Russian "Time" Question
Hello. Please, how do you say the phrase, "since X years ago," in Russian?
I tried using "с трёх года" but was told that would mean, "since I was three years old." Is there a way to phrase it properly, like: "I haven't seen him since three years ago,"?
Try using "уже три года":
Я учу русский язык уже два года - I have been learning Russian for two years.
Я уже пять лет живу в Москве - I have been living in Moscow for five years.
Is this what you meant? I myself experience regular problems with since/for in English, so I've decided to try my luck in this discussion :)
Those work, but not exactly the same construction. Especially in the negative, ie: "I have NOT done [whatever]." I was just wondering if Russian had the same kind of construction in English: "I haven't X since three years ago," or if it needs to be said in another way.
Does, "Я не видел его в течение три года," work? That sounds kinda formal though.
'Я не видел его уже три года'. Or, 'я не видел его в течении трех лет' -- need genitive case here. The latter is indeed a bit more formal, but is fine to say casually, too.
As to your original question, lavendeltee is right about 'уже', but a lot of times just 'три года' or 'пять лет' work too: 'я не видел его три года', 'я работаю здесь пять лет', 'он рисует десять месяцев'. Same with negatives: 'я не курю [уже] пять лет'.
But года is already genitive single. If you turn the cardinal number into genitive single, the genitive singular noun it refers to becomes genitive plural?
I am a bit confused, but I think I get it.
I was taught that, when putting a noun after a cardinal number after 1, there is no nominative. 2-4 automatically makes the noun genitive singular.
But you mean the whole phrase "три года" is in nominative even though it has genitive ("года") in it?
So for instance, three brothers would be "три брата" but the sentence, "He found the three brothers," would be, "Он нашел трех братьев." (Genitive plural on the "брат" enough though we're talking about three.)
Is that correct?
Ah, shady_ark tells me I am wrong and that "In modern Russian the form in "три года" is the same as in "из года в год", i.e. the Genitive singular."
I am pretty sure he knows this better than I. So then, "года" in "три года" is genitive singular and you are right in that it's the same word and I am wrong claiming it's a coincidence.
Everything else I said --- specifically how things are supposed to be said and sentences formed -- is still correct, though, and you got it all right, too, despite my trying to confuse you. =) I did mess up which case the nouns are in.
Sorry about that.
Edited: Yes, you were taught correctly, and yes, нашел трех братьев is correct , but it's in accusative plural there, which, as puguy3 corrected me below, is the same form as genitive in this case.
нашел трех братьев is correct and yes, it's in genitive plural there
Actually, "трёх братьев" is in accusative. It just happens to look like genitive plural since брат is animate. Obviously this distinction isn't of any practical consequence here, but it would be if it were another case. For instance "with five brothers" is "с пятью братьями." Numbers only affect the case of nouns following them if the entire number + noun phrase is in nominative or accusative non-animate.
Well, when Old East Slavic had the dual number, the layout at least made some sense:
- use the singular form with 1
- use the dual one with 2
- use plural with 3 and 4
- treat everything else just like nouns (i.e. use the Genitive plural)
In modern Russian the dual number is nowhere to be seen, so the hole was patched up with other forms. The form we use now is the Genitive singular (which is also used in many other situations). Only a handful of nouns use a special "counting" form which differs in stress (e.g. три часа́, два шага́, три ряда́).
Other than that, there is no way in which the Genitive singular used with 2,3,4 is different from the regular Genitive singular. The usage of nouns with numbers ended up quite odd, though.