1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Я не могу вам это продать."

"Я не могу вам это продать."

Translation:I cannot sell it to you.

November 22, 2015



It is incorrect to say "I am not able to sell it to you"?


I suppose this goes toward another question too. Can't you or won't you sell it? Not being able to sell it is a stronger way of denying the possibility. Is this possivle to distinguish in russian?


I can't sell it to you = Я не могу вам это продать

I won't sell it to you = Эта вещь не продаётся /Я не стану вам это продавать


Yes it's correct


Wouldn't that be я не умею?


No. Не умею is when you don't know how to do something. Я не умею плавать. "I don't know how to swim."


Would it be wrong to use "Я не могу продать это вам” ? It seems so inverted to me as a portuguese/english speaker. Thanks.


It's perfectly fine in Russian. The written emphasis becomes вам. In this exercise, продать is the written emphasis. In Russian, without specific vocal emphasis, or italics or bold in writing, the last word is always "the news" in a sentence.


The words это and вам can be placed in any order anywhere in this sentence except between не and могу. The basic meaning will remain the same, but if you put either of the words in the beginning, you will automatically emphasize it.


Thanks guys!

I learned that the position creates emphasis, but I am not really sure whether it happens on the beginning or in the end of the sentence (va-diim called it "the news"). Is is possible to point either one?


You can emphasize any word in the sentences except не by applying special intonation to it, without changing the given word order. So, ultimately, it is the intonation that matters.


Большое спасибо.


Great, thanks Dmitry, I think that what va-diim said applies to "written emphasis”, right?


Yes, written emphasis only, since there is no intonation in writing; unless, italics or bold is used.


Shoot, what's могу again?


Могу means I can

Не могу means I can't


Я не могу means 'I can't [in a particular situation]' or 'I don't have an opportunity' or 'I am not allowed to'. The infinitive of могу is мочь.


What is the familiar term for Вам?


There are two direct objects in this sentence, "это" and "вам." Either one can follow the verb in English. "I can't sell YOU THAT," or "I can't sell THAT to YOU."


вам isn't a direct object, it's an indirect object (to you)


My mistake, you're right. Still, "I can't sell YOU THAT," is not incorrect. Duolingo marked it wrong.


I agree that "I can't see you that"" is correct. More marginally "I can't sell it you" and "I can't sell you it" are used and perfectly understandable in practice, if more in conversation.


"I can't sell it you," is a very rare form. It is used by a small percentage of English people living in the Midlands, but I have never personally heard this form used. It has to be "...to you," to be commonly understood.

Yes, "I can't sell you it," is correct but less common than the form used in this exercise.

Most likely one would say, "I can't sell you that."


OK, thanks. I stand corrected. It's not completely incorrect. I wouldn't teach it here to non-native English speakers, though. I would teach the most common form which is already used in this exercise.


@daughterofAlbion. My family is from Lancashire, and I grew up in Canada. "I can't sell it you" sounded like how my relatives spoke and led me to look up the link I posted. So, the blog echoed my original opinion; for me, "sell" fits the "give" or "tell" examples of (AltDOC) mentioned in the blog. Here is a "send it me" link; http://eng.sagepub.com/content/44/2/138.abstract Here is an academic paper with lots of examples: http://www.isle-linguistics.org/resources/Biggs--passive_variation--2014.pdf


"I can't sell it you," is used in England. Refer to this linguistic commentary on "Give it me." http://linguistics-research-digest.blogspot.ca/2014/01/give-it-me_27.html


@TahitiTrotsky: I have indeed heard "Give it me" used in the Midlands, and also "Give it him". But I can't remember ever hearing this construction used with other verbs. Have you actually heard "I'll sell it you", or are you simply inferring it from the blog about "give"?


@TahitiTrotsky: thanks for the links; they are very interesting. It's intriguing though that the first link is arguing that the usage is dying, and "has gradually been restricted to...Northern British speakers", whilst the second paper treats it as a recent development.


A'int no way "I can't sell it you" is correct lmao


that's because your answer was wrong


I imagine it would be a word order thing (as it is in English), but I wonder how you would differentiate between the two sentiments in Russian (and which meaning this sentence intends):

I can't sell you that. [but I can sell you something else]


I can't sell that you you. [but I could sell it to someone else]

Of course there is the third option of I can't sell you that [but someone else might be able to sell it to you] - which, without formatting codes, we would have trouble expressing in written English but something tells me could be entirely possible in written Russian... maybe?


In Russian, that's less of a word-order thing than which words are stressed when spoken, like the italicized words in your example. However, without vocal emphasis/intonation, the Russian sentence structure puts the "news" at the end.

Не могу тебе это продать. I can't sell you that.

Не могу тебе продать это. I can't sell you that.

Не могу продать это тебе. I can't sell that to you.

Продать тебе это не могу. I can't sell you that.


If you want to emphasize the verb’s object — direct or indirect one, doesn’t matter — you should start the sentence with it: (1) Это я не могу вам продать. (I can’t sell you that) (2) Вам я не могу это продать. (I can’t sell that to you)

If you want to emphasize the subject, you should simply stress it: Я не могу вам это продать.


In a spoken language, you can stress or emphasize any word you want in the sentence just by vocal tone. But how would you write that sentence emphasizing Я? I would write, "Не могу Я вам это продать." (Because it would sound wrong to put Я at the very end. I was always taught that emphasized words go at the beginning or end of a Russian sentence. I agree with your first part about putting those words at the very beginning. But Я at the very beginning of the written sentence adds no emphasis because it's normal to start the sentence with the subject Я.


Ultimately, it all depends on the intonation. You can start the sentence with Я and stress Я. Then it will mean "It is I who cannot sell it to you".


what is the difference between продавать and продать ?


Продавать is to sell something consistently, or without specifying a specific time, event, or even a sale. Продать is to sell a specific something at a specific time, in other words, a specific sale uses the verb продать.

Я хочу продавать машины. I want to sell cars (in the general sense, as a profession, not which specific cars).

Я хочу продать машины. I want to sell (some specific) cars (for example, my cars).


Thank you very much.


Продавать is imperfective, which means that it refers to either an action in progress (to be selling) or to an uncertain number of actions (in negative sentences it means "to sell at all"). Продать is perfective, which means that it refers to a particular one-time action.


Сколько лет вам? "Мне 16 лет." Я не могу вам это продать. Не законно. (It's illegal)

Can I use it this way?


The Russian for “It’s illegal” is «Это запрещено законом». In the given context, one can also say, «Не имею права» (literally, “I have no right” with the implication that it is illegal). Незаконно is one word, an adverb or neuter short adjective, which means ‘illegally’ or ‘illegal’, respectively. In theory, the statement «Это [действие] незаконно» sounds OK, but is hardly ever used.


I think it's okay but I'm not sure, I'm not a native


Can't it translate as: I cannot sell you those. Or I cannot sell those to you?


Это implies a single thing as opposed to the plural "those," but I guess if you refer to "those" as an aggregate "it" or "that," then it could make sense


I am unable to sell you that.


Would "I can't sell you that" be more correct as an example if "Я не могу вам это продать" is the answer?


It's equally correct


Why is «Я не могу это вам продать» incorrect?


Well, it is also correct; however, DL software developers failed to enter all possible translations in their database. They just picked the most common equivalent.


Thank you, I will report it if I ever get this prompt again.


How would you say I could not sell it to you


Depends on the context. If it is a hypothetical situation, we would say: «я не мог(ла) бы продать его/её вам/тебе». If it is just a past tense form of “can”, then it will be «я не мог(ла) продать его/её вам/тебе». Могла is the form used by girls or women. The choice between его and её depends on the gender of “it”. «Это» here would mean “this” rather than “it”. The choice between «вам» and «тебе» depends on what the buyer is to you. It is safer to use «вам» if it is an adult who is not part of your family and is much older than you, or any adult stranger who is not likely to become your friend.


"i cannot sell you this" is this possible?


This is a really brain bending sentence for the english native speaker. If I translate it literally:

"I not may to you it to sell"



That made litterally no sense


"I cannot sell you that" was marked wrong. Is there a nuance im missing?


Your version is a valid translation and should be accepted. The Russian for “I can’t sell it to you” may as well be «Я не могу вам его продать» or «Я не могу вам её продать», depending on the context.

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.