"What are the girls eating?"

Translation:Что едят девочки?

November 25, 2015

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Does word order matter for this sentence-- could you say "что девочки едят"? And if so, is one better than the other?


They are both possible. It is hard to say which is better because the sentence is so short. With pronouns "Что ты ешь?", "Что они едят?", "Что мы едим?" would definitely be more common if you do not wish to put a special emphasis on the subject. As for "girls", both work. If you were interested what girls (or the girls), of all other people present, are eating, you would use the sentence in the header. If you were just interested in what they are eating (regardless of what other people eat), "Что девочки едят?" would work rather well.


I wrote "девочкичто едят что ?" Why is this wrong? Is it simply unnatural?


Question words (such as "что") typically go at the beginning of a sentence/clause.


When I hear/read Что едят девочки (What are the girls eating), for some reason I think it means "What is eating the girls". Is that a common misconception? Is that an interchangeable meaning of the sentence? It happens often in English, where for example, reed and read are two different things that sound exactly the same in speech. Is this something where you would need more context to understand the difference?


This is where the noun cases are important, since Russian word order is not as important as English word order.

Что едят девочки? What do girls eat?

Что ест девочек? What eats girls?

In the first sentence, the subject is always in the nominative case, so the noun девочки is in the nominative. In the second sentence, the subject is что, and what it eats is in the accusative case, so the noun девочек is in the accusative.

Also "девочки" is plural, so the verb "есть" is conjugated to third-person plural "едят." "Что" is singular, so the verb "есть" is conjugated to the third-person singular "ест." So the construction of the sentence is completely different based on the subject and the direct object.


Спасибо! I was wondering the same thing.


Why not "что эти девочки едят?"


That would be what are "these" girls eating rather than "the" girls.


Could this also be "What do girls eat"?


Yes it can, depending on context. In Russian there's no difference between "do eat" and "are eating." Context determines the meaning


why is девочки more correct than девушки?


Age. Девочки are definitely girls, девушки would be more like young women.


Что кушают девушки? Why is it not accepted, I have always heard the кушать to be used instead of есть by Russians that I have had a chat with?


Кушать is used more in an endearing way. Like friends and family. With strangers, you're likely say есть. Кушать is "too friendly."


I wonder if CaioFranca2 said what I'm thinking right now


Why 'Что эти девочки едят?" was not accepted?


That would be, "What are these girls eating?" Slightly different.


When do we use и versus ы when talking about plurals?


Usually after hard consonants, the plural uses ы, as in мост/мосты, except certain consonants never take ы, such as к, ч, ш, and щ. If a word ends in ь, then the ь gets dropped before и in plural, as in дождь/дожди


I don't understand, what's the difference between "ем" "ест" аnd "едят"?



Я ем = I eat

Он/она/оно ест = he/she/it eats

Они едят = they eat


I think "ем" is self (я ем-I eat), "ест" is other (он/она ест-he/she eats), and "едят" is plural (они едят-they eat)


i do not have a Azbuka in my PC. what can i do?


wait a minute! hey! after all, I don't have a Russian keyboard! how can this be at all !!!?


All current operating systems, Windows, Apple OS, Android, iOS, etc., have all language keyboards. You just have to go into the language settings and enable the Russian keyboard. There are on-screen keyboards for Windows and Apple so you don't have to buy Russian alphabet stickers for your big, physical keyboard.

On my Android phone, I just hold down the comma (,) key then press the settings ⚙️ "gear" icon.

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