He isn't there.

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by DareRyan, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. DareRyan Senior Member

    Long Island, NY
    United States - English
    Hi, I have a simple question. In the Russian language, how would one say "He isn't there". I am conflicted and can't decide between "Он не там" and "Его там нет." I am tempted to use the first due to the phrase "Он там" in the affirmative but I am still unsure.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    England
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Very sensible try, DareRyan! :) I can see why you're tempted, but please don't be: the correct version is the second one: Его там нет.
     
  3. DareRyan Senior Member

    Long Island, NY
    United States - English
    Thank you very much for the prompt response. I have a feeling I am just going to have to hammer the phrase into my head as I can't really justify it grammatically. Ah well, that's what memorization is for I suppose.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I would like to add only one thing: Он не там is also possible, but only in the very special context, namely in response to the question: Is he there?
    And in this case Oн не там is followed (or this extension is implied) with something like "а там-то".
    For example:
    - Наш сын в шкафу?
    - Нет, что ты, он не там, а под столом.

    Compare:
    - Ты не видела нашего сына? Он не в шкафу?
    - Нет, его там нет. Попробуй поискать под столом.
    - Точно! Он там. Какая ты внимательная!

    And of course the following variants are also all possible, each expressing different nuances, depending also on the intonation:
    Его там нет
    Его нет там
    Там его нет
    Нет его там
    Нет там его
    Там нет его
     
  5. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    England
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    You're very welcome, dear Ryan. :)
    Well, I have to say that I'm not terribly good at russian grammar, but what I can make of it, is that: Нет is always followed by the genitive case. (родителный падеж: кого, чего)
    e.g. - Позовите, пожалуйста, Андрея к телефону.
    - А его нет дома.

    I know it is hard to get your head around it at first - and I admit I had to think for a bit before I could understand why we say like that.. But if you have any more questions or doubts: we're always here to help you! :)
     
  6. DareRyan Senior Member

    Long Island, NY
    United States - English
    Thank you for the example, it sheds a lot of light on the situation! I have one further question though (And I apologize that my Russian is so poor). What is the function of "что ты" in the phrase "Нет, что ты, он не там, а под столом."? Does it somehow refer to the implied subject "Ваш сын"?
     
  7. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    No, что ты means "what a strange thing are you saying!", or some kind of surprise, indignation, etc., being a shortened variant of implied phrase: Что ты такое говоришь!
    Examples:
    - Ты голоден?
    - Нет, что ты, я сыт.

    - Лихтенштейн вчера запустил космонавта на Марс.
    - Да что ты! Какие молодцы.

    - А я ему сказал: бип, бип, бип...
    - Что ты, так говорить неприлично!
     
  8. DareRyan Senior Member

    Long Island, NY
    United States - English
    Thanks a lot! I will add that to my vocabulary. And that makes a lot more sense than what I assumed (Ty vs Vy etc.)

    Thank you all for the help! I have gained a lot from the post.
     
  9. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    England
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    I have to say that I think the explanation Maroseika gave you was very good indeed. And moreover, I would add that in my opinion, the most adequate translation for '' что ты'' would be: of course not. (the reason for the ''not'' is because it is more commonly used in the negative than in the positive. :) )

    Look at these examples.
    - Она провалила экзамен? (Did she fail the exam?)
    - Да нет, что ты! Она его здала на отлично. (Of course not! She passed it with flying colours.)

    - Ты опять забыл купить маме подарок на день рождение? (Have you forgotten to buy your mother a birthday present again?)
    - Да нет, ну что ты! Я ей купил сережки. :) (no, of course not! I bought her some new earrings. :) )

    Hope this helps you. :)
     
  10. Maroseika Moderator

    Moscow
    Russian
    I let myself to correct 2 small errors, Crescent, won't you mind?
     
  11. Crescent

    Crescent Senior Member

    England
    Russian, (Ukraine)
    Oh, no, of course I don't mind, Maroseika. In fact, thank you very much for correcting me. :) It's very silly, I know, but I keep making this one mistake: writing зделать instead of сделать. :eek:
     

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