“In eight o’clock of morning, at January 8th, on the 2013…” Posted by Rob on Jan 8, 2013 in General reference article, language, Nouns and their grammar, Numbers and counting, Russian for beginners
…this post are scheduled for to be auto-publishing’ed over blog Transparent! 😉
A Russian learning English might make these exactly these sorts of
with English предлоги (“prepositions”) — saying “at January 8th” instead of “on January 8th,” for instance.
But an English speaker learning Russian faces faces exactly the same problem of sounding like the “comical foreigner” in the punchline of a joke — only, perhaps, it’s worse for the student of Russian, because even if you can remember the correct предлог, certain Russian prepositions can take more than one падеж (“noun case”), thus offering you even more grammar pitfalls.
So, in this post, let’s take a look at the various prepositions and cases that are used when speaking about times, dates, and years. (Although we won’t say too much about Clock Times — e.g., «Поезд пришёл в конце ноября, “in late November”.)вечера» — because Yelena already covered those expressions pretty thoroughly
В каком-нибудь веке, году, месяце? (в + [prep.])
To say “in a particular century/year/month,” Russian uses в followed by the prepositional case of the noun. And when you need to express a given century or year, the noun is preceded by an ordinal number. But remember that for large “compound ordinal numbers,” such as (the) 843rd, only the final element of the number is actually rendered by an ordinal form; the parts before use the cardinal counting forms. Thus:
В восемнадцатом веке. — In the 18th century (A.D.).
В двадцать восьмом веке до нашей эры. — In the 28th century B.C.
В каком году?
В тысяча девятсот восемьдесят четвёртом году. — In the one-thousand, nine-hundred, eighty (and) fourth year.
В будущем году. — In a future year.
В каком месяце? — In what month?
В марте. — In March.
В прошлом месяце. — Last month (i.e., before the current one)
В прошедшем месяце. — In the previous month (i.e., prior to some month in the past).
На какой-нибудь неделе (на + [prep.])
But to ask “in such-and-such a week?”, we use the preposition на instead, though it also takes the prepositional case. Since weeks don’t have numbers or special names in Russian (or English), you’re most likely to use this construction with words expressing “this week” or “last week,” etc., or with descriptive adjectives:
На какой неделе? — In what week?
На этой/прошлой/следующей неделе. — This/last/next week.
На самой же неделе, как… — In the very same week as…
На праздничной неделе — During the holiday week.
В какой-н. день, в какой-н. час, в какую-н. минуту/секунду (в + [acc.])
But for some reason, segments of time shorter than a week use в followed by the noun in the accusative, not the prepositional:
В какой день? — On what day?
. — On Wednesday.
В обыкновенный день. — On an ordinary day.
В последний час. — In the final hour.
минуту… — At that very minute…
В роковую секунду, когда… — In the fateful second, when…
Again, however, see Yelena’s earlier post for a discussion of the numeric constructions that express precise hours and minutes by the clock.
Какого-н. числа месяца (On the [N]th date of a month)
Although “on a given day” is usually в (какой-нибудь) день, there’s a significant exception: When numbering dates within a particular month. In that case, the date uses an ordinal number in the genitive singular neuter (logically agreeing with «число», which is usually omitted), optionally followed by the name of the month in the genitive. And if you feel like specifying the year, then that also goes into the (ordinal) genitive — even though months and years would be в + prepositional when the specific date isn’t given.
Она родилась в тысяча семьcот сорок пятом году.
She was born in 1745.
Она родилась двадцать шестого (сентября) (тысяча семьcот сорок пятого года).
She was born on the 26th (of September) (1745).
On the other hand, if you simply want to name a date without saying that something happened ON a date, the number of the day goes into the nominative neuter — but anything after that, such as the month and year, is again in the genitive:
Она родилась в прекрасный день . Было двадцать шестое (сентября, года).
She was born on a beautiful day in autumn. It was the 26th (of September, 1745).
And finally, if you’ve awoken in a stranger’s apartment in an unfamiliar city with a major ой сегодня день? — “What day is today?”(“hangover”), owing to some hilarious miscalculation of vodka-dosage at the баня (“public steam-bath”), and you can’t remember what day it is, you can ask, Как
But the question is potentially ambiguous, and the answer might be either Сегодня вторник (“Today is Tuesday”) or Сегодня восьмое января (“Today is January 8th”). So if you specifically need the date of the month (not the day of the week), you can ask, Какое сегодня число?
P.S. Let’s not forget that in Casablanca, everyone understands what the Leuchtags mean when they say things like “Which watch? Such much!” So as my first piece of advice на Новый год: Do try to remember which prepositions go with which cases in which contexts, but never sweat so much over the grammar that you’re afraid to speak Russian at all! I screw up constantly with Russian — especially in speech — but 95% of the time, native speakers have no difficulty comprehending what I mean to say. So, while you should make every effort to be correct, never feel shy or embarrassed about “sounding like Tarzan.”
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