The suffix -то

Go-Moskva-go

Member
эстонский
Hi!

Could someone explain, what the significance and meaning of the suffix -то
is when placed at the end of a noun. I'm familiar with the adding of -то
to the end of certain adjectives and question words, such as какой, где, кто
and I know that this changes the meaning of e.g. какой from which/what/what
kind of to some/some kind of etc. However, I have not been able to really figure
out from context what the function of -тo is when added to nouns.

Does e.g. город-то perhaps express uncertainty of some kind?

Thanks for all-answers! :)
 
  • gvozd

    Senior Member
    Hi!

    Could someone explain, what the significance and meaning of the suffix -то
    is when placed at the end of a noun.
    The particle -то, attached to a noun, usually means the softening of a claim or a mild attempt to persuade somebody to do something.

    Мясо-то подгорело! (We need to prepare a new portion. Instead of "Ты должна приготовить новую порцию мяса взамен пригоревшей!").
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    First of all, -то is not a suffix, it is a particle. And it doesn't mean any kind of uncertainty unless used with pronouns like какой-то, где-то and so on. Its function is to mark out, to outline the word.

    Ты на себя-то погляди! is much stronger than Погляди на себя.

    Ты зачем в этот магазин пошел? - Neutral
    Ты зачем в магазин-то этот пошел? - Магазин is specially marked.

    Это мне нужно - This is what I need
    Этого-то мне и надо - This is exactly what I need.
     

    Budspok

    Senior Member
    Russian-Lübertsy
    "-то" at the end of words is often used to express that things turned out to be different from what one had expected.

    1. Книга-то интересная. meaning - I/we/everybody had thought the book was nothing special but it turned out to be interesting.

    2. Новый альбом группы Джудас Прист-то уже в продаже. meaning - Everybody has thought the new Judas Priest album has not been released yet, but it's already avaliable for the buyers.
     

    Maroseika

    Moderator
    Russian
    "-то" at the end of words is often used to express that things turned out to be different from what one had expected.
    I think this is just a particluar case of the outlining the word, which, according to the dictionaries, is the general fubction of this particle. The more so that etymologically this то originates from the demonstrative pronoun, and, if I'm not wrong, in Bulgarian it even converted into the definite article.

    Even your examples can be interpreted in many other ways:
    Книга-то интересная (да только времени нет почитать / но дорогая / etc).
     
    Hello,
    First of all, -то is not a suffix, it is a particle. And it doesn't mean any kind of uncertainty unless used with pronouns like какой-то, где-то and so on. Its function is to mark out, to outline the word.
    I think, this should be underlined and was not underlined before, only hinted: that "-то" may be used after any content word, not only after a noun. That is, it may be used after a noun, a verb, an adjective, a numeral or an adverb, without any problems.
    The more so that etymologically this то originates from the demonstrative pronoun, and, if I'm not wrong, in Bulgarian it even converted into the definite article.
    Not only in Bulgarian, as far as I know, but also in some dialects of Russian.
     

    postscripter

    New Member
    Russian
    Right. Subj goes back to demonstrative pronoun "то", "те" or "та" ("that", or just "the") and can be used with objects, which currently are in speaker's mind...
     
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