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Help with a dative example?

  Tags: Syntax | Russian
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chokofingrz
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 Message 1 of 10
06 March 2014 at 3:02pm | IP Logged 
Hi, this will be simpler for me if I write in English. This sentence came up in my learning:

Quote:
молодому директору нужно много работать, чтобы стать старым директором.


(from http://learnrussian.rt.com/tests/test-5/ ... the underlined part is given as the correct answer)

My interpretation: A young director needs to work a lot to become an old director. I was confused both by the dative for the first part and the instrumental for the last. I would have chosen nominative for both. Consultation with my somewhat cryptic dictionary suggests that нужен requires dative, well this is news to me. Is it also true that стать requires instrumental (dictionary not helpful here), and do these cases apply all the time or only in certain situations?

Any more very common verbs with required cases that I should be on the lookout for? (I'm guessing lots, but feel free to name your favourites.)

Overall I was quite pleased with that RT test as I scored 98% (with one eye on my cheat sheet). This was definitely a trick question though!
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Via Diva
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 Message 2 of 10
06 March 2014 at 3:15pm | IP Logged 
Weird sentence from the point of having sense, I must say.
Нужно много работать (кому?) - молодому директору. Кому? is a question, usual for dative.
Работать, чтобы стать (кем?) - старым директором. Кем? is one of the questions, usual for instrumental.
I don't think it's about verbs (though I can be mistaking). First part looks like passive, which has no subject, hence we can't use nominative case. Second part also has no subject: we do not say who is trying to become and old director, and "an old director" itself can't be a subject as well. So It's not even possible to use nominative here.
I can guess why you were tempted to put "a young director" in nominative, from the structure of English sentence it looks just alright. But "an old director" is object even in your translation, so it's not clear to me why you wanted to use nominative.

Edited by Via Diva on 06 March 2014 at 3:16pm

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Cabaire
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 Message 3 of 10
06 March 2014 at 3:54pm | IP Logged 
a) (кому) (не) нужно + infinitive
E.g. Тебе надо будет купить слобарь.
Врачу не надо приезжать.
Нам надо идти.

b)You use the instrumental case for the predicative noun:
Он работает инженером
Она станет чемпионкой
Это является важным вопросом


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Марк
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 Message 4 of 10
06 March 2014 at 4:29pm | IP Logged 
Via Diva wrote:
Weird sentence from the point of having sense, I must say.
Нужно много работать (кому?) - молодому директору. Кому? is a question, usual for dative.
Работать, чтобы стать (кем?) - старым директором. Кем? is one of the questions, usual for instrumental.
I don't think it's about verbs (though I can be mistaking). First part looks like passive, which has no subject, hence we can't use nominative case. Second part also has no subject: we do not say who is trying to become and old director, and "an old director" itself can't be a subject as well. So It's not even possible to use nominative here.
I can guess why you were tempted to put "a young director" in nominative, from the structure of English sentence it looks just alright. But "an old director" is object even in your translation, so it's not clear to me why you wanted to use nominative.

Questions do not help foreigners, they are used for native speakers to determine the case of the correct form.
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Ogrim
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 Message 5 of 10
06 March 2014 at 5:52pm | IP Logged 
One of the things my Russian teacher keeps repeating is that we who have German or Latin native languages need to switch our mentality to the fact that Russian loves "impersonal" constructions. By that I mean that what you would normally see as the subject in English or French (and therefore put in the nominative) is often the object in the equivalent Russian sentence, and will therefore come in another case.

In your example, as Cabaire also points out, нужно is impersonal and what for you is the subject if you tranlsate into English "young director" has to be put in dative case.

As for the second part of the sentence, the rule is quite simple. You will put the predicative in the instrumental case except in one case (as far as I know), which is when you use the simple structure "I (am a) director", which in Russian of course is:
"Я - директор."

Apart from verbs which require certain cases (and which you will have to learn as you come accross them), be aware that it may be the sentence construction itself that will decide which case to use. For instance, with the verb "to be", "есть", you would say in the affirmative "Она была дома", using the nominative case of "she". However, in a negation, you will have to put "She" in the genitive case and the verb in neutral, thus: "Ее не было дома".
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Serpent
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 Message 6 of 10
06 March 2014 at 8:18pm | IP Logged 
Um, Germanic languages love this even more? It's similar to the it-sentences in English, like "it took the young director many years to become an old director".

Also note that director is the headperson. Not a movie director, which is режиссёр.
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tarvos
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 Message 7 of 10
06 March 2014 at 10:58pm | IP Logged 
The difference is that English, Dutch etc usually require a dummy word, whereas Russian
can just plonk the impersonal construction without the need for "it is, there is" etc.

Btw, a nice poem that illustrates how negation is used with copula verbs in Russian:


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chokofingrz
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 Message 8 of 10
07 March 2014 at 1:46am | IP Logged 
Ogrim wrote:

In your example, as Cabaire also points out, нужно is impersonal and what for you is the subject if you tranlsate into English "young director" has to be put in dative case.

As for the second part of the sentence, the rule is quite simple. You will put the predicative in the instrumental case except in one case (as far as I know), which is when you use the simple structure "I (am a) director", which in Russian of course is:
"Я - директор."


Very good answer. I have heard of these predicate nouns but did not know they should usually go in the instrumental case. This is not even mentioned anywhere in Kemple's "Essential Russian Grammar"!

I did notice another interesting rule in that book, which sort of complements what you just taught me:
Kemple wrote:

When the verb быть is used in the past tense to indicate a permanent condition, the nominative rather than the instrumental is used. Compare these two sentences:

Пушкин был студентом - Pushkin was a student [Temporary]
Пушкин был русский - Pushkin was a Russian [Permanent]

Another piece of the grammatical jigsaw comes out from under the sofa of ignorance...

Edited by chokofingrz on 07 March 2014 at 1:47am



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