5

What's the difference between:

у папы семь собак

and

у папы есть семь собак

Are both sentences used? When can I omit есть? On a daily basis which of these would you use?

10

In this particular case it would not be an oversimplification to say that this forms are interchangeable and one can easily encounter in casual usage, say, у меня есть две кошки and у меня две кошки.

Keep in mind though that there still can be differences in usage Compare у меня есть пистолет and у меня пистолет!. First is more of a statement, an admission of the fact that one possesses a gun, so it's closer gotta gun "I have a gun". Second phrase is closer to notification, in some cases a warning if you mind (so this phrase can be translated as "I gotta gun!".

So in a hostage situation the Russian-speaking terrorist will most likely shout out: "У меня граната" rather than "у меня есть граната". Most likely but not necessarily.

Also the form "у меня + noun" can indicate possession in a figurative way, like in "у него грипп" or "у меня такая усталость". Phrases "у него есть грипп" or "у меня есть такая усталость" are non-existent.

2
  • 4
    Not objecting, but we can invent a context in which "у него есть грипп" would sound normal. "Доктор, у пациента нет гриппа!" - "Простите, коллега, но у него есть грипп." "Опишите свои симптомы, у вас нет такой усталости?" - "Да, у меня есть такая усталость." – Alexander Nov 12 '17 at 8:47
  • 2
    It feels like when I say to you "У меня граната", the nuance is that that's all I care to say and you need to know about the situation. That nuance is absent in "У меня есть граната [и много чего ещё]." – Headcrab Nov 13 '17 at 3:55
5

Есть is generally used where English applies the indefinite article to the object, 'a or an'. Where English would apply the definite article 'the' есть is usually omitted. For example:

У доктора есть телефон. The doctor has a telephone У кого есть словарь? Who has a dictionary.

but:

У кого словарь? Who has the dictionary

With numerals the word ectb is generally omitted.

In your example: у папы семь собок is generally used.

1
  • 1
    please don't spell Russian words in pseudo-cyrillic latin adaptation. – shabunc Nov 16 '17 at 1:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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