нечего vs ничего

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by pagetools, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. pagetools Member

    what is the difference between нечего and ничего?
    thanks )
  2. Natalisha Senior Member

    It seems "нечего" is used only with infinitives.

    Нечего делать...
    Нечего сказать...
    Нечего удивляться... etc.

  3. Maroseika Moderator

    Maybe etymology can help to notice the difference:

    Нечего < не есть чего (+ inf.)= there is nothing to:
    нечего сказать - nothing to say
    нечего плакать - no reason to cry

    Ничего < ничто = nothing:
    Его ничего не волнует - nothing him worries
    Тут ничего не поделаешь - nothing can we do here
    Ничего страшного - It's nothing (terrible).
  4. ahvalj

    ahvalj Senior Member

    Another etymological note: the line «нечего, некому, не для кого» appears to be a Russian development — I cannot recall similar constructions even in other Slavic languages, while «ничего, никому, ни для кого» is pretty ancient and exists even in Lithuanian (where ни-=nie- etymologically and semantically, both from the reconstructed prototype *nei-).
  5. Softmint Member

    Hi, I know the thread is very old but maybe it will help people who are looking for an clarification. Ничего/никого/никуда/никогда are "absolute" negative. And Нечево, некого, некуда, некогда stress absence. for example: Я никуда не хожу. I'm not going anywhere. (not going) Мне некуда пойти. I have nowhere to go. (absence - nowhere)

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