I'm a little bit confused here.Duolingo says "У девочки есть всё" is "The girl has everything".

However... If "девочка" is "girl" and "девочки" is "girls" can't we translate the sentence as "The girls have everything"? Or is this some kind of an exception?enter image description here

Edit : I guess, it does the same thing for other sentences too.It said "The woman has cats" for "У женщины есть кошки" .I'm really lost here.Wasn't женщины = women and женщина = woman.Also кошки is plural too, but the sentence is still singular!?

  • 6
    In that sentence nouns are used in genitive case. Singular form would be: "У девочки есть всё." Plural form would be "У девочек есть всё." You're probably confused because genitive singular in this case is the same as nominative plural.
    – Vitaly
    Aug 29, 2017 at 14:05
  • you use "jack of all trades master of none" dictionary-disguised-as-translator. And it gives wrong translation. translate.ru translates the phrase as "The girl has everything". Even Google Translate does the job. Duolingo just confuses forms of the word.
    – Arioch
    Aug 29, 2017 at 15:34
  • "девочки" is the genitive form of "девочка", but at the same time but not in this case it's the word on itself, which is the plural of "девочка". The genitive of "девочки" is "девочек". So here, if you see that the word is in genitive, and it is "девочки", then it's singular "девочка".
    – d.k
    Aug 29, 2017 at 23:39

5 Answers 5


You should be aware of the fact that the structure "у кого-то есть что‐то "actually means "кто‐то имеет что‐то ". Thus if you have


У девочки есть всё. = Девочка имеет всё. = The girl (one) has everything.

Plural :

У девочек есть всё. = Девочки имеют всё. = The girls have everything.

I think this list of prepositions and cases might be helpful.

Именительный кто? что? Родительный от, до, из, без, у, для, около, с, вокруг, после, кроме кого? чего? Дательный к, по кому? чему? Винительный в, на, за, про, через кого? что? Творительный с, со, за, под, над, между, перед кем? чем? Предложный о, об, в, на, при о ком? о чём

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    This is a little bit confusing.So can I say the second ones safely? So иметь = To have... right? So, what's the difference between У меня есть... and Я имею...?
    – Burak
    Aug 29, 2017 at 20:00
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    @Burak - "Я имею ..." is more formal/bookish than "У меня есть ..."
    – Yellow Sky
    Aug 29, 2017 at 20:02
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    I'd sat "я имею" is not only very archaic, it is more like focused "i own" or "i possess" than vague casual "i have"
    – Arioch
    Aug 30, 2017 at 8:23
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    Does this answer the question?
    – David42
    Aug 30, 2017 at 21:22
  • What I wanted to show is : this transformation helps to see how many "девочек" there actually are, and proves the fact that "девочки " Isn't a plural form. I am far from advising to use it in colloquial speech.
    – V.V.
    Aug 31, 2017 at 4:11

The rule is which form of a noun specific preposition requires. The preposition "у" requires genetive case of a noun. That is девочки/девочек for girl/girls.

  • This answers the question, not other ones Sep 20, 2017 at 13:18

No, "У девочки есть всё" does not mean "The girls have everything". The literal word-for-word translation is:

У - by the side

девочки - of the little girl

есть - is

всё - everthing

To see why the verb is singular, we can rearange the sentence into the subject, verb order familiar to English speakers:

Всё есть у девочки.

The subject of the sentence is всё (everything), not девочки (of the little girl).

Duolingo requires the student to translate using good style in the target language. Frequently this requires a rewording of the sentence. This required rewording often completely alters its grammatical structure.


"Всё" has only singular form, similar to "fish" in English. Compare: a girl has a fish. Two girls have plenty of fish. Or, have all the fish. (Though maybe one can use "fishes" for aquarium fish)

  • 1
    The question is about singular form of the word "girl" while Russian sentence has "девочки".
    – Vitaly
    Aug 31, 2017 at 18:00

"Girls have everything" would be "у девочек есть все." In your phrase "девочки" is not plural of "девочка." It's a form of a word that doesn't have a direct analog English.

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