Do you have to use an adjective in the genitive plural with the numbers "два", "три", "четыре", or is the sentence "Тут два белого стула" also correct?
Yes, the adjectives don't obey to this rule. They are used in Plural. Just remember the rule only for the nouns.
What case is белых here? Is the phrase 'white chairs' in the nominative plural?
No, "белых" is genetive plural.
Nominative plural is белые.
After 2,3,4 adjectives use the form of the genetive plural, not nominative form (I know that it is not logical at all, just memorize it), nouns use the genetive singular (not logical again, just memorize)
Yeah, except if all the objects are feminine, the adjective and the noun have the same case form. Compare "Я вижу два белых стула, две/три/четыре новые книги, двух красивых девушек"
Seriously? The number of exceptions to remember in this language is discouraging. It makes no sense at all.
As if the adjective not having the same form as the noun wasn't complicated enough...
Yes, I do agree, it is both illogical and confusing, but this is because Russian used to have three numbers: singular, plural and dual. The dual got lost somehow in Old East Slavic but inclining adjectives in dual was something so hard embedded into people’s minds that they just couldn’t stop. Thus, they begun to incline adjectives, which go after the nouns, the following numerals as if they were in the genitive plural (this applying to all numerals). Since the intention was to imitate how adjectives were conjugated in the dual case in the past, the -ых/-их ending (resembling genitive plural) was only used with masculine and neuter nouns. Feminine nous got the normal nom. plural ending -ые/-ие) of adjectives.
Mind you, all adjectives that go before the numeral do not incline in genitive plural (-ых) but rather in nominative plural (-ые).
An addition, it is OK/not so completely wrong to use adjective with the -ых/-их for feminine nouns written after the numerals две, три or четры́е in spoken speech. However, in writing, they follow different rules.
For numerals higher than 5, not ending in 2, 3 or 4 (except 12 двена́дцать, 13 трина́дцать , 14 четры́надцать), adjectives always have have the -ых/-их ending when they are written after the numeral.
To recap this mess:
- Тут (пятьсот двадцать) два бе́лых сту́ла.
- Тут (пять тысяч двести) два неви́дных привиде́ния (=ghots).
- Тут то́же (девятьсот трицать) две чёрные ко́шки. - Preferred in written speech.
Тут то́же (девятьсот трицать) две чёрных ко́шки - OK in spoken speech.
После́дние два бе́лых сту́ла в ми́ре.
- После́дние два невиданных привиде́ния в ми́ре.
- После́дние две чёрных ко́шки в ми́ре.
DISCLAIMER: I am neither a native speaker of Russian, nor am I an expert at Russian grammar (yet), so please let me know if you spot any mistakes in my explanation. This is really a rephrasing of a comment Шэрая Жаба (szeraja_zhaba) made, for further questions, please see his comment in this thread.
EDIT: Corrected according to Dmitry’s recommendations below.
Your explanation is right and goes into lots of details. As far as Russian goes, I spotted only one mistake: I don't know what you were trying to say using the word невидных. If you meant "invisible", you should have said невидимых, but it's nonsense since привидения, by definition, are ghosts that people see. The word for 'inconspicuous' is незаметный. There is also невиданный which means 'never seen before' / 'very unusual', but I can't imagine it being applied to ghosts either. As far as English is concerned, I am afraid you misused the verbs 'succeed' and 'proceed'. And there is one more thing to be said about this complicated issue of the Russian grammar. The genitive singular forms of feminine nouns like коза, страна, звезда differ from their nominative plural forms in the place of stress, so when they are modified by adjectives that follow 2, 3 or 4, those nouns are likely to behave like masculine nouns: белые кОзы, but две белых козЫ, красные звёзды, but три красных звездЫ.
Using невиданные with привидения is not a good idea given that the two words have the same root. If you are used to seeing ghosts, but this time, for some reason, the ghosts that you see look very unusual, then you would say 'странные привидения'. Regarding the shift of stress in feminine nouns, it would be fair to say that the stress falls on the ending in all cases (except maybe accusative in a dozen or so words) of their singular form and on the root in all cases of their plural form - in overwhelming majority of two-syllable feminine nouns whose dictionary form has the stress on the ending. Thus we say, странА, странЫ, странЕ, странУ, странОй, в странЕ, but стрАны, стран, стрАнам, стрАнами, в стрАнах. There's more than a hundred words with this stress shift pattern. In the words рука, нога, щека, вода, гора, порА, голова, борода, борона, сторона, сковорода, полоса and доска, the stress shifts from the ending to the root (the first syllable of the root) in the nominative plural (рУки, нОги, щЁки etc.) and in the accusative singular (рУку, нОгу, щЁку etc.) , although, in the accusative singular of the last three words (сковорода, полоса and доска), this shift of stress is optional.
@Dmitry_Arch Thank you! First, regarding the ghosts, I meant to say ’invisible’, but I guess I didn’t really think it though. :) However, I don’t understand why навиданный cannot be used for ghosts. Sure, they are visible, but have you or anyone ever seen one. I haven’. ;)
Regarding ’succeed’ and ’proceed’, yes, I was unsure about the usage. I will of course edit that in order to not confuse readers. Also, regarding the stress patters, I didn’t know that. I knew about the звёзды vs. звезды́ but not that it affected to many other feminine nouns. Thank you! However, it does not affect all feminine nouns, right? Both the nom. pl. and the gen. sg. of ко́шка are ко́шки and not *кошки́, right?
EDIT: Oh, now I understand what the problem is. When I said that feminine nouns get the nom. pl. ending, I was referring to adjectives. Thank you anyway! Спасибо большое Вам!
@R_Andersson: С такими странными/необычными/диковинными привидениями людям еще не приходилось сталкиваться. You should bear in mind that the word привидение comes from "привидеться", which means "to appear in a dream or as if in a dream". Увидеть привидение is therefore a tautology (it's like saying 'oily oil'); we always try to avoid them if we want to sound good.
@Dmitry Arch 2 So, what adjective would you use to say ‘These are the last two ghosts who still are to be seen/**have not been seen my any human so far’? Wouldn‘t you use невиданные?
Oh, what a consistent stress rule. I did not know it was so simple. Thank you for that. Спасибо, что Вы показали мне это правило!
@R_Andersson, I think the thing is that "невиданный" doesn't mean literally "have not been seen before", but rather "extraordinary", "fantastic" or "unprecedented".
Там на неведомых дорожках
Следы невиданных зверей;
Избушка там на курьих ножках
Стоит без окон, без дверей. http://lukoshko.net/pushk/pushk2.shtml
Pushkin was basically writing about "fantastic beasts". :D
In две новые книги, i thot новые was nom pl while книги was gen singular. Doesn't the noun after два or две have to be gen singular?
You are right, the noun is gen singular. The thing is, however, that with most feminine nouns nom pl is identical with their gen sg form. How do we know then it is gen sg? Well, firstly, it’s a rule. Secondly, there are quite a few common nouns in which the stress falls on the root (the first syllable of the root if there is more than one syllable in it) in nom plural, but shifts to the ending in all singular forms except maybe acc sg. Thus, the words рукА, ногА, головА, козА, слезА, труБа, странА have the nom pl рУки, нОги, гОловы, кОзы, слЁзы, трУбы, стрАны, respectively, but we say, две рукИ, две ногИ, три головЫ, четыре козЫ, две трубЫ, обе странЫ (that is, use gen sg after 2,3 or 4). Interestingly, according to grammar nazis the correct phrases are «две новые книги» and «две белых козЫ», although lots of Russian natives also say, «две новых книги» or «две белые козЫ».
Right. But nouns following 2, 3, 4 or any number ending in 2, 3 or 4 are used in their genitive SINGULAR form.
Yeah, as i see now, my post might make learners confuse -- I'm sorry ;D I will adjust my comment
In my ears, the last word sounds like стола, but obviously this would not be possible.
Why is the adjective in the genitive plural, while the noun it directly describes is in the genitive singular?
Your question was answered 2 years ago: pls take time to read this thread.
The male voice said very clearly "белАх" and not "белЫх". When - please - Duolingo will improve its phonetic voices.
Is there a reason this could not be translated as "There are two white chairs here"? The given "Two white chairs are here" sounds a bit as though you ordered a lot of furniture for your new apartment, and two white chairs were just delivered but you're still waiting for everything else.
Absolutely no reason. In fact, that’s the most likely translation of the given Russian sentence. The translation provided by DL will be correct only if the word два is stressed. In that case, it is just like saying, “There are TWO white chairs here, not one (or three, or whatever number you suggested). The Russian for “The two white chairs are here” is «Два белых стула тут/здесь» pronounced with the stress on the last word.