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Как бы поздно ты не/ни пришёл ...

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by Enquiring Mind, Aug 23, 2013.

  1. Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    Answering the poster in a recent thread about the emphatic "... что бы они ни ...." construction, I found a native speaker's sample sentence (on otvet.mail.ru here) как бы поздно ты не пришёл, позвони мне. But looking at it again, I think I would have written как бы поздно ты ни пришёл ...

    I Googled both the constructions: "Как бы поздно ты ни" - 28,100 hits; "Как бы поздно ты не" - 43,500 hits.

    Are both ни and не interchangeable in this type of construction? Is it perhaps because "бы" is modifying the adverb "поздно" rather than the verb "пришёл" that either "не пришёл" or "ни пришёл" can be used here?

    I've checked the few previous threads on this construction, but this specific point doesn't seem to be addressed. Thanks in advance. Отвечать можно и по-русски.
     
  2. igusarov

    igusarov Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    That's interesting... I did the same googling just now. Did you notice that top links of those 43 thousands direct you to forums, blogs, and other live journals? While many of 28 thousand hits are links to books, libraries and other printed publications? :) Well... Choosing between "не" and "ни" is not easy - both of them sound about the same, both of them are could be used for negation... Thanks to Google, now we know how many people can fall for this mistake. ))

    My opinion: That sentense should've used "ни" just like the others.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  3. VikNikSor

    VikNikSor Senior Member

    Russian
    Real results:
    "Как бы поздно ты ни" - 33 hits
    "Как бы поздно ты не" - 24 hits
    No thousands...
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  4. gvozd

    gvozd Senior Member

    Как бы поздно ты не:cross: пришёл - невозможное предложение. Гугл здесь - плохой помощник. Он может лишь показать, как пишут чаще, но он не может указать, как писать ПРАВИЛЬНО.:(
     
  5. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    The meaning of this phrase is indeterminate choice of the time when somebody might come, not the negation of the fact that somebody might come. If it was the latter, the phrase would lose any sense at all (if nobody comes, why talk of what to do when somebody comes). Therefore, «ни» is the only possible choice.
     
  6. igusarov

    igusarov Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    Russian
    How silly of me... I forgot about a very similar construction which uses "не". No doubt that the existence of these two constructions contributes to the confusion and causes so many mistakes. Consider:

    "Где бы я ни был, я везде чувствую себя как дома." = "Whereever I am, ..."
    "Где я только не был!" = "Where haven't I been (rhetoric)" = "I've been everywhere."

    Likewise: "Куда я только не стучал!", "Кому я только не звонил!", "Чего я только не делал!" and so on.
    The function of "ни" and "только не" in these constructions is very similar: to emphasize that the statement covers many (all?) possible cases.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  7. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    I should say, not very similar, but just similar, because the border is really clear-cut :))): the first does not involve negation (he should be somewhere), the second does (he asks if there is a place where he was not at least once).
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  8. Konstan New Member

    Russia
    Russian
    Actually, the correct spelling is "как бы поздно ты нИ
    пришёл, позвони
    мне", so this means "it doesn't matter how late you will come, call me then". But "как бы поздно ты нЕ
    пришёл, позвони
    мне" could be also a valid construction and would mean "i'm afraid you would come late, call me".
     
  9. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Nice catch! :arrow:
    When the word order is more natural: «Как бы ты не пришёл [слишком] поздно. Позвони мне[, когда придёшь]».
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  10. morbo Senior Member

    Русский
    Just in case this suggestion might come in handy...
    When it comes to checking stuff like this, google books is a more reliable and representative alternative.
    http://www.google.com/search?q="Как...="Как+бы+поздно+ты|он|она|они|оно+ни"&tbm=bks
    http://www.google.com/search?q="Как...="Как+бы+поздно+ты|он|она|они|оно+не"&tbm=bks

    Then there's another alternative, namely Russian National Corpus -- http://www.ruscorpora.ru:

    right:
    http://search.ruscorpora.ru/search....&sem6=&sem-mod6=sem&sem-mod6=sem2&flags6=&m6=

    wrong, save for several examples of a completely different use:
    http://search.ruscorpora.ru/search....&sem6=&sem-mod6=sem&sem-mod6=sem2&flags6=&m6=

    "A completely different use" I was talking about is examples like 'Она была натянута, как струна, и он опасался, как бы напоследок она не подкачала ― не расплакалась, не забилась, не сотворила что-нибудь такое, из-за чего весь его, так точно выверенный план, рассыплется.' -- She was drawn tight as a bowstring, and he worried lest she bla-bla-bla...; 'Я испугался, как бы все это не кончилось совсем плохо, и, взяв извозчика, поехал к Шрайберу.' -- I got frightened that it all might end up quite badly bla-bla-bla...
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013
  11. Ёж! Senior Member

    Русский
    Кстати говоря, в Петербурге люди иной раз ошибочно не только пишут, но и произносят «не» вместо «ни»: «что бы ты не сделал, [...]». Причина, конечно, в том, что люди просто не задумываются о грамматике во время речи, а потому просто выбирают наиболее часто употребляемое слово из двух похожих. Как судить о сём – не знаю; моё мнение: в грамматике (в отличие от лексики, то есть употребления предлогов, выбора глагольных форм повелительного наклонения и тому подобных вещей) строгость приравнивается к красоте. Хотя, конечно, в быту или на производстве часто бывает не до красоты...
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2013

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