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  5. "Vanya was explaining to his …

"Vanya was explaining to his grandmother where the school was."

Translation:Ваня объяснял бабушке, где находится школа.

December 5, 2015



I'm not sure why "ваня объяснял бабушке где была школа" isn't right. The English text says the school WAS there. Saying "где школа" without "была" means the school is still there, correct?


That's because of the sequence of tenses in English. "He said that the school was there" in Russian is "он сказал, что школа там". So he said it in the past but the school is still there. And "he said that the school had been there" means "он сказал, что школа была там"


I agree with WilliamR90. In common American English "the school was there" can mean "the school used to be there".


"Vanya was explaining to his grandmother where the school IS." (sentences implies that the school is still there) "Vanya was explaining to his grandmother where the school WAS" ( implies that the school may not be in or at its original location)

This sentence and the way the author wants it translated need revising. The translation they want doesn't match up with their english, and creates confusion in the person translating the sentence


There is this grammatical concept in English called “back shifting” where the tense of verbs of observation and explanation (such as “to explain,” “to say,” “to think,“ etc.) determine the tenses for the rest of the verbs in the clause they are a part of. This is why we say, “he said (preterit) that he wanted (preterit) to go (infinitive) to the game” as opposed to, “he said (preterit) that he wants (present) to go (infinitive) to the game,” for example. Whether or not he still wants to go to the game does not have any say in the tense of the verb. This concept does not apply if you are quoting something someone said directly, in which case you would write it exactly as it was spoken: he said (preterite), “I want (present) to go (infinitive) to the game.“

Most other languages do not do this or do something else instead; Russian is one of those languages that doesnʼt do this. In Russian, these kinds of verbs are followed by the present tense, which means for the verb “to be” in Russian, you either use no verb (since the present tense for “to be” in Russian is implied) or «находится» for emphasis.


Why does 'his grandmother' not need a possessive?


Without trying to sound like a bad internet ad, this is one weird thing about this course. Sometimes if you infer something like "his" in a sentence like this when you're translating from Russian to English it marks it wrong, but includes it in the reverse translation.

Interesting that this confusion arises in Stonefruit as well as English. ;-)


Because Russian allows us to assume that relatives belong to the subject of the sentence if no possessive pronoun is used. Itʼs not ungrammatical to include one; itʼs just redundant.

You would need one if youʼre referring to a relative of someone other than the subject of the sentence.


I had the following which was marked incorrect "ваня объяснял своей бабушке где школа" but do we really need, in this construction, a verb to indicate the position of the school? If I were to ask "where is the school" surely "где школа" would be right?


"находится" is optional. Possible translations:

  • Ваня объяснял бабушке, где нахо́дится школа.
  • Ваня объяснял бабушке, где располага́ется школа.
  • Ваня объяснял бабушке, где располо́жена школа.
  • Ваня объяснял бабушке, где школа.


short question, why is it incorrect to use своей?

Thanks in advance, the info is appreciated.


"своей бабушке"? It's not incorrect at all, it's just redundant. We don't usually use possessive pronouns talking about our relatives.


How do you know if the grandmother is his relative. Babushka in russian is a wide term, describing not only a relative but also an old lady. "Бабушка, дай прикурить"


Is Vanya a male?


Yes, in this case Vanya is the diminutive of Ivan.

(Vadiim will show up here in about 30 minutes, thanks for setting him off again)


I wrote "Ваня бабушке объяснял, где находится школа" and it was not accepted. Please tell me, dear Russian speakers, is this word order unnatural and weird to use?


Putting grandmother before is an odd word order but not grammatically incorrect. It emphasizes strongly that he was /explaining/ to his grandmother. Like the example here: Бабушка Вани пришла в школу без проблем. Он для неё написал где школа? -А! Нет. Ваня бабушке объяснял, где школа. Это было достаточно.


maybe "была" or "находилась"


What do you mean Vadiim will show up again?


Can I also ask where is his translated and why своей is marked wrong?


It doesn't have to be translated. If you refer to a family member, it's assumed you're talking about your own. You would only use this when you're strongly highlighting that it's one's own relative. Он вчера не увидел брата Ивана? Нет, я думаю, что он увидел своего брата.


2 evident problems here: 1 - the missing possessive моей/своей before бабошке, since it is about “his grandmother”, and 2 - the past tense on where the school “was”. These can be really confusing and misleading.


You don't need to translate possessive pronouns before family members. It's assumed in Russian that you're talking about your own. The past tense /is/ misleading though, and indeed has two translations.


How is it assumed in the context of this sentence? For one I am sure of, babushka is a word that can describe a random old lady. If a russian asks you to translate the english sentence, how does he know if its his relative or just some old lady? Im calling bs


So many mistakes in these lessons, its discouraging.


In this sentence (and one other in this lesson), I am told I have a typo. When I enter обьяснял, it is corrected to объяснял. My keyboard characters are the same as ever. My мягкий знак is the only difference I can see between my spelling (ь) and Duo's (ъ). Is this just a bug, or am I missing something? Thanks!


Находится=is situated Было/была=was Am I wrong?


Correct. But when you talk about a place that doesn't move, находится is common. Then there's the question of the ambiguous English. "She asked where the school was" can be "where the school used to be" as well as "where the school is". But it's customary to make the second verb past unless the information is still ongoing. She asked when the store is open today. (It's still open.) She asked when the store was open today. (It might be closed now. Unknown.)


Why is "where the school was" "где находится школа" instead of "где находилась школа"?


Why is this sentence without "была"?


It's using the verb находится instead.


2 questions: 1. Is it ok to write both "...находится школа", And- "...школа находится"?

  1. This is a bit weird, but does the pronunciation of "Г" change depending on the word? Sometimes both readers pronounce it as "v" (in English). But usually I hear them use it as "g". Same happens to other letters, like "в" becomes "f", but the difference is not as significant.. Thanks.


I.e. моего, своего..


The answer to 1. is probably.

The answer to 2. is that yes, г is a unique case where in words you mentioned and also a lot of genitive adjective endings such as красного it's pronounced as в. This is different to how a lot of voiced consonants become unvoiced at the end of words and in other limited situations. so в => ф, г => к, б => п, з => с, д => т, ж => ш.


Are we sure it is Vanya's grandmother, and not a friend's, a classmate's, the teacher's, etc.... grandmother? If we are not sure, wouldn't "его баьушке" also be possible?


I totally agree, that should be a valid (though uncommon) variant.


Ваня объяснял бабушке, где находится школа. this doesn't mean this"Vanya was explaining to his grandmother where the school was." but thisваня объянал своей бабушка где школа

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