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Russian reflexive verbs/pronouns

I am a bit confused by the phrase "я чувствую себя хорошо", please could someone explain why a reflexive pronoun (себя) has been used instead of the reflexive verb чувствоваться/ я чувствуюсь хорошо. I understand the need for reflexive pronouns in cases such as the prepositional, eg говорить о себе, but in the context of asking how someone feels I find it hard to understand.

1 year ago


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Long story short, reflexive verbs and verbs accompanied by reflexive pronouns are not interchangeable. Чувствоваться does not mean that you feel good or bad: the verb is not even used with people. It in fact means that something can be felt.

A reflexive suffix often means simply intransitivity: the action is performed by the subject but not on any particular object. If you think about it, English is a bit inconsistent here:

  • (correct) I shaved.
  • (correct) I shaved Chewbacca.
  • (correct) Papers burned.
  • (correct) I burned papers.
  • (correct) I can smell Chewbacca.
  • (correct) Chewbacca smells good.
  • (correct) Chewbacca died.
  • (ungrammatical) I died Chewbacca.
  • (correct) Chewbacca fell.
  • (ungrammatical) I fell Chewbacca.

In Russian these sentences will 99% of the time use different verbs. Sometimes the verbs are just different, like English "die" and "kill". Sometime a reflexive verb is the one you use without the object.

A few verbs are used with a form of себя when you want to express a particular meaning:

  • вести себя = to behave (in a certain way)
  • чувствовать себя = to feel (in a certain way)
  • представить себе = to imagine (something)

There is also a set expression "про себя" used with "читать". It means to read without articulating words aloud (like little kids tend to do).

"С собой" is a combination used when you mean taking something along when you go somewhere (usually with брать/взять):

  • Не забудь взять с собой флешку. = Do not forget to take a thumbdrive.
1 year ago


Спасибо большое!

1 year ago

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чувствоваться and similar слышаться, видеться, делаться have reflexive grammatical form, but they express the passive voice: я чувствуюсь хорошо means I'm felt well (by somebody). Это слово пишется так This word is written (correctly) so.

1 year ago



1 year ago