Вижу, с памятью у тебя стало хуже.

I notice an interesting structure in Russian: Why does it take the dual form of "с памятью у тебя" rather than the more straightforward "с твоей памятью" with a single preposition?

{Literally}: "with the memory at/by/near you"

{instead of}: "with your memory"

The same goes for:

"у него во сне" = "at/by/near him in a dream"

"в его сне" = "in his dream"

I wonder when it is preferable to use these separated structures consisting of two prepositions?

  • No-one mentioned, so that's my bit. The "double preposition" version is less formal and is used in everyday language. The other version better suits for official or scientific documents. But I feel 150 years ago it was not so, and the form with "double preposition" often occurs in classical texts.
    – AlexVB
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 7:31
  • @AlexVB Oh, I see. I indeed came across these two phrases in an informal conversation. Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 7:56

3 Answers 3


This structure is used in impersonal sentences or with subject being всё/ничего describing state of affairs in some of the aspects of personal life or exhibition of qualities, with phrases (не) всё в порядке / (не) всё гладко / (не) всё ладится / (не) всё слава богу / (не) всё хорошо / (всё) (не)плохо / стало хуже / стало лучше / всё нормально / всё отлично / не очень / неважно / проблемы / без проблем and the like.

Some examples:

  1. У меня с учёбой не всё в порядке - Not everything is smooth in my studies

  2. C заказами у него всё хорошо - He doesn't have any problems with getting orders

  3. Со здоровьем у неё пока неважно, зато с работой наладилось - Her health is still giving her troubles, but she's found work

  4. У них не всё гладко c пунктуальностью - They're not very good at being exact on time

I would guess it's a way of getting around the inconvenience or inability to use these adverbs or their adjectival forms directly with the objects.

In English i think a similar structure is used with the words problem(s)/trouble(s) as showcased by example 2.

As far as dreams are concerned i believe it's because in Russian they're perceived not as belonging to a person but as happening to them.

  • No way. Consider the sentence : Что‐то с памятью моей стало. An impersonal sentence, right?
    – V.V.
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 4:56
  • no, your sentence is a regular full sentence, but then it doesn't have an adverb, and we don't normally say С памятью моей стало хорошо even if such subject as всё is added, otherwise not sure what your comment refers to Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 7:54
  • @Con-gras-tue-les-chiens logically only quotations from Russian authors are originals, all the rest are translations (whether human or machine). As far as your example is concerned the English version is also a human translation of Zola's novel as confirmed by Google search Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 6:40
  • so basically it seems that the originals are in whatever language the source was composed or both being translations from a 3d language like in the case of Zola, while their counterparts are either Russian or English translations of the source done by humans, another example is Dostoevsky's 'A Raw Youth', whose quotation is taken from translation by CONSTANCE GARNEIT Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 6:50
  • @Con-gras-tue-les-chiens i'm afraid i can't recommend any besides multitran.ru which is the only one i use myself mainly as English - Russian, it's not learning oriented, lacks usage examples unless manually added by users to accompany added terms and it could be overwhelming due to multitude of translations for a single term, but it has A LOT Commented Aug 10, 2018 at 18:17

The first version is typically used in expressions defining someone's good or bad memory.

С памятью у тебя всё в порядке. (or C памятью у тебя плохо.)

The second one just refers to someone's good or bad memory which is known or implied to be good or bad.

C твоей памятью можно вслепую играть в шахматы.

С твоей памятью лучше иметь под рукой таблицу умножения.


У тебя, у меня,, у нас, у вас, etc are used almost interchangably with posessive pronouns to indicate 'loose posession':

  1. У меня машина сломалась.
  2. Моя машина сломалась.

Both mean 'My car broke' and neither (nor even the English translation) implies that you actually own the car. 'My car' could simply mean 'the car I was driving at the moment', even if you rented it.

Conversely, if you say e.g.:

  • Это мой кошелек! ('It is my wallet!')

This can't be put as:

  • *Это у меня кошелек!

Because мой in this case conveys a strong sense of ownership.

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.