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  5. "Whose tables are these?"

"Whose tables are these?"

Translation:Чьи это столы?

November 13, 2015


[deactivated user]


    • Чьи э́то столы́? Whose tables are these?
    • Чьи э́ти столы́? Whose are these tables?

    In «э́ти столы́», э́ти is a modifier of «столы́». In «э́то столы́», э́то is a pronoun of its own.

    But I think «Чьи э́ти столы́» should be accepted too. The difference is minimal. You could use the 'Report a Problem' button next time you encounter you encounter this sentence.


    We usually do not accept them for the exact reason that the users fail to uderstand that «эти» has no place here.

    Both "Whose tables are these?" and "Whose are these tables?" are correct sentences but if you accidentally got one of them while trying to make another, you are clearly not quite sure of what you are doing.


    Yet in English they mean exactly the same…


    Absolutely. I fail to see the difference.

    [deactivated user]

      I am having a very hard time understanding the difference, even with the help of the guide mentioned in this thread. If both mean exactly the same, why would one be preferable?


      In Russian, Whose is this cat-type structure is relatively rare in actual use. It has its place when the possessor of a number of objects is unknown (place a stress on the form of этот if that happens), and sounds unnatural in most cases.

      [deactivated user]

        Thank you


        where can i read when to use это/эти?

        [deactivated user]

          Please have a look at the guide by olimo: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/11536858


          This is an excellent explanation.


          Then the English sentence should be: "Whose tables are this", not "Whose tables are these". The word "these" directly references tables, which can be seen from the fact that it's in plural: "Whose tables are these [tables]?" (Someone sees two or more tables and asks for the owner.) A general "this" would be way closer to "это".


          I agree that rejecting such answers is much more educative for learners. I do see that (чья/чей/чьё/чьи) + это + (noun) is a common pattern so I may as well just memorize that, but I still don't see why or why not.

          I see это here is not a neuter этот but a standalone pronoun, like we use in "Это яблоки." even when apples are plural. But then столы is also a noun, so it seems weird to me that, in "Чьи это столы", two nouns are lying side-by-side without any prepositions or conjunctions. It comes to me just as weird as "У меня есть собака кошка.".

          I tried to interpret it as similar to Это собака? or Это столы? (i.e. contrasting это and the other noun, both in nominative case), that makes a bit more sense but then Чьи agreeing with столы blows my mind. If they should match, why not put them together like -- "это: чьи столы?" (colon is unnecessary; only to demonstrate my interpretation) or "чьи столы это?" ("~ is this?", like "Чьи столы стоит на траве?" if this makes any sense)


          Would the word order still be ok if one writes "Чьи столы́ э́то"?


          Pretty unnatural, I'd say. Grammatically, even «Столы это чьи?» is still parsable (with some effort) but not used IRL all that often.


          So it's чьи (pl. "whose") because it's столы ("tables"), right? And there is no distinction assumed about the possessor(s) of the chair being one person or several people. The grammatical agreement here is between the modifier of the tables - so whether it's "THE tables," "The green tables" "our tables" or "whose tables" -- the point is, each of those words in front of "tables" has to agree with "tables" in gender, number and case (how the word "tables" is being used in the sentence)-- right?


          (I had written чей and got it wrong, so I'm trying to sort this out...)


          I was wondering that too. Indeed the form of 'whose' (чей (m), чья (f) чьё (n), чьи (p)) depends on the word it refers to.



          I'm trying to start and actually understand the grammatical cases and their rules instead of accepting whatever ending I don't get. So forgive me if it's obvious. In German, everything you ask for with "Whose" is going to be Genitive. Is this the true in Russian? If yes, why is it not столов?

          I arrived at that guess by: стол is masculine, and ends with a consonant, so is hard stemmed, and the plural ending should be -ов or -ев.


          I'm not sure I understand this correctly. Even in German, how would one use genitive in this sentence? In the answer, sure, since genitive is indeed used to show possession. But how would you use it in the question itself? This is not meant as an attack or anything (I know it's written a bit harshly, sorry), I am just generally curious as you confused me a bit :) As far as I know, in German, the cases have to be congruent with the verbs used with the noun (the case by which the noun changes depends on the verb one has used – for example the verb to give is followed by a noun in dative ([to give][to whom]). This is (or would be, if this were a German class :D) also the case in this sentence (Wessen Tische sind das? --> Tische sind), because the verb 'to be' demands the nominative case. In a different sentence (for example, Wessen Studenten gebe ich das? --> (Ich gebe) dem Studenten) the verb demands a different case. This has nothing to do with the case in which the answer to the question should be given (Of course, if the question (word) is in genitive, the answer would be in genitive as well). I think of it as [whose][what] (or [what][of x] or whatever), where the [what] part can be in any case, depending on the verb of the sentence ... [& sorry if there are any mistakes in the German sentences, I was just trying to illustrate the point ... my German is really bad :) ] I think it is the same in Russian (though I am not sure, as I tend to choose the case intuitively). Therefore, the case here should be (?) nominative, that is why it is столы (the tables are + whose). I'm not sure if this makes any sense to you, I'm really not good at explaining these things, but I tried ... :) Sorry if I've mislead you. I'd appreciate the input of someone who might actually have some real knowledge about this.


          You are absolutely right. Only the answer to "Wessen/Whose" is Genitive, and I was mixing things up. Have a Lingot.

          The German "Wessen Student gebe ich das Buch" (Whose student do I give the book) would have to be answered like "(Ich gebe das Buch (Akk.)) dem Studenten (Dat.) des Professors (Gen.)" (I give the book to the student of the professor). "Wessen" always demands a Genitive answer, but the object cases are determined by the verb (or preposition), as you said.


          Ah, you put it so eloquently, and my reply was an inarticulate mess :) but thank you for the lingot :)


          This is another one where I'm hearing an "a" sound between the first two words, like "Чьи аэто". Can a native speaker explain to me whether this is a glitch of the pronunciation or the way this is actually pronounced?


          It is glitch, though what I hear is nothing like an "a". To my ear, it almost sound like an "ey" in "hey".


          Still don't get it. Perhaps never will. I guess I'll try never to ask about tables.


          "Чьи это/эти столы? " - это одно и то же! Говорю аам, как носитель русского языка. Так что нечего тут спорить даже.)) Всем мир!


          Actually, I'd say nobody speaks like that. I'd rather expect to hear "Кому принадлежат" или кое-что вроде этого.


          why is it столы?

          [deactivated user]

            Столы is the nominative plural form of стол.

            Стол is a masculine noun of II declension¹. Masculine nouns of the II declension typically have the -ы/-и endings². The stem³ of the стол is стол, it ends in the hard consonant -л, so the ending is -ы⁴.

            The plural form is used (as opposed to singular) to match English: стол — table, столы́ — tables.

            The sentence has a pattern of ‘X is/are Y’, and ‘tables’ is Y part of this sentence, so the nominative form столы́ is used (as opposed to genitive столо́в, dative стола́м, etc.).

            Hope that answers your question.

            ¹ I use the classification system preferred in the universities (мама is the 1st declension, стол and окно are the second, тень is the third). To make everything more confusing, when Russian is taught to schoolchildren, another system is used, with 1st and the 2nd declension swapped (so стол would be 1st declension).

            ² Some use -а/-я, e.g. адреса́ ‘addresses’, вечера́ ‘evenings’ but these are exceptions. Typically, -а/-я is used for neuter nouns, and -ы/-и for masculine.

            ³ Stem (осно́ва) is the part of the word to which endings are attached. For the second-declension nouns like стол, the stem is the same as the nominative singular form (стол has the stem of стол), but this is not always true. For example:

            • зе́ркало ‘mirror’ has a stem of зеркал-,
            • ми́ля ‘mile’ has a stem of миль-, and
            • воскресе́нье ‘Sunday’ has a stem of воскресеньй-.

            ⁴ All nouns fall into one of four groups:

            a. When the stem end in a hard consonant (б, в, д, з, л, м, н, п, р, с, т, ф), they use endings starting with -а, -е, -ы, -о, -у. E.g. боб ‘bean’ — бобы́ ‘beans’, уда́в ‘boa’ — уда́вы ‘boas’, код ‘code’ — ко́ды ‘codes’, газ ‘gas’ — га́зы ‘gases’, зал ‘hall’ — за́лы ‘halls’, лайм ‘lime’ — ла́ймы ‘limes’, ваго́н ‘train car’ — ваго́ны ‘train cars’, тип ‘type’ — ти́пы ‘types’, вор ‘thief’ — во́ры ‘thiefs’, абрико́с ‘apricot’ — абрико́сы ‘apricots’, кот ‘(male) cat’ — коты́ ‘(male) cats’, риф ‘reef’ — ри́фы ‘reefs’.

            b. When the stem ends with a soft consonant (бь, вь, дь, зь, й, ль, мь, нь, пь, рь, сь, ть, фь, й), it uses endings starting with -я, -е, -и, -ё, -ю. Note that the final -ь and й is not written out when the the ending starting with those letters is attached. E.g. гво́здь ‘nail (of metal)’.

            c. When the stem ends in a consonant for which the distinction is neutralised (г, ж, к, х, ц, ч, ш, щ), the word uses the endings starting with -а, -е, -и, -о, -у. E.g. слог ‘syllable’ — сло́ги ‘syllables’, нож ‘knife’ — ножи́ ‘knives’, жук ‘beetle’ — жуки́ ‘beetles’, мох ‘moss’ — мхи ‘mosses, sorts of moss’, стреле́ц ‘Sagittarius’ — стрельцы́ ‘Sagittariuses’, меч ‘sword’ — мечи́ ‘swords’, ковш ‘ladle’ — ковши́ ‘ladles’, плащ ‘raincoat’ — плащи́ ‘raincoats’.

            d. When the stem ends in a vowel, it accepts no endings, so all its forms look the same. E.g. бра ‘wall lamp’ — бра ‘wall lamps’, кенгуру́ ‘kangaroo’ — кенгуру́ ‘kangaroos’. In those cases, the forms are only distinguished by the context.


            Again the same thing. My answer is the same as yours, but you refuse my answer...


            "Чьи это/эти столы? " - одно и то же! Говорю вам как носитель русского языка. Так что, можете не спорить даже)) Всем мир!

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