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"Жаль, что никто из вас не знает, что такое нормальный кофе."

Translation:It is a pity that none of you know what normal coffee is.

November 10, 2015

48 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

I really love when Duolingo gets all snarky ;D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dchekhov

Is кофе not neuter? Why not нормальное кофе?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shady_arc

The word came into the language masculine. It is acceptable to use it as neuter in spoken language—but still frowned upon by many. A kind of "mistake" everyone knows even if they do not get it right themselves. We use masculine in the course but IRL neuter also has been used for decades.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Strabonis

But такое is neuter, isn't it? Surely it shpuld be either что такой нормальный кофе, or что такое нормальное кофе ...... not some Frankensteinian combination?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

It's что такое - it's like a set expression, and the такое is agreeing with что. It doesn't change with the gender of the noun that follows it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

Thank you for that very clear explanation of the grammar - it makes sense now - finally.

I'd still like to know the difference between что and что такое.

In other words, does omitting такое from the sentence change the meaning?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kizanet

this is late, but что такое means "what is", you can say "что это такое? - what is this?" что by itself just means what


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shady_arc

такое does not agree with кофе. Another example would be "Что такое хорошая жизнь?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dchekhov

awesome, thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirkul
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My personal choice is to use masculine for decent coffee and neuter for coffee in the name only. (This is a bit of an inside joke since Russian words for crap & shit are both neuter.) Hence, according to me, in this example it should definitely be masculine ;-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dedpan
  • 1427

It's a pity that Duolingo cannot cope with subtle variations in the translation of complex sentences. But we love it even so.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/curtkobain

Should it not be "That none of you know" as opposed to "knows"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirkul
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It could, but not necessarily should: "none" can be a short form of both singular "no one" and plural "not any":
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/none
A relevant quote:

It is sometimes held that none can only take a singular verb, never a plural verb: none of them is coming tonight rather than none of them are coming tonight. There is little justification, historical or grammatical, for this view. None is descended from Old English nān meaning ‘not one’ and has been used for around a thousand years with both a singular and a plural verb, depending on the context and the emphasis needed


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheFinkie

In this case, it is "none of you", so I think the plural is MUCH more likely here.

Also, referring to Jade's comments below, I notice that "it is a pity that none of you know what ordinary coffee is" isn't accepted, and perhaps that is what he/she encountered? I automatically defaulted to translating to "ordinary" over "normal", so it should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheFinkie

Because "you" is plural. Another (less grammatical) way to look at this sentence is to say "it is a shame that all of you don't know...". You wouldn't say "all of you doesn't know", and likewise, you wouldn't say "none of you knows".

Also, zero is a plural number (because one is the only singular number and 0≠1). You would say "I have zero apples", not "I has zero apples". You could say this sentence as "zero of you know..." and the same rule would apply.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

The subject is "none", not "of you", and is singular.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheFinkie

This is incorrect. See zirkul's link above, and also this one: https://preciseedit.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/%e2%80%9cnone-of-these%e2%80%9d-is-plural/

It CAN be singular, but only if the noun it applies to is singular — and this one, "you", is plural.

Yet another way to think of it is when the quantity is unknown, grammar always defaults to plural, e.g.:

"How many of you are coming?"

"How many potatoes do you have?"

These would sound absurd if "have" was replaced by "has".

Anyway, both are apparently accepted here, so we shouldn't really complain :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jeffrey855877

I disagree. The actual subject is "one": "Not ONE of [all of you many] knows"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jade281056

Yes, I reported it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirkul
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Both are acceptable and both are accepted in this exercise, so I am not sure what's here to report.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jade281056

"None of you know" is not accepted, so I reported it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirkul
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The sentence "It is a pity that none of you know what normal coffee is" is certainly accepted - I've just checked. So once again, I am not sure what's here to report.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jade281056

I swear to you I am reading the translation right now and it says "knows" ...I don't know what is going on, but I'm not messing with you. I take my russian language studies seriously and right now I am being serious.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirkul
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@Jade281056:
If that happens again, take a screenshot, put it on some free file-sharing server and post a link. Without it we can't help you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

Your screenshot doesn't show that "know" is not accepted, it just shows that "knows" is in the main translation, that's it. You should make the screenshot of the answer not being accepted during the exercise, not a screenshot of the discussion heading (which always has only one main translation).

I've tested know, and it is accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jade281056

Ok, well that is a new development. Probably since I reported it (ie. "My answer should be accepted because")? I haven't had to do this lesson again since. And at any rate, I complied with the request for a screenshot, simply to comply, not to prove that "know" is not accepted. Gee you guys are so pedantic. Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

Ps. Unfollowing this all-too-helpful discussion as of now. Thanks.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

We're not pedantic, we're trying to help in case something is really not working. But if there is nothing wrong then we cannot help. Most often than not users just make a mistake which they don't notice, but think that their "perfectly correct" answer is not accepted. If there is a screenshot it's pretty easy to find the mistake and point it out.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pete357534

What about "It is a pity that not one of you...?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LordBagge

When I get it wrong, it says "It is a pity that nobody of you knows what normal coffee is.". This is nonsense and differs from the sentence here


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndroidKanada

I agree the translation isn't good English, but it's not nonsense, btw, that's exaggeration. Nonsense: "Coffee knows is is it none pity a normal you that what of." )))

Just to clarify why it suggested a different answer: I believe it picks the nearest accepted answer to the one you gave and suggests it, possibly with a differing word underlined, to show you what it thinks is wrong. You may have written "...that nobody knows..." in your answer (I expect you don't remember now).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndroidKanada

Um, I've been an English speaker for a long time, and was always taught that none/no/zero should not be treated as singular. Of course, by elimination, that makes it plural, which seems odd, but that's not unusual for English rules. ))

Do any of the English native speakers here consider 3rd person singular OK in your dialect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/flootzavut

It's possible to argue "none" as singular or plural, depending on context, and in colloquial English it can certainly go either way. (In some contexts and in formal English, treating it as plural is sometimes seen as erroneous in my experience, depending on who you ask, but there are situations in which it makes no sense to treat it as singular.)

I don't know who taught you that it should never be treated as singular, but I'm afraid they were wrong. This sentence is grammatically correct standard English. I think it's a situation in which it could be treated as plural ("none of you know"), but it is not a mistake to treat it as plural. "None" = not one or not any in this instance, and either meaning fits here.

(A helpful way to get it straight in your head is to consider whether the meaning of "none" in the context is "not one" or "no part of" OR "not any"; the former will be singular, the latter may be singular or plural depending on what makes sense. Or at least, this is how I approach it.

If you think about the former, you will see that there are contexts in which "none" always being treated as plural make no sense whatsoever. "None of the pie were eaten" is clearly wrong when there is only one pie.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beltar

"None of you knows" is just wrong! Come on, Duo, you can do better.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

No need to make such statements without actually checking the rules first.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beltar

I read the whole thread before commenting. Perhaps you shouldn't make assumptions about others. A little politeness never killed anyone.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

That's exactly what you should tell yourself.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shona361612

I don't know why my answer is wrong- it's the same as above


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rob554997

Why not "It is a shame that..." ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/9Teen90Three

This sentence has a quite lightweight meaning. You are not going to blame anyone who has never tried better coffee, you just feel sorry for current situation. In this kind of meanings the word Жаль is perfect. The analogy of shame in Russian would rather be - стыд, позор. And examples of the sentence be like: Это позор что ты прожил в Италии 2 года и не попробовал настоящего эспрессо. It is a shame that you have lived 2 years in Italy and haven't tried the real espresso.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

No, Rob is actually right It's a shame in English actually means the same as Russian Жаль.

Английская идиома It's a shame означает то же, что и русское жаль. Это позор... я бы скорее перевела как Shame on you


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jtaylor162

Doesn't нормальный translate also to "ordinary" as a near synonym of "normal"? DL seems to reject it here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jtaylor162

In a subsequent exercise I may have stumbled on the answer! "Ordinary" translates more precisely to "обычный", and I guess DL is drilling us on this distinction.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phil_Stracchino

Is there something wrong with "...knows what is normal coffee" here, or is Duolingo just being persnickety again?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HannesJuniper

Probably a dumb question, but I don't understand why "жаль" is used here but "жалко" in the (grammatically similar) previous sentence. Thanks in advance


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zirkul
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They are pretty much interchangeable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/susanashe

None, in this instance, is a shortening of no one and therefore the verb is singular. It is a pity that никто knows this


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/susanashe

none of you knows is correct, meaning not one of you knows as it is written in Russian знает

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