the person with whom I used to work is called John

Discussion in 'Русский (Russian)' started by Lofty, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Lofty Member

    English (United Kingdom)
    I am beginning to construct sentences with clauses that use relative pronouns and i am keen to understand word order.

    I wish to say 'the person with whom i used to work is called John'.

    My initial thought was

    человека, с которым я работал, зовут Джон

    But it seems to me more natural to say

    зовут Джон человека, с которым я работал.

    Are either of these correct and could anybody advise how the clause giving information about the object of the intransitive verb is usually positioned.


    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2013
  2. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    No, your initial thought was correct, the second choice was not:).
    But no commas are needed, the same way as you say it in English.
  3. zambala Senior Member

    the person with whom i used to work is called John

    Человека с которым я обычно работал вместе зoвут Джон.
  4. wdata

    wdata Member

    Just a remark to illustrate that almost every word order is possible in Russian to emphasise anything.
    It seems to me your second variant could be used in the only case, when you´re trying to recall the name. Like, "I used to work with one guy, how was his name? Can't recall it."
    And then, after a minute or two :) А, зовут Джон человека, с которым я работал.
  5. Maroseika Moderator

    Why? This is an ordinary subordiante clause, and commas are obligatory:
    Человека, с которым я работал, зовут Джон.

    As for the second variant (Зовут Джон человека, с которым я работал.) formally it is possible, but not natural, of course, and can be used only in some special context.
  6. zambala Senior Member

    It's possible also:

    Его зовут Джон, человека с которым я работал!

    // His name is John, the men I was working with!

    - but also some context rules might apply.
  7. igusarov

    igusarov Senior Member

    Moscow, Russia
    What we have here is an indefinitely-personal sentense sentence ("неопределённо-личное предложение"): it has no subject. It consists of a predicate - transitive:tick: verb "зовут", and two objects: direct object "человека" and indirect object "Джон". Direct object comes with an optional adjectival clause (in this case: "уточняющий оборот"). Уточняющий оборот should always follow its master word: "человека, с которым я работал" is the only right place to put this clause. As for the relative position of the predicate and its objects, almost every combination is possible. They Each would imply different connotation and stresses, though:

    (Bold type means stressed word)
    "Зовут его Джон" = "He's called John"
    "Зовут Джон его" - unnatural.
    "Зовут Джоном его" = "It is he who is called John"
    "Джон его зовут" = "John is what he's called"
    "Джоном его зовут" = "John is what he's called"
    "Джоном его зовут" = "It is he who is called John"
    "Джон зовут его" - a bit unnatural
    "Джоном зовут его" = "John is what he's called"
    "Его зовут Джон" = "His name is John" - the most neutral and natural sentense
    "Его Джон зовут" = "His name is John" (not Johnson, not Jonathan)

    P.S. As a matter of fact, you can place "with whom I used to work" in front of "person". But it'll have to be reshaped a bit and will not be a clause any more: "Работавшего со мной человека зовут Джон". Pseudo-English: "Used-to-working with me man is called John."
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  8. Ёж! Senior Member

    I would say, to me, the first is less unnatural than the second. But in the case of «Петя» it's the other way around. Explain as you like... :)
  9. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Yes, you're right, my bad.

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