не́когда, не́кого etc

Anita hk

Senior Member
Hong Kong Chinese
I'm learning the use of не́кого, не́чего etc.

Book: мне не́когда. I haven't got time.
Can I say 'у меня́ нет вре́мени' to mean the same thing? If so, is there any difference (even if subtle) between the 2?

Book: нам не́ о чем бы́ло говори́ть. We had nothing to talk about.
Can I say 'у нас не́ было ничего́ говори́ть'? any difference between the 2?

And any difference between this pair?
я не получа́ю пи́сем ни от кого́.
не́ от кого́ получа́ть пи́сем.
 
  • Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    I'm learning the use of не́кого, не́чего etc.

    Book: мне не́когда. I haven't got time.
    Can I say 'у меня́ нет вре́мени' to mean the same thing? If so, is there any difference (even if subtle) between the 2?
    Yes, you can. "Нет времени" is more formal.

    Book: нам не́ о чем бы́ло говори́ть. We had nothing to talk about.
    Can I say 'у нас не́ было ничего́ говори́ть'? any difference between the 2?
    No, this is wrong. Не о чем было говорить = не было, о чем говорить. The latter is clumsy, but formally possible.

    And any difference between this pair?
    я не получа́ю пи́сем ни от кого́.
    не́ от кого́ получа́ть пи́сем.
    Not exactly. It should be: Мне не от кого получать писем. This is more "emotional" (such as: I have no one to send me a letter, poor me...), while the first variant is more neutral.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    And any difference between this pair?
    я не получа́ю пи́сем ни от кого́.
    не́ от кого́ получа́ть пи́сем.
    1. I don't recieve letters from anyone.
    2. I have no one to recieve letters from. (If you replace "пи́сем" with "пи́сьма" - because the verb itself is NOT negated.)
    Can I say 'у нас не́ было ничего́ говори́ть'?
    It won't work, I am afraid. Mostly because "говорить" in that precise meaning (~"разговаривать") doesn't take accusative arguments. Although even if it did, it would sound rather clumsy ("нам было нечего/не о чем/не с чем/... + INF" is the standard construction).
     

    Anita hk

    Senior Member
    Hong Kong Chinese
    Thank you for all the replies. But I'm confused. What is the difference between using пи́сем and пи́сьма ?
    ''не́ от кого́ получа́ть пи́сем''
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Thank you for all the replies. But I'm confused. What is the difference between using пи́сем and пи́сьма ?
    ''не́ от кого́ получа́ть пи́сем''
    In case of negation the noun cn be used in Genitive only when negation refers to the verb governing the noun:
    не получать писем
    ни от кого не получать писем

    But in не от кого получать negation refers to pronoun кого, while the noun is governed by the "positive" verb (получать письма ). Therefore the noun can be only in Accusative:
    не хочу получать письма
    мне не от кого получать письма
     

    Anita hk

    Senior Member
    Hong Kong Chinese
    Thanks Maroseika for the explanation. The sentence appears in the book I use for self-study. While it does give a general picture of the basic grammar, the examples given may not be totally correct at all times, since the author is not native. Glad that this forum helps to make things clear for self-learners like me.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Thanks Maroseika for the explanation. The sentence appears in the book I use for self-study. While it does give a general picture of the basic grammar, the examples given may not be totally correct at all times, since the author is not native. Glad that this forum helps to make things clear for self-learners like me.
    Natives also often make this error, and me too (in my first post here). Thanks to others for correction.
     
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