Russian Language Blog

Russian Cases: «Родительный падеж» [Genitive] part III Posted by on May 3, 2009 in language

During the last two years it has become more and more popular to make old Soviet propaganda serve capitalistic ends here in Russia. This is just one twist on the current theme of ‘economic crisis’ worldwide: «Сервис отличный, нормальные цены, пусть не пугают тебя перемены!» [The service is excellent, the prices are normal, don’t let the changes scare you!]. Under the picture (with a boot added in photoshop as the ad above is for a shoe store) it says: «Служим народу» [We serve the people]. Anyone who remembers, i.e. knows, what it says in the original version? (Once again, if you can’t see it here, you can see it here instead).

After taking a little break from Russian grammar to celebrate Orthodox Easter, read Bunin and be fascinated with alternative Russian slang used on the internet, I think that we now all are ready to pick up where we left off last time we discussed grammar – to round things up with «родительный падеж» [genitive case] of Russian language. As we’ve already discussed two important things concerning this case earlier, both negation and what prepositions demand to be followed by genitive, we are now fully equipped with enough knowledge to start part III and learn about the certain verbs in Russian language that must always be followed by genitive. With no time to loose let’s get started already! The verbs «хотеть» [to want], «ждать» [to wait], «просить» [to ask for] and «требовать» [to demand] are followed by genitive if the object is abstract or a part of something. If the object after these verbs is a person or an item, than the case you should always use is accusative. This rule can be a little tricky to understand at first, especially if you’ve been learning Russian for a while already yet never even heard of such a thing before, and that’s why I suggest we should learn from a couple of examples: (P.S. when figuring out this rule you could ask yourself – can this ‘object’ be touched? If not, then it’s probably abstract.)

Accusative: «Я ищу новое платье» [I am looking for a new dress].

Genitive: «Я ищу покоя» [I am looking for peace of mind (quiet; rest)] – (abstract!)

Accusative: «Он ждёт подругу» [He is waiting for his friend/girlfriend].

Genitive: «Она ждёт ответа на письмо» [She is waiting for an answer to her letter] – (abstract!)

Accusative: «Она попросила книгу в библиотеке» [She asked for a book at the library].

Genitive: «Он попросил извинения за опоздание» [He asked forgiveness for coming late] – (abstract!)

Note that the verb «ждать» [to wait] with the synonimic verbs «ожидать» [to expect; to wait for; await] and «дожидаться/дождаться» [to wait (as long as necessary); to wait (until someone comes or something happens: always with gen.)] often is followed by genitive when the object is a means of transportation:

«Мы ждали поезда, трамвая, автобуса, самолёта, парахода…» [We waited for the train, the tram, the bus, the plane, the ship (steamship)…]

Here’s a brief little (yet not too brief and little, I hope!) list of verbs that demand that the object after them is in genitive. If two verbs are given, then the first verb is always «несовершенный вид» [imperfect], whereas the second shows the «совершенный вид» [perfect]:

«пугаться/испугаться» [to be scared of; to be frightened of]:

«Ребёнок пугается темноты» [The child is scared of the dark].

«Волков боятьсяв лес не ходить» [If you’re afraid of wolves you shouldn’t go into the woods].

«стыдиться» [to be ashamed of]:

«Не надо стыдиться своего акцента!» [You don’t have to be ashamed of you accent!]

«стесняться» [to feel uneasy; feel awkward; feel self-conscious; to be shy (in the presence of); be afraid (of)]:

«Я всегда стесняюсь строгого взгляда профессора» [I am always shy of (alt. afraid of) the professor’s stern look].

«избегать/избежать» [to avoid; evade]:

«Как нам с тобой избежать проблем?» [How should you and I avoid problems?]

«беречься» [to watch out (for); beware (of); guard (against)]:

«Берегитесь аварий!» [Watch out for (traffic) accidents!]

«лишать/лишить» [to deprive (of); rob (of)]:

«Он лишил себя жизни» [He took his own life].

«лишаться/лишиться» [to be deprived of; lose]:

Она лишилась зрения/слуха» [She lost her eyesight/hearing].

«желать/пожелать» [to wish]:

«Я желаю вам счастья [I wish you happiness], успехов [success], здоровья [health], всего хорошего [all the best], счастливого пути [a nice trip; a pleasant journey], спокойной ночи! [good night]»

«достигать/достигнуть/достичь» [to reach; to achieve; to attain]:

«Мы достигли вершины горы» [We reached the top of the mountain].

«Многие русские писатели и поэты в 20-ом веке достигнули известности и признания своего таланта лишь посмертно» [Many Russian writers and poets in the 20th century attained fame (notoriety; renown) and recognition of their talent only posthumously].

«добиваться/добиться» [to achieve; obtain; gain; get]:

«Она всегда добивается своего» [She always get’s her way (she always gains her own objective)].

«Наконец он добился справки о том, что он реабилитирован» [Finally he obtained a certificate that he’s been rehabilitated].

«касаться/коснуться» [to touch; to touch upon; to concern; to have to do with]:

«А что касается этого вопроса, то…» [And what concerns this question, then…]

«Я не коснулась его мировоззрения в нашем разговоре» [I didn’t touch upon his world outlook (alt. world view) in our talk].

«слушаться/послушаться» [to obey; to heed (advice)]:

«Слушайтесь родителей!» [Obey your parents!]

«Муж послушался совета жены, и не стал посылать свои стихи “Новому миру”» [The husband heeded his wife’s advice and didn’t send his poems to (the magazine) “New World”].

Even though these verbs are far from ALL the verbs in Russian language that demands to be followed by an object in genitive, I think that it’s high time to say «этого хватает!» [this is enough] for one post today. Next time we’ll jump right into the next exciting case (it was my favorite for a while, but now my heart belongs to all six of them equally much… except for maybe the instrumental case, that hold a special place deep down in it) «дательный падеж» [dative]. Now you’re all excited, I just know it! Until then «наслаждайтесь изучением русского языка»!

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  1. rahmanahchongmuniandy:

    i love russia.till taday i dont have a chance to go to russia.may be later i will be in my vacation to russia.tq

  2. Meri:

    Does the verb символизирует take the genetics case?