"Where are your brothers?"

Translation:Де ваші брати?

July 14, 2017

This discussion is locked.


I see своїх in the hints, but I've been taught that ваші and твої are appropriate here. When would one use своїх?


Свій/своя/... are used when the pronoun of the person one is referring to has already been used.

E.g. If you used я in a sentence, you use свій instead of мій, if you used він you use свій instead of його.

Similar to avoiding double negative in English, we avoid "double pronoun".

[deactivated user]

    Свої (and other forms, such as свій, своя) is used when the word refers to the grammatical subject of the sentence:

    • Вона́ сама́ видає́ свої́ книжки́ ‘She publishes her books herself’ (here, вона ‘she’ is the subject [because ‘she’ does the action of ‘publishing’], so свої refers back to ‘her’: свої книжки = ‘her books’)
    • Ліс ма́є свої́ таємни́ці ‘[A/the] forest has its mysteries’ (ліс is the subject, it does the action of ‘having’, so свої refers back to forest: свої таємниці = ‘forest’s mysteries, its mysteries’).
    • Ніч ма́є свої́ права́. ‘[A/the] night has its rights’ (ніч is the subject, so свої refers to ‘night’s’) This is a set expression, used to dissuade people from being careless during in dark time.

    In «Де ва́ші брати́?» ‘Where are your brothers’, «Ваші брати» is the grammatical subject (saying that brothers do an action of ‘being somewhere’ might be confusing, but grammatically, it’s the subject), so «свої» in «свої брати» would refer back to «свої брати»... Which makes little sense.

    If you try to explain this, you’d be stuck in an infinite loop: [свої́] брати́ = [свої́х] браті́в брати́ = свої́х браті́в браті́в брати́ = .... :) Because свої refers to the subject and you’ve included свої into the subject.

    N.B. I’d like to emphasise one moment that makes свої different from similar pronouns in some other languages. When a sentence is composed of two or more clauses, свої only refers to the subject of the current clause:

    • І́ра зна́є, що Улья́на сама́ видає́ свої книжки́. ‘Ira knows that Ulyana publishes her (=Ulyana’s!) books herself.’ This sentence has two sub-sentences: the main clause is «Ira knows [that ...]», and the second sentence is embedded in the first one: «Ulyana self-publishes her books». Свої only refers to things in the second clause (i.e. Ulyana) and it’s not related to the first clause (e.g. not related to Ira).

    This makes свої different from Latin suī and similar pronouns in some other languages, which do allow referencing things in other clauses.


    Also, removed confusing suggestions from the hints, thanks.

    Learn Ukrainian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.