нечего vs ничего

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  • Natalisha

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It seems "нечего" is used only with infinitives.

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

     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    what is the difference between нечего and ничего?
    thanks )
    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).
     

    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-).
     

    Softmint

    Member
    Spanish
    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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