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  5. "There was fog then."

"There was fog then."

Translation:Тогда был туман.

November 3, 2015



How does the был declention work?


In this kind of sentence without a subject it seems to agree with the nominal complement, which makes sense. Another example of this is "Тогда была зима".


Why not было?


Russian verbs use gendered endings in the past instead of conjugating (historically, these were participles, i.e. behaved like adjectives). The endings for a masculine, feminine, neuter and plural subject are zero-ending, -а, -о and -и respectively:

  • Алла перешла дорогу.
  • Александр жил далеко.
  • Молоко было на столе.
  • Мы переехали.

Туман is masculine.

All these forms will use the Л suffix. The exception is for masculine forms of some specific verbs (those that have a consonant-ending past stem) where the Л is nowhere to be seen. Here are a few examples:

  • мочь ("can") → мог / могла́ / могло́ / могли́
  • печь ("to bake") → пёк / пекла́ / пекло́ / пекли́
  • лечь ("to lie down") → лёг / легла́ / легло́ / легли́
  • лезть ("to climb, to get into/onto") → лез / ле́зла / ле́зло / ле́зли
  • нести́ ("to carry, to bring") → нёс / несла́ / несло́ / несли́
  • со́хнуть ("to dry", i.e. to grow less and less wet) → сох or со́хнул / со́хла / со́хло / со́хли
  • мо́кнуть ("to become wet") → мок or мо́кнул / мо́кла / мо́кли
  • ошиби́ться ("to make a mistake") and other perfective verbs with the same root → оши́бся / оши́блась / оши́блось / оши́блись

These verbs are all "irregular" in a sense, though this particular change is at least understandable (лезл and могл would not sound like a "normal" Russian past form, since most verbs have a vowel there just before Л). The challenge is the verbs like сохнуть, мокнуть, до́хнуть, мёрзнуть and so on. These imperfective verbs look superficially similar to regular прыгнуть, крикнуть, чихну́ть and other perfective verbs that denote (usually) instantaneous actions.


I suppose I thought it would behave like быть in осенью было холодно since it didn't seem like the sentence was about 'fog', but about 'the past' or 'weather' or something.

But I guess in my example there wasn't actually a noun (холодно vs туман).


Yeah, your guess is correct. Having a noun rather than an impersonal predicate makes all the difference in the world.

A sentence like "Мне было страшно" or "Сегодня будет жарко" has no formal subject, i.e. no noun or pronoun in the nominative that controls the conjugation of the predicate and (grammatically) "does" the action described.

"Сегодня будет снег", "На улице туман" or "Был жуткий ливень" all have a grammatical subject, so you use their gender/number to pick the appropriate form. We also use идти (but not ходить) with precipitation like снег and дождь—a metaphor absent from English.

  • 1604

In Turkish we say "duman". It's mean exactly the smoke :)


Почему это нельзя сказать "туман был тогда."?


В английском наречия обычно в конце. В русском это не так.

In English, adverbs are typically at the end. In Russian it is generally not the case (though, in some particular contexts they might be the message of the sentence; not here).


may I ask ... is "затем был туман" correct? if no, then this part doesn't apply, but if yes, is one more used by russian people over the other? Thanks in advance (even if just for reading my question but a BIG thanks if there is an answer)))) )


Why -о and -a in 'вчера не было тумана' but no such endings in 'тогда был туман'? Is it the 'не' that does it? Wht does it do in that case?

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