на машине, под машиной


Ok, I am very, very new to Russian and am using Rosetta Stone, which has helped me with Italian and Spanish. However, I am noticing here the Russian word for "car" changes depending on how it is used in the sentence. I get it, noun declensions. I understand there is a difference. However, in the example for the title of my thread "мyжчина на машине .. мyжчина под машиной" Why does the word "car" change if it seems to be used almost the same way in the sentence? The man is on the car. The man is under the car. I don't understand why the word "car" is declined in two different ways if it is the object in both sentences.

I know I am missing something.

Thank you!! Please be patient I am so very new at Russian.
  • Maroseika

    Hi ArtyA, welcome to the Russian forum.
    This is very interesting question, but it mostly refers to the history of the language. For your practical use better remember that various prepositions govern nouns in different cases, namely:
    preposition на - Prepositional case (на машине, на руке, на крыше)
    preposition под - Instrumental case (под машиной, под рукой, под крышей)

    If you check what prepositions govern one the same grammatical case, you will hardly notice too much common between them, so better not rely on semantics in this matter and just learn the pairs "preposition - case".


    Oh wow! Thanks for the quick reply. I am currently trying to understand the grammar. Maybe at my level I am putting the cart before the horse but I find that grammar is the key to unlocking the secrets of a language. I am currently looking for an easy-to-use/and understand book or site that explains the grammar, like the noun declensions and so on.

    Thanks again!
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