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You might have noticed that, to talk about physical sensations or afflictions in Russian, you often use an impersonal construction, where the person not feeling well is technically not the subject of the sentence. Here are some of the most common patterns for these sayings.
First, what’s a predicative expression? In Russian, they are often called specifically слова́ состоя́ния (“words of condition”) and describe how something or someone is or what the situation is like (e. g. мне ве́село — “I’m happy, I’m having a great time). They often look the same as the short form of an adjective, ending in -о.
This construction is often used for unpleasant sensations and states of the body. The logic behind it is that the person is not doing to themselves. They include such things as:
If you need to use the past tense, use a neuter verb, e. g. меня́ вы́рвало.
Many phrases use the “have” pattern: у меня, у тебя… (I have, you have…).
Does all of this mean that Russian never uses a personal construction (one where the person is the actual subject of the sentence) to describe physical states? Not at all. Here are some phrases that use a more conventional syntax.
Which of these phrases have you heard or used? Which ones do you find surprising?
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