"В чём дело?"

Translation:What's the matter?

November 7, 2015



In what affair? as a litteral translation seems so weird. I guess it's another translation to remember by heart... :p

Is there an alternate translation for What's the matter?? Is this one the most common?

November 7, 2015


You can also say "что случилось?" или "что не так?"

November 7, 2015


Is В чём дело? common or formal or fancy?

November 7, 2015


It is very common. I think it can be used regardless of the speech register.

November 7, 2015


The literal translation is not "In what matter", but "In what is the matter" (дело is nomitative, not prepositional, so it is subject, not part of the "in"). Instead of asking "what" the matter is, or "where" the matter is, Russian asks "in what" it is: what is it, that "contains" the matter.

December 10, 2017


People should read the above comment because it is not just an excellent explanation of the meaning of this exercise, it also sets out a framework for interpreting a lot of other Russian sentences. This is an extremely useful bit of grammatical description/definition. I'm copying and pasting it into my study notes in red, so that I can find it easily.

August 24, 2018


I think "What is the business in/to?" Could be a literal translation

February 4, 2016


I agree with GuidoSassi. "In what matter" or "In what business" should be an accepted translation. I will report it as a problem. As was mentioned above, and also in an earlier lesson in Duolingo, they translated "что не так" аs "what is wrong." So there is an alternate way of saying what is wrong.

March 12, 2017


"In what matter" or "In what business" has a different meaning than "What's the matter?" In what matter" would be каким образом или в каком деле; "in what business" would be в какой отрасле или в какой сфере. They don't mean the same thing as В чем дело which basically means "What's wrong".

March 12, 2017


Sure, but we don't say that in English. So if you memorize it this way, be careful...

August 17, 2017


I think of the sentence as 'wherein (lies) the issue?'.

September 10, 2016


what's up?

November 8, 2015


That's how I translated it but it didn't like it

November 13, 2015



January 7, 2016


обыно это переводится "как дела?"

November 29, 2015


I think it has both meanings. In GB it's "what's the matter?". In US, and especially what they call BEV (Black English Vernacular) it seems to be like "what's the news?"

March 18, 2017


I see a striking similarity between the words "deal" and "дело" ("what's the deal?" - "в чём дело?")

February 10, 2017


they are etymologically unrelated

December 25, 2018


How this differ from как дело?

July 18, 2017


Как дело is more like, "How is this thing that you're doing?"

July 18, 2017


I have read all the previous comments and I am still confused. What is the intended meaning of В чём Дело.
-- "What is the matter?" as in What is wrong? (what the most common interpretation of the English sentence is) -- or "what is the matter at hand" as in What are we talking about? What is the agenda?" -- or something else?

March 19, 2017


See keinemeinung's previous reply above. This only means "What is wrong?"

March 23, 2017


Thank you for clarifying. There are many different opinions to what the meaning was in this tread, so I did not know what the conclusion was. Это в чем дело. (?)

March 23, 2017


Yes, all of these, you are right

June 2, 2017


Why the accusative rule for в (https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Russian/Grammar/Accusative_case) does not apply here? I.e. why is it "в чëм" instead of "в что"?

December 26, 2015

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В takes accusative case when it means direction. When it means location, it takes prepositional case: в Москву / в Москве = to Moscow / in Moscow

March 11, 2016


It is used in the prepositional case to denote something like "What is the matter (in/at this place)". But, I guess we just have to learn this by heart.

December 28, 2015


What's the Russian word for "Problem" and can it be used here instead?

May 7, 2016


The russian word is simply проблема. But I have no idea if you can use it in this context :P I suppose you'd be understood if you did.

December 22, 2016


You can, and it's fine, but you're specifying a negative situation when you say problem, whereas with delo it has a slightly more neutral connotation.

January 13, 2017


Famous line from EUGENE ONEGIN--Pushkin and Tchaikovsky

September 3, 2017


Could I use Что не так instead?

October 23, 2017


That has a negative connotation, like "What's wrong." В чём дело is neutral.

October 23, 2017


How about "what's the issue"?

February 5, 2016


I guess so. It's a little less common but should still be accepted. Remember, DL is still in beta, so report anything that you think should be accepted.

May 14, 2016


Are we sure this means " What's the matter?" i.e. What's the problem?, or does it mean "What about?" i.e. On what subject?

February 14, 2016


Can you say "what the heck?"

May 28, 2016


Зачем нужен the?

November 13, 2016


English requires an article, because you're discussing/identifying a specific matter/deal.

January 13, 2017


I don't hear the "в" at the beginning of the Vocalization am I missing something?

December 20, 2018


It sounds clear although a bit garbled. It sounds like "фчём" ("fchyom")

December 20, 2018


What does чём mean exactly? As in, would "в чём" also be a valid phrase? How could i use в чём with other words?


March 28, 2019


"in what"

В чём спишь? "In what [clothes] do you sleep?"

March 28, 2019


Could "what's the situation?" be considered a good translation of this also?

January 21, 2016


В чём дело? I know that you can use the чём to mean a guy and/or an object, but if I was asking a woman what was the matter could I say в чей дело?

February 12, 2016


No, чём can't mean a guy. You're thinking of нём. Also, в чей дело means "in whose business/issues/affairs," having nothing to do with a female person in particular. I think you're thinking of "ней," not "чей"

June 2, 2017


Some Spanish native with good knowledge of Russian could tell me if I could use the above sentence as: "Qué pasa contigo, tio?"

April 22, 2016


another vote for "What's up?"

March 18, 2017


What's up? is not accepted? Why?

May 5, 2017


Just to understand.. В чём as a literal translation is "in what"? So it works in cases like" in what the problem is"?

June 7, 2017


"In what is the problem?" Yes.

June 7, 2017
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