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Я предпочита́ю зелёный чай чёрному.

In this sentence зелёный [nominative] should be зелёного [accusative] because чай is the direct object and therefore in accusative.

I came across this sentence and want to know if they made a mistake or if there is a grammatical reason which I am not aware of?

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  • 1
    Is your question about why is it зелёный and not зелёного OR why чёрному does not agree with чай? Anyway, I answered both below. Oct 28 '19 at 9:01
  • 2
    "Зелёный" is accusative (for inanimate nouns).
    – Abakan
    Oct 28 '19 at 10:16
  • @SergeySlepov My mistake, I should have mentioned that I know why чёрному is the way it is [because it is in dative].
    – El Tor
    Oct 29 '19 at 3:17
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This sentence is grammatically sound. The reason for the apparent disagreement is the following.

The verb предпочитать takes two objects:

  • a direct object in the accusative (зелёный чай)
  • an optional indirect object in the dative (чёрному [чаю])

For inanimate masculine gender objects, the accusative coincides with the the nominative (зелёный чай) and not genitive (зелёного чая) as it does for animate objects.

The sentence employs an ellipsis that omits the word [чаю] after чёрному like in the English example: John likes black tea and Mary likes green [tea].

Hope this helps clear up the confusion.

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    A nitpick: предпочитать doesn't strictly require two objects; the dative one is optional. You can just say я предпочитаю зеленый чай
    – OmarL
    Oct 28 '19 at 9:27
  • @Wilson, thanks! Edited my answer. Oct 28 '19 at 10:20
  • @Thank you, Sergey! You cleared up my confusion with a great simple explanation.
    – El Tor
    Oct 29 '19 at 3:20

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