"Нет, у него нет брата."

Translation:No, he does not have a brother.

November 18, 2015

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AlejandraV14298

"No, he has no brothers" is the correct sentence in English. The plural noun is used in these cases, unless the context makes a singular noun the logical choice, for instance, in: "he has no wife". I will report it.

February 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dimidov

The English provided here is sound. Are you saying the English translation of the Russian sentence is incorrect, or are you saying that your translation is the preferred one? Because I'd have to respond with 'wrong' on both counts.

Whereas it is uncommon in most countries today not to have more than one wife, it is definitely not unheard of. 'He has no wives' is an equally valid statement.

Similarly, if someone asks 'Wasn't Jimmy Tom's brother?' one might respond with either 'He has no brothers' as well as 'He has no brother'. Both are correct and would not make anyone confused about the intended meaning.

February 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejandraV14298

My translation is preferred in English, that's why it should be accepted, not rejected. It was marked as wrong. In your example, you use the singular form because you are referring to "Jimmy", that is, one person. This is not the case here.

February 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dimidov

You cannot say that is not the case here, because the only thing provided by Duo is the one sentence, which is the response to a statement that we do not have. It might very well be that they are referring to Jimmy, and therefor the singular form. We do not know. All we have is the one sentence and the only thing you have to do is translate this particular sentence as best and as accurate as you can.

Translating it to 'he does not have brothers' is not correct, as they have provided the singular form of the noun here. Duo does not care about the preferred canonical form. What it cares about is teaching you the appropriate use of the genitive case for the singular form of the noun and the correct use of the proposition that comes with it in this sentence.

Duo is trying to teach you Russian. It is not trying to help you improve your English. Keep it simple.

February 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejandraV14298

Obviously, it would be impossible to provide the context in a single sentence (which is the teaching method of Duolingo), and that is why the canonical form is specially relevant here. That is keeping things simple! On the other hand, any language teaching method prioritizes canonical forms, when you know the rule, you, as a learner, can explore the exceptions. This is not only true for English, this is a general rule for learning any language.

You may think that it is impossible to learn a language without context, and it is true that modern language teaching methods work with language in context, but, anyway, Duolingo's methodology can be improved providing examples of language use that are not exceptional. According to szeraja_zhaba's opinion as a native Russian speaker, the use of "have no" is similar in English. I wouldn't provide a exception as an example to a beginner without explaining why I choose to use it.

February 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dimidov

I am in agreement with you when you say it could be helpful for Duolingo to provide canonical structures. At this moment, however, they do not. Which means that any sentence provided should be treated as a singular and separate entity, which is to be translated as-is. Simple enough, I'd say.

I do admit that my opinion in the matter is possibly a result of my own native language considering both of these sentences as correct and therefore acceptable.

February 16, 2017

[deactivated user]

    My translation is preferred in English

    It might be a preferred sentence, but it's definitely not a preferable translation. In fact, it's a translation of a different sentence:

    • У него нет брата = He does not have a brother
    • У него нет братьев = He does not have brothers
    February 12, 2017

    https://www.duolingo.com/AlejandraV14298

    To have no + plural countable noun is the canonical form, but Duolingo marks it as a mistake. The canonical English structure should be perfectly used as a translation, because in English it indicates both possibilities, due to it is the unmarked form. You can consult any English grammar book to find information about this.

    I am editing this message because I cannot reply your new comment, szeraja_zhaba. I cannot consult a Russian grammar because I do not speak Russian. I would not be here if I spoke Russian!!! If what you say is right, I do not understand why Duolingo does not use canonical forms in early stages of Russian language teaching. They should start with the common usage structures and only then approach special cases like this.

    February 12, 2017

    [deactivated user]

      I think Russian is pretty much the same in this respect. «У него нет братьев» would be used by default, unless you have a reason to speak specifically about one brother.

      I don't know good grammar books to refer you to, but I believe the structure is the same in English and in Russian, so your translation shouldn't be accepted since you're translating a different sentence.

      February 12, 2017

      https://www.duolingo.com/MarshaMcLean

      Interestingly enough, I, as a strong English student, am having great difficulty with the gentive case. I remember it being quite easy and usually having "ing" involved. Please explain it to me. The directions are not adequate for this "brain injured" mind.

      February 13, 2016

      [deactivated user]

        I don't really understand how Genitive case is connected to "-ing". :o I think they're completely different things.

        Well, as for cases, basically Russian nouns have several form. For example, nominative case is used for subject of the sentence and for both nouns in "X is Y"-type sentences. Most other cases have several possible uses.

        The most obvious use of genitive is indicating possession: if you put it after any noun, it will mean a possessor. E.g. in «дом Мари́ны» 'Marina's house', Мари́ны is Genitive.

        Other use of genitive case is indicating absence. You use it after «нет», and sometimes, when the verb is negated, its object is in genitive (не зна́ть сло́в 'not to know the words'; сло́в is Genitive).

        February 13, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/Drumknott

        MarshaMcLean, perhaps you're thinking of gerunds?

        March 10, 2016

        https://www.duolingo.com/Marc175557

        What about "he does not have any brothers?"

        September 2, 2018

        [deactivated user]

          So, if I understood correctly, его is for positive and него is for negative?

          November 18, 2015

          [deactivated user]

            No, not really. Н- appears when the preposition is used before the pronoun starting in е- (у + его = у него), except when the pronoun modifies another word (у + его брата = у его брата).

            Negation is expressed by «нет» here. «Нет» + genitive case expresses absence of something (нет брата = there is no brother), and «у» + genitive expresses the possessor (у него́ нет бра́та = he doesn't have a brother).

            November 18, 2015

            [deactivated user]

              But isn't у него́ нет бра́та modifying бра́та?

              November 18, 2015

              [deactivated user]

                No, here the preposition is related only to «него», and then the construction «у него» refers to the whole sentence (or to «нет» as the main word in the sentence): ([у него] [нет брата]).

                «Брата» is connected to «нет», not to «у него».

                November 19, 2015

                [deactivated user]

                  Ok, thank you

                  November 20, 2015

                  https://www.duolingo.com/Dimidov

                  'He has no brother', instead of 'He is not a brother'?

                  February 12, 2016

                  [deactivated user]

                    He is not a brother is «Он не брат».

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/Dimidov

                    Right, that makes sense. Thanks!

                    February 12, 2016

                    https://www.duolingo.com/Sabastian7

                    Него is used instead of его, because it follows a preposition (у in this case).

                    My guess is that it eases pronunciation.

                    December 3, 2015

                    https://www.duolingo.com/ElenaAsensio

                    When do I have to use genitive?

                    October 18, 2016

                    [deactivated user]

                      «Нет» always requires genitive: «нет воды» 'there is no water', «нет бра́тьев» 'there are no brothers', «нет ве́тра» 'there is no wind'.

                      Another prominent use of genitive is indicating possession: «температу́ра воды́» 'temperature of the water', «исто́рия бра́тьев» 'the brothers' story', «направле́ние ве́тра» 'direction of the wind, wind direction'.

                      Genitive is often used in negative sentences, when denoting an object: «Я не пила́ воды́» 'I didn't drink water', However, it's never used when talking about living people. Accusative is also used in this function, and accusative is more common. Genitive works best for abstract things and uncountable nouns.

                      Sometimes genitive is used for a direct object in positive statements and questions. Then, it has the meaning 'some, part of': Я вы́пила воды́ 'I drank some water'. Accusative is more common for direct objects: Я вы́пила во́ду. I've drank the water.

                      Some prepositions require genitive: у воды́ 'near the water', у бра́тьев 'at the brothers' possession, at the brothers' place', из воды́ 'out of the water', от бра́тьев 'from the brothers'.

                      October 18, 2016

                      https://www.duolingo.com/Petina21

                      Why did a different exercise say "У нево нет сестра"? Shouldn't it be "сестры"?

                      March 31, 2018

                      https://www.duolingo.com/Kundoo

                      There's no way "a different exercise" actually said that, so you probably remembered it incorrectly. The correct sentence would be "у него нет сестры". Or it could be "у него не сестра" but that one doesn't work well as a standalone sentence and requires a continuation like "у него не сестра, а брат" ("It's not a sister that he has, but a brother").

                      March 31, 2018

                      https://www.duolingo.com/LukeReidt

                      Why did they use него and not его

                      August 28, 2017

                      https://www.duolingo.com/sp.ark

                      No he hasn't a brother

                      July 1, 2018

                      https://www.duolingo.com/MarshaMcLean

                      Thank you!!

                      February 13, 2016

                      https://www.duolingo.com/XennialStar2001

                      this sentence is screwing up my mind frustrating :(

                      November 12, 2016

                      https://www.duolingo.com/Frederik15728

                      Wouldn't "У него не есть брата" (or something like that) be better? Why does it say "нет"?

                      November 15, 2018

                      https://www.duolingo.com/Kundoo

                      Nope, it wouldn't be better. In fact it's not even grammatical. "У него нет брата" is the most natural way to say that.

                      November 15, 2018

                      https://www.duolingo.com/veerx87

                      Wow 'брата' sounds almost the same as in Sanskrit - Bhrraata- भा्ता and Tea - чай - Chai - चाय in Hindi

                      January 12, 2019

                      https://www.duolingo.com/BengalTiger510

                      Why is it брата not брат

                      February 8, 2019

                      https://www.duolingo.com/PTMUK

                      i have my life

                      May 15, 2019
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