I recently read this sentence in a story related by a very good writer:

Щен за мной увязался годовалый, за пальто покусывает. Кинула я ему эту слойку – отстал.

In trying to render the meaning of this, it occurred to me that in Russian, it's quite commonplace to postpose numbers from the thing counted in order to express approximation, e.g. года три, долларов пять, etc. I wonder if the writer isn't using this same device here to approximate the dog's age rather than state it outright.

1 Answer 1


Nope, here it's just an inversion which slightly shifted the focus from the subject (the puppy in this particular case) to the fact that it's one year old. But this doesn't actually mean that this is an approximation.

Compare the following:

За мной увязался пьяный мужик.


Да просто мужик увязался за мной пьяный.

Here we're putting emphasis on the fact that the man was drunk, but it's not some rough estimate, it's quite established ;)

  • Very good to know. Thank you! Does that mean that the adjectives is also emphasized in speech, or is its postposition enough of an emphasis?
    – CocoPop
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 14:47
  • @CocoPop thank you for editing the answer btw! nope, the postposition is enough per se.
    – shabunc
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 14:49
  • You're very welcome! We're all here to learn. Your English is excellent and I hope my little edits will help you take it to another level))) Thank you as always for your ready help 🙏🏼
    – CocoPop
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 14:50
  • 1
    By the way, I have a community on VK called SMISSLE where I post interesting texts in Russian for users to translate and I offer corrections and explanations of correct grammar, usage, etc. It's a private group, but you're cordially invited to join. With your wonderful level of English, you would be in good company.
    – CocoPop
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 14:53
  • well, the offer stands))
    – CocoPop
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 17:08

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