на ско́лько вре́мени?

eni8ma

Senior Member
English - Australia
What difference is there between these questions?
- ско́лько вре́мени?
- на ско́лько вре́мени?

Schaum says they both mean "for how long?", but lists different adverbs as answers to each question.

- ско́лько вре́мени?
- долго/давно - for a long time

- на ско́лько вре́мени?
- надолго/навсегда - for a long time/forever?

:confused: I don't understand what the distinction is between those two questions.
 
  • Mr_Darcy

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Сколько времени ты учишь русский? (= Как давно ты учишь русский?)
    How long have you been studying Russian?

    Сколько времени? (Though it is sort of better to say "который час?", see more here: http://www.gramota.ru/spravka/trudnosti/36_68)
    What time is it?

    На сколько времени ты уезжаешь?
    For how long are you leaving?
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Сколько времени ты учишь русский? (= Как давно ты учишь русский?)
    How long have you been studying Russian?

    На сколько времени ты уезжаешь?
    For how long are you leaving?
    In English, both questions are "for how long". (I know many people don't put 'for' on the front - they either put it on the end or leave it off altogether - but we learned in school that "prepositions never go on the end", and since the answer is "For ...", there is supposed to be a "for" in the question.)

    :idea: I think I've got it ... I have seen that Accusative on its own expresses duration of the main action, and На + Accusative expresses duration of a secondary action. Perhaps that's the reason?

    In your examples,
    - Сколько времени ты учишь русский? referred to the primary action of studying.
    - На сколько времени ты уезжаешь? уезжаешь is the main action, and the secondary action is the actual "being away", and that is what question asks about.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    :idea: I think I've got it ... I have seen that Accusative on its own expresses duration of the main action, and На + Accusative expresses duration of a secondary action. Perhaps that's the reason?

    In your examples,
    - Сколько времени ты учишь русский? referred to the primary action of studying.
    - На сколько времени ты уезжаешь? уезжаешь is the main action, and the secondary action is the actual "being away", and that is what question asks about.
    Maybe you systematization is useful to remember all this mess, but I don't think it is really based on all these prime and secondary actions. Anyway, these questions, I suppose, are the "derivatives" from the affirmative forms:
    Я учу русский год (час, минуту, вечно).
    Я уезжаю на год (на час, на минуту, навечно).
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Maybe your systematization is useful to remember all this mess, but I don't think it is really based on all these prime and secondary actions. Anyway, these questions, I suppose, are the "derivatives" from the affirmative forms:
    Я учу русский год (час, минуту, вечно).
    Я уезжаю на год (на час, на минуту, навечно).
    Unless you can explain why the constructions are different, I will have to stick with the "rule" I found. :)

    We foreigners don't have your intuitive understanding, so we have to figure out some kind of pattern. It's one thing to learn irregular verbs and noun declensions by rote - it's quite another to put a sentence together well if we don't have some kind of pattern to follow.

    Did they teach anything in school as to when to use на + Acc, and when to use Acc alone?
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Unless you can explain why the constructions are different, I will have to stick with the "rule" I found. :)
    I think it's not easier than to explain why it is 'for two years' and not "on two years'. I just doubt the 'rule' has anything to do with tow actions. I think the basis is not so serious and it is only about direct correspondence between semantically equal constructions of different languages.
    Maybe it would be better to formulate this regularity or pattern as follows:

    When English "for period" means 'during the period', it goes without a prepostion in Russian:
    Я буду жить там 3 года (в течение 3 лет).
    Я не видел тебя целую вечность (в течение вечности).
    Подожди минутку (в течение минутки).

    And when it cannot be substituted with "during" it goes with на:
    Я уезжаю туда на 3 года.
    Я расстаюсь с тобой навечно.
    Можно тебя на минутку?

    Did they teach anything in school as to when to use на + Acc, and when to use Acc alone?
    No. For the natives it is evident intuitively, like you said.
     
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    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Maybe it would be better to formulate this regularity or pattern as follows:

    When English "for period" means 'during the period', it goes without a preposition in Russian
    I'd love to agree with you, but I wouldn't use 'during' for any of those. Let me put it differently. It seems to be a question of what the time period is applied to.

    Я буду жить там 3 года.
    - the period applies to жить, which is the verb - use Acc

    Я не видел тебя целую вечность (в течение вечности).
    - the period applies to не видел [тебя], which is the verb - use Acc

    Подожди минутку (в течение минутки).
    - the period applies to Подожди, which is the verb - use Acc

    Я уезжаю туда на 3 года.
    - уезжаю is the verb, but how long it will take you to go is not stated. The period applies to what happens after you get there - use на Acc

    Я расстаюсь с тобой навечно.
    - расстаюсь is the verb, but how long it will take you to part is not stated. The period applies to what happens after you part - use на Acc

    Можно тебя на минутку?
    May I - to/with you - for a minute :confused:
    I'm not sure if a nice girl should answer that question :D

    Sorry - I cannot understand that last sentence, but hopefully you can see what I have been talking about with the others.
     
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    Mr_Darcy

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Schaum says they both mean "for how long?", but lists different adverbs as answers to each question.
    The thing is they are very different fors with two different meanings. In the first place, do you see the difference in the meaning of those for's?

    Looking at a slightly different angle at what Maroseika said:
    For how long are you going to Alaska means You are going to Alaska to spend there how much time? = На сколько ты едешь на Аляску?
    I am going to Alaska for two months / for a long time / forever = Я еду на Аляску на два месяца / надолго / навсегда.

    They put him in jail for 5 years means They put him in jail so he would spend there 5 years = Его посадили (на сколько?) на 5 лет

    VS.

    For how long did you stay in Alaska means How much time did you spend in Alaska (NOT "for how much") = Сколько времени ты провел на Аляске?
    I stayed in Alaska for 2 months = I spent 2 months in Alaska = Я провел на Аляске (пробыл на Аляске) 2 месяца.

    So it's something like statement of intention vs. statement of fact.

    Correct me if I'm wrong with the English prepositions.
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Correct me if I'm wrong with the English prepositions.
    Your preps are mostly fine - but if you look at them, you will see that in English, they are all the same.
    For how long are you going to Alaska means You are going to Alaska to spend there how much time? -this sentence should be How much time will you go to Alaska for? = For how much time will you go to Alaska?

    They put him in jail for 5 years means They put him in jail so he would spend there 5 years = Его посадили (на сколько?) на 5 лет

    VS.

    For how long did you stay in Alaska means How much time did you spend in Alaska (NOT "for how much time"!) = Сколько времени ты провел на Аляске?
    Unfortunately, changing the verb changed the question (in English).
    For how long did you stay in Alaska
    =
    How much time did you spend in Alaska
    = For how much time did you stay in Alaska?

    Sorry, the problem is that in English we don't have cases, so the questions are the same. I think my previous post was fairly clear. It fits all the examples provided so far.
     

    Mr_Darcy

    Senior Member
    Russian
    the problem is that in English we don't have cases
    I don't think it's a question of cases, it's a question of subtleties of the meaning.
    You should look more closely at the examples with "in order to spend". This makes all the difference.

    Я еду на Аляску на два месяца. I am going to Alaska in order to spend there two months. My intention is to spend there two months.

    Я проведу на Аляске два месяца. I will spend two months in Alaska. I am stating the fact that I will spend two months in Alaska.

    Я ехал на Аляску на два месяца, а провел там три месяца.
    I went to Alaska for two months, but stayed there for three months.
    I went to Aslaska in order to spend there two months, but stayed there for three months (but actually spent there three months).

    PS Можно тебя на минутку? means May I have a minute of your time? (literally, may I <have/steal/disturb, whatever> you for a minute -- we frequently skip verbs in Russian, like in Суп будешь? meaning Will you <eat> soup? -- Нет, я буду картошку. No, I will <eat> potatoes.)
     
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    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Можно тебя на минутку?
    May I - to/with you - for a minute :confused:
    I'm not sure if a nice girl should answer that question :D

    Sorry - I cannot understand that last sentence, but hopefully you can see what I have been talking about with the others.
    Don't flush, it's absolutely appropriate for anybody. It just means I want to distract you for something for saying something.


    Well, if this system helps you, no objection.
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Don't flush, it's absolutely appropriate for anybody. It just means I want to distract you for something for saying something.
    I sorta figured that :) but couldn't be sure.
    Well, if this system helps you, no objection.
    - the period applies to the verb - use Acc
    - the period applies to what happens after the verb action happens - use на Acc

    Am puzzled why you are not happy with this. Anyway - as I say, it's a system I understand.
     

    eni8ma

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I don't think it's a question of cases, it's a question of subtleties of the meaning.
    You should look more closely at the examples with "in order to spend". This makes all the difference.

    Я еду на Аляску на два месяца. I am going to Alaska in order to spend there two months. My intention is to spend there two months.

    Я проведу на Аляске два месяца. I will spend two months in Alaska. I am stating the fact that I will spend two months in Alaska.

    Я ехал на Аляску на два месяца, а провел там три месяца.
    I went to Alaska for two months, but stayed there for three months.
    I went to Aslaska in order to spend there two months, but stayed there for three months (but actually spent there three months).

    PS Можно тебя на минутку? means May I have a minute of your time? (literally, may I <have/steal/disturb, whatever> you for a minute -- we frequently skip verbs in Russian, like in Суп будешь? meaning Will you <eat> soup? -- Нет, я буду картошку. No, I will <eat> potatoes.)
    Thanks. That is useful to know.

    If I look at Maroseika's examples as well, to apply that suggestion:
    Я уезжаю туда на 3 года.
    I'm going there for 3 years.
    I'm going there (in order to stay) for 3 years.

    Я расстаюсь с тобой навечно.
    I am parting with you forever.
    I am parting with you (in order to be apart) forever.

    Можно тебя на минутку?
    Can I have a minute? There's no convenient place to insert "in order to".

    It has to be something that makes sense for me, and what I have suggested does seem to work for each case.

    Я еду на Аляску на два месяца. Duration does not apply to verb => на Acc
    Я проведу на Аляске два месяца. Duration applies to verb => Acc

    Я ехал на Аляску на два месяца, а провел там три месяца. 2 clauses - 2 verbs - take each separately
    Я ехал на Аляску на два месяца - duration does not apply to verb => на Acc
    , а провел там три месяца. - duration does apply to this verb => Acc

    Why are you unhappy about that? :)
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    - the period applies to the verb - use Acc
    - the period applies to what happens after the verb action happens - use на Acc

    Am puzzled why you are not happy with this. Anyway - as I say, it's a system I understand.
    If it helps you I'm happy.
     
    Я еду на Аляску на два месяца. I am going to Alaska in order to spend there two months. My intention is to spend there two months.

    Я проведу на Аляске два месяца. I will spend two months in Alaska. I am stating the fact that I will spend two months in Alaska.

    Я ехал на Аляску на два месяца, а провел там три месяца.
    I went to Alaska for two months, but stayed there for three months.
    I went to Aslaska in order to spend there two months, but stayed there for three months (but actually spent there three months).
    What if you wanted to say, "I spent two months going to Alaska." (As if you were an explorer and hiking there through the Canadian mountains. That's how long it took you to get there - two months.)
     
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    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    what if you wanted to say, "i spent two months going to alaska." (as if you were an explorer and hiking their through the canadian mountains. That's how long it took you to get there - two months.)
    Я добирался до Аляски два месяца.
    Я провел в пути (на Аляску) два месяца.
     
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