"There are birds in the tree."

Translation:На дереве птицы.

November 3, 2015

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птицы на дереве. Why not?!


It'd be translated as "Birds are in the tree". :) "There is/are" construction doesn't have a specific counterpart in Russian, but the object has to be put to the ending of the sentence. An example: "На столе книга" means "There is a book on the table" and "Книга на столе" means "The book is on the table".


A great explanation! I was under the impression есть is used for the "there is/are" construction. As I have yet to see есть used this way here, it has caused a bit of confusion.

For example - Там есть птицы.


На дереве есть птицы doesn't work here?


It's correct, just less common for a statement without a context. Common for a question (На дереве есть птицы?) or emphasizing (Да, на дереве есть птицы).

Report if not accepted.


It seems that for this translation есть is optional.


A better translation would be "The birds are in the/a tree." What English indicates with articles, Russian often conveys with word order.

Already-known information comes at the beginning (often corresponding to definite articles), new information at the end (often corresponding to indefinite).


sweet explanation


Good Lord I dont understand this language


What do you not understand, or what is giving you difficulty in this sentence or in general?


I find it difficult to make sense of the grammar, here and also just sometimes in general. I don't understand how having "птицы" at the end instead of the beginning makes the sentence into "There are birds in the tree". The direct translation of "Birds in tree" seems closer to me than "in tree birds"... But maybe I'm losing some meaning in how the noun declensions translate, because not having an explanation of the noun classes and declensions has also been messing me up majorly.


Okay, so what I think you are missing (and it's easy to miss without explicit instruction) is not the declension or use of the different cases but how word order affects meaning. In Russian, new information comes at the end of the sentence. Think of a question and answer. "What's in the tree?" (Что на дереве?) "There are birds in the tree" (на дереве птицы). That sentence order, with location then object in the location, is the standard way of saying "there is/are X in Y". If you think about it, you are stressing by putting at the end what is new (are birds) not what was already mentioned (in the tree). For further illustration, look at a similar question. "Where are the birds?" (Где птицы?) The birds are no longer the new information in the response, and you'd respond "The bird are in a/the tree" (Птицы на дереве). What's new is the location where the previously-mentioned birds are. So in general new information comes at the end of a sentence with no unusual vocal stress elsewhere. If you want to say "there is/are X in Y" for that reason the best construction is "в/на Y –X"


Would "На дереве есть птицы" be incorrect or sound too unnatural?


It sounds natural. It should be accepted if it's not now :)


It's answer is currently not accepted


When would one or the other version be used?


If the stress falls on the word птицы, it's really the same. На дереве птицы. На дереве есть птицы.

If it falls on есть, it feels slightly different. На дереве есть птицы. It sounds like a contradiction to some previous statement/knowledge/etc that there were no birds in the tree. There are birds in the tree.

Otherwise really I don't feel much difference. Maybe there is difference, and somebody else can comment on it, but my perception ends here :D


Not accepted 12/16/2020


Was accepted 02/19/22. It's correct, just puts stress on есть. It's like answering someone cofirming there really ARE birds in the tree. Without есть, you are simply noting that there are (some) birds in the tree .


Why do we have to use the preposition на and not в to translate this? I understand that на implies that the birds sit on the tree or on a branch of the tree, but the original sentence could also be understood as birds are literally in the tree (like within a hole in the tree). In second case it should be в or would it still be на?


Because this is how the grammar is in Russian. We say "on the tree" rather than "in the tree". Don't assume the sentence patterns in Russian are the same as in English.

"Птицы сидят на дереве" --> the birds are sitting in the tree, on the branches

"Птицы сидят в дереве" --> the birds are sitting inside of the tree, somehow in the trunk, inside of the wood (so sounds really weird, not a proper sentence)

Just a different pattern than in English. They don't always make sense. E.g. also in English one says "on the train" and not "in the train", even though physically the person is "in" the train car, and it's the same in Russian in this case - "на поезде"


This is exactly how I meant it. The problem was not the russian grammar, but the english example sentence, which could mean either "sitting on top" or "sitting inside the trunk". So from the context it would be clear to use either на or в but we have no context to make this clear, therefore I had to ask for clarification.


I really don't think "in the tree" means "in the trunk" in some science fictional way I described :) "In the tree" always means "on the branches" in English. At least I thought so... Native speakers?


I think it depends on the type of bird, e.g. https://www.thespruce.com/description-of-cavity-nesting-385193

Or is "in a hole in the trunk" sufficiently different from "in the trunk" that Russian wouldn't use "в" for this situation?


Putting aside the non-equivalent prepositions (thanks for that), it looks like you didn't understand what MortiBiRD was saying (maybe you did, but it doesn't look like it).

Suppose the birds were staying in a bird-hotel that was inside the tree truck. Then the birds are literally inside the tree. In English we would most definitely say that the birds are "in the tree". Are you saying that in Russian one should still say "on the tree" - "на дерево"?

In English, if birds are perched on a branch of a tree, we say "The birds are in the tree". If birds are staying in a bird-hotel literally inside a tree, then we say "The birds are in the tree, literally".

Also, regarding your example of "on the train" versus "in the train", honestly I think either way sounds normal.


I've never heard anyone say 'in the train' in my life. It's always 'on the train'. And it sounds like Russian is the same with birds in trees. They're always 'on the tree', excepting bizarre situations or like biologists talking about hornbill houses or something.


The common way we say it is in the tree. Russian dies make that distinction


The common way we say it is in the tree. Russian does make that distinction . For translation withiout context always go with the most common way to say it in English- in.. For now assume Russian most common is Ha.


What are the rules for when you include "есть" and when you don't? If I were to say, "there are birds in the city", that would be translated as "в городе есть птицы", but saying, "there are birds in the tree" cannot be translated as "на дереве есть птицы"?


why is it not в дереве птицы?


На дереве means in the tree in the sense of, on the branches.

В дереве would mean in the trunk of a tree, inside a tree.


Based on the comments above, I believe it is because "в дереве" isn't the natural way to say that that a bird is in the tree. The natural way is "на дереве". I think it is ultimately just a convention.


Is there any lesson where duolingo teaches only the alphabet and how each character sounds like it does in greek??


Should, 'там птицы на дереве' be accepted?


That means something like "There, the birds are in a tree." The sentence here is "there are" in the sense of existence as opposed to location.


Or "There are birds in the tree there". So, the first part is really the same except for the extra "there". Здесь птицы на дереве would have been "There are birds in the tree here". Simply На дереве птицы is "There are birds in the tree" without the specification where :)


When would you use дереве or дерево?


Where? - На дереве. What? - Дерево.


there are birds in the tree and the tree has birds means exactly the same thing,,, птицы на дереве (birds on tree) could mean EITHER since they mean exactly the same thing. stop trying to tell people differently,,,"oh that word order would translate to ~exact same meaning 1~ , not ~exact same meaning 2~. It's nonsense!


There are birds in the tree _ commonly said. The tree has birds - never have ard it said. It would be understood ,but sounds strange. Part of the lesson is to learn as English speakers, that Russians say на дереве where English speakers say in the tree. Go with the meaning of the sentence which is most likely to be said. Sirry, but the tree has bircs sounds like tree has a disease called birds. Just sayin'


птицы на дереве - also correct


I am under the impression that this course seeks to maintain a distinction between

  • На дереве птицы. — There are birds in the tree.
  • Птицы на дереве. — The birds are in the tree.

This helps English speakers understand the nuances of the basic word order.


"В дереве" would mean literally inside the tree trunk.


So "в дереве" could be reasonably common for birds that nest in tree trunks?



We have дупло specifically for hollows.


Thanks, Shady_arc!

So if one wants a natural rendering of "There are birds in the tree" when "in the tree" means "in the trunk," it would be "В дупле в дереве птицы" and not just "В дереве птицы"? Or just "В дупле в дереве птицы" because with "дупло" it would be unnecessarily redundant to specify "в дереве"?


Can someone help me understand this please. I got it wrong. I wish it would explain why i got it wrong. Maybe because i dont have the PLUS!!


Did you read the posts in this thread and not find the source of your confusion addressed? If you'd like feedback on why your answer was wrong (or whether it might actually be right but simply not in the database of accepted translations), you have to include your translation because we do not see what your translation was.

For some questions in some courses an automated grammar explanation may appear after some missed questions attempting to elucidate a point about why the question was missed. Sometimes they're on target; sometimes not. I do not know of any connection between their availability and having a Plus subscription. I do not recall ever having seen one in the Russian course. You may see one in the Spanish course if you make a relatively simple error like using the wrong-gender article when translating into Spanish.

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