!

    Rich B

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