1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Чего там нет?"

"Чего там нет?"

Translation:What isn't there?

November 7, 2015


  • 1994

Could someone point out the 'main' difference(s) between 'Chego' and 'Chto'? A URL reference would be fine.

Thanks for putting this course together!


The only difference is in the case. «Что» is the nominative (or accusative) form, «чего» is the genitive. See the declension chart on Wiktionary.

[deactivated user]

    Why is this sentence genitive?


    You know how in German you ask wer/wen/wem depending on the function of the part you want to learn more about? For example:
    Wer bist du? — Ich bin Student. — Nominative
    Wen hast du gesehen? — Ich habe einen Freund gesehen. — Akkusative

    Or, better yet, how in English you can ask who, but also whom? (Who is there? To whom should I send that?) Well, that's the same thing! In Russian, the question words кто and что are subject to case changes.

    The answer to this question would have to use the Genitive case because of the negation: «Там нет книги». Now we replace the bit that we don't know with the question word что, adjust it for the case — чего — and put it to the front, arriving at «Чего там нет?»

    I hope that clears the confusion and, for reference, here's the declension pattern of кто/что (thanks Wiktionary):

    [deactivated user]

      Thank you very much. I was confused because I didn't know that нет forces genitive. In none of the other languages I've learned until now there was such thing.


      In none of the other languages

      Well, I wouldn't be so sure about that! :P


      From what I can gather on the interwebs, use of the genetive in negation is unique to the Slavic languages, though a few of them (Czech, Slovak, Serbo-Croatian) have evolved to use only the accusative in negation and now consider use of the genetive in this situation to be old-fashioned or archaic.


      What about French? Je n'ai pas de singe.


      RAKIYOSHI is right. That is called "partitive genitive" in French. You also find it in some old expressions in Portuguese: "Desta água não beberei".


      If чего is genitive, that would mean the line with the Р is the genitive line? (And what are these abbreviations standing for, since they are not in the order I imagined them to be in?)


      This is actually the default order of cases, at least for native materials.

      Именительный — Nominative
      Родительный — Genitive
      Дательный — Dative
      Винительный — Accusative
      Творительный — Instrumental
      Предложный — Prepositional


      It is what it is for historical reasons, and I'm pretty sure it's not the best option if you're a learner. For one thing, Accusative should really be between Nominative and Genitive.

      I'm a native speaker so I neither really care about this nor can advise what is the best for learning, but your concern is valid. The default case order in German is also NGDA, but if you use NADG, the tables suddenly become much easier to memorise.

      • 924

      Not sure why the order would be different, maybe the textbook author had a "better" idea about the ordering. AFAIK all (native) grammars of Slavic, German, Latin, Greek ... languages use NGDA order, with some variation only at vocative, prepositional, instrumental, ablative, locative etc


      Okay. I have a couple different books, and so I double checked, and sure enough, they have them in different orders than what you show. I find that confusing, as I am a visual learner and would like just one chart that was consistant. Guess I will just have to pick one. Is there any particular reason for the Russian default order? Maybe I should just use that one, since there must be a reason for putting it in that order.


      In Latin, I learned Nom, Acc, Gen, Dative, Ablative.


      Gotcha. I will just stick with my book, then. Thanks!


      Would "что нет там" also be a valid sentence ? If so, would "книга нет там" be a valid answer to that question ?


      I apologise, I thought you were the person who asked the question.

      I didn't realise the word order was different from the one in the original sentence, but the wrong case stuck out like a broken rib. I guess my perception of the language might be a bit different due to being a native speaker...

      Okay, so «чего нет там?» is of course valid, but puts heavy emphasis on the last word: “what's missing there that you can find elsewhere?”. Duo's version is more neutral.


      I'm not sure what the word order has to do with anything. Your case is off, so the sentence is ungrammatical and doesn't mean anything in particular.


      Why not? What would the first sentence actually mean? The correct answer would translate as, "What is there not?" so if I were trying to ask, "What isn't there?" I might well use this word order. Likewise for the answer.


      Well it seemed that word order was Shemur's (not my) point; I actually didn't notice the change in case. So if the sentence had been "Чего нет там," would this be correct?


      Thank you for your detailed and informative posts =)


      I want to give you lingots but I'm on mobile :(


      How do you give someone a lightly?


      Oops! I meant lingot.


      You can give one lingot at a time to other users on the full website only.


      Really good answer Norrius


      NERD ALERT! Sheez! Do not go on saying STUFF (Norrius)


      The question is in the genitive because the answer would be in the genitive.

      [deactivated user]

        What? Could you give me an example?


        Нет and не forces genitive. Kinda like "none OF that". There's a lack of something.


        Better than genitive, i would say it's a partitive


        Possible, but the Partitive/Genitive distinction is not super important here.


        \o/ then it's exactly like in Finnish :)

        • 1994

        Thanks for the explanation and the great reference Norrius!


        Ah... now it makes sense! Have a lingot!


        thank you so much. i kind of wish it would just clarify the cases of the words cause i'm always very confused at words like this


        Just wanted to point out that it's really cheVo here. The pronunciation of the consonant Г changes.


        that's a lot of languages you got there mate, what an inspiration


        It's strange... I opened this discussion to see if anyone had commented on the spelling of чего -- I had put a в -- and instead saw all the comments on cases. I'm great at grammar as long as it was the mechanics of English or a Romance language, but for Russian I hardly understand the explanations. Luckily I can still breeze through the course (so far) because I am familiar with the spoken language. I am learning Russian like a child...

        Is anybody else closing their heads to the grammatical notes?


        Same here and same with all languages I'm learning, I don't understand anything of this genetive, nominative or whatever... I just make mistakes sometimes and over practice and time I start developing an intuition to the language instead of memorizing irregulars and complicated grammatical terms and rules which I'll most likely forget in the near future, I find this way much more productive for the long term. Besides, I think it's much more fun trying to guess patterns and form sentences on your own rather than memorizing templates like a robot, plus it's really rewarding to see that you quickly pick the right choice again and again out of pure intuition, I must also note that I find this attitude to language learning the most natural.


        I have been studying Russian for years thinking that I must properly learn all grammar to be understood. This approach has made me afraid of mistakes so I don't speak, but I know many Russian children that speak the languge all the time and can't explain anything about grammar. This is what I like about duo lingo, you can dig deeper into grammar or just go with intuition. Everyone learns differently but I have made more progress going with intuition on duo lingo, than studying grammar books for years. For me studying grammar books was a waste of time.I can't explain much about English grammar either and I don't care, I just speak it, and read it. ( Can't write or spell though, it is just how my mind works.)


        This comment and thread are so refreshing to read. With most things that I learn, I prefer to gain an understanding of the underlying rules & structures, and the reasons things are the way they are. But with language, learning seems to work differently for me. Despite having a reasonably solid grasp of my native language (English), I have NEVER been able to learn any of the underlying rules for it. I don't think I could draw a line from the names of any of the English (cases?) to a list of corresponding examples in a matchup exercise even if my life depended on it. I can tell you that "present perfect", "participle", and "gerund" are words that might be on one side of that matchup list. And I probably can even correctly employ each of those things, just without being able to name them. And this is why I don't let myself get discouraged when my eyes glaze over every. single. time. somebody asks "which case is that word in?" or somebody explains that negative requires genitive case. I think I know that that's a rule in Russian, but I have no idea what it actually means, even though I've read explanations of them dozens of times But I keep all the young Russian kids in mind. Most of them probably can't define or illustrate the cases either (at least yet), and they're learning the language just fine. So, I continue forward, often thinking to myself "perhaps the cases will start to click for me in the next learning module." So far, no. But I'm still learning the language! Anyway, it's just nice to hear from others who are learning it the same way.


        Hi Shady, it's the same with me. I prefer to develop a certain intuition/feeling and less grammar, that is the way to go. At least for me. I learned a few languages the old way. That is the first time I adhere to this method. Perhaps due to my age!


        Hehe, yes, at first I read every lesson and comment I could find but my attention became fleeting and now I'm learning like a child too x)


        Practicing and vocabularing is the only way to learn any language, I believe.


        Same here. I like the discussion. I don't understand half of it -well I would if I wanted but I don't feel lile it's helping me much because when I try to say Something I most likely won't think about what case which part of tge sentence is in. But it is helping me to understand my mistakes. (I didn't even see that чего is a different form of что)



        Что там?

        Но: Чего там нет?



        Нет always requires the genitive:

        • «У меня собака.» but «У меня нет собаки.»

        • «Здесь есть телевизор.» but «Здесь нет телевизора.»

        • «Выход есть!» but «Выхода нет!»

        • and so, «Что там?» but «Чего там нет?»


        The problem is that the English would have нет negating там: "not there", but the way the sentence is structured in Russian, it literally means "Not what (is) there?", and нет negates что, which is cast in genitive чего.

        None of this is obvious from word order, which logically should be «Там нет чего» or «Нет чего там.». I don't know whether that word order wold be correct or not, especially given that Duo orders the sentence as «Чего там нет».


        It's more of a "What is there none of?", hence the word order.


        "What's missing" is marked incorrect. Is this an oversight in the software, or is the meaning different?


        I have the same question!


        It's probably a completely different word...


        ‘What is missing there?’ is not accepted, although it sounds more natural to me. Any reason why it is not accepted?


        What would be a litteral translation of this sentence? I want to understand the use of the genitive. Something like "of what isn't there?"...


        It's similar to how you'd say «там нет (чего?) ничего» with the genitive to signify negation.


        Oh like Чего (у меня) там нет = What don't (I) have there? It's genitive because of the absence of something?


        When you use нет (не было, не будет), whatever lacks is in genitive (and «у меня» has nothing to do with it).

        There are different situations when you express the lack of something, and sometimes the usage of genitive would be a mistake: «Они не продают книг/книги» ("they don't sell books"), but «Они не всегда продают книги» ("they don't always sell books").


        Thank you for your detailed answers. They are very helpful!


        So if I got it right: In one case, it is linked to the noun, in the other to всегда. And всегда doesn't change because it is not a noun, right? But overal, if there is не/нет (a negation), you always need to use the genitive case for the noun next to it?

        EDIT: You can either книг and книги because in one case the не is linked to the verb "I don't sell" and in the other it is linked to the fact that "I sell no books", right?


        As to your edit: no, there is no real reasoning. Originally you always had to use Genitive, but the standard changed under the influence of the colloquial language. I guess people just couldn't figure out that the accusative case goes with affirmation and the genitive with negation :)


        Correct! But note that sometimes you can also either one, so «Они не продают книги» is fine.


        I couldn't reply to you, but I didnt think of replying to myself lol... Ok thank you!


        Norrius' profile pic is so awesome(don't notice it? Look atthe eyes)!


        I swear that the voice sounds like чево, no matter that the correct word is чегою


        Yes, that is correct. чего is pronounced [чево] because of historical reasons. Just like кого is pronounced ково, and the same goes with every adjective inclined for the genitive case and for neuter and masculine nouns.

        Чего [чево] там нет? – Там нет моего любимого мороженного (pronounced [моево любимово мороженново]).

        It’s a historical spelling, just like in French or in English.


        Are there some regional accents of Russian where the г in чего is actually pronounced like and English g? Is so, where? Thanks


        I really don‘t know, since I have not been exposed much to Russian dialects and I am not a native speaker. After seaching a while on the Internet, posted in a forum. According to the user called Basil77, who lives in Moscow, ‘99,9% of native speakers pronounce "в" here.’ Therefor, no, I don‘t think there are any Russian dialects that pronounce the genitive ending -ого/-его with a [g].

        Here‘s his full post: ‘I'd say it's a good question. 99,9% of native speakers pronounce "в" here. The kids who are learning to write always ask the opposite question: “Why I should write "г" here if I pronounce "в" ?”’

        P.S. I don‘t really think you should call that sound the ‘English g’ since the letter G can be pronounced several ways in English: either like the actual [g] sound, like in ‘god’ or ‘bag’, like [ŋ] in the diagraph ng (e.g. ‘bang’) or like the voiced palato-alveolar fricative [ʒ] like in ‘bridge’ or [dodge]. One extreme example of this is the gerund ‘garaging’ pronounced [ˈɡæɹɑːʒiŋ].


        I think as a rule of thumb you can assume that a "г" between two vowels is pronounced as a "в".


        That's a really bad idea. In most cases a г between two vowels will be pronounced as "g." Only when it's part of the inflection that marks genitive/animate accusative is it pronounced as "v." It's true even in words like сегодня (= «сего дня», "of this day").


        This is how my native Russian teachers at DLI explained it. Also, that's pronounced "sevodnya"


        Exactly, sevodnya because сего дня is the genitive of сей день.

        But, for a few examples, no г in Игорь, помогать, я могу, огонь, богатый, ураган, пироги, эго, на юге, много is pronounced as "v."


        Sorry, in endings


        Does Russian distinguish between when something is not there and is missing? I put ‘What is missing there?’ but is was not excepted. Why?


        This is the opinion of a non-native speaker so take it with a grain of salt, but I would use «Этого не хватает.» to say something is missing (so in this context, «Чего там не хватает?».) In my mind, when you say something is missing you're implying that things would be better if it was there, hence не хватать. Here, you're just asking about the absence of something.


        OK. Thanks for responding! Спасибо большое за ответ!


        Isn't чего why? Or it is as 'what for'


        Not at all. It's the genitive for что. You're thinking of почему and зачем.


        I wrote "what is missing there?" But this was rejected... Should it not be accepted?


        I typed "What is not there?" and was marked wrong for not using the contracted form. I've reported the question but I'm posting it here for visibility.


        что там and чего там нет? is there genitive used in the second one because the answer will also be in the genitive case? like "там нет камня."?


        i have a problem with sentence please fix the problem, give an error and can not pass this sentence


        What about Что не там?


        "What is missing?"


        "what is absent there?" - is it right?


        Report it and see if they start accepting it


        Is "Что там нет?" meaningless? Could it be like "what is not there?"


        How do you report smthg? (btw if theres one characteristic all my jewish acquaintances share its that theyre multilingual...kudos!) спосибо everyone


        There are report buttons that show up next to "Correct Answer" or "Wrong Answer".

        By the way, it's not спосибо. It's спасибо.


        Is the declension necessary only because of the negative? In this example?


        I understand that нет requires genitive, but why are we using Чего here instead of что? This sentence looks like it would translate, "Is he not here?"


        Please read the comment Norrius made under the highest voted question. There's more info there, I'll just copy one part here:

        "The answer to this question would have to use the Genitive case because of the negation: «Там нет книги». Now we replace the bit that we don't know with the question word что, adjust it for the case — чего — and put it to the front, arriving at «Чего там нет?»"


        Yes...I answered my own question after posting, as I had mistaken Чего for a type of personal pronoun (i.e., его).


        how come it sounded like "chevo" instead of "chego"?


        Historical spelling, just gotta know it. Чего, у него -> Chevo, u nevo (and not Chego and u nego).


        Suggestion: "What is there none of?"


        I think that would require "ничего" or something similar. (?)


        Not very impressed that duolingo marks this as wrong for missing the question mark (or possibly the capital letter at the beginning) when plenty of other exercises don't require either


        Is "Чего," in this case, accusative or genitive?


        Genitive, called for by нет. In addition, using что to refer to animate objects is considered non-standard, so the proper form of что in the accusative is always что.


        What could it be the context of this?


        Nominative is the subject of the sentence, accusative is the object. He opens the window. Subject = he, opens verb, object = window. He gives me the box. He= subject, gives = transitive verb, me= indirect object (dative), box = direct object (accusative).. The box is on the table, box = subject (nominative), table = object of a preposition (on) prepositional. The boy's (possessive = genitive) box (subject) sits on the the table.


        why not 'what's missing there?'


        what does the 'чём' agree with? How does it decline?


        https://gyazo.com/012af45be09a30d9ee08544460872c35 может кто помощь?прошу модераторов испавить ошибку


        It doesn't have to make sense in English, it's Russian. Learning a language is not just substituting new words for English words. You have to learn to think in Russian.


        Any tips on remembering and differentiating the 300 conjugations of who and whose? I seriously can never tell them apart.

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