"Can you help me?"
Translation:Вы можете мне помочь?
Why not Вы мне можете помочь? I get that some word orders are preferred over others, but it's grammatically correct
I understand that sometimes things are hard to explain between languages, but do you possibly know of an outlet that you could refer me (us) to that would help demonstrate the rules behind this phenomenon? Thanks!
Hello! Unfortunately, I don’t know about a good explanation for laypeople.
All I’ve seen are academic papers that might be hard to read and don’t give you clear-cut rules, just some theories or percents. For example, Tatiana Zadoenko in her paper ‘Subject omission in Russian: a study of the Russian National Corpus’ has percentages for the number of omissions in different kinds of conversations and texts:
So, basically, the pronouns are omited only in private conversations (32%), but normally not omited in oral interviews, lectures, or written texts. So, in her words:
This leads us to the important conclusion that subject omission appears to be a feature of spoken language and, moreover, a feature of informal spoken language.
T.Zadoenko also notes that the first-person (я, мы) and second-person (ты, Вы) subjects are more likely to be omited comparing to a third-person sibject:
Some verbs are used as ‘discourse markers’:
Discourse markers (DMs) are independent elements that are used to structure a conversation and maintain cohesiveness. For instance, a DM can be used to initiate discourse, change the topic, hold or change turns, express the speaker’s attitude to an utterance, or indicate the relationship between an utterance and preceding discourse.
When the verbs are used as discourse markers, they are often used without a subject. T. Zadoenko describes the statistics for two such markers, «понима́ешь» ‘you see’ and «зна́ешь» ‘you know’.
That was a great explanation! Thanks a lot! Ill try not to drop it again in the future just in case) i dont want to have informal Russian before the formal one! I tend to do he same with english (im not native)
Помочь is perfective, it refers to (successfully) helping one time. «Вы можете мне помочь?» is a question to be asked when you have a specific thing you need help with.
Помогать is imperfective, it describes an action as a process that has beginning and end. It can be used when the action is repeated (i.e. you‘re asking if someone can be helping you with more than one problem during some period of time), or when the success is not important.
Помогать doesn’t sound very natural in this sentence. I’d use «Вы можете мне помочь?» when needed help more than once. Because it makes more sense to ask a person whether they can help me each time I need help. No one will have time for me at any time of day and night, so I need to agree upon each act of ‘helping’ separately.
"Можете мне помочь" was rejected for some reasons. There are a lot of contexts where this phrase without вы sounds better. if you want to address to a salesperson in a store, for example.
мне is dative or prepositional case, and меня is genitive or accusative case. see: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/13466871 for a more lengthy explanation, or for full declensions of the Russian pronouns: http://www.russianlessons.net/grammar/pronouns.php