I was recently translating a text from German to Russian and came across the following phrase:

Salzbrezeln mit Preiselbeeren

which means in English

Salted pretzels with cranberries

I translated it to Russian like this

Солёные брецели с брусникой

I am a Russian native speaker and realize that I never use berries in the plural form. Some examples:

чай с малиной, клубника с сахаром, торт с вишней, пирог с ежевикой

I never use them like this

чай с малинами, клубники с сахаром, торт с вишнями, пирог с ежевиками

Would you agree with that? In that case is there any reasonable explanation for this?


1 Answer 1


Names of small berries are usually used as collective nouns in Russian. In cooking, berries are often used in the form of jam, mashed with sugar, so you can also look at that as mass nouns.

Also, картошка and лук are always collective: жареная картошка с луком – usually it means more than one potato and more than one onion. Names of other vegetables can also be collective: выращивают свеклу и капусту.

Names of animals are often collective: охотились на соболя, зайца, били белку, ловили рыбу.

On the other hand, when it goes about cherries, it is often plural: пирожки с вишнями, вареники с вишнями.

  • 1
    I think it's more like an uncountable, at least for smaller berries (like blueberry or cranberries. No one will ever count those). By the way it looks like a recent trend: tinyurl.com/wwx8lxy (ngram).
    – Alissa
    Mar 11, 2020 at 17:47
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    I disagree about cherries. It is much more natural to say пирожки с вишней. In fact I don't think I ever heard anyone saying it the way you wrote. Mar 11, 2020 at 21:37
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    @user7808407 - What exactly do you disagree with? With the fact that some people do say пирожки с вишнями? Or with the fact that if you didn't hear a thing it can still well exist? Even пирог с вишнями and торт с вишнями exist.
    – Yellow Sky
    Mar 11, 2020 at 22:37
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    I sort of concur with @user7808407, in the sense that it's relatively rare to hear that; generally, there is nothing special about вишня in this regard. "Торт с вишнями" rather implies that the торт украшен (отдельными) вишнями rather than filled with them (but one can just as well say торт с клубниками). Normally though, one would say пирожки с вишней.
    – Zeus
    Mar 12, 2020 at 2:21
  • 1
    Instead of downvoting you'd better post your own "correct" answer.
    – Yellow Sky
    Mar 13, 2020 at 18:14

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