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  5. У неё что, нет масла?

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

У неё что, нет масла?

So, taking a gander at the second to-Russian course on Duolingo, and this sentence pops up.

I'm finding it a bit of a headscratcher. What does it mean? And how does it mean that?

February 13, 2018

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariyanaVo

Hi! Yes, like Neon_Iceberg said, it translates to something like "She's like what, she has no oil??" And the что is used to stress that the speaker finds that very hard to believe. Here are another couple of examples:

Он что, кошку никогда не видел? He's never seen a cat or what??

Ты что, не знаешь кто такая Мадонна? What, you don't even know who Madonna is??

The что is usually attached to the person (less often the object) that did the action or is in the state that surprised us. I hope this helps!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1Pozin2

What! Does she have no oil?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NicroNR

= Что? У неё нет масла?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Neon_Iceberg

The translation is "does she have no oil?". This construction with the word "что" is used for expression of bewilderment or wonder.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MyaRexa

У неё что, нет масла? - Does she have no butter?

Масло - butter ;P

Sometimes may refer to "oil for cooking", there are also different words for different kinds of oil. Example: petrol - бензин

что - "whether or not" is probably the closest to an accurate translation, it's for "yes or no" (does or does not, is or isn't) etc. type of questions

Russian: что, Polish: czy, Esperanto: Ĉu, Mandarin: 是不是

That sentence could also be:

Что у неё нет масла? - plain question, without emphasizing that the speaker "finds it hard to believe" (MariyanaVo's explanation about it is very good!) :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dmitry_Arch

I think the best way to render this question in English is this: “Are you kidding? One might think she has no oil/butter.” Or “Are you trying to tell me she has no oil/butter?”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pgournas

Google translates this as "Does she have no oil?". Looks legit :P


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex784346

I think "что" can mean "what". I have heard many native speakers use it that way. I don't know if it is correct use but i have heard it in the wild so to speak.

So is this sentence a reply to a mechanic's call to a husband?

====== Mechanic: Your wife killed the car. She said the low oil light had been on for months

<h1>Husband: She what, had no oil?</h1>

From the best I can tell "масла" is the feminine form but I don't know if that is because the owner of the oil is feminine or if the use (although not stated) is a word that can be deduced to be feminine such as "машина".

The type of oil seems unclear as well. Is it for cooking or cars or whatever?

I think the use or state of the oil is ambiguous too. Is the oil had or have or has?

The thought seems unclear and casual in it's nature, limited context.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kundoo

From the best I can tell "масла" is the feminine form but I don't know if that is because the owner of the oil is feminine or if the use (although not stated) is a word that can be deduced to be feminine such as "машина".

Neither. It's not feminine to begin with, it's in the genitive case. The nominative is "масло" and it's neuter.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MariyanaVo

The неё can refer to anything in that gender, person or object, but since "у неё" means possession, it would be used more often for people rather than objects. As for the oil, just like in English, it can mean machine oil, essential oil, plant oil (including cooking oil and butter), crude oil, or mineral oil. Hope this helps.

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