нас было пять человек

Anita hk

Senior Member
Hong Kong Chinese
On the section on collective numerals, my book says instead of ´´нас было пятеро´´, one can also say ´´нас было пять человек´´.
Since пять should be followed by noun in genitive plural, why is it not ´´нас было пять людей´´?
Thanks in advance.
 
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    True, but челове́к serves as a specific counting genitive plural form used with cardinal numerals and some other quantitative numerals (не́сколько, ско́лько, sometimes мно́го). There is a split in the declension paradigm of the word, as you can see in Wiktionary's table, for example.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Человек in пять человек is also Genitive.
    Cf.: он не чистил сапог, не стирал чулок, группа кирасир etc. More about the nouns like these - here in par. 154.
     

    Anita hk

    Senior Member
    Hong Kong Chinese
    Thanks Awwal12 and Maroseika. I looked up the declension table in Wiktionary. The problem is I don't even know what those headings (eg. ед. ч. / мн. ч. / причисл ...) stand for. Very often I have the same problem when looking up words in the word reference dictionary. For example, what are прил / несов неперех / чис / ср ...? Is there a table in word reference somewhere which explains what these short forms are?

    Now back the the question. So if after cardinal numbers and some quantity words, the column under причисл. should be used for declension of человек , correct?
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Thanks Awwal12 and Maroseika. I looked up the declension table in Wiktionary. The problem is I don't even know what those headings (eg. ед. ч. / мн. ч. / причисл ...) stand for. Very often I have the same problem when looking up words in the word reference dictionary. For example, what are прил / несов неперех / чис / ср ...? Is there a table in word reference somewhere which explains what these short forms are?
    No, there is no such a table in the WR. Here are some of them:
    ед. ч. - единственное число
    мн. ч. - множественное число
    причисл. - причисловое (as explained there in the left)
    прил. - прилагательное
    несов. - несовершенный вид
    неперех. - непереходный глагол
    чис. - число
    ср. - средний род.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Now back the the question. So if after cardinal numbers and some quantity words, the column under причисл. should be used for declension of человек , correct?
    Yes.
    With Cardinal Numerals we use человек in all Сases: пришли пять человек, халаты выдали семи человекам, обошлись тремя человеками.
    If the numeral goes with the attribute, we can also use люди in all Cases (including Nom.): пришли пять хороших людей/человек, я был остановлен семью странными людьми/человеками.
    The only exception are numerals 2, 3 and 4. With them, Nom. with люди is not used: пришли два хороших человека.
     

    Anita hk

    Senior Member
    Hong Kong Chinese
    Thanks Maroseika. 2 more points to confirm:
    1. in 'пришли пять хороших людей/человек', is it also correct to use neuter singular пришлo because the subject is a numeral?
    2. the exceptions you mentioned about Nominative of люди is not used with numerals 2, 3 and 4, does it apply to numerals ending with 2,3 and 4 (eg 22, 23, 24) as well?
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    1. in 'пришли пять хороших людей/человек', is it also correct to use neuter singular пришлo because the subject is a numeral?
    Yes, correct - if you consider them as a whole, as a depersonalized group or if it's the number that matters etc.
    More about this here: Единственное и множественное число сказуемого.
    By the way, the subject here is not numeral, the subject is пять хороших людей.

    2. the exceptions you mentioned about Nominative of люди is not used with numerals 2, 3 and 4, does it apply to numerals ending with 2,3 and 4 (eg 22, 23, 24) as well?
    Yes.
     
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