All Slavic languages: genitive after negated verbs

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by jazyk, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I'd like to know which Slavic languages require that a genitive be used after a negated verb. I already know that Polish does and Russian also does in most cases, but Czech doesn't (except for some set phrases) and Macedonian doesn't either for lack of a genitive :D. I'd appreciate a translation of my example in the affirmative and in the negative.

    English: I eat meat./I don't eat meat.
    Polish: Jem mięso./Nie jem mięsa.
    Czech? Jím maso./Nejím maso.
    Russian: Я ем мясо./Я не ем мяса.
    Macedonian: Jадам месо./Не jадам месо.

    Thank you all.
  2. Irbis Senior Member

    Kamnik, Slovenia
    Slovenian, Slovenia
    Slovenian: Jem meso. / Ne jem mesa.
  3. dudasd

    dudasd Senior Member

    Serbian doesn't require genitive in negation when the positive sentence is made with accusative. But there are many cases where genitive and accusative give different meanings.

    Jedem meso. / Ne jedem meso. (accusative)

    Hoću meso. / Neću meso. (accusative); meaning: I want meat / I don't want meat.
    Hoću mesa. / Neću mesa. (genitive); this could be used, for example, if you are asked: "Hoćeš li mesa?" "Do you want some meat?" - and you answer: "Neću mesa, hoću kupusa." (I don't want meat, I want some cabbage.)

    Imam novca. / Nemam novca. (genitive); meaning: I have (any amount) of money / I don't have (any) money.
    Imam novac. / Nemam novac. (accusative); meaning: I have / don't have defined money, concerning amount, or moment, or place. (Like: I don't have money with me at the moment, or I haven't received my salary yet, etc.)
  4. echo chamber

    echo chamber Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    Macedonian (Македонски)
    In macedonian there are no case forms, except for some remainings of the genitive. But that is only when you talk about possession.
    Example: Чија е куќата? (Whose house is this?)
    Куќата е на баба ми( it is the house of my grandmother), OR
    Куќата е бабина.(no commonly used)
  5. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I don't consider this genitive because there's the preposition na there followed by the nominative case. Besides, the same construction could also be "dative" (in quotation marks because it has the function of the dative, but not its form).
  6. echo chamber

    echo chamber Senior Member

    Skopje, Macedonia
    Macedonian (Македонски)
    But that`s the way you express the genitive case in macedonian, there are actually no suffixes for genitive case. There is no pure genitive. It answers the question чиј? чија?, so it expresses possession, and it is done with the preposition на.
  7. jazyk Senior Member

    Brno, Česká republika
    Brazílie, portugalština
    Exactly! :thumbsup:
  8. Tolovaj_Mataj Senior Member

    Ljubljana, SI
    Slovene, Slovenia
    In Slovene usage of the object in genetive is mandatory if the verb is negated. Always.
  9. tkekte Senior Member

    In Russian it's a distinction of definite/indefinite. I think it can only be used with things that can be measured. ie, food, grain, liquids. But it can't be used with distinct objects, like a chair, or a vacuum cleaner.

    For some reason it exists only in the negative.

    Я не ем мяса. - I don't eat meat. (in general)
    Я не ем мясо. - I am not eating the meat. (this particular piece of meat)

    This works with meat, because meat is a kind of food. If it was your hat instead, then you would use the accusative. The best part about it is that in both cases it's pronounced the same. ;)

    Я ем свою шапку. - I'm eating my own hat. (accusative case)
    Я не ем свою шапку. - I'm not eating my own hat. (still accusative and the only correct one)
  10. Oletta

    Oletta Senior Member


    Jem mäso./Nejem mäso.
  11. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    I wonder what phrases did he mean...only "nemám ani potuchy" occurs to me, and maybe it was more common in older Czech...
  12. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    The negative genitive is common after the particle ani (ni):

    ... nenalezli jsme ani otce, ani matky, ani bratra, ani sester, ... (Karel IV.)

    Nemám otce, ni matky, ni domova, ni kolébky, ni hrobu... (Attila József, Nincsen apám, se anyám, ...)

    Nemám ni otce, ni matky, ni sestry, ni bratra... (Charles Baudelaire)

    However it sounds somewhat archaic/poetic/bookish.

    (the examples are translations from Latin, Hungarian, French)
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  13. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Almost always in Polish, you have to use the Genitive after negation. In Russian,it varies. If it is the partitive use, it would be the Genitive regardless, otherwise it is based more on the intuition, I think, and preferences. People in the past, especially highly educated people, would use more Genitive forms in negation. Nowadays, I can here more Accusative forms, in cases other than the partitive use.
  14. Encolpius

    Encolpius Senior Member

    Praha (Prague)
    magyar (Hungarian)
    Thank you Liliana for answering this question of mine, too. :)
  15. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    MOD EDIT: Threads merged.

    Hello everybody
    I became recently interested in the way different Slavic languages use declension of substantives in negative sentences. for example:

    I don't like this house.
    In Polish: Nie lubię tego domu (genitive)
    As opposed to:
    I like this house
    Lubię ten dom (accusative).

    In Polish, genitive always takes place of the accusative in negative statements like: don't like, don't know, don't understand, don't have, etc.
    Recently I learned that in Russian both genitive end accusative can be used (which I didn't know despite many years learning of this language at school).

    How is it in other Slavic languages? Are there other languages where both cases can be used, as in Russian?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2013
  16. magique.fs New Member

    I don't like this house. --> Ne sviđa mi se ova kuća.
    I like this house. --> Sviđa mi se ova kuća.
    In both sentences nominative is used.
    But if i would say : I love this flower --> ''Volim ovaj cvijet'' then ''ovaj cvijet'' is accusative. and the negative sentence would be : ''Ne volim ovaj cvijet''( I don't love this flower). ''ovaj cvijet'' is also accusative....
    It's because verb ''sviđati se'' (to like) in croatian is followed by nominative....
    but regarding your question...we use the same case in both negative and positive sentences and that is usually accusative.
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  17. slavic_one

    slavic_one Senior Member

    Prague, Czech Republic
    Croatian (štokavski, jekavski)
    In Croatian it's normally in accusative case, but with transitive verbs it can be excanged with genitive.
    Ne volim ovu kuću (A) - Ne volim ove kuće (G). - the latter is not so common, it is more archaic.
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  18. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)

    Rad imam to hišo. (A) = I like this house.

    Nimam rad te hiše. (G) = I don't like this house.

    Nimam rad to hišo. :cross: This is sometimes heard in colloquial speech, but is considered a significant error in standard Slovenian.
  19. TriglavNationalPark

    TriglavNationalPark Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, U.S.A.
    Slovenian (a.k.a. Slovene)
    In Slovenian, the genitive replaces the accusative in all negated clauses, transitive or intransitive.
  20. slavic_one

    slavic_one Senior Member

    Prague, Czech Republic
    Croatian (štokavski, jekavski)
    It's the same as what tkekte wrote about Russian. It's definite/undefinite thing. The answer to "Hoćeš li mesa?" could also be "Neću meso, hoću kupus." It depends on a situation.
  21. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Could you give an example of accusative after negation in Polish. I have never heard one.
  22. Duya Senior Member

    Not in WR world
    Not that I say that it doesn't exist in some dialects, but "not so common" is quite an understatement. I've never heard it, except as a partitive, with material nouns (Ne želim mesa).

    Happy 1000th post, by the way!
  23. slavic_one

    slavic_one Senior Member

    Prague, Czech Republic
    Croatian (štokavski, jekavski)
    You're right, in standard Croatian it's archaic and it is not used nowadays, tho it won't be completely wrong. I think it's used more in BiH, but am not sure.
    Thanks! :)
  24. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Now, here is my attempt at creating a crude overview:

    Object case in negative statements (I don't eat meat)

    Accusative Genitive
    Russian YES YES
    Polish NO YES
    Slovene NO YES
    Czech YES NO
    Croatian YES NO
    Serbian YES NO
    Bulgarian No cases No cases
    Macedonian No cases No cases
  25. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    There is no Accusative after negations in Polish, only in Russian in some cases, where it is justified. The overuse of Accusatives in negations in Russian, in the past at least, was a sign of an uneducated speech. It is becoming more trendy these days. ;)
  26. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Thank you, I must have misunderstood your post. Tired and too quick reading.

    By the way, how do these things function in Lithuanian?
  27. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Lithuanian is not a Slavic language, Ben Jamin, so we can discuss it somewhere else.
  28. Azori

    Azori Senior Member


    I eat meat. / I don't eat meat. = Jem mäso. (accusative) / Nejem mäso. (accusative)

    I like this house. / I don't like this house. = Páči sa mi tento dom. (nominative) / Nepáči sa mi tento dom. (nominative)

    Mám rád tento dom. (accusative) / Nemám rád tento dom. (accusative)

    The genitive after negated verbs is possible in Slovak but it is on the decline, both in the standard language and in the dialects. Nowadays it's perceived as literary / archaic (with the exception of some fixed expressions).
  29. swintok Senior Member

    English - Canada
    Interesting! In Ukrainian I would put both those negatives into the genitive:

    Я не їм м'яса. - I don't eat meat (in general) / I am not eating the meat (this particular piece of meat). The context of the conversation would provide the distinction in meaning.
    Я не їм своєї шапки.

    In general in Ukrainian, negative verbs take the genitive. The main exception would be in a negative phrase in which the auxiliary verb is negative, but the direct object is of the positive main verb. For example:
    Я не читаю цієї книжки. - I am not reading this book. (Genitive because "book" is the object of the negative verb)
    Я не хочу читати цю книжку. - I don't want to read this book. (Accusative because the negative verb is "want," but "book" is the object of non-negative verb "read.")

    In Ukraine you will often see or hear the accusative used with negative verbs. This is considered a Russian usage and to be incorrect in standard Ukrainian.
  30. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    This is something I know, but it is at the same time one of the few languages with a case system simiar to the Slavic languages, so it would be interesting to compare.
  31. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    Now we only miss the Belarussian language to get the full representation.
  32. slavic_one

    slavic_one Senior Member

    Prague, Czech Republic
    Croatian (štokavski, jekavski)
    Sorbian, and other Slavic languages....
  33. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    It is usually the Genitive, unless the phrase itself asks for the instrumental, for example. I don't want to get off topic -- this all all.
  34. Ёж! Senior Member

    For me both can mean meat in general with no problem. For a particular piece of meat, it's more complicated: sometimes the genitive sounds weird, but a phrase like "да не ем я твоего мяса!" ('nope, I'm not eating you meat!') is just fine.
    I would not hasten to say it's the only correct one. But the genitive would indeed sound somewhat unusual.
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  35. iezik

    iezik Senior Member

    This only shows negated verb with noun in objective role. In Slovene, the negated verb biti followed by place adverb(ial) changes the nominative case of subject to the genitive.

    English: A friend is here. A friend is not here.
    Slovene: Prijatelj je tukaj. Prijatelja ni tukaj.

    Well, the question asks for a genitive after a verb. Given free ordering of word parts in Slovene statements, also a variant word order is possible with subject in genitive after verb.

    A: Je tukaj tvoj prijatelj?
    B: Tukaj ni prijatelja.
  36. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    I think it's important to make it clear that my question was about the direct object, not indirect where instrumental or dative, or locative would be appropriate.
    By the way, the example from the post # 35 "tukaj ni prijatielja" is also of the same type. 'prijatjel" is logically the subject of the sentence, but grammatically the direct object.
  37. ilocas2 Senior Member

    example of Czech set phrase with genitive after negated verb:

    Proti blbosti není léku. - There's no cure against stupidity.
  38. Awwal12

    Awwal12 Senior Member

    Moscow, the RF
    In Russian the actual situation is, in fact, more complex.
    By default, negations require the same accusative case. But in some (pretty numerous) situations the genitive is a default case for the direct object, and using an accusative there would mean explicit marking of definiteness. The situations are:
    - when the object has a partitive meaning, like in the example above;
    - if the sentence conatins "ни" particle (accusative becomes impossible here);
    - if the verbs express thought, expectation, wish or perception (я не вижу шляпы);
    - if the verbs are получать, иметь, доставать or similar ones, and the negation implies a full absence of the object (я не достал шляпы; the accusative here would change the meaning of the sentence);
    - if the object is an abstract concept (я не теряю надежды);
    - in infinitive sentences which stress the ultimate impossibility (не нагнать тебе бешеной тройки).
    I must also stress that the use of accusative instead of the default genitive (where possible) would mean not just definiteness opposed to indefiniteness, as a usual English speaker might think, but an explicit marking of definiteness (while an unmarked object may be, in English terms, both definite or indefinite, it's just irrelevant there).
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  39. ilocas2 Senior Member

    another Czech set phrase with genitive after negated verb:

    Nechval dne před večerem. - Don't praise day before evening.

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