не было

< Previous | Next >

lucylinguist

Senior Member
English - England
Hello,

My questions are about "не было" when used as a genderless, invariable form to indicate non-existence and non-availability (i.e expressing нет in the past tense + genitive, without any nominative subject).

I have seen it written as two separate words, but also as one word.

Question 1 : Am I correct in thinking that было in this usage is a "weak word" and the accent is always on не? (i.e. "не́ было"/"не́было" (not не бы́ло /небы́ло).

Question 2 : When do you write it as two separate words "не было", and when as one single word "небыло"?
For example, are the following sentences all correct and if so, is there any difference/nuance in meaning?
I am wondering whether the "one-word" form is simply a more colloquial / less standard but acceptable way of expressing the same thing, because it "sounds" like one word due to the accent having moved?

Вре́мени не́ было. [definitely correct - it is in my textbook]
Вре́мени не́было. [?]
(There was not time.)

У них не́ было Людми́лы. [?]
У них не́было Людми́лы. [marked as correct by my teacher]
(Lioudmila was not at their house/among them [Literally: At their house/Among them, there was not Lioudmila]).
 
  • Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    Не было is the only option. The single word spelling is wrong.
    And yes, stress falls on не.
    But there are words небыль, небывальщина - impossible occurrence.
     
    Last edited:

    Vadim K

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    There is the strict rule in Russian of writing the negation particle "Не" with the verbs. The particle and the verbs are always written separately.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    There is the strict rule in Russian of writing the negation particle "Не" with the verbs. The particle and the verbs are always written separately.
    As long as we speak about finite verbal forms plus infinitives, yes. Participles and adverbial participles (which formally do represent verbal forms) don't follow that rule, though.
     

    lucylinguist

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you for the quick answers.

    @ Moderator : I see that the initial title of this thread - "не было / небыло" - has been corrected to "не было". But I think it's important to keep небыло in the title too, even though it's incorrect, so that other non-Russians seeking verification can find this thread (in which they will quickly see that не было is the only correct form).

    @ Awwal12 : About "participles and adverbial participles (which formally do represent verbal forms)" - could you please give a couple of examples in which не is not separate? I'm curious! :)
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    @ Awwal12 : About "participles and adverbial participles (which formally do represent verbal forms)" - could you please give a couple of examples in which не is not separate? I'm curious!
    Невыполненная работа, несделанное задание etc. (as long as there are no dependent words headed by the participle, basically).
    As for adverbial participles, normally не is written separately indeed; wherever they're written as a solid word, не- can be rather analyzed as a part of the root or another prefix (e.g. ненавидя, недоделав).
     
    Last edited:

    Xavier61

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    There is the strict rule in Russian of writing the negation particle "Не" with the verbs. The particle and the verbs are always written separately.
    As long as we speak about finite verbal forms plus infinitives, yes...
    That's strange, I know:
    недолюбливать, недолюбить, недосмотреть, недоглядеть, недоварить, ... and probably there are more. Am I missing something?
    Но непомню и незнаю, придумал ли это я сам, или от кого то это слышал. [Н. С. Трубецкой. Письма Р. О. Якобсону (1920-1938)]
    How could Nikolai Sergeyevich write that? I believe that he was a linguist, and a good one indeed.
     
    Last edited:

    Vovan

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Some one hundred years ago, it was still common to write some verbs in some of their meanings with "не-" as a prefix. Often, those verbs had to do with mental or emotional states (e.g. 'to dislike', 'to be unaware', etc.), existence per se (e.g. 'to be nonexistent"), etc.:
    :warning: С детства нелюбит эту музыку. (Source: http://books.e-heritage.ru/book/10093516)

    So yes: there used to be no universally accepted rule to separate "не" from all verbs in all instances. But the Soviet Academy of Sciences eventually changed that in order to simplify spelling. The fact is that, no matter whether "не" (when relating to a verb) is a negative particle or a negative prefix (the latter being extremely infrequent), the intended meaning of the sentence will always be perfectly clear to the reader.

    недолюбливать, недолюбить, недосмотреть, недоглядеть, недоварить
    As for these particular verbs, they contain the prefix "недо-" (~"not well enough") if written as one word:
    Недосмотрел за ребенком. (=failed to look after the child properly (and let something bad/undesirable happen); overlooked something bad/undesirable that happened to the child)
    Не досмотрел кино. (=didn't finish watching the movie)
     
    Last edited:

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Не досмотрел кино. (=didn't finish watching the movie)
    Actually недосмотрел что-л. and не досмотрел что-л. are both possible, even though it's problematic to draw any semantic distinction between those. But it's only недосмотрел за кем-л./чем-л. (since it's impossible to *досмотреть за кем-л./чем-л., недо- here cannot be re-analyzed as не- + до-).
     

    Xavier61

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Actually недосмотрел что-л. and не досмотрел что-л. are both possible, even though it's problematic to draw any semantic distinction between those. But it's only недосмотрел за кем-л./чем-л. (since it's impossible to *досмотреть за кем-л./чем-л., недо- here cannot be re-analyzed as не- + до-).
    I'd say it can. Maybe досмотреть за кем-л./чем-л. is not very common, but I dare to say that it is not imposible, at least for some people, writers:
    Родители без боязни отпускали нас, зная, что дедушка хорошо досмотрит за нами,
    common people:
    Досмотрим за пожилым человеком
    and even official institutions:
    дом престарелых иными словами гериатрический пансионат, в которых персонал обслужит и досмотрит за пожилым
    Isn't it good Russian? Maybe a bit dialectal?
    [...]
    So yes: there used to be no universally accepted rule to separate "не" from all verbs in all instances. But the Soviet Academy of Sciences eventually changed that in order to simplify spelling. The fact is that, no matter whether "не" (when relating to a verb) is a negative particle or a negative prefix (the latter being extremely infrequent), the intended meaning of the sentence will always be perfectly clear to the reader.
    Well, not always, as in the joke I just read today:
    Рабочие пишут письмо в ЦК КПСС: «Мы, пролетарии Нечерноземья, прочитали в «Правде», что негры в Африке недоедают. Нельзя ли все, что они не доедают, присылать нам?»
    As for these particular verbs, they contain the prefix "недо-" (~"not well enough") if written as one word:
    Недосмотрел за ребенком. (=failed to look after the child properly (and let something bad/undesirable happen); overlooked something bad/undesirable that happened to the child)
    Не досмотрел кино. (=didn't finish watching the movie)
    But "недо-" is not one prefix, it is prefix "не-" + prefix "до", as in недоварить < доварить < варить , that is, "to boil" > "to boil until it is ready > "not to boil until it is ready". The same as не-до-вы-полнить. Or can we say that there also exists a prefix "*недовы-"? Can we say that there is one prefix "*произ-" as in "произвести"?
     

    nizzebro

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I'd say it can. Maybe досмотреть за кем-л./чем-л. is not very common, but I dare to say that it is not imposible, at least for some people, writers:
    Probably it is used locally. I think the point is that до- is associated with an achievement, reaching the end of a path. But, e.g. 'досмотрим за пациентом' looks weird in that sense: what would be that end of that path - their death? As for watching a child, the most important thing is not that you do it 'up to the end', but rather that you watch them continuously (which finally includes the end of the 'path' too) - so even the imperfective "буду смотреть за ним" does the job quite well - and even better does 'прослежу за ним' which accents that sense of going 'through'. On the contrary, 'досмотреть багаж' is about checkup which has a goal.
     
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top