2

Both mean "nothing" as far as I understand, so what is the difference?

2
3

Russian declension is a very complex system. Its grammatical cases (падежи) sometimes can be very tricky and confusing, however there are some rules that can help you to understand them.

In your case, you actually have the same word in two different cases. The first one, "ничем", is an instrumental grammatic case for the main - so called, nominative - case "ничего".

All six grammatic cases in order:

Именительный падеж/nominative case:

ничего

Родительный падеж/genitive case:

Ничего

Дательный падеж/dative case:

Ничему

Винительный падеж/accusative case:

Ничего

Творительный падеж/instrumental case:

Ничем

Предложный падеж/prepositional case:

(Exception) Ни (о/в) чем

It's totally OK to say: "Он абсолютно ничего не сделал"/"He has done absolutely nothing", while "Он абсолютно ничем не сделал" is incorrect, even though the majority of Russians would understand you.

Number of cases in Russian language can differ in different textbooks, but I cannot mention any noun that would not have any of these grammatic cases.

3
  • спасибо болщое :) Feb 10 '18 at 8:01
  • 1
    Не за что. P.S. Кстати, слово "большое" пишется с "ш", а не "щ". Удачи в освоении. Feb 10 '18 at 11:51
  • спасибо большое again! ;) Feb 10 '18 at 22:55
2

ничем is declension of ничто in instrumental form (see Russian_declension). Example: negotiations ended with nothing - переговоры закончились ничем.

1
  • Yes, you're right. I corrected my answer.
    – Artur
    Feb 9 '18 at 14:36

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.