я должен, мне нужнo, мне надо

jester.

Senior Member
Germany -> German
Привет!

I have come across the following phrase in my Russian learning book:

Я должен идти. - I have to go.

In the annotations for this phrase it is said: Pay attention to the stress in the other forms:

должнa (feminine)
должны (Plural)


Now I wonder: Why are there gender- and number-specific forms? Is "должен" an adjective and not, as for example in English, a verb?
 
  • Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    It is declined because it is a participle (the endings are as if it were an adjective, so you are on the right track).

    Literally: I (am) obliged to go. / Ich (bin) verpflichtet zu gehen.

    Hope this helps. :)

    Jana

    P.S. I know that I should not be so brash because I do not speak the language, but I could not have messed up this one. I hope. :)
     

    jester.

    Senior Member
    Germany -> German
    P.S. I know that I should not be so brash because I do not speak the language, but I could not have messed up this one. I hope. :)

    Why couldn't you have messed it up? Do you use the same construction in Czech? Am I allowed to ask this here or do we need a new thread?

    And of course: Thank you for the explanation.
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    Why couldn't you have messed it up? Do you use the same construction in Czech? Am I allowed to ask this here or do we need a new thread?

    And of course: Thank you for the explanation.
    No, we do not use it but for Slavic ears, it is kind of obvious grammarwise. :)

    Jana
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    My understanding is that должен is a predicative that is treated gramatically as an adjective. This particular form of the word cannot take other cases. However, there is the long form of this adjective: должный, which can now be used in constructs like
    :arrow: Он был принят с должными почестями.
    (he was received with due honors)
     

    jester.

    Senior Member
    Germany -> German
    My understanding is that должен is a predicative that is treated gramatically as an adjective. This particular form of the word cannot take other cases. However, there is the long form of this adjective: должный, which can now be used in constructs like
    :arrow: Он был принят с должными почестями.
    (he was received with due honors)

    Thank you very much for this explanation.

    Unfortunately this stuff is still a tiny little bit too difficult for me :D
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    You can also consider using the construct
    мне нужно. Even though the two don't mean exactly the same thing, in many instances they are used interchangeably. Since мне нужно is am impersonal construct, the word нужно doesn't change, but the pronoun does.

    Мне нужно пойти к врачу.
    Ей нужно пойти к врачу.
    Нам нужно пойти к врачу.
    versus
    Я должен пойти к врачу.
    Она должна пойти к врачу.
    Мы должны пойти к врачу.
     

    jester.

    Senior Member
    Germany -> German
    You can also consider using the construct
    мне нужно. Even though the two don't mean exactly the same thing, in many instances they are used interchangeably. Since мне нужно is am impersonal construct, the word нужно doesn't change, but the pronoun does.

    Мне нужно пойти к врачу.
    Ей нужно пойти к врачу.
    Нам нужно пойти к врачу.
    versus
    Я должен пойти к врачу.
    Она должна пойти к врачу.
    Мы должны пойти к врачу.

    Thank you :)

    I will try to keep this in mind. :D
     

    robertino

    Member
    Italian
    As we are talking about it, which is exactly the difference between мне нужно and мне надо? I use both of them, maybe it comes to me more regular to use надо followed by verbs and нужно followed by nouns. Somebody says it's the same, but I remember in my 1st Russian written test I used one of them (now I don't remember which) and my teacher marked it as a mistake, writing the other one at its place. Then, my teacher from Russia said my choice was correct too. (So I had a lower mark for nothing, basically...)

    My friend from Ukraine used to say "мне надо в Алберт(е?)" (Albert is the name of a store, surely Jana knows it!). Is it a correct form?
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Perhaps some language purists will point out some subtle differences between мне нужно and мне надо, but as far as I am concerned they are the same. I would say мне нужно is perhaps
    ~15% ( ) more formal than мне надо. I fact, in cases where any one of the three expressions can be used the relative order is:
    Я должен > мне нужно > мне надо with мне надо being the most conversational. I mean, all three can be used in a conversation, but when it comes to presidential speeches, Я должен is the most appropriate.
    My friend from Ukraine used to say "мне надо в Алберт(е?)" (Albert is the name of a store). Is it a correct form?[/COLOR]
    Yes, this is very conversational. A more correct form would be
    "Мне надо пойти в Альберт", but the пойти in this case is understood. To a Russian ear your sentence is a bit strange because of the foreign-sounding Альберт, but the expressions
    Мне надо в магазин
    Мне надо на базар
    are very popular.
     

    robertino

    Member
    Italian
    Thank you:)
    I have one more question for all you Russian experts :D
    I wrote an email to a friend using this sentence:
    "...мне нужно кто-то..."
    She corrected нужно and wrote нужен, so I guess it changes into -a and -ы too, while you said (papillon) that it doesn't change. So where's the truth?! Out there?!!?!?! ;)

    The whole sentence was "мне нужно(нужен) кто-то чтобы немного употреблять русский язык". I was in a hurry when I wrote it and now it duesn't sound to me really "russian". Should I write it again, I would probably write something like this:
    "мне нужен кто-нибудь, с кем употреблять русский язык" It sounds better to me. Which is best? What about some other verbs instead of употреблять?практиковать..заниматься..well maybe it would be better to open a new thread for this! Just answer to the 1st question then!!
    Thanks
    Robi
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Ah, of course, sorry for the confusion!
    I was actually just about to post a re-considered opinion :)o ), but you beat me with a good obvious question. So here goes:
    the one case I can think of where "мне нужно" is NOT the same as мне надо is in the construct:
    мне нужно +noun, meaning "I need to have something". And, yes in this case, the нужно changes according to the gender and number of that noun.
    Мне нужно купить цветы but
    Мне нужны эти цветы.
    And in these cases you CANNOT use the word надо:
    Мне нужна новая одежда -- correct, but
    Мне надо новая одежда -- incorrect

    P.S. Robertino -- I just reread your first post in this thread. Now I get it!
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    "мне нужен кто-нибудь, с кем употреблять русский язык" It sounds better to me.
    Yes, this one does sound better, except for the verb употреблять. Практиковать, or actually in this case the reflexive derivative Попрактиковаться is a much better choice.
    The sentence would be
    мне нужен кто-нибудь, с кем я мог бы попрактиковаться в русском языке
    or a simpler version:
    мне нужно с кем-нибудь попрактиковаться в русском языке.
     

    Thomas F. O'Gara

    Senior Member
    English USA
    For what it's worth, one further idiom is worth noting. It certainly threw me off quite a bit when I first heard it.

    The phrase не надо, said as an exclamation, is the standard polite way to say "please don't", i.e., "stop it, knock it off!" in Russian. It makes no logical sense so it requires mental notes when you hear it, or when you want to say it, in Russian. Не нужно, by comparison, is much more likely to mean "it's not necessary", which is something very different.
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    For me, it's perfectly logical. ;) Probably the meaning of надо is broader than that of its translations.
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    I too see the logic. Consider the following parallel:
    <Тебе> надо: you should
    <Тебе> не надо: you shouldn't
    These are not perfect translations, but I think the parallel is accurate.
     

    Thomas F. O'Gara

    Senior Member
    English USA
    Well, I stand corrected in my presupposition of the logic of не надо. Perhaps what threw me about the phrase is that it's a command. It doesn't mean "you shouldn't do that"; it means "stop whatever you're doing - now", but in a polite way.
     

    Brian P

    Senior Member
    Another way of expressing "should" is with the verb следовать (to follow) in the expressions, мне/тебе/ей/ему/нам/вам/им следует
    Что ты думаешь, Papillon?
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    Yes, I think this is a closer translation for "you should" or even "you ought to". Then, of course, you get into the more refined "вам не следует" or "вам не следовало бы" -- both meaning "you shouldn't" or "you ought not to".
     

    cyanista

    законодательница мод
    NRW
    Belarusian/Russian
    Well, I stand corrected in my presupposition of the logic of не надо. Perhaps what threw me about the phrase is that it's a command. It doesn't mean "you shouldn't do that"; it means "stop whatever you're doing - now", but in a polite way.

    You know, надо(without a pronoun) can mean "one must/has to":

    Ужасно не хочется туда идти, но ничего не поделаешь - надо.
    (Appr: It beats me to go there but I have to.)

    One of parents' favorites: есть такое слово "НАДО". :eek:
    Compare here:
    ..я с детства воспитана в очень жёстких, спартанских условиях, не допускающих и намёка на лень или изнеженность. И даже когда действительно от чего-то уставала и говорила: "Всё, я больше не могу!", мама делала большие глаза, сжимала губы и очень проникновенно отвечала: "Дорогая моя, знаешь, есть такое слово - "надо". Это было для меня самое мерзкое слово, я всю жизнь его люто ненавидела! Но поднималась и шла туда, куда нужно, делала то, что необходимо. Что касается прямого эфира, признаюсь, не всегда, в силу самых разных причин и обстоятельств, нахожусь в рабочей форме. Бывает, что падаю от усталости. Сплю по четыре, а то и два часа в сутки и думаю: "Нет, это невозможно, я не могу сейчас ехать на съёмку!". А внутри мамин голос: "На-до!". И это "надо" поднимает меня из любого "мёртвого" состояния, за что я маме очень благодарна. Source
    By the way, "не надо" doesn't necessarily mean "stop doing it". I guess it's much more often used to (try to) prevent an action that hasn't started yet: "don't do it; please don't".
     
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