"Я никогда ничего не открываю."

Translation:I never open anything.

November 18, 2015

54 Comments
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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cbn620

This sentence is crazy, it seems like there's a triple negative to it. Makes me wonder if I'll ever be able to think in Russian, because to me, instinctively, this sentence is like "I never don't open anything." It's so weird to me. Yikes. I guess what I can't wrap my head around is the не here. Why is it needed? It seems like никогда already establishes the negative, and не is redundant.


[deactivated user]

    Right, there’re three negative words. We can easily create sentences with four, e.g. Я никогда́ никому́ ничего́ плохо́го не де́лала 'I've never did anything bad to anyone'.

    I hope you’ll understand this in time.

    If the sentence is negative, all the words that can be replaced with a negative counterpart get replaced (кто-то 'someone' — никто́ 'no one', что́-то 'something' — ничто́ 'nothing', всегда́ 'always' — никогда́ 'never', etc.). There's a limited number of such words, so hopefully this is not too hard.


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

    Я никогда никому ничего нехорошего не делал. - для полного комплекта.


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

    This is super helpful tyvm


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelWor9

    It does seem odd at first but now I think it makes as much, or more, sense than our system.


    [deactivated user]

      thank you so much


      [deactivated user]

        and не is redundant.

        It's redundant indeed, but since negatives are so important (few words change the meaning in such a drastic way!), it makes sense to repeat it to make sure you’re understood correctly. People might mishear you (e.g., «не» sounds like «мне»), and using double negatives helps to get the message through.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dav7nn

        This aspect may be a little difficult for English speakers, because you cannot negate more than one time in a sentence. However for Portuguese speakers, it is not hard, we can negate more than one time just like in Russian.


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

        Spanish speakers also.


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

        Same in Turkish


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

        Think of "It aint' nothing to do with proper English grammar"


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

        Actually it's "I never don't open nothing", so it is even more crazy in the ears of english speakers and people whose native language does not have double negative.


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

        To be fair, that would still mean the same thing in english. An even number of negative words cancel out the negative meaning, but an odd number makes it a negative sentence. So this still means the same thing.


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

        It doesn’t matter whether the number of “negative” words in the sentence is even or odd, because the only really negative word in the Russian sentence is «не», all the pronouns and adverbs with the ни- prefix simply being enhancements of negation. You can’t make a negative sentence in Russian with the verb without «не». At the same time, «Я когда-то чего-то не открываю» means “Sometimes there are things that I don’t open”. Compare: «Он ничего не читает» (=He doesn’t read anything) and «Он чего-то не читает». The latter sentence can be interpreted in two ways: (1) “There are some things he doesn’t read” and (2) “For some reason, he doesn’t read anything”, because, in a casual conversation, чего-то or что-то may replace отчего-то.


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

        CarlArgen was referring to the English (but it's triple).


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

        "Никогда" and "ничего" are not true negative words. They don't work without "Не" which is the only a negative word here. You can't say "Я никогда ничего открываю" because it makes no sense.


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

        Could they be used without не in a poetic sense?

        In the book I found nothing.
        So I read the nothing, and learned something interesting.


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

        Yes and no. Compare: «Книга оказалась ни о чём. Но я прочёл это «ничто» и узнал кое-что интересное». If you translate the first of your two sentences literally, though, you will have to use не: «В книге я ничего не нашёл».


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nadin-317

        Я никогда ничего НЕ открываю.


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kpsr94

        same in polish


        https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nik659150

        Triple negative = negative in english and russian


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

        The phrase looks crazy. :O

        By the way, portuguese uses double negatives, too:

        Eu NÃO estou vendo NADA. I am not seeing anything.


        [deactivated user]

          Yes, but there are some differences: Никто́ не ви́дел маши́ны = Ninguém viu o carro 'Nobody saw a car' (in this sentence, we use «не» in Russian but don't use «não» in Portuguese).


          https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andrew359786

          Any reason that "I don't ever open anything" should have been rejected, our should I report it?


          [deactivated user]

            Please report it.


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

            For some reason I was assuming while translating it that this sentence referred to jars, cans, and other food packaging. (...or doors?) It was only after I got confirmation that I had it right that I realized it was not such a weird remark in the context of e.g. mail. (Or email attachments.)


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matthew-215401

            I think I can handle the redundant negatives, but what if somebody wants to communicate an idea in Russian that you'd use a double negative for in English? "You just said you didn't go to work today." "I didn't say I didn't go to work." (Or "I never said I didn't go to work.") In English that response deliberately leaves ambiguous the matter of whether the speaker went to work, but merely claims that they never said this. Or... "If you say to your sister 'This dress is too big on me, but it's perfect for you"', that may not be a direct insult, but you know it's also not NOT an insult." In Russian, How would one get the ideas in these double negative across?


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

            In Russian you can say, «Я не говорил, что не ходил на работу» which means “I didn’t say I didn’t go to work” with the implication “I did go to work”, or «Я никогда не говорил, что не ходил на работу» which means “I never said I didn’t go to work”. You can also say, «Я [никогда] не говорил, что не хожу на работу». That means “I do go to work and never stated the opposite”. In all of the above sentences говорил is interchangeable with утверждал (stated). I do not, however, see any ambiguity in those statements, nor do I see it in your English examples.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matthew-215401

            This is excellent, thank you so much!! Regarding the potential for ambiguity in double negatives (just because I find it really fascinating), it's just that with some double negatives in English, the result is necessarily a positive: "I never couldn't see" means I always could see. But with some other double negatives, the effective result is merely to remove the negative, and not necessarily to impose a positive meaning. This is the case with "I didn't say I didn't go to work," which doesn't mean "I said I went to work" regardless of whether the speaker went to work or not. Although someone might use a sentence like this with the intention of leading someone else to think they DID go to work, all the sentence actually means is that the speaker didn't say the words "I didn't go to work." They might have said other words, or they might have said no words at all, but the matter of whether they had indeed gone to work simply remains unaddressed. Your first two Russian sentence examples seem to do a lovely job of landing what I'm referring to as a double negative with ambiguous results: they convey a loose implication of reversing the negative, but upon closer inspection, do not in fact require a positive interpretation. This kind of slippery language seems pretty useful for high ranking officials trying to get out from under a scandal. :) Anyway, thank you again for helping me understand this part of the Russian language a little bit better.


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/c.schaell

            I ain't never open nothing


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/deinemudda92946

            this is a grammatical nightmare


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Monkeyface1618

            Triple negative happens also in Greek: Εγώ(I) ποτέ(never) δεν(don't) ανοίγω(open) τίποτα(nothing).


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

            Same in Turkish


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

            Not even presents


            https://www.duolingo.com/profile/El-Inc

            Am I hearing it wrong or is "не открываю" pronounced as "неткрываю"?


            [deactivated user]

              Well, it’s technically two separate sounds /nʲɪɐtkrɨˈvaju/, but since both sounds are reduced, it can be pretty difficult to distinguish them.


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

              "не о" in "не открываю" sounds close to 'near', so it's only natural that you hear what you hear.


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

              I don't never not want to never not forever learn Russian.


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

              There ain't nobody out there to force you.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeaganThom2

              Is this following a correct conceptualization of when one would use this sentence? - "What came in the office mail?" - "Don't ask me. I never open anything." Or is it perhaps a Russian colloquialism?


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

              I translated it as I never discover anything, which is accepted and somehow makes more sense to me (as in, a researcher or scientist saying it).

              There's no special meaning to the sentence with "opening", it does mean exactly the same as the given English version. I also can't think of a context where it would make sense to say that, but the point is to learn how several negative words work together, I guess.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/taha3547

              As some said, i amazed that we talk like that also in Persian


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

              What's wrong with "I am never opening anything." It's present tense, imperfective just like открываю.


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SethArnold1

              "I am" suggests that the actions happen now; "never" suggests that the actions are in the past or the future or both.


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

              If you wanted to say "nobody ever negated anything" in Spanish it would be "Nunca nadie negó nada." xD


              https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdalbertoG603271

              Eu nunca não abro nada))


              [deactivated user]

                What is wrong with " I never open nothing"


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Makepeace8

                The speaker is mistaken. What about eyes? Mouth? :-)


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nik659150

                Triple negative ? Bruh...


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

                I guess Ничто is almost never used, right?


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

                Why, ничто is always used for ‘Nothing’ when ‘nothing’ is the subject of the sentence:

                Ничто не вечно под луной. (Nothing is everlasting under the moon).

                Ничто его не беспокоит (Nothing worries him).

                Ничто нас так не радует, как успехи наших детей. (Nothing makes us so happy as our children’s success).

                As you can see, in all such sentences the verbs are used with the negative particle «не».


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ademox123

                That's one hell of a paranoid person.


                https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WG6d7

                Is я necessary here?


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

                I never open anything, I swear it!

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