"У нас мало лука."

Translation:We do not have many onions.

March 27, 2016

48 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/gosutag

How do i know that "есть" doesn't fill in the blank?

March 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Flim_
  • 1151

«лука» is genitive and «мало» (being an amount, like «много») takes the genitive. It would require the nominative form to be «у нас есть лук»

October 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

"есть" is seldom used with "много" and never with "мало". У нас есть книги. У нас (есть) много книг. Но у нас мало свободного времени, поэтому читать некогда. (We have books. We have lots of books. But we have little free time, hence no time to read.)

April 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/relox84

I don't think that's what he meant: you may be asked to fill a blank in this sentence where мало is, and есть is an alternative which may seem right but isn't. If есть were the correct answer, then лук would stay in nominative, but it doesn't, it's in its genitive form лука, which means the word filling the blank can either be the negative particle нет or a quantifier много/мало.

July 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/detailaddict

Still kinda hard to get right without having seen мало before, and not recalling what the plural of лук would be in this sentence with есть as the verb.

May 31, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

The Russian word лук when it means "onions" is a collective noun, so it doesn't have a plural form. The other meaning of лук is a bow (as in "bow and arrow") and the plural for it is луки.

December 8, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ArmedDillo

Anyone else hear "овука" here instead of "лука"?

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/panchoahea

If you hear it in slow mode, it is saying Олука

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/vitaoma

jesus, second time i get it wrong cos of that :P

August 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/jonyjrslm

Why not "We have few onions"?

April 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

An option as well. It seems, though, that native speakers of English tend to confuse "We have few"(=too small amount) with "we have a few" (=some amount"), so we changed the main translation to the negative (i.e. changed "few" to "not many").

April 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/jonyjrslm

Thank you!

April 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/panchoahea

Is "мало" a word maening both "many" and "not"?

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Djenthallman

Мало means "little", " few".

We have little money — у нас мало денег

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/panchoahea

Thanks for your reply but then why is it here translated as "not many" in "We do not have many onions"?

The sense may be similar, but not literal to "few" or "little". "Not many" is definitely different from "few" or "little".

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/voevodsky

Actually, we have several similar words. Мало, немного or немножко, несколько. Nouns in Russian can be countable and uncountable. Лук in this case is uncountable, so you can say мало or немного, but it is hard to get the difference even for a native speaker. Roughly, «У нас мало лука» means: «We run out of onions. Buy some more», while «У нас немного лука» means «We don't have much onions, but we still can cook something». Несколько is used for countable nouns and mean «some» or «few». You can say «у нас несколько луковиц», it is neutral and doesn't content any additional information. The question «Do you have any onions» is better to be translated as «У вас есть лук?/Есть ли у вас лук?»

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/panchoahea

Thanks so much for the explanation. I still can't get that you find that "not many" (so denying you have a lot) is the same than "a few" (that involves accepting you have a little). I imagine it should be similar like in height: being not so tall shouldn't mean you are short, or being not so short shouldn't mean you are tall. But I will asume it's a cultural difference.

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

"a few" and "a little" are definitely far from what you need. We only accept translations with "few", "little" and negative sentences with "not many/not much/not a lot of":

У меня мало времени → I have little time (a bit formal) / I don't have much time.

Some native speakers of English say that with proper intonation "a few" may mean the same as "few". Well, how would anyone know that you mean this specific intonation?

The Russian мало is the opposite of много. That is, много means "many, a lot: even more than is realistically required" whereas мало is "few, little: not enough for something; less than desired". Of course, both assume that a person considers amounts that fall within some range "normal".

April 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/voevodsky

Like «Нужно одолеть немало трудностей, чтобы выучить русский» — "One needs to overcome a lot of difficulties to learn Russian"

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/voevodsky

Maybe it is because we, Russians, want everything! We are not satisfied with "not many", we need it all:). By the way, we also have «немало», which looks like "not few", but means "a lot". It sounds official and widely used.

March 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/kocmohabt99

I wanted to reply Shady_arc's post, but the reply limit was reached... anyways, would "not enough" work as well? That's what I put and was rejected.

December 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/theflymouse

Why not у нас есть лука or у нас один лука?

May 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

These are both ungrammatical. Moreover, neither есть nor один means "a small amount".

May 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/JessHarrison0

doesn't у нас есть лука mean we have onions, that is a grammatically correct sentence surely, so why is that wrong? I didn't get what I was supposed to translate it too so how am I wrong

May 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

«У нас есть лук» is the correct sentence.

May 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/millerdp7

лука is genitive case so it is not the correct case for "У нас есть лук". I didn't realize that мало is considered a negation, thereby requiring the genitive case, but apparently that is how it works in Russian.

June 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

It is not a negation. It is an amount. Compare the use to the the following sentences:

  • У меня много лука. = I've got many onions.
  • У меня много кошек. = I've got many cats.
  • У меня куча лука. = I've got loads of onions.
  • У меня есть мешок лука. = I've got a sack of onions.

In Russian, berries and also onions, potatoes, carrots, and beetroots are all mass nouns. "Berries" are understood in a layman's definition, so they include a lot of different small fruits like strawberries, plums, cherries, currants, blueberries, cranberries, geans and so on.

June 13, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/millerdp7

Thank you for the clarification.

June 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Immanueldavid

Thanks☺.

June 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RobertGeor16

Thanks

September 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/chsemyonova

I answered "We don't have much onion." Since "лука" is uncountable, shouldn't this also be accepted?

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

"Onions" are countable in English. In Russian, though, капуста, картофель(картошка), морковь, лук, редис (редиска), свёкла, фасоль are mass nouns, as are all berries (e.g. вишня, клубника, слива, черешня, смородина, ежевика, рябина, крыжовник).

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/chsemyonova

That's good to know. Спасибо!

May 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/chsemyonova

So how would I say, "We don't have much onion?"

May 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

"У нас не так много лука". Or "Лука у нас немного"

May 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JorgeTodes

Why is "we have a few onions" wrong?

July 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/chsemyonova

“few” = «мало»

“a few” = «немного»

July 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

The meaning is more like "We do not have many onions".

July 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeffrey855877

In English, "few [things]" means such a sparsity of items that there are almost none to be had, and certainly none to be shared.
"A few [things]" also indicates a sparsity of items, but connotes some greater amount than "few", so that there might be enough to share.
Examples:
"We have few (мало) onions, and you can't have any of them because we need them all for ourselves."
"We have a few/some (немногго) onions, and I might be able to let you have one or two".

The thing that is confusing me is the немного looks like it's a combination of не + много = "not many", but the comments indicate that the moderators believe that "not many" is translated by мало rather than немного.

Also, In English, "not many" would lend itself much more to being equivalent to "some" or "a few", but the translation says that мало means "few" - which also means "not many".

I think that is wrong in English. "not many" is much more a synonym for "a few" and "some" than "few".

"Not many at all" or "almost none" is closer to what "few" means by itself.

That suggests to me that the translation of мало as "not many" is not correct.

Finally, the distinction between "few" and "a few" is so fine that it may be blurred or be non-existent, as either can be made to fit, depending on the context.

December 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

There is a difference between «У нас есть немного лука» and «Лука у нас не много». The former means “We have a few onions”, whereas the latter means “We have few onions [left]” / “We are running out of onions”. As you can see, the meaning changes depending on whether it is one word or two words and the intonation with which "немного"/"не много" is pronounced. Немного can also be used as an adverb meaning “a bit” / “a little”: «Я немного устал», «Подожди немного», «Отдохни немного» (“I’m a bit tired”, “Wait a bit”, “Take some rest”). However, when it is written as one word, немного never means “not much” or “not many” - to express that meaning, you have to write «не много». Obviously, it is not easy to distinguish between «немного» and «не много» in spoken language, so the word так is often inserted between не and много. The safest way to translate “not much” or “not many” into Russian is to say «не так много» or pronounce мно- in «не много» with a pitch fall.

December 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeffrey855877

That's informative, but if doesn't shed any light on where мало falls in this spectrum of sparsity. If «У нас есть немного лука» means "we have a few onions", in English that's synonymous with "we don't have many onions" - or less idiomatically, we have "not many" onions - which would be something like не много = "not many" - probably not good Russian grammar, but then etymology of words isn't a neat and tidy science. I find it difficult to believe that немного isn't a combination of of не + много, even though it doesn't actually mean "not many" in a strictly literal sense - but it certainly seems close.

Still, it's not at all clear how мало fits in here. Shady_arc appears to indicate that мало does not mean "few" but rather "a few" = "not many". That suggests that «У нас есть немного лука» means the same thing as «У нас есть мало лука» - that немного = мало in this context.

At least we've learned how to say "few onions" («Лука у нас немного»).

To this last point, I think your definitions fit well with my attempts to distinguish "few" from "a few". "Few" means something like "we're running out of".

December 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

Shady_arc is not write: мало does mean “few” (when used before countable nouns) or “little” (when is followed by an uncountable noun) , that’s what it means. “A few” can be translated into Russian as unstressed «несколько» (the stressed «несколько» is the equivalent of “several”) or «пара-тройка» or «два-три»/«две-три»/«три-четыре». «Немного» is a synonym of «мало» and they are used interchangeably, unless «немного» is followed by a verb - then it means “a bit”. Written as two words, «не много» means “not many” (fewer than expected) or “not just many” as in «не много, а очень много» (not just many, but a huge number). Being hard to distinguish from «немного», «не много» is not used very often, phrases like «не очень много» or «не так уж много» being more preferable. “We’re running out of” = «У нас кончается/кончаются». The phrase «мне мало + Gen case» means “I’m not happy with...”/“I want more...”. «Немало» means “quite a lot”/“quite a few”.

December 6, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

That means «У нас есть несколько луковиц» (or «У нас есть пара-тройка луковиц»).

December 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LewPiercey

The correct sentence, " we don't have many onions".

December 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/romannt

"We do not have many onions." is translated as "У нас нет много лука". This is not the same. I think this answer should not be accepted.

August 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

"Нет" and "много" don't go together, so "У нас нет много лука" is simply ungrammatical. The negative of "много" is "не так много", so one can translate "We don't have many onions" as "У нас не так много лука" or "У нас не так много луковиц".

August 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexeyAZ.

Неправильный перевод ! Так как написано означает не "мало лука", а "мало луковиц". Это принципиальная разница.

November 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Dmitry_Arch

Поскольку в английском языке нет собирательного существительного со значением «лук», приведённую английскую фразу можно интерпретировать и так, и эдак.

November 14, 2018
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