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Thread: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

  1. #1
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    по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    1.Я занимаюсь по часу в неделю. (по + dative)

    2.Я занимаюсь по два часа в день. (по + accusative)

    Why in the first sentence the dative is used, while in the second it is used the accusative? I don't understand the difference in meaning between the sentences. I'm translating them as:

    1.I study an hour per week.
    2.I study two hours per day.

  2. #2
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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    There is no difference, just preposition по in this function works with two cases - Dative and Accusative, depending on whether the object means one thing or more than one.
    The same is with price: продал по рублю (по одному рублю), but по два рубля.
    I suspect Dative was primary, because a couple of centuries ago form по дву was also in use. Probably, this happened because to put 2 words in Dative was more difficult and numeral + noun work as a single unit, while один + noun is often shortened just to a noun: по одному часу > по часу.
    Last edited by Maroseika; 26th November 2012 at 4:24 PM.

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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    Just an addition: note that there is a difference in the declension of час depending on the numeral:

    по [одному] часу в неделю (по + dative)
    по два/три / четыре часа в в неделю (по + gen. singular - I don't think it is accusative....)
    по пять / шесть... часов в неделю (по + gen. plural)


    Last edited by rusita preciosa; 26th November 2012 at 9:36 PM. Reason: added the part in red to avoid confusion - as per the discussion below

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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    Спасибо

    Quote Originally Posted by rusita preciosa View Post
    Just an addition: note that there is a difference depending on the numeral:

    по [одному] часу в неделю (по + dative)
    по два/три / четыре часа в в неделю (по + gen. singular - I don't think it is accusative....)
    по пять / шесть... часов в неделю (по + gen. plural)


    Я думаю, что во втором и третьем примере по + винительный падеж. Если бы было по + родительный, мы должны были бы писать "по двух часов".

  5. #5
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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    Quote Originally Posted by rusita preciosa View Post

    по два/три / четыре часа в в неделю (по + gen. singular - I don't think it is accusative....)

    "Час", конечно, стоит в родительном, но "по" сочетается со словом четыре, которое стоит в винительном.

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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    Quote Originally Posted by jadeite_85 View Post
    Я думаю, что во втором и третьем примере по + винительный падеж. Если бы было по + родительный, мы должны были бы писать "по двух часов".
    [re: declension of the word час]
    No, come to think of it, I’m sure it is genitive singular. Gen. sing. and accus. sing. are the same for inanimate nouns. I’m not sure of your level of Russian, but at some point you will be able to easily verify whether you have gen. sing. or accus. sing.: you plug in an animate noun in place of the inanimate one, e.g. по две лошади (gen. sing) , not по две лошадей (accus. sing.).

    In addition, there are a couple of other reasons why по двух часов is impossible here:

    - note that the number in this context is not conjugated: so it is always по две / по двa.

    - lastly, I indicated plural vs. singular on purpose because it makes a difference when you use nouns with numbers – review what noun cases used with numbers 1; 2-4; 5+.
    Last edited by rusita preciosa; 26th November 2012 at 9:38 PM. Reason: added the part in red, to avoid confusion

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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Maroseika View Post
    "Час", конечно, стоит в родительном, но "по" сочетается со словом четыре, которое стоит в винительном.
    Oh, I see now. I will keep my post above, just in case it would be useful for future foreros.

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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    With great humility and all due respect to the native speakers, по doesn't take the genitive. As Maroseika says in #5, in the phrase по два/три/четыре часа в неделю, по is governingthe numbers два, три and четыре, which are in the accusative case, and the noun часа that follows these numbers is required to be in the genitive singular. The noun case here is governed by the numerals два, три or четыре, not by the preposition по.
    (Ин май хамбл апиньон, конечно)
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  9. #9
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    Re: по + accusative or dative in temporal expressions

    It's a bad idea to classify this. If I were to learn Russian over again, I'd never think of that. Begining learning English, I didn't understand why they say in the morning, but at night e.t.c. And eventually I had to learn it without any analysis. I suggest you the same.

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