"There was no fog yesterday."

Translation:Вчера не было тумана.

November 28, 2015

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I'm trying to figure out why было and not был. Туман is a masculine noun. Declining it in the genetive doesn't change that, does it?


The best way to think about it is that "не было" is the past tense of нет.


Thanks, I was looking for an answer to why вчера туман нет was wrong!


I'm confused. If that's correct (which seems to imply it's always не было), then why are there other instances when the correct translation of "it wasn't" is не была/был?


The two languages don't line up 1:1, but usually не был/была (conjugated) will be just "wasn't" whereas не было (invariable) will be "there wasn't" or "there weren't".

  • present: У меня нет котов (I have no cats), там нет людей (there are no people), там не бывает людей (there can be no people)
  • future: у меня не будет котов (I'll have no cats), там не будет людей (there will be no people)
  • past: у меня не было котов (I had no cats), там не было людей (there were no people)

As you see this impersonal negation is an invariable construction. So не было does not depend on туман. You can construct something like "вчера туман не был" where туман and не был are related but it sounds as unnatural as English "yesterday fog was not". I think this is something to get used to, not comprehend.


I think elsewhere in this lesson, the sentence, "Yesterday there was very strong wind," was translated as, "Вчера был очень сильный ветер." Why the inconsistency?


See my comment right below. You will always write "не было" when using нет in the past tense.


Ah, I see. Thanks for the help! Here's a lingot.


Why is тумана in the genitive? It's the subject of the sentence, isn't it?


Yes, it is but it’s genitive due to negation. In Russian, the whole sentence has to be negated, thus we must have sentence like «Я ничего не знаю о никого» and «Я никуда никогда не с никого не иду».


Thanks for your answer, but I realized that туман is not the subject of the sentence: they way I understand it is the subject is an unstated dummy noun (sort of like the word "it" in the sentence "it is raining"). So this sentence means something, a bit more liberally translated: like "Yesterday it was not of fog," where "it" is the dummy subject (which is apparently of the neuter gender).


No problem!

Yes, that is actually a good way of thinking of it! You can see that the subject of the sentence is neuter because of the conjugation of the word быть: было.


I should also mention that I think the latter sentence in my example would be «Я никуда никогда не с кем не иду».


When do you use нет and when do you use не to say something is not/was not there?


нет - present tense, не было - past tense, не будет - future tense


So you cannot say Вчера тумана нет?


No, you can't. You can say "завтра тумана нет" (and with verbs in Present), but it would be like English Present Continuous meaning the future.


why "не было тумана вчера" is a wrong answer?


If there was no negation in this sentence, would we say "вчера было туман"?


Вчера был туман


what about : "вчера было солнце а не туман". Though the negation genitive doesn't apply for the second part of the sentence. Kind of balance with the first part of the sentence without negation ?


Genitive is mandatory when you negate the existence of smth/smb ("Вчера не было тумана"), with abstract nouns (не терять времени), with pronouns ("не делать этого"), with the repetitive particle "ни" ("не знать ни боли, ни страха"). In some cases, you can choose between accusative and genitive with a little difference in the meaning: accusative makes the situation/object more definite.


Grammatically, in the very least I think you would still need тумана because the verb you're negating is still было, omitted or not. I doubt that it would be omitted in that case either. Also I don't think your sentence is acceptable as a translation of the English because it's adding extra content.


Hello Mister Ben. I asked because this sentence comes from the same Duolingo Session where TyMAH is not genetive. Logically you are certainly right. Maybe also I have mistaken. Thanks


Mister Le Samourai I found the good sentence with a negation but accusative : "я лублю солнце и не лублю туман" So we have the negation "HE" without genitive but with accusative ? Real Guinea Pig.


Thanks RGP. Most negation in Russian doesn't use genitive but нет always does and не было is the past tense form of нет. So in those cases genitive is mandatory. Regards, Le Samourai.


Monsieur le Samourai, vous êtes vraiment le meilleur. Bien cordialement Tense Positive Guinea Pig.

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