1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "У них ничего нет."

"У них ничего нет."

Translation:They have nothing.

November 5, 2015



Why do both "nothing" and "not" appear in the Russian sentence? Does ничего also mean "anything"? "They don't have anything"?


Unlike in English, Russian REQUIRES double negatives. So, instead of saying "I do not have anything" or "I am not going anywhere", in Russian you would HAVE to say "I do not have nothing" or "I am not going nowhere".


This is like French. "Ne" and "Pas", both are used in there.


Strictly, it would be like "ne ... rien".


Strictly speaking, this is not a double negative; I believe this is known as negative concord. Basically, if the sentence is in negative, every word like anything, anywhere, etc. should be negated too.

An example of a true double negative is «не могу не заметить» (i.e. “I cannot not remark”), where the double negative collapses to a positive, just like in logic.


I like your profile picture, it makes me think that you are super confused by this exact logic of negative concord! :D


The sentence translated: У него ничего нет = He doesn't have anything/He has nothing.

In other words, consider ничего нет as the doesn't have anything form.

Your issue comes from the fact that you would like to write He has nothing with a single word. Unfortunately, Russians just stick to ничего нет for that.


I saw in other exercise of this lesson the construction нет ничего (у него нет ничего).

Are нет ничего and ничего нет interchangeable, or should I report one of them the next time I see it?


I would say they mean the same thing and are both acceptable.


I saw it too. Need a clarification here please...


Is Они - ничего нет = They are nothing?


No, that's ungrammatical. «Они — ничто» works.


if this is "have" then why isn't there a "есть" anywhere?


Great phrase for doing a robbery in russian >_<


When I hear "о" at the end of a word I hear it pronounced as "a", but not in ничего. Why is that so?


it doesn't depend on where the "o" is but rather if it is in the stressed syllable or not, in ничего the stress is in го, so the o preserves the sound.


Shouldn't "they haven't anything" also be accepted?


Why is it них and not их????


Would у них нет ничего be valid? Having нет at the end is confusing since all other "I don't have..." examples are not like that.


Why ничего нет and not не ничего?


I answered "they have nothing at all" as the "as all" provides the emphasis that "ничего нет" suggests. Why was this marked as incorrect? I would think it conveys the sense?


There is nothing to suggest "at all" in the Russian sentence. To mean that, you might say «У них совсем ничего нет».


When does the "г" get pronounced like a "в"?


In Genitive/Accusative endings -ого and -его, including the fossilised ones in the words сегодня and итого.


Does this literary translate to "They don't have nothing"? Wouldn't that mean they have something, so can we say "Y nih [anything] net"?


As mentioned in comments above, Russian requires the elements of a negative statement to all be in agreement with each other.

In other words, Russian actually requires double negatives in a negative statement.


What would the sentence "У них нет вещи" translate to? (I don't know the genitive case of вещь)


Sometimes, these kinds of phrases are genuinely illogical and I wonder why people don't just fix the illogical error with the language rather than persist. Example: Translating this in English essentially means "they not have nothing" but not having nothing means they possess something, ergo, I now believe they have something. I notice there are all of these nuances too, rules that aren't actually rules because of all of the examples where you can break them. I wonder if man-made (as in purpose-built) languages like Epseranto pull those stunts too?


So saying "у них ест ничего" would be wierd ?


Is this the standars way to express "having nothing"? Would it ever be "...есть ничкго"? Does that even make sense?


How does the г in ничего -- which I'd always registered as a soft g sound -- suddenly become a w sound?


Can i also write 'у них есть нет'?

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.