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  5. "I do not have a cat."

"I do not have a cat."

Translation:У меня нет кошки.

November 6, 2015



I am confused. I thought "inexistence" (Tips and Notes) requires the genitive. The example given there was У меня есть яблоко → У меня нет яблока. In the chart just above, it says that -a / -Я endings go to -ы. So how come кошка goes to кошки and кошкы ?

Thanking you in advance for your help...


К, Г, Х never get кы, гы, хы. Instead, they always use ки, ги, хи. This also affects hushes (Ш, Ж, Ч, Щ)


Thank you for the explanation. And thanks again for all the hard work you put into both developing the course and on improving the beta. It is greatly appreciated by all of us Russian students.


I constantly get wrong the это, этот, этом и этого. I think I need some Russian rules..


кота is also cat?


кота is the genetive case of кот, a male cat.

While кошка (that we see here more frequently) apparently is used as a feminine/neuter variaton.

Would be great if some native can confirm.



When you know the cat and know his name is Thomas, the cat is кот.

When you know the cat and know her name is Kitty, the cat is кошка.

When you have no idea whether the cat is a boy or a girl, it can be called кот as well as кошка, but I have a feeling кошка is used more often for that. Didn't bother to collect any statistics though, so have no figures to prove my point, sorry... ;)


I'm struggling with word order. I recognise Russian is generally very flexible with word order - much more so than English - but that it conveys subtle differences in emphasis. So what would be the difference in meaning between: "У меня кошки нет" (my answer - accepted as correct), and the suggested alternative: "У меня нет кошки"?


"У меня кошки нет" would be more likely a comment you deliver after you hear that someone does have a cat.

Obviously, it is more limited in use than a generic "У меня нет кошки". Which is why the course is not 100% consistent when it comes to such differences, and I am afraid it will never be. Still, it means that the chances of your answer being rejected do not drop to 0% as soon as you provide a slightly worse or uncommon answer.


Thanks for the answer - it makes sense! Also I am grateful not to be marked wrong every time I give a slightly less common (or less likely, in the context) word order. I look forward to the day I can work out for myself which order is preferable.


The thing is, you HAVE no context. Bending the "neutral", most generic word order lets you emphasise different things.

So our judgements of likeliness of a certain structure are based purely on trying to imagine a situation. Does what the English sentence say evokes a situation where such word order or stylistic choice would be justified? For some sentences it seems OK, for some quite far-fetched.

Unless a certain wording is non-idiomatic ("After the noon I ate midday meal") or breaks some rigid rules, the line is quite blurry.


Thanks again - I understand. I suppose we do all tend to form pictures in our heads of what the most plausible situation is, where no context is given. Usually this will just be the commonest, or most generic option. But it's funny how you can occasionally miss the obvious, and put quite an obscure construction on something. I'm not yet at that stage with Russian, as I'm doing well if I manage to pick ANY valid construction - whether likely or not. But I know that with Dutch, I've occasionally read something in a quite bizarre (but not impossible) way, and then been surprised by the much more obvious alternative.


If one said that as a comment, could they say something like "У меня -- нет" to quicken their response?


My instinct (and maybe what I was taught in undergrad, though it was a long time ago so I don't remember clearly) is that the last word in the sentence is moved there for emphasis, which is maybe another way to describe what Shady_arc said. After someone says they do have a cat, you're emphasizing that you don't, rather than just making a flat statement of fact. But if I maybe emphasize I don't have a CAT, I could instead be getting at the fact that you should remember I have a dog or a rabbit or something.


How can you tell from this sentence if the person doesn't have a cat, or doesn't have cats? Is it not the same if we were talking about multiple cats? Both cases are кошки


Нет requires the Genitive. The word «кошка» has «кошки» as its Genitive.

The plural «кошки», however, is кошек in the Genitive. You will see it in Time&Numbers, where девочек, кошек and собак are used to illustrate how nouns are used with numerals.


Then how would you say it in plural?


Greetings just wondering, in this sentence is кошки the nominative case whereas меня is the genitive, i.e. the object being possessed is nominatve, then, in this sentence, why is it not кошка instead?


кошка is in Genitive, that's why it is кошки.

Нет (past: не́ было, future: не бу́дет) always has the noun in Genitive—singular or plural, depending on what you mean. You may even say that one can define Genitive as the form native speakers use with нет or with у.

That is, given a structure like «Здесь нет X» ("There is no X here") with either a singular or a plural X, you can only use one form of X, and it will be the form called the Genitive.


thanks, I kinda get it, so, if im not mistaken, we can say that кошки belongs to Нет, as if Нет were a set of something (same with у), e.g. the cat belongs to nothing, or is possessed by nothing, thus there is not cat, is that the reason?


Hm. You might notice a few lesson down the tree that "amounts" and containers use Genitive:

  • a mug of water = кружка воды
  • a lot of water = много воды
  • little water = мало воды (i.e. not a lot of water)
  • a bucket of apples = ведро яблок
  • a lot of apples = много яблок

So you can interpret it as a sort of an amount: no water = нет воды. However, that does not work well with the past and the future where you actually have a verb. I only hope that by the time you get to не было and не будет, it will already be natural to you.


yeah it makes sense if i think of it as something belonging to an amount, thanks very much for your help


Isn't кошки plural?


I know it's a bit early to use this, but would "у меня нет кошек" also be correct? Wouldn't it also be more likely to be used? I saw questions related to this but none that directly answered it. Thanks.


where is my mistake please? У меня нет кошки у меня нет кошки У меня нет кота у меня нет кота

Take your pick, I have tried ALL of them and this one ------> У меня нет кошки was just a copy and paste of Duo's answer.

Then my next question is ...... How does one finish a revision lesson when even their correct answer is gonged?


why is у меня нет кот wrong?

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