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  5. "Эти мужчины — актёры."

"Эти мужчины актёры."

Translation:These men are actors.

November 4, 2015



This is the weirdest russian construction, in my opinion. This "—" to replace are is so original. :D


That is also found in other languages, like Arabic.


"This" does not replace "to be". "To be" is totally omitted in the present tense. Literally, what you see in Russian is "These men - actors". The dash is used instead of the omitted "are".


I said "This "—" to replace to be". Sorry for the confusion. So yes, I knew that, and that's what I find so original. :D


I'm still confused why the dash is used at all, as if it's replacing something. It's not like the apostrophe in English contractions (right?). For Russian speakers, "are" in the sentence would never be there (I think). And we wouldn't need to indicate something missing?


It is replacing the Russian word for "is/are". Long ago, we used them.


Is there a way to pronounce this "—" ?


You make a pause.


It's not pronounced; it's something you write, but don't say.

EDIT: And yes, you also make a pause simply.


It is similar to how the apostrophe is used in the word 'cello.


why is the literal "These men - actors." not accepted?


Because it doesn't mean the same in English. The "—" is replacing the verb to be in russian. You can't do that in english, using the "—" to replace the verb to be...


I guess that is true. although, i was able to understand from the context that the dash was implying the word "are". It almost corresponds to a colon in my mind, but you wouldn't translate the word 'are' in place of the colon when translating. (Maybe I should have just put a colon there instead then?)


No, you don't put a colon. This is just the way to write the (absence of the) present form of "to be" in Russian. But that's a feature of Russian (and other Slavic languages), not of English. For most uses, in English you'd write the verb.


@ivucica: I never said all of them do ;-)


@Ricardo: Many Slavic languages DO use a word for "to be" in that place.


The dash is actually used in normal Russian writing? I was under the impression that it was just something used in this course (and maybe in Russian grade schools) until the students properly understood the omission of "to be."


Of course, it is used.


One way to conceptualize it structurally is that the dash works like a colon would in English. "These men: actors" (of course this seems very strange, as you don't structure sentences like this in English, but bear with me). First you are defining an object: "These men", and then you are describing an attribute of the object: "actors". And this way of thinking makes it clearer for an English speaker how it is to be said in spoken Russian too; when there's a colon, there's a pause!


I can't seem to find the "-" on my keyboard. Would a regular hyphen be acceptable?


Press the "alt" key and the "-" key and it will make it.


Yes, it is acceptable.


I already understood that "—" is actually used in Russian writing. But i ask if "—" is ever used when "to be" verb is missing. For example: "Эти мужчины — актёры. ", is the current sentence, so what about this: "Я — актёр. " or "Иван — актёр. " Are these right? Regards.


yes, you can say or write this way. It's correct


Do Russian keyboards have a key for "—"? I'm using the Russian keyboard layout on Mac and can't find it for the life of me. —edit— Apparently you can type it with alt+shift+-. Still, you'd think it would be more accessible since it's used so much...


No, keyboards lacks of this key. Most word processors automatically replace double minus signs - followed with space with a dash when typing in.


How can people tell if you're using эти or это? The lady says the words so fast that they both sound the same.


Does - imply are?


It seems like it should actually translate into: "These are actor-men", instead of: "These men are actors". Which sounds weird. I'm Polish, so I use a language with a vocab similar to Russian and with small differences in sentence construction, and If anyone were to describe someone's vocation this way in polish, people would give them a strange look, to say the least. So can somebody, who actually is Russian, confirm that the above construction does exists and is currently used by the Russian people, and isn't just some mistake of, let's say: copying the sentence structure from a Mandarin language course?


Unfortunately I can't speak to Polish since I have never studied it, but this is a correct Russian sentence and the translation "These men are actors" is correct.

1) The symbol here, the longer hyphen, is called a тире, and it's considered a punctuation mark. Note the spaces between the noun, тире, and noun. This is the simplest way to say "X is Y" in Russian. The тире serves as sort of a half pause between the words. There is at least one verb, являться, that means "to be", but it requires instrumental case and is typically reserved for higher level speeches, technical/scientific documentation, etc.

2) The "normal" hyphen used in words, the дефис, is essentially a spelling character that combines two words into one, like you mentioned. There are no spaces between the words and the hyphen, it's essentially inserted directly between the two words. When you're describing words like that, it would be said that they are written "through" a hyphen (писаться через дефис).

3) Also please bear in mind that if the demonstrative "это" is used (in this case, эти), then the phrase would be "these ...", which would not necessarily be a complete sentence. For instance, if it were "Эти мужчины-актёры", then that would just be "These men-actors" - that by itself would only work in response to a question starting with "Кто".


Thank you for taking the time to clarify that bit for me (and probably other people with the same doubt). I appreciate it, especially at this moment in time, where I am not yet capable to read books in Russian to experience the nuances of the language for myself.


No problem! I hope it fully addressed your question!!


How do you know it's "these men" and not "those men"?


When you see "это" decline and match the number/case of the noun it's modifying, it means "this" or "these". "Those men" would literally be "те мужчины".



When we can use ы for plural, and when use и?

Eg. Девочки (why not девочкы)?


Check out this site for some spelling rules: http://www.russianlessons.net/grammar/spelling_rules.php In this case, a ы can not come after a к.


Would it be considered incorrect to just say "Эти мужчины актёры" ? Without the dash (-), that is.


Is it only me or the end of актёры is pronounced as "a" but not and "e" sound. Why?


It is only you. Ы is pronounced like "y" in a strange way, but it doesn't sound like "a" to me at all.


Thanks, but maybe I am wrong with the pronunciation letters. As much as I know Ы is more like и but it is here pronounced very differently like the e in the "deliver". Maybe I should have my ears cleaned up, right :))


I think the text-to-speech is about 90% accurate here. Ы is the "hard" partner of и - it sounds similar, but instead of being more like "ee" in street, it's more like the "i" in "itch", but almost like... you're being punched when you pronounce it >.


I put These men are the actors......owl said нет


Why doesn't it accept "these men - they're actors"?


Because there is no "they" in the sentence, which would be они; Эти мужчины... они актёры. But even then, it wouldn't really work in Russian, except if it's in a script for a movie where the actor must be dramatic.


Because you could say that in English, but it's not proper literary English.


I'm not a fan of the dash. I think it's important for non-speakers to dispense with what they're used to and acclimatize to the new language's idiosyncrasies. Because in common talk, there is no dash.


The dash is used in Russian writing, so you can't just "forget about it".


Good to know! Thanks, again!


Hm, I would translate it like: These are men - actors.


What is your native language? I ask because your translation does not make sense.

  • These are men. = Это мужчины. (a sentence)

  • these men = эти мужчины (a phrase)

  • These men are actors. = Эти мужчины - актёры.

Hope this helps.


No. Your sentence would be Это мужчины-актёры (These are men-actors) not Эти мужчины — актёры (which means These men are actors).

So you understand: Эти is a plural demonstrative (notice the и?), but Это is It (is)/These (are)/etc.


I understand now, thanks!

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