"I have brown eyes and my wife has green eyes."
Translation:Я маю карі очі, а моя дружина має зелені очі.
Up until this lesson, the Ukrainian course has been teaching у [когось] є as proper translation of "[somebody] has."
Now it's teaching the verb мати instead. How do the two usages relate to one another, and how strict are the Ukrainian grammar rules in their usage, one versus the other?
I'd say "У мене/тебе/когось" is a bit more common way to express the idea of possession, or maybe just more colloquial one.
Conjunctions "і/та" are used to connect sentences that express similarity. Conjunction "а" is used to connect sentences that express contrast (in this case the meaning of "а" is close to "але" ("but")). For example:
- I have brown eyes and my wife has brown eyes. (You both have the same eye color. Similarity) -> Я маю карі очі і моя дружина має карі очі.
- I have brown eyes and my wife has green eyes. (You have different eye color. Contrast) -> Я маю карі очі, а моя дружина має зелені очі.
Thank you! I thought so, but I didn't know how strictly Ukrainians follow this rule.
I started my sentence with "У мене є карі очі...." Is it wrong in a sentence like this? Duo rejected it.
It sounds like you have a set of brown eyes but not the ones in your head. The verb to be is mostly left out in contemporary Ukrainian.
Most Ukrainians would leave out the possessive pronoun моєї as self-evident. The sentence should be acceptable without.