четвертого года


Senior Member
I am interested in the exact meaning of the adverbial expression четвертого года? Here is the entire sentence from Братья Карамазовы:

Правда, вы не мне рассказывали; но вы рассказывали в компании, где и я находился, четвертого года это дело было.

Does it mean 1804, given the context of the novel, or it means rather three years ago just like третьего дня means two days ago? Thank you in advance.
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    or it means rather three years ago
    Likely that (speaking about the precise meaning, "more than three and less than four years ago", hence "четвёртого"). For 1804 the only possible model is "в каком-л. году", and "в четвёртом" is unlikely because of being highly ambiguous ("в восемьсот четвёртом" is quite possible).
    "Третьего дня" is a unique set phrase
    Not quite.
    Тургенев said:
    ― Четвёртого дня, ― начал он с принуждённой улыбкой и запинаясь, ― я удивил вас своим рассказом; сегодня удивлю ещё более.
    Григорович said:
    Разве не слышали, каких хлопот нажил себе чрез такой же точно случай Егор Иванович Редечкин третьего года?
    However, this model is indeed
    1) dated (at least in more or less standard speech);
    2) limited to particular time units;
    3) normally limited to comparatively small numbers (3-5, typically).
    P.S.: Note that in "третьего дня" the archaic genitive form "дни" becomes also possible ("третьего дни"), which really can be considered a fixed expression.
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    Senior Member
    но вы рассказывали в компании, где и я находился, четвертого года это дело было.

    Il est très difficile de traduire l'extrait car il semble très informel pour cette fois mais l'idée principale est la suivante:

    Cependant, vous avez mentionné dans la société à laquelle j'étais présent que cela a eu lieu en 1804.

    J'espère que ça aide.

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    Senior Member
    Thank you for your replies. I had an intuition about the meaning of this expression based, as I said in my opening post, on the parallel with the turn третьего дня. This is one of those multiword constructions that are difficult to find in dictionaries because the components are replaceable with others of similar meanings. By the way, we have seen so far that this phrase is compatible with день and год. Is there any other noun with temporal meaning that fits into it such as месяц or неделя, for example?


    Senior Member
    This model isn't in active use, and the corpus doesn't seem to contain any examples for "неделя" or "месяц", so I suppose they don't really work. Nothing aside from "день" and "год" really comes to my mind at the moment.


    New Member
    Besides дня and года it also worked with лета:

    Я Мага-дуда, которой ты спас жизнь третьего лета. (Ossip Senkovsky, 1832)