"У них нет воды."

Translation:They do not have water.

November 21, 2015



Tips and notes

In Russian “I have” is expressed by «У меня (есть)» structure. The owner is in the Genitive case.


"The of-case". It is one of the most universal cases. How do you make the forms? Here is the regular pattern:

ENDINGGenitive sg.soft stem-a/-ямамамамыземляземлиzero-ending masc, -о/-е neutсок / молокосока / молокаконьконя-ь femмышьмыши

A zero ending means that the word ends in a consonant or a soft sign (which is just a way to show the final consonant is "soft"). In the Nominative singular, a Russian word can only have the following endings: а, я, о, е, ё ornothing ("zero ending").


If you use «нет» to say that there is "no" something or you do not have it, the object is always in Genitive:

У меня́ есть я́блоко → У меня́ нет я́блока

Здесь есть рюкза́к → Здесь нет рюкзака́.


"of" (possession): яблоко мамы = mom's apple"of" (amount): чашка чая, много чая = a cup of tea, a lot of tea

A huge number of prepositions requires this case. Yes, «у меня есть», «У неё есть» only use «меня» and «неё» because «у» wants Genitive.

For он, она and оно Genitive doubles as a non-changing possessive "his", "her", "their": его, её, их.

initial «н» is used for him/her/them with the majority of prepositions (doesn't affect possessives)


A little side note: some nouns of foreign origin are indeclinable. It means that all their forms are the same. Foreign nouns that end in о/е become like that (кофе, метро, радио, резюме), as well as all nouns that do not fit into Russian declension patterns (see above).

This includes female names that end in anything other than А or Я. A few -ь-ending names are an exception (Любовь and Biblical names like Юдифь).

So, all of the following names are automatically indeclinable: Маргарет, Мэри, Элли, Дженни, Рэйчел, Натали, Энн, Ким, Тесс, Жасмин.


Russian also uses the Genitive to state that someone is "away", "not there": Мамы сейчас нет. In English such use would correspond to "There is no mom at the moment", or even "There is no me now". We are not hard on that particular construction in the course, but it is important to know it all the same.

Added bonus: when a verb directly acts on a noun, the noun is called a direct object and is in Accusative. In Russian, only -а/-я feminine nouns have a unique form for it. Others just reuse Genitive or don't change the word at all (Nominative)


Russian uses.... let's call it "consistent" negation. It means that in negative sentences you are required to use "nothing" instead of "anything", "nowhere" instead of "somewhere" and so on. Let's meet the first of these pronouns:

У меня ничего нет. = I don't have anything.Она ничего не ест. = She doesn't eat anything.

You'll also notice that, unlike standard English, Russian has no rule against using double negatives.

May 4, 2016


Whaaaat... omg i think im gonna cry i read this three times and still my mind is blank.

August 10, 2017


Why is воды used instead of вода? Is here water genitive?

January 4, 2016


Yes, you have to use a genitive in у + нет sentences.

Брат (brother)

У меня нет брата (I don't have a brother)

January 12, 2016


Thank you very much for that explanation Pablo!!! I have read it all. Duolingo should add the notes of the units in the mobile app too!!

November 4, 2016


Can somebody explain this sentence? I figure нет is the opposite of есть here, but what cases do the nouns take? Is it like with есть?

November 21, 2015


Genitive case follows "нет". "Есть"(which you can sometimes omit in a sentence) is followed by Nominative case.

November 21, 2015


Why is it них here but not меня? Unless i just confused myself lol

April 29, 2016


"У них" - they have. "У меня" - I have.

April 29, 2016


Why is it У них нет воды. and not у их нет воды. ? I was under the impression that них was prepositional, and that the genitive 3rd person plural was их.

May 14, 2016


Ah, I've found the answer.

From (http://www.russianlessons.net/grammar/pronouns.php) Note 1: Pronouns that start with vowels may be proceeded by the letter "н" when used with prepositions.

That pretty much explains it. I think.

May 14, 2016


Почему не верно "There is not any water" Why don`t "there is not any water"

October 22, 2016


Because you're saying that "they" (у них) do not have water, not that there isn't any water.

January 12, 2017


Why wasn't there used не in place of нет

December 15, 2016


"Нет" is used to say something doesn't exist or is not present. It's equivalent to "не есть".

December 15, 2016


Sorry but нет есть is not valid in Russian as I find out in a previous comment

August 3, 2017


Yes, you're absolutely right. The meaning of "нет" is equivalent to "не есть", but "не есть" is never used in modern Russian.

August 3, 2017
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