"What don't we have?"

Translation:Чего у нас нет?

November 15, 2015



why Чего instead of что?

November 15, 2015


When you say you don't have something you use the genitive case instead of nominative, so you say у меня нет книги (genitive singular) for "I don't have the/a book" or у меня нет книг (genitive plural) for "I don't have (the/any) books" even though the word for book is книга.

Now when you ask a question что also needs to be inflected and it has to match the case of the answer.

что это? (nom)
это книга (nom)

чего у нас нет? (gen)
у нас нет книги (gen)


so, what would "what do we have" be? что у нас есть?


That works, or just "что у нас?"

The longer version is probably appropriate for more situations. Unfortunately I can only come up with vague intuition about when I would use one form versus the other. :(


Thats the the best answer, thanks you!


is it kind of like saying " we do not have what" and what is like an object?


Why not чего у нет нас?


у is a preposition. The word it operates on directly follows it, which in this case is нас, so it has to directly follow у.


What's wrong with У нас нет чего?


The question word usually goes at the beginning of the sentence in Russian. To figure out the case and how to order the words, try this:

If you are asking a question like the one above, imagine what an answer might look like: «у нас нет воды»

Next, switch the question word in for whichever word is the one that answers it. In this case we are asking "what", and the answer is "water". Make sure you use the same case of the question word as the answer word: «у нас нет чего»

Lastly, move the question word to the beginning: «чего у нас нет?»

It works in many cases.


When do you use "чего" and when "что"?


чего is the genitive. Here caused by the нет.


Чего is specified for things? Am i right?


I agree with kpagcha. Why чего and not что


It's genitive because in normal word order it would follow нет (У нас нет чего). But just like in English question words usually get shoved to the front of the sentence so it's less obvious that it's affected by нет (but it definitely still is).


I don't understand the 'genitive' explanation. I only put чего because I remembered the sentence


There are words in Russian that always have the next word in the genitive case, words like у, много and нет. It's best just to remember them. I've explained in the other comment why чего isn't written straight after нет like it usually would be.

Another way of understanding why нет makes the next word genitive is that you could literally translate it as "there is not of" although it's a little clunky. Genitive in English is often expressed by putting "of" in front of the word.


will someone explain when to use which word for what


I put чего here without any idea why. Can someone explain briefly?


how do I know which word for 'what' to use?

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