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Не знаю, гожусь ли я в напарники, но попробовать можно.

I've never come across another instance where a noun following the preposition "в" takes any other case than Prepositional or Accusative. Not to mention that the very idea of using Nominative Plural following any preposition pulled me up short. I wonder if this is just a one-off instance?

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It's a very peculiar twist of the Russian grammar: a preposition followed by what seems to be a noun in the nominative case. Some grammarians even treat this as a separate case; others prefer to say that the noun is actually in the accusative but it loses its animacy in this context. More examples of this kind:

  • Он тебе в отцы годится! - He's old enough to be your father!
  • Я бы в летчики пошел, пусть меня научат! (Маяковский. Кем быть?)
  • Иванов избирается в депутаты. - Ivanov is being elected a deputy.
  • Петров метит в начальники. - Petrov is aiming at becoming a boss.
  • Дети играют в дочки-матери / в казаки-разбойники.

Не знаю, гожусь ли я в напарники, но попробовать можно.

"Not sure if I would be a good partner, but we can give it a try."

The general meaning is aspiring or pretending to be someone. It's a colloquial expression with a rich history which sadly seems to be falling out of use. So well done spotting it.

  • i would call it beauty – Баян Купи-ка Mar 21 '18 at 20:52
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    Most grammars say it formed when the accusative and nominative had the same endings in plural. – VCH250 Mar 21 '18 at 21:28
  • I think the names of the games are just that, names (and could be put in quotes), rather than examples of the peculiarity being discussed. – Roman Odaisky Mar 21 '18 at 21:55
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    I wonder if this pattern is of the same origin as in expressions like "путь из варяг в греки". – AlexVB Mar 22 '18 at 7:17
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    @БаянКупи-ка Yes, exactly. – VCH250 Mar 22 '18 at 12:28
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Not to mention that the very idea of using Nominative Plural following any preposition pulled me up short

My personal shot on this, is that we omit few words here. This manifests in that the sense of this plural word in this specific phrase is different from a usual meaning of it.

гожусь ли я в напарники?

I would deconstruct this pattern like "Am I fit enough for merging myself into the group "teammates" ?".

Here, "teammates" - "напарники" becomes a title, a name of some group. And the "group" - omitted in this pattern - is in normal Accusative.

Consider perhaps this question and my comment to it: "Aэропорт "Домодедово" - why not genitve?

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