Slovenian: Instrumental case

Discussion in 'Other Slavic Languages' started by dihydrogen monoxide, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. dihydrogen monoxide Senior Member

    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    I'd like to know why doesn't my grammar treat instrumental as a case but as an attribute. For instance, if you look at this sentence.

    a) I ride with a bike.

    Now, I would think that with a bike is instrumental, so according to this I ask myself:

    a) With what do I ride?

    Somehow, my grammar says that this is wrong and that I should ask myself:

    a) How do I ride?

    I fail to see, why shouldn't this be a case? This refers to grammatical excersises where you have to determine what is an object, subject etc...
  2. djmc Senior Member

    English - United Kingdom
    The verb you use is not a good example. Normally one says "I ride a bike". Bike would be a direct object. If one asked a question, one would say "What do you ride", to be answered "I ride a bike", or "I ride a horse", or "I ride a Bianchi", Bianchi being a make of bicycle. If I ask "How do you ride", I would expect an answer such as "I ride on the drops" or "Well I'm normally really slow, my bike is old and not very well maintained". The bike is not really instrumental in English, in fact English does not distinguish cases to any great extent. An example of with to indicate an instrumental usage would be. "I repaired the handle with a screwdriver". To ask a question about it one might say "How did you repair the door handle", or "What did you use to repair the handle with". One sometimes sees criticism of this usage, that one should use "with what . . .", however it is not a rule that is obeyed to any great extent, and both Fowler and Partridge dismiss this.
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    I assume your question is about English. English nouns have only two cases: nominative ("man") and possessive ("man's"). Pronouns have only three cases: nominative ("he"), possessive ("his"), and oblique ("him"). There is no instrumental case in English.
  4. dihydrogen monoxide Senior Member

    Slovene, Serbo-Croat
    No, it's about Slovene. But I'm wondering why it is or maybe my grammar has it wrong! It's not about English.
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Then you should quote your examples in Slovene (if possible with glosses), not in English.

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