Мне ничего не надо было представлять.


Senior Member
English (BrE)
"Мне ничего не надо было представлять."

Hi. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head round this sentence construction. Does it mean literally:

"To/for me, nothing needed to be imagined"?

I have a couple of questions:

1. Does this dative "Мне" serve to indicate who is supposed to be the subject of the Predicative "надо"?

2. Is "ничего" the subject of this passive sentence?

3. Does the form "быть + Verb Infinitive" denote a passive meaning in Russian? Like "be imagined"?
  • Maroseika

    1. Yes, Dative + надо/нужно/можно is set construction meaning "someone needs to". It can be followed by an infinitive (need to do smth, like мне надо уходить) or a noun (need something, like мне надо хлеба).

    2. This is not a passive sentence, it's impersonal with predicate (составное именное сказуемое) мне надо представлять and supplement ничего.

    3. No, it's not passive. Unlike "be imagined" - быть представленным or "this is imagined by smb." - это представляется кем-то.
    Actually быть + Verb Infinitive is impossible contsruction in Russian. It is possible with быть in the Past or Future Tense, but in this case быть refers not to the verb in Infinitive, but to something else: надо было + Inf. (I needed to), надо будет + Inf. (will need to). In Present Tense быть is not used: мне не надо представлять.


    Does "ничего" always need to be at this position followed by "Мне"?
    No, not always. It can be placed anywhere*, with a slight change of semantic stress (which also depends on the intonational stress). Usually semantic stress falls on the word closer to the beginning (with neutral intonation).

    * Of course, не надо is inseparable.
    < Previous | Next >