Если не решишь, не договоришься, у тебя ничего не получится.

I'm wondering if the rationale for using the genitive "ничего" here can be put down to something as simple as a negative construction requiring "ничего", especially given the use of the dative "ничему" in a similar, reflexive construction:

Я ничему не научился.

Does "ничего" in "у тебя ничего не получится" originally come from the nominative or some other case, in a manner of speaking?

  • A verb can't be in genitive, so what could you mean by asking that question at the end? Anyway, ничего is definitely genitive, as that's the only possible case when you look at all cases of its nominative form ничто here ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%87%D1%82%D0%BE. Also, the ending -его is a common genitive ending. The reason for its being in genitive is because of the negated verbal phrase не получится: often in negated contexts you use genitive. Look up "negative genitive". It reflects the absence "of" something.
    – KCd
    May 8, 2018 at 5:26
  • @KCd Not what I have in mind. The nominative and accusative "ничто" change into "ничего" in a negative construction. For instance: "Ей ничего не надо было доказывать". The transitive "доказывать" usually takes the accusative case, but due to the negative construction, "ничего" is used here instead of the accusative "ничто". So my question is: How should I interpret the "ничего" in "у тебя ничего не получится"? Does it originally come from the nominative or accusative "ничто", or does this "получиться" construction require Genitive, whether it be in Negative or Affirmative? May 8, 2018 at 5:47
  • @KCd Given the use of the dative "ничему" in a similar, reflexive "Я ничему не научился" despite the negative construction, I'm wondering if the rationale for using "ничего" here can really be put down to something as simple as a negative construction requiring "ничего". May 8, 2018 at 6:19
  • I guess it is about the verbs themselves. It seems to be the case in positive sentences as well. If you bind an action depicting noun to those verbs (which is less natural than binding an indefinite verb, but possible): Я научился вязать носки -> Я научился вязаниЮ носков. Я сумел переплыть реку -> У меня получилось переплыть реку -> У меня получилось переплывание реки. Notice how in the first case me "Я" is the subject, and the action grammatically being the added object. In the latter case then it is the action itself which is subject and the actor is the added detail.
    – Arioch
    May 8, 2018 at 8:48
  • Kind of the same indirection ( inversion-of-control :-P ) as in English "I have an apple" vs Russian "у меня есть яблоко" - subject and object roles get swapped. One can say both "Я имею яблоко" and "There is an apple with me" - but those would feel very unnatural. Seems an "attitude" of the verbs "получиться" и "научиться" towards the role of subject and object is similarly inversed, comparing to another verb.
    – Arioch
    May 8, 2018 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


Firstly, verbs demand /govern different cases.

Получится что? что‐нибудь (in the affirmative )

Если долго мучиться, что‐нибудь получится.

In the negative не получится + genitive (like with the majority of verbs in the negative )

Ничего не получится/не выйдет/не случится /не добьешься/не произойдет.

But some verbs require different cases. Only a dictionary can tell a learner what cases are possible with certain verbs.

Научиться чему? Чему-нибудь. Не научиться чему? Ничему.

радоваться чему? Чему-нибудь. Не радоваться ничему.


Именительный Что? ничто́
Родительный Чего? ничего́

Дательный Чему? ничему́

Винительный Что? ничто́
Творительный Чем? ниче́м
Предложный О чем? ни о чём

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