Why in the following sentence we use было instead of был, since we're talking about the husband? (Муж in this case).

Жена́ не выходи́ла из свои́х ко́мнат, му́жа тре́тий день не бы́ло до́ма.

English: The wife did not leave her own room, the husband had not been at home for three days.

I'm trying to follow an audiobook without worrying about grammar, but trying also to 'confirm' what i already know (or thought i knew lol).



1 Answer 1


It is so called impersonal sentence (безличное предложение). In your case the main member of the sentence is expressed with a negative form of the predicate (не было) in combination with a noun in the genitive (мужа). Here the emphasis is on the absence of the husband (There was no husband at home), while "муж не был дома" tells us about non-attendance of the husband (The husband was not at home). Verbs in impersonal sentences come in the form of neuter gender, singular.

Personal affirmative sentences, nominative case:

  • Я дома - I am home
  • Я был дома - I was home
  • Я буду дома - I will be home

Impersonal negative sentences, genitive case:

  • Меня нет дома - I am not home, there is not me in the house, the house is "empty"
  • Меня не было дома - I was not home, there was not me...
  • Меня не будет дома - I will not be home, there will not be me...

Personal negative sentences, nominative case:

  • Я не дома - I am not home, I am in some other place
  • Я не был дома - I was not home, I didn't visit it (as a fact of visiting)
  • Я не буду дома - I will not be home, I will not visit it (as a fact of visiting)
  • Большой спасибо!
    – Fernando
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 7:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.