Той, тя, то...


Dear Bulgarian speakers,

After learning "род" in Bulgarian, I got confused about some statements in Bulgarian.
Since all nouns have genders, you treat them as "he" or "she" or "it" in Bulgarian and add stems accordingly.
I wonder if you can use "той, тя, то" instead of nouns as well.

Eg. when you ask in English, you say :
Which is the third month of the year ?

And you can answer with "it" instead of "third month" like "It is March."

So when you ask "Кой е третият месец на годината?" ( Which is the third month of the year ? ), can we answer with "той," instead of "третият месец" as it has a masculine gender ? Is it possible to say: "Той е Март." ?

Thanks in advance.
  • You can use pronouns instead of nouns naturally but not in this case, I'm afraid.

    The phrase "it is..." is not applied in Bulgarian as in English. In English you need an object in every sentence, hence "it". Bulgarian is a pro-drop language and doesn't need a pronoun in this case.

    So, to answer the question "Кой е третият месец на годината?" , the answer would be "Март (е)" without a pronoun. "Той е март" sounds unnatural and very strange.
    It is very clear, thank you! It sounded a bit strange to me as well but since all nouns have genders, it seemed like an option.
    When I checked with my cousin in Bulgaria, she said that one can not say "Той е Март" as well, but she is not competent in our mother tongue and could not tell the reason. So, it is used like "March it is" instead of "It is March" when you say "Март е" in Bulgarian but there is no need for an "it". Actually a much more simple usage in this case.
    If anything, you can say "това е март".
    Ah, so it seems the problem is that in Bulgarian, much like in Russian (and unlike in English), proximal deictic words are default ones, which rules the distal words out in some contexts (cf. Rus. это март vs. *то март in the same context). But the rest is about the basic model of predication with pronominal subjects, and here we expectedly have "this (=it; the stuff) is March" instead of "this one is March" (may be even more apparent in plural).
    Last edited:
    The names of the months go by the gender of the word month "месец" which is in masculine. If you decide to add adjectives to the moth, it has to be also in masculine - We had an unusually warm December - изкарахме необичайно топъл декември.