Я был ребёнком

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by mabimabi, May 7, 2013.

  1. mabimabi Senior Member

    • Я был ребёнком

    I'm studying Russian on a software. Why do they use instrumental case? I would have used nominative case.
    Context: there are two images, the first showing the main character as a child, the second as an adult.
    Can you explain me? Thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2013
  2. Maroseika Moderator

    Nominative is also possible, meaning more stable characteristic (but this usage may sound bookish or outdated).

    Он был еще ребенок и мало что понимал.

    Павел у нас по три года живет для жеребенка, а потом пропивает его с женой и опять живет в надежде сделаться хозяином; он им не сделается: медленный и тупой человек, а я сделаюсь хозяином жизни, я буду инженер и буду жизнью управлять. [М. М. Пришвин. Дневники (1925)]
  3. Sobakus Senior Member

    The simple answer for study purposes is "because быть, as well as являться typically govern nouns in the Instrumental". When быть is omitted (which can happen only in the present), the noun is in the Nominative, though.
  4. Saluton Banned

    Moscow, Russia
    Я был ребёнок sounds informal, not "bookish" or "outdated". Я был ребёнком would always be correct.
  5. Ёж! Senior Member

    I'd say it sounds both informal and bookish (sometimes depending on the context, sometimes it is both at the same time). Such kind of lexical pecularity is widespread in Russian.
  6. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    First commandment for learning a new language: forget what you would do in your native language, accept the rules of the language you're learning.

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