"Кошки здесь нет."

Translation:The cat is not here.

November 8, 2015

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Word order in Russian is very loose compared to English. Because of their case system, it is quite easy to tell what each word's function is in a sentence. In English, we don't decline words much at all, so we rely on word order to show what words do what in a sentence. For example, I could say "I am studying Russian on Duolingo" in English. "I" is in nominative, "Russian" is in accusative, and "duolingo" is in prepositional. In Russian, I could say "Russian study I on Duolingo" as long as I got my case declensions correct.

In this sentence, "нет" starts the genitive case, and "кошки" is in the genitive, so we can assume that нет and кошки go together. The verb "is" isn't really used much in Russian, but it's implied here. Здесь just means "here." You could word this sentence as нет кошки здесь too.


You have to know that the word order is not completely random. Sometimes you can change it without any change in the meaning, and sometimes you'll give the sentence another tone or even turn it into a nonsense.

  • Здесь нет кошки. There is no cat here.
  • Кошки здесь нет. The cat is not here.
  • Кошки нет здесь. The cat is not here. A less common word order, emphasizing "not".
  • Нет здесь кошки! There's no cat here! (I fail too see any cat here!)
  • Нет кошки здесь! The cat is not here! (I looked for it and couldn't find it, I swear!)
  • Здесь кошки нет. The cat is not here (but I'll keep looking for it elsewhere).

Note that some of these versions are pretty emotional and situational. At the beginner level, the first two orders would be enough.

Update: I wrote a post based on this example.


I got кошки нет здесь where I had to tap words to make the translation and the answer given as correct was 'there is no cat here,' which, if I read your explanation above correctly, isn't quite right


It's fine. She is describing how the meanings can have slight variance. Just like in English.

Even though "There is no cat here", "Here, there is no cat." and "No cat is here" have the same basic meaning, there is nuance and different emphasis.

The rule of this is actually quite regular across many languages "The most important information goes towards the beginning of a sentence."

It's not the only rule (for instance in English we often change our tone on the word we want to emphasize like "There is no cat HERE" or "There is NO cat here" since word order is more strict). This can help guide this kind of thinking though.


i think Japanese usually has the important information at the end, which is why they all nod politely going mhm ahh ahh until the end lol


if it were to say " there are no cats here" would it be "кошек здесь нет"


How would I say "The CATS are not here" ?


That would be "Кошек здесь нет."


In this instance, how do native English speakers recognize this as genetive singular and not nominative plural (which both are "кошки")? "кошка черная" is not in genetive, and so you would not expect "кошка здесь" to be either. So, "кошки здесь" to me looks like "cats are here." Thanks for any help.


"Нет" requires genitive.


Excuse me, Is there some website where I can find the rules like "Нет requires genitive"? because I know that "без" "около" etc. also use the genitive but I cannot find the general rules about the use of the genitive form. De antemano gracias


For a given preposition, wiktionary usually lists the cases it uses (sometimes it is more than one, with the meaning changing depending on the case).

Most prepositions use the genitive.


Duolingo's website includes some lessons and tips with each "module", but if you want to go more in depth with the rules, check out the menu on http://www.russianlessons.net


I have found the best solution is to pay attention to the context of the sentence, and practice a lot. Over time, the cases become more second nature.


It is not in the chart at the beginning of the lesson. Where did you find that information? I am so confused...


thank you. i was confused about that too


Sneaky, throwing кошки out front like it might be plural, having to realize it's a genitive of negation.


a cat is not here = the cat is not here


Why is the plural form of cat used in the Russian sentence, but the translation shows singular? I see that others say the plural form is кошек, which is more confusing for me.


кошек is acc/gen plural, кошки is nom. pl and gen. sing... here's the declension table for кошка https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/кошка#Russian

and here's which cases mean what http://masterrussian.com/aa071600a.shtml


Should "There is not a cat here" be accepted?


I'm not 100% sure how but I think the Russian sentence would be quite different, in terms of order. You can find some explanations in the replies to the first comment.


Today I learned that you can form grammatically correct sentences in Russian without needing a subject. What is this language . . .


And we also know that there are lots with no verb.


I wrote "here there is no cat", marked wrong. Correct solution: "there is no cat here". It's the same!! o_O


sorry to ask this, i am quite confused, but, why does кошка end with a и and not ы, it's different to what the lessons have taught me... thanks in advance


Because of the к. If the last consonant is a к, the plural (and the genitive) is in и. I can't remember the name of the rule, but it works for several consonants.


"кошкы" would be what you expect from just following grammar rules, however the sacred "spelling rules" take place here: you can never write кы, only ки. http://www.russianlessons.net/grammar/spelling_rules.php


Does this sentence have the same meaning: "Кошка не здесь"? (if it's even a possible sentence)


"There aren't any cats here" I'm kinda think this is correct but even if it isn't I was corrected with: "There isn't any cat here." Which implies we are now discussing eating cats and there is no cat meat around us.


Could you also say "кошки нет здесь"


If I got it correctly...

I think that would put the emphasis on "here", like saying "the cats are not here, they're somewhere else". The sentence in this exercise instead emphasizes the absence of any cat in general.


Shouldn't this be the cats are not here. Plural instead of singular?


No: нет always uses the genitive. Кошки is the genitive singular of кошка (plural would be кошках [EDIT: whoops my mistake, should be кошек]). It just happens that it looks exactly the same as the nominative plural (something that happens for almost all feminine words), but we know it cannot be nominative, because of нет.


The genitive plural is кошек. Кошках is the prepositional plural. https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BA%D0%BE%D1%88%D0%BA%D0%B0#Russian


Why is "Кошки" singular for cat here when usually it has an "i" at the end when its plural?


Because кошки is both the nominative plural and the genitive singular form of кошка. And in this case, since it is a negative sentence that uses нет, it requires the genitive case, so кошки - and not кошка - is the right form of the noun.


You should use the Genitive Plural. It would be a possibility for the students to understand the difference. "Кошек здесь нет".


It's not a big deal, but I just want to put out that seeing the answer listed as: "The cat is not here."


my translation as:

"The cat is not here."

Was actually quite funny. Maybe the period at the end was too much? Perhaps my punctuation was punishing..? Well, either way. I wonder where the cat went...


Occasionally, that happens to me because I am doing listening exercise, where you are supposed to write in Russian what you hear, and I instead translate to English by mistake (since in most other exercises you do have to translate).

Maybe that is what happened to you.


I just don´t understand how cat is in genitive case here and not nominative!


Literally, the expression is like saying "there is none of cat". "of cat" --> genitive


I thought кошки was plural only. My mind is, once again, blown...


Why is it "кошки"? The cat means only a cat. so shouldn't it be "кошка"?


There are two different words that look and sound the same, "кошки":

1) The nominative plural of the feminine noun "кошка", that is, cats in the plural as a sentence subject.

2) The genitive singular of the feminine noun кошка, that is, cat in singular meaning "of a cat" / "of cat" / "of the cat".

Grammatically in Russian you do not say "There is not cat" (making it the subject of the sentence), but something more like "There is not/none of cat" (so, genitive).

The sentence is not ambiguous because, as нет uses the genitive and not the nominative, кошки cannot be the nominative plural, and has to be the genitive singular. The genitive plural would instead be кошек, so нет кошек is the phrase for "there are not cats".

You can see all the 12 forms of each noun/adjective in Wiktionary:



Why does it say кошки instead of кошка when the и means a plural?


"Кошки" is also singular genitive, and "нет" requires the genitive.


I read this as cats are not here. Or if you want to say that, do you have to use кошек?


Would you use кошек here to refer to "cats" instead of a single "cat"?


Ya.. i am confused.. i thought the и at the end of the word just meant plural.. so how am i supposed to figure it is just one thing?


How can we use KOT here? Any difference?


Кота здесь нет.


What about "this cat is not here" ? "нет здесь кошки сдесь"?

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