I have never heard dog on the grass. I hear dog in the grass, and snake in the grass. The idiom sounds different.
"On the grass" rather than "in the grass" suggests that the grass is short, ie probably a lawn or formal garden or something like that, and so the implication is that the person speaking is worried the dog will spoil the nice lawn, I guess.
But nobody ever actually says that. We say on the lawn, off the grass, in the grass, but never on the grass. Try to find and example in print.
I have definitely heard "on the grass" before
Even so, idiomatic use of prepositions like this will change in every language. Saying "in" the grass sounds right to an English speaker, but logically you're not really "inside" the grass, you're "on" it.
Any translation between languages is going to run into this kind of issue, so it makes sense to reiterate that the preposition used will be "on" in Russian.
'In' would sound odd in English if the grass were short. In has more physical depth associated with it. But, prepositions ARE very hard.
The sign would say "keep off the grass" so the opposite would be "something is on the grass" so "A dog is on the grass."
I put "On the grass is a dog" and again DL marked it wrong because it wants me to add "There." I reported it, but I wish I could understand why DL is so preoccupied with the word "there." It seems to me that adding "there" would emphasize "собака" too much, making it into "Собака - на траве." What am I missing?
This course is still in beta so many correct translations just haven't been added yet.
It depends on the context. Compare these examples:
«Где собака?» «Собака на траве» ("Where is the dog?" "The dog is on the grass")
«Что на траве?» «На траве собака» ("What is on the grass?" "A dog is on the grass.")
«Смотри, на траве слбака» ("Look, there's a dog on the grass")
As you can see, the difference isn't in "there is" as much as which part of the statement is prior knowledge. In Russian, prior knowledge is often put at the beginning of the sentence, and new or important information comes at the end. In the first example, we are already talking about the dog, but we want to know where, so the location comes at the end. In the second example it's opposite. The second example translation could have just as easily been "There is a dog on the grass."
In the third example, neither the grass nor the dog have been mentioned before, but собкак comes at the end because it's still the important information. You're pointing out the existence of the dog, not the grass. This could of course be switched if for some reason it's surprising to see a dog on grass instead of in some other location, in which case траве would want the emphasis.
While your answer should probably have been marked correct, "there is" makes plenty of sense with the second and particularly third examples. "On the grass is a dog" really just implies the word "there is". The sentence also has the peculiarity that the implicit subject of the sentence is neither the grass nor the dog, but the collection of "things on the grass", one of which happens to be a dog. This is because in English, the subject almost always comes first. And even in the few cases where it doesn't seem to, it often implies a more specific subject than the explicit components of the sentence.
But "собака" needs to be emphasize much because it is in the END of the sentence. (or am I wrong? there is an explanation in Tips¬es)
Someone mentioned on another page that this Russian sentence would be an answer to ̣What is in the location? In English the expression "There is" is simply an introduction to something existing somewhere and is not specifying a location, so, we include the location. and we can say "There is a dog here." I put " On the grass there is a dog." We have a children's song that nests these over and over. For example....." ....and on that dog there was a flea..." Check this song: http://www.songsforteaching.com/folk/thegreengrassgrewallaround2k.php
I am not really sure about this translation. I mean, it does litterally mean on the grass, but if there was a dog I would say that he is in the grass, not on it. Unless I wanted to emphasize the fact (like, there is a Keep off the grass sign and a dog was on the grass).
I agree. I use "in the grass" regardless of length. I prefer "on" when a verb (e.g. "I am walking on the grass") but for describing where something is, I am probably more likely to say "The dog is in the grass". I'm not saying it's right, but I definitely use it that way.
But wouldn't 'in the grass' mean it's some kind of a tall grass and you cannot even see the dog at first glance? For me, на траве means it's just normal, short grass and the dog is sitting there, just as are his owners sitting and having a picnic.
Agreed. A regular lawn of grass would make him "on" the grass and tall grass would make him "in" the grass. I wonder if Russian must use на or can also в use to get the same distinction?
Does the Russian say "on the grass" because short, well-kept grass is meant? If so, could "на траве" also be translated as "on the lawn"? How does Russian speak about long grass? We talk in English about "a snake in the grass". What preposition would one use in Russian?
Short, but not necessarily well-kept. Собака на траве:
For a lawn, there is a separate word "газо́н." And yes, for tall grass "в траве" can also be used.
Собака в траве:
We have a famous tongue twister in Russian: "На дворе трава, на траве дрова" which means "There is grass in the yard, there is fuel wood on the grass" :)
траве is used with the preposition на, whereas трава is the base (nominative) form of the noun. In Russian, noun endings are modified to deliver grammatical information too, while in English word order and prepositions deliver the grammatical information. In short, на траве means "on the grass" while "трава" just means "grass."
So we really needed a picture to help us decide whether the dog is ON or IN the grass. :-)
This is not a good sentence to have translated literally from Russian to English. It should be removed from the test.