I think it's ok. Using the nominative case here is ok if he was a cheerful man for all of his life. Another example:
- Он был рабочий - He was a working man (for all of his life)
- Он был рабочим - He was a working man (at some time of his life)
I didn't exactly get the reason why instrumentalis can be used here. Is the reason that it makes the sentence a bit more vague?
OK, some cooked-up "explanation": in Russian Instrumentalis is called Творительный (creating). So something to do with creating and existing?
Also somehow owning/possessing/having for skills/features rather than objects
For example, you can not say У меня есть телекинезис or Я имею телекинез, cause telekinesis is not a thing that you have. It would be Я обладаю/владею телекинезом, in Instrumentalis. Another one, Я владею русским языком - "I own Russian language" :D Я знаю русский just means you know it and a lot about it, and the former one either means you're a native speaker or a genius foreign master of Russian.
So, being a cheerful man is like a feature/skill...
ah, thanks for that explanation. yeah the name "instrumentalis" already gives away that we are talking about somebody's tools (which apparently cheefulness is, too) and not about their (unchangeable) state
So, nominative for something constant, instrumental for something temporary? "Instrumental" means you acquired it by or with some method or thing for a short time, like a "tool" or "drug" (ha), but it was not innate in you :)
1) My feeling of Nom/Inst here is:
Мой пара был инженер --> My father is dead. He was an engineer.
Мой папа был инженером --> He used to be an engineer. For some period of time (which can be all his life or less). No info about him being alive or dead in the sentence.
2) Interesting question. Why exactly Instrumentalis in this pattern. No idea :D
In Polish they always use it in the present tense, never Nominative. Мужчина = Mężczyzna (Nom.). Я мужчина = Jestem mężczyzną (Inst.)
I had the same question, then I re-read the "tips and notes" for "Instrumental Case".
It is used alone with some verbs of “being”, “becoming”, “seeming” (https://www.duolingo.com/skill/ru/Instrumental-Case)
быть ("to be") is one of the verbs of "being" then. ^_^
Disappointed it doesn't allow either 'cheerful chap' or 'cheerful fellow'. A perfect context to use either of those words.
Happy is счастливый. Весёлый is more like cheerful, merry, jolly. Not the internal state but external :)
Thank you! That was very helpful.
Vielen Dank! Das war sehr hilfreich.
Ďakujem! To mi veľmi pomohlo :)
That would be "Его отец был счастливым человеком"
Весёлый (cheerful, merry) and счастливый (happy) are different words and concepts, so it doesn't accept this translation.
If I have understood the discussion about the usage of instrumental in this example correctly, "used to be" might be a better translation, but it isn't accepted. Is it me or is it Duo?
No matter whether it's a "better" translation or not, it's correct so it should be accepted. Please report :)
I translated this as, "His dad was a cheerful fellow." As it was his dad, I assumed it was a male and therefore "fellow" instead of "person" although these days I suppose it's anybody's guess what gender a father is. спасибо хорошо
Does this sentence mean that his father passed away, or that he used to be cheerful and now he's grumpy?
You can scroll up and read the discussion above. There are some conclusions there about the question you asking, it has been asked before :)