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  5. "Девочка ничего не понимает."

"Девочка ничего не понимает."

Translation:The girl does not understand anything.

November 22, 2015



I'm afraid that this sentence describes my relationship with spoken Russian.


~Jaqen H'gaar


I hope it's not the same girl who "cannot cook but eats a lot"...


In other examples she has a boyfriend, so this is his problem


Can we put "ничего" at the end, as "Девочка не понимает ничего"?


Native Russian speaker, but not a linguist

Yes, you can, but there is a slight difference. In Russian, the order of words in a sentence can be used to put a semantic emphasis. Usually, the last word carries the main burden, or, in other words, the last word is stressed out

So, when I read these sentences I read them this way (in parentheses - my understanding, the information I've got):

  1. Девочка ничего не понимает (something is happening around a girl, but the girl is a bit confused)
  2. Девочка не понимает ничего (probably, the girl is a bit stupid because she understands NOTHING. Or the really strange things have happened there)

In the first case we are talking about girl's reaction (не понимает), in the second - about the amount of information recognized by that girl (ничего).

I am not sure that I am explaining... But! The answer to the main question: yes, both Russian sentences are valid and correct, and they have almost the same meaning.


That was very helpful, thanks!


Non-native speaker:

I believe that would be possible but sound irritated, emphasizing ничего. Like saying in English "The girl does not understand ANYTHING", with special emphasis on anything.


No, or at least it would sound queer, as, to my understanding, the order for negation words is al the ни words that you put, go befor the не. That's what I remember beeing told on my other course


Shouldn't it be ничто (accusative) instead of genitive?


It's ничего becuase when we talk about things not existing, we use the genetive. Like "нет столов," "there are no tables" Ничто gets used when it's the subject of a verb. "Ничто не вечно" "nothing lasts forever."


Am I the only one who feels like I'm unraveling a story from these lessons?


...And that was the first sentence I learned to recognize in Russian evil smile


Why doesn'v "the girl does not understand at all" work? I am not native english speaker but it sounds natural


That's a different sentence, more like "совсем не понимает". To me that means that there's some specific thing she isn't understanding.


You could be right. There is a difference in meaning.


"She doesn't understand anything" is correct. ничего means "nothing," and it's a noun. "At all" in english corresponds to "совсем" which is an adverb. an analog for "at all" in English is "Entirely." So, compare the meanings: "She doesn't understand entirely" (She understands some of what you're talking about, but not the whole thing" and "She doesn't understand anything" (Not only does she not understand what you're talking about, she ALSO doesn't understand any other thing outside of what you're talking about.)

You could also change the verb to a transitive verb to understand how they're not the same: "I don't want anything" "I don't want that at all" "I don't want anything at all" Very different meanings given context.


Today I realized the difference between "at all" and "anything". It's such like "I don't want everything" & "I don't want anything"... Russian course develops my English skills as well :)


Thats right, but in this sentence we are saying she doesnt understand anything, pertaining to not understanding something, but not exactly understand at all, which is pretty much saying she doesnt understand, period. From a native english speaker.


Would it be wrong if i exclude the 'ничего' here?


me if i visit russia no but jk im actually good at this lol


I like that I can't use "doesn't" so I'm forced to separate my apostrophe and make two words.


Why the double negative though?


ничего is an adverb or a pronoun, according to my dictionaries. On its own it means 'nothing'. But for English we just have to accept Russian wants a double negative, adding не.


The sentence is correct


The girl dose not understand anything


You have a mistake!!!


What's wrong? My sentence is true !!!


So, if the girl didnt understand me, I would say девочка не понимает меня, right? And we put ничего before the verb because it's a pronoun? Why not девочка не ничего понимает though?


Probably Девочка меня не понимает unless you were really trying to emphasize ME. More like, if in conversation: "The girl doesn't understand who?" - "The girl doesn't understand me"

And I believe девочка не ничего понимает is something like "the girl understands not-nothing" but don't take my word for it


Can i am writting:" the girl understand nothing"?

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