"I have not been here before."
Translation:Я здесь раньше не была.
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I think I've gotten myself into a bad habit of systematically trying to put adverbs like здесь before the verb... The huge discrepancy in number of Google results makes it pretty clear that «я здесь не был раньше» is wrong, but can someone explain exactly why?
EDIT: I hit upon another variation of the sentence later in my training session, «Я здесь раньше не была» -- now I'm even more confused. :-/ Was my mistake to have split the two adverbs then?
You can place adverbs wherever you want. And not even adverb, but pronoun and verb also. It's not a mistake. It's an emphasis only. For me:
SOV: я здесь не была - normal emphasis SVO: я не была здесь - verb has got more emphasis VSO: не была я здесь - negation and verbs emphasized very much. like in case of excusing VOS: не была здесь я - same, like it was not me who was here but somebody else OSV: здесь я не была - object (place "here") is emphasized. like spoken thoughts, or making remarks when discovering new places like caves or labyrinths or doing quests OVS: здесь не была я - same but sounds stupid
«Не ра́ньше» means you're negating «ра́ньше»: i.e., 'I was here, but not before'. This is actually meaningless, because 'was' means past tense, and «не ра́ньше» means it wasn't in the past.
You usually put the «не» before the verb (or, when the sentence doesn’t have a verb, before the predicate):
- Я не зна́ю. 'I don't know.'
- Я не марокканец. I'm not Moroccan.
When you put «не» before other words, it means the action did take place or the situation is true, and only some part of the sentence is negated:
- Не я был здесь ра́ньше. 'It wasn't me who was here before', 'Someone was here before, but it wasn't me'.
- Я был не здесь ра́ньше. 'I was somewhere before, but not here', 'I was in a different place before.' (Which is quivalent to 'I wan't here before.' because it's pretty obvious you was somewhere else before.)
- Я был здесь не ра́ньше, чем она́. 'I was here not earlier than she was.' (Without adding something, the sentence is pretty meaningless.)
Also, all those sentences (when the negated part is not the verb/predicate) are not actually negative. Since Russian uses double negatives, negative sentences use negative adverbs (like никогда́ 'never', никто́ 'nobody'), conjunctions (ни... ни... 'neither... nor...' instead of или... или... 'either... or...') and other words. However, all those sentences don’t use double negatives because they’re not actually negative. Compare:
- Я никогда́ не был здесь ра́ньше. 'I've never been here before.' (Literally: I've never not been here before.)
- Не я когда́-то был здесь ра́ньше. 'Someone was here some time ago, but not me.'
- Я когда́-то был не здесь ра́ньше. 'I was somewhere some time ago, but not here.'
We don’t use «никогда́» in the second and third sentence because they’re not really negative.
They're not stupid! I’ve been trying to learn Cantonese for some time, so I know that things taken for granted by native speakers look very weird to foreigners. When I've first read about Chinese grammar, I've thought "Are you kidding me? Do people really talk like this?" :D
By the way, I've glossed the last 2 examples in my post incorrectly; I've edited it so hopefully it's now correct.
Thanks, I'll be sure to review.
I'm sure English causes similar reactions especially on spelling and word order...we're so unsystematic with the one and very rigid about the other.
And I'm sure it freaks a lot of people out to encounter sign reversal in our negatives as if you were doing multiplication! (Funny enough, it actually makes it easy to explain the math concept to English-speaking children. ;) )
No, we can't. „Я раньше не здесь“ would be understoood to be the present tense, and this sentence makes no sense in the present tense.