From - Russian equivalents

Konstantinos

Senior Member
Greek - Athens
So we have 5 expressions - words for the English "from" in Russian:

с
из
от
у
судя по

Can someone make it clear to me when and where to use any of them? Thanks.

(This is my second thread about this issue: с экскурсии)
 
  • Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So we have 5 expressions - words for the English "from" in Russian
    Considering that we may be speaking about verbal government and various idiomatic expressions here, the number of prepositions for English "from" is potentially limited only by the total number of prepositions. :D You know, you cannot learn one language and then learn any other just by simple analogy with the first one.
    As far as we are speaking about simple spatial meanings of the prepositions, - the autonomous meanings of their own, - there are 3 corresponding prepositions:
    1) с - meaning moving from some surface (requires the genitive case from the dependent noun for that meaning);
    2) из - meaning moving outside of some volume (always requires a genitive argument);
    3) от - meaning moving from a vicinity of some object (always requires a genitive argument).
    In fact, all these spatial relationships form 3 groups of preposition (1 for the locative meaning, 1 for the destination point and 1 for the original point of movement):
    in/on/at: на (+prep.) - в (+prep.) - у (+gen.)
    from: c (+gen.) - из (+gen.) - от (+gen.)
    in/into/to/on/onto: на (+acc.) - в (+acc.) - к (+dat.)
    Of course, as soon as we stop speaking about those simple spatial relationships, complications come into play. If we are speaking about more abstract spatial relationships (for instance, being "at work", "at school" or even "at the post office"), the choice of preposition is defined by the noun it governs. "Рабо́та" will unavoidably require "с" + gen. for "from" (it is treated like a surface; cf. на рабо́ту, на рабо́те, с рабо́ты); "го́род" will require "из" + gen. (it is treated like a volume: в го́род, в го́роде, из го́рода); and so on. Idiomatization may shuffle it a bit, mind you (for instance, "in a (big) village" will be the normal "в селе́", but the generalized "in the rural settlements, in the country" will idiomatically produce "на селе́").
    With temporal meanings "с" is used (for "from" meaning the strating point of some process on the timeline).

    The verbal government, on the other hand, is a totally separate matter. A verb will naturally require some case and some preposition from one of its arguments, and it technically may be any preposition and any case; it's a lexical property of the verb, if you want. That's why брать requires у (+ gen.) when its meaning includes some actual co-actor (who is a proper semantic argument indeed), and on the other hand may be used with usual spatial prepositions under other circumstances (when you simply mean some original point in space where you are taking something from). Note that other verbs may require у (+gen.) for the arguments of similar kind (like in узна́ть у кого́-л.), but again, it's a grammatical property of those verbs.

    P.S.: By the way, "от" is normally used for spatial measures.
    Расстояние от Москвы до Петербурга - больше шестисот километров (the distance from Moscow to St.Petersburg is more than 600 km).
     
    Last edited:

    Rosett

    Senior Member
    Russian
    So we have 5 expressions - words for the English "from" in Russian:

    с
    из
    от
    у

    Can someone make it clear to me when and where to use any of them? Thanks.

    (This is my second thread about this issue: с экскурсии)
    You’re submerging into murky waters of another “no-rule” area which is formed by usage apropos, by some 3D relationships and ownership consideration at best.

    On the other side, the meaning of “from” as such is an extensive paragraph comprised of up to 7 (according to Webster) or 20 (Collins) different items. To reduce the clutter, you should indicate which one you’re talking about.

    Even if you do, to make the long story shorter, it would be better still to parse and remember each case in Russian individually, especially with the regards to semantics, although there’s always some fight between grammarnazis about “how to” issues.

    The most relevant Russian parallels would include, but not limited to, the following: из(о), из-за, из-под, от(о) с(о), у, по, на, при, or even a “zero value” in some impersonal clauses.
     
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