У тебя собаки едят яблоки? Confused
I found this sentence in one of the timed practices, so I didn't have time to read through the discussion or make a comment, and now I can't find it again. Sorry if this problem has been resolved elsewhere!
The translation given for this sentence is 'do your dogs eat apples?', so why does the Russian say 'у тебя собаки' and not 'твоя собаки'? I thought the 'у + genitive' was used for phrases meaning 'I have', or 'at x's place'. It would make sense to me if it were 'тебя собаки' (literally: the dogs of you, ie. your dogs) without the 'у'.
Can anyone help me? Thank you!
Here is another theory: maybe this is just "У тебя (дома) собаки едят яблоки?" with the implied "дома".
In Russian, "at your house" is usually expressed as "у тебя́ до́ма".
Hi Frazer! This construction with у is widely used to indicate the possessive relationship. Here it is unclear what is possessed, and there are two options: either the dogs that you have eat apples or some dogs eat the apples that you have. "Твои собаки едят яблоки?" is possible and makes it clear, but "тебя собаки" does not work. Possession can be expressed by genitive, but not with pronouns. Examples: собаки доктора (doctor's dogs), ботинки мужа ([my] husband's boots), etc., but you can never say собаки меня, собаки тебя or any other personal pronoun. With personal names it can be either way, in some cases you can use genitive or the possessive form of the name (those have not been presented in this Duolingo course, I suppose), but more often one of this options is more preferable. Go for genitive with the last names, when you add a title to the name or when the name is foreign and / or does not decline / it's unclear how to form the possessive: собаки Иванова (Ivanov's dogs), собаки дяди Вани (uncle Vanya's dogs) собаки Розмари (Rosemary's dogs). Go for the possessive form of the name when it's a common first name or a family member: Светины собаки (Sveta's dogs), папины собаки (dad's dogs). This is pretty complicated, so feel free to ask you want further details